Platform End #4 - Winter/ Spring 1994
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Hi, and welcome to Platform End No. 4. Please accept the usual grovelling apologies if this magazine arrives a touch late but spare time has been at a premium for both Carol and I just recently whilst the printing process has been rather slow and that is without even a mention of the famous exploding computer monitor. Anyway enough of all these pathetic excuses here we are again with another bits & pieces to keep you all going. Many thanks for the many kind letters expressing appreciation for our occasional efforts but what happened to all the Word Search entries? Anyway we hope you like Issue 4 because we need more money now, incidently this is a good point to mention that Platform End and the Fan Club has been heavily subsidised and received tremendous support from Manfred, Earth Band and many others past and present.
Congratulations to Kelly Norris from the Workhouse Studio who some of you may know has been an enthusiastic friend and supporter of the Fan Club and Platform End (I even managed to con her and her husband to contribute to the last issue) Kelly gave birth to a Baby Girl - Ruby – on 29th December, 1993.
Spencer Lee is a well respected DJ. and walking Rock encyclopaedia who presents a show on Radio Merseyside.
I was invited by Spencer to join in on a programme featuring Fanzines to discuss and promote Platform End and the Manfred Mann Fan Club. A wide variety of fanzines ranging in quality and style from handwritten photocopies through to full colour glossies were represented on the show with artists featured including Cliff Richard, K.D. Lang, Elvis, Petula Clarke and Roger Whitaker. Our spot came late in the show and our fanzine got a favourable review, the event being only slightly spoilt by Spencer Lee who seemed blissfully unaware of anything important in Manfred’s career past 1969! Disappointing in view of the fact he did quite a good interview with Manfred a few years ago. So what about the album? Well, I know I can get away with a lot with our long suffering members, should we ever get a journal out on time the shock could seriously damage health (don’t worry we’ve lost track of time so it won’t happen). Not to give the latest news on THE ALBUM would however lead to that inevitable batch of letters again so I tracked Manfred down at the Workhouse during a break to find out how things are going. It’s going fine”, Manfred told me and when I pressed somewhat optimistically for a release date said it was still scheduled for Autumn release, but chuckling at comments from the crew agreed he had not said which year. Autumn 1994 does look promising however,
and may even be the first release on their own label. Manfred went on to emphasise that the album was by no means finished yet, and there were still likely to be plenty of changes. There might be too much Moog he ventured, I suggested that for most of us too much Moog would be impossible. There’s some very loud Moog on Pleasure And Pain, Manfred continued ’but don’t get the idea the album will be like the live band, all the tracks will be short and sharp, a collection of pretty songs no long drawn out solos. The Times they are a changing is back on but different from the live version with Barbara Thompson playing the fade out - a bit like ‘Singing The Dolphin Through’. ‘Nature Of The Beast' was out and is now back in. A well known lady vocalist may be joining Noel on the track. Finally in answer to all you cynics who wanted to know how long the album will be, I asked and got a firm reply, ”It will be as long as it is. I am not going to put stuff on it just to make it a certain length, I could have put plenty more on Plains Music but it wasn’t good enough. I don’t mind making it an hour and a half if I’ve got that much good material”. Well you can’t argue with that - Roll on Autumn!.
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THE 1993 EUROPEAN TOUR MINDEN
Wild horses would have had no chance in stopping me making the trek from a mild sunny morning on Merseyside to a very bleak wet Germany to see MMEB in mainland Europe for the first time.
Those who know me well know that I need a detailed map written instructions and a ball of string to find my way to the end of the street and back. To find my way to a small backwater of Germany was thus going to be something of a challenge. Was I safe to be let out on my own??? Trouble is I’m easily distracted, l have for example a burning interest in Railways (we have Angel Station in the garden!), and Germany looks after its railways much better than we do.
I thought I’d never see him again. (Carol)
Anyway, Clare Stuart of Alex Leslie Enterprises recognised even by phone what a helpless soul she was attempting to get to Germany and back so I was provided with a detailed itinerary of my route, train times and so on. The only minor problem was the 40 Kilometres between the end of the railway track and the hotel where my instructions said I would meet up with the tour party. After a somewhat unnerving taxi ride in torrential rain (the driver speaking every language except English), I arrived at the Hotel, set in beautiful countryside. There I found the band had gone directly to the venue which was the one thing not on my itinerary. Still word had obviously gone ahead and the German promoter Stephan rang me at the Hotel to advise me that a runner was on the way. The Hotel loaded me up with keys and bits of paper for the boys and off we went. Once at the venue a big barn of a place, we had to fight through layers of security until finally I was shown into the band’s dressing rooms to a warm welcome. From here on I can reveal only that where I wasn’t paid enough to stay quiet, sorry Steve the sex, drugs and rock and roll image is no more just a quiet game of chess and of course I won’t mention the fact that Noel left his passport in Switzerland and came close to ruining the entire evening by being clapped in irons by the German
Immigration people. Pat King who you might remember once played bass and took nice photographs of Manfred on a horse and other things, was the representative from ALE the British Promoters whose duties included keeping everybody in order and making absolutely sure everybody was where they should be and had a passport!
Still he was a bloody good bass player. Despite a fine Spread of food left by the German promoters Mick decided he was hungry. Steve was climbing the walls because he couldn’t find a bass to strum, Clive was as usual taking the p..., and Manfred wandered in from time to time to study the chess game which we had all decided had gone one step beyond stale mate which is of course impossible. Food was ordered mostly to keep Mick happy, still an hour or so before they would go on stage. Steve has found a bass so he’s happy, Clive still taking the p... and never seems to be anything other than happy. It is chucking down with rain outside and the food still hasn't arrived, Noel has now lost his access all areas badge, others rather tactlessly suggest it might be with his passport! An hour has passed the band are now in stage gear. The familiar baseball cap is starting to look a little travel stained. The chess game has refused to progress and the food has not arrived for which Pat gets the blame, although its not his fault and he doesn’t give a s... anyway. Lance, the road crew guv who is one of the nicest guy’s you can ever bump into, unless you’re a total prat, has apparently met one.
Stephan is on stage announcing the band.
Now it is a while since I have seen them live, so the act has changed quite a lot. The opener is now a sort of instrumental Joybringer, featuring Mick and Manfred and it really works, once again leading into Shelter From The Storm. Noel takes command here, one hell of a singer he also has a good stage presence, and Shelter is a powerful introduction. Then comes Times They Are A Changing, Manfred says it hasn’t worked in the studio but it sure works well live although they have done something odd to the bit in the middle a sort of more orchestral feel than a keyboard or guitar solo. Dirty City is a new song which I’d never heard before and it works well with some nice keyboard in the middle and again strong vocals from Noel. Martha needs no introduction and the capacity crowd packed in like sardines cheered with delight. The keyboard solo here was what I can only describe as dangerous - on the edge - and brilliant. Manfred seems to be experimenting taking risks again which makes for exciting solos. I love Mick’s bit at the end of Martha
and the lightings brilliant. Demolition Man I had a sneak preview of back at the Workhouse in the summer. Now I was a big Steve Waller fan and wasn’t convinced they could pull this one off without him, but they did a combination of Noel and Mick, Clive and Steve throughout all of this giving total support. Now everybody knows Father of Day should be past its sell by date, but it seems to get better every time. I can only guess that Mick Rogers plays better, faster and louder when he’s hungry, he's good, he’s b..... good and on Father of Day he knows it, everybody knows it and Rogers the showman has the audience in the palm of his hand. The little keyboard, guitar battle at the end of Father of Day is wonderful.
One of the problems of a lot of UK. gigs no matter how big the band is when it comes to a quiet bit the audience think its a chance to catch up on any gossip ~ not so in Germany. Medicine Song was welcomed by all and Redemption Song was quite moving with the audience joining in and candles and cigarette lighters lighting up the hall.
So to Blinded and Quinn to close, nice to see the bombs again and who cares if Manfred forgets the last few words on Blinded.
Pleasure and Pain formed the first encore song. I think it is wonderful and Mick’s solo was beautiful. Davy’s Davy, but once again Manfred's solo much of it electric piano was brilliant, the whole audience moving with it as it built to the familiar finish.
Then came the sad bit. The band go off, the crowd want them back but somebody involved in the security has decided to put on the house lights and begin to move people out. The bulk of the capacity crowd however are going nowhere, so out go the lights again. The trouble is with so many packed into the hall had the band come back there was serious risk of a crush, so the difficult decision was made not to do the second encore. It was sometime before the disappointed audience finally gave up and went home.
Backstage the band too were disappointed but the food which had arrived earlier was tracked down so at least Mick was smiling again.
Noel meanwhile practised his alternative career as a masseur to the delight of your intrepid reporters shoulders and to the equal horror of Manfred that hangers on should be so treated!
A handful of determined fans broke through the security to obtain the bands autographs and then we all headed for the tour bus. The tour bus is more a mobile home than a coach.
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Most of us piled into the lounge at the back to watch a video of some of the gig giving Mick, Clive and Noel the ideal opportunity to make serious constructive criticism of each others performances, (take the piss!).At the other end of the coach Manfred and Steve continued to struggle over the chess game whilst Pat pretended to understand every possible move. The following morning I waved the coach off on to the last gig of the tour, breakfasted with Noel and Stephan who were travelling with Manfred later on. Then once again I put my life into the hands of a local driver for the start of the long journey home. I had left home around 6.30 am. Saturday and arrived back around 9.00 pm. Sunday. Most people think I am quite simply barking mad and almost certainly I am. Believe me folks it was hell, the sacrifices one must make to fill this journal, I just hope I don’t have to go through it all again until the next time - and lets hope the next time comes soon. To close I wouldn’t like anybody to get the idea that we are dealing with a nice bunch of guy's (Steve Kinch smuggles booze into chess games), but I must add I was made to feel part of the thing and never in the way, even if occasionally I was. So what can I say other than to thank everybody involved oh, and by the way I reckon it’s Checkmate in 3 moves!
PUSH AND PULL
At last Noel’s new album turned up in the post. ’Push and Pull’ credited to McCalla is 63 minutes and 7 seconds of pure joy. Noel has not had the luxury of an open ended budget to make and produce this album so the high quality of sound production packaging and of course content is even more commendable.
It is hard to understand why the British Music Industry could by enlarge ignore such obvious talent and such an incredible voice as that of Noel McCalla, as Blues and Soul point out in their review of the album. Some regard Noel as the best soul singer in the U.K. The single taken from the album Pull Together/Trouble/Full Circle’ received high praise indeed from the same music paper being single of the week. The album too was given a powerful and positive review by Blues and Soul who suggested it should be investigated at the earliest possible opportunity. Now I have a small confession to make. I am not noted as a big soul fan to say the very least, so I put the CD. on a little nervously - still I could always get a big soul fan to write the review. I am delighted to say it proved not to be necessary. Noel has always insisted his music cannot or should not be categorised and to a large extent he’s right. You could say this was a jazz album, McCalla isn’t just Noel but a brilliant collection of musicians – Lou Salvoni Drums, Kevin Powell Bass, Alan Fealdman Keyboards, Andy Hamilton Sax’s, Will Algar Trumpet, Mick Dytche Guitar with others too numerous to name helping out. All these guy's together combine to produce a strongly jazz, funk bass to all the songs but it isn’t jazz. Nor is it blues and although it may stray across the boundaries of mainstream Rock, once or twice, it is in truth mostly a very soulful album, but none the worse for it. Sadly those who have tried have found the album difficult to get, so just for you Platform End have negotiated a special deal for a limited period only. We can supply the album for£10.00 and a sensible consideration of postage and packing. Noel tells me supplies are limited so if you want a copy let me know. Sorry there are no singles left.
CHRIS THOMPSON DISCOGRAPHY
Part 2 - Compiled by Graeme Yates
OTHER IMPORTANT RELEASES
CBS 96000 Jeff Wayne’s War of the World’s LP features Chris on ”Thunder Child” 1978
Bridgehouse Records A Week At The Bridge E.16 features 3 tracks by Filthy McNasty ”Move
Over”, ”Fire Down Below” and "Can’t Get Next To You" produced by CT. 1978
Casablanca 814 603-7 All the Right Moves from original sound track from the Motion Picture.
Chris sings with Jennifer Warnes (U.S.A.) 1983
Electra E9839 So Wrong
Electra E9839T So Wrong 12” 1983
Electra 9602251 Arcade LP by Patrick Simmons featuring Chris 1983
RCA RCALP 8001 Arrested LP The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Friends features Chris
on ”De Do Do Do De Da Da Da” & Don’t Stand So Close To Me”. 1983
RCA PB 41093 “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham co-written by Chris 1985
MCA lnternational K2 LP by Don Airey features Chris on Can’t Make Up Your Mind” & ”Song
President PTLS 1078 Wind In The Willows LP by Eddie Hardin
& Zak Starkey features Chris on Guitar
& vocals on ‘The Badger’ & "The Piper
At The Gates Of Dawn’. 1985
Wind In The Willows
Eddie Hardin & Zak Starkey version
Mic Donovan Eddie Hardin, Joe Fagin,
Chris Thompson and Steve Hachett.
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RCA 9687 1R Age of Reason LP by John Farnham features The Fire” & ”Don’t Tell Me
It Can’t Be Done” co-written by Chris 1988
Virgin V261 0 Earth Moving LP by Mike Oldfield features Chris on ”Runaway Sun”
See The Light”. 1989
Virgin 112764 Yes We Can/Yes We Can (Nature Sounds) by Artists United for Nature
co-written some vocals by Chris. (German) 1989
RCA PL 90387 Love Among The Cannibals LP by Starship features ”Blaze of Love”
co-written by Chris
RCA PL 74768 Chain Reaction LP by John Farnham features ”The First Step” co-written
by Chris. 1990
LONDON LON 296 The Stonk by Hale & Pace and The Stonkers feat. Chris on backing vocals 1991
Polygram AUNDI Yes We Can, Yes We Can, (Extended Version featuring Brian May), Yes We
Can (Instrumental Mix) by Artists United for Nature co-written & some
vocals by Chris. 1992
Back To The Light LP by Brian May features Chris on vocals 1992
CBS Jeff Wayne’s Sparticus LP features Chris 1992
ALBUMS - NIGHT
Planet K52200 Night 1979
Planet K52251 Long Distance 1980
ALBUMS - SOLO
Ultra Phone K625484 Out of The Night (German) 1983
Ultra Phone K625922 Radio Voices (German). 1985
Atlantic 781 6651 The High Cost of Living 1986
Teldec 626847 Tabaluga and The Magic Jadestone (German) 1988
BMG Ariola 261417 Beat of Love (German) 1991
Some late additions to C.T. Discography:
German Take Me To Heaven/Instrumental Ariola 112755 1989
German Sea Of Emotion/Mephisto Ariola 113711 1990
(as farfarello featuring C.T.)
Andy Quinta Mighty Boy MB 20257
Thing About You/Free The Bird (both co-written by CT.)
C.T. rings Turn It Up and Back Against The Wall on Alan Passons new CD. ’Try Anything Once’ 1993
Turn It Up’ also single on Ariola includes a radio edit version.
Anyone with any further information should contact Graeme at the Fan Club Address, preferably giving full details of releases. Anyone feeling really generous can happily send me any singles from Tabaluga" or Take Me to Heaven” and “Tower of Love”! Also exact information on K2 would be great. Let’s roar to tell Mr. T he is heard.
MCCALLA - PART 2 By Andy Taylor
Andy: Presumably you knew that Earth Band had quite a big following, and that you would have to stand up and sing in front of a lot of people did that make you at all nervous at first.
Noel: It did at first yeah. I knew Chris he had sang on the first solo album he did backing vocals with Stevie Lang and Vicky Brown who he was working with at the time. I knew Chris as a good singer, although I knew I was as good as he was, and like I hoped that would be enough of an acceptance for anyone who came to see us, plus people who came to see the band, all they want is to hear songs as they recognise them. Some say we don't miss Chris, others enjoyed Chris because he played guitar and I don’t. Nobody’s said its terrible get someone else! That’s the way Earth Band are progressing now.
Andy: I missed out the bit you have been warmly accepted by even the most diehard Earth Band fan, people believe you’ve breathed new life into the old songs.
Noel: It’s different isn’t it, bring out the same guys, might not be as exciting it’s true, adds a sparkle of interest again.
Andy: Certainly did for me. For sometime now you have been locked away here recording this famous new album, the legendary new album. As vocalist you play an important part, as everybody does but people tend to notice vocals, how do you see this album working out from your point of View?
Noel: It’s going slowly, Richard has played a good part, Richard Burgess helped to level out a bit more.
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Noel: You can see conclusions, end of horizon. Now with Richard around its kinda taking pressure off Manfred a bit. He can go away and think about other things.’ Richard is there learning and understanding what Manfred likes, dislikes, how to get the job done well. Given me a bit of optimism, after singing the songs over and over again and thinking, how differently can I sing this? The thing is I would sound different, there’s always something to be gained from singing the songs over and over ‘cos the voice sounds better on another day or is better for the song but you’ve got to know when to stop to be able to have someone to say good enough, Richard says good, could be better. It’s not so easy for Manfred to do that being to close to it. Now Richard is there he can say that’s tidy, that’s good, that's fine, everything can be better. (At this, an unnamed bass guitar player starts to take the piss and is quickly disciplined returning to the fat volume, witty one liners for bass players he had been reading).
Steve: (Who is not going to give up) He doesn’t agonise as much.
Andy: So is it taking shape, have you a feel for what its going to be like.
Noel: No not really don't hear the tracks all the time, once we’ve worked on one kinda move onto another, so we loose the run of tracks, some are finished.
Steve: But I bet they’ll be changed.
Noel: Once he’s got the album in front of him and he knows how many tracks to go on it, he can say right 10 tracks on this, now he can start to juggle them around.
Steve: I think the day before it's out it’ll change.
Noel: Once songs are put side by side we can look at the continuity, because at the moment we are looking at tracks very separately. Once tracks are in some sort of running order, and then we listen to them again and think shit that needs to sound different.
(Helpful bass player): There’s about 30 mixes of each track! Noel Yeah, there’s loads and loads of mixes.
Noel: It’s getting closer. We are trying not to do too many gigs so we can get it finished. It's now got to the point where the band does need another album. The compilation is doing well, it’s helped us do this section of gigs, but we can’t keep on doing it. The times right now for the new stuff.
Andy: We are constantly being asked when is album coming out?
Noel: I would like to think by about Spring next year
Andy: And then a big tour?
Noel: Well it depends on the strength of the album again, as big as we can make. Definitely an introductory tour so people know we are out and about.
Hopefully up and down London and those places, people don’t really get to see the band, especially America but you can only do those sort of gigs if the album does well.
My thanks to Noel for giving up his time to talk to me and to our invited special guest demon chess ace Steve Kinch.
NOTES FROM AMERICA by GREG RUSSO
Hello again, and there have been many interesting developments since last issue. The U.S. 2-for-1 CD, consisting of the first two U.S. EMI Manfreds albums (’The Manfred Mann Album’ and ’The Five Faces of Manfred Mann’), has been delayed until Spring 1994. In addition to the tracks listed last issue, the album will now include a 28th track, ’Sticks And Stones’. I have completed and submitted the liner notes, which include interesting interview segments with Manfred. Also, the U.S. CD The Best Of Manfred Mann - The Definitive Collection has now sold over 16,000 copies and it’s still going strong. Some time this year, look for the first U.K. CD release (on the Cohesion label) of the two Manfred Mann Chapter Three albums released in 1969 and 1970, respectively. In 1986 these two albums were released on CD only in Germany and, along with the German-only MMEB CD’s ’Glorified Magnified’ and ’The Good Earth’, were deleted very quickly. Both Chapter Three albums have been digitally transferred from master tapes, so sound quality is quite good. Let’s hope Cohesion’s next releases a series of albums incorporating Manfred’s numerous non-album tracks and even some unreleased material. Now for something really wonderful - how about some information on unreleased Manfred Mann recordings on Fontana? Well, it is indeed a pleasure for me to be able to present a full account of what has been hiding in PolyGram’s vaults all these years. With the exception of ’Semi- Detached Surburban Mr. James’, and Trouble And Tea’, stereo mixes of all of the Fontana material can be produced which equate to the monos. With ’Semi- Detached..’ and ’Trouble And Tea’, backing vocals and a flute (respectively) were directly recorded onto the mono mixdown master tape, thereby making the stereo versions different. this alphabetical list of unreleased 1966-1968 tracks is most likely not complete, since unreleased tracks were recorded at almost every session. However, this should wet your appetite until the rest is discovered! Here goes:
‘Acoustic Guitar Instrumental’ - this is the full, unedited guitar solo piece (played by Klaus Voorman) that appears at the end of the ‘AS IS' LP track
”Another Kind Of Music'. Brown & Porter's (Meat Exporters) Lorry’ two takes exist of this sound alike to ‘Semi- Detached Surburban Mr. James': an instrumental version and a vocal version. lt's resemblance to ’Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James.' and the band’s dissatisfaction with the song were two reasons for its non-release.
'Budgie’ - a tremendously clever pop song with lovely sound effects and brill“ organ line by Manfred. This is clearly the best unreleased track in the vaults.
‘Each and Every Day' - yes, the title is familiar but the band re-recorded and rearranged the song shortly after the well-known version was laid down. The released version is still the keeper, though.
'Eastern Street’ - another brilliant pop song (who wrote these songs anyway?). Apparently, the band had many strong tracks to choose from, and some had to go by the wayside.
'El Footle’ - an enjoyable jazz shuffle put together quickly by Manfred and Mike Hugg. Notice the in-joke in the title: Manfred’s liner notes on the ’Chance’ album mention Emily Footle, and this name must have had some meaning for the band.
‘Golden Flower’ - an unusual, psychedelically-tinged song with a rare Mike Hugg vocal.
'Hanky Panky’ - a jazz instrumental cover of the Tommy James and The Shondells hit. Manfred’s solo is amazing, and the band’s playing is superb.
'Harry The One-Man Band’ - incredible as it may seem, the band were playing around with this ’Mighty Garvey!’ song as far back as late 1966. An alternate version of the song contained some of the familiar version, but parts of it were re-done and re- edited over the next year and a half.
'I Love You’ - Mike D’Abo leads the band on this very catchy pop song. With so many good songs like this, it’s a wonder why they didn’t release more records.
'I Think It’s Going To Rain Today’ besides ‘So Long, Dad’ Manfred Mann also did this Randy Newman song. Despite being done well, there was no place to make this song fit within any of their albums.
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'I Want To Be Wanted’ - here’s something we haven’t heard: a Klaus Voorman vocal track with the group. This Motown- inspired number is another high quality song that should have been released also.
'Keep On Running’ - a jazz instrumental version of the Spencer Davis Group hit, performed with the same enthusiasm as the songs on the ’Instrumental Assassination’ EP.
'Last Train To Clarksville' - the Monkees hit redressed as a jazz instrumental, and it works!
'Lovebird’ - a moody, D’Abo number that’s very effective. The guy’s were certainly trying to get away from the ”pop" label that they were saddled with.
'Mellow Yellow’ - the Donovan smash is now another great jazz instrumental. What’s next, ’Sunshine Superman’? (keep reading and you’ll find out)
'Miss J.D.’ - Manfred and Mike Hugg were coming up with so many jazz instrumentals, such as this one, that there simply wasn’t any place to put them! Another enjoyable change of pace.
'Mohair Sam’ - the band covered this song popularised by Charlie Rich, and even got Klaus Voorman to fully back up D’Abo on vocals!
'Morning After The Party’ - unlike the version we know and love, this version really sound like it was recorded during the morning after the party! It’s very humorous, but he common version is the real winner here.
'Rainbow Eyes’ - another Mike Hugg vocal. Even though it takes a while to catch on, this one should have been released.
'Seasons In The Sun" - the Terry Jacks hit seemed like an unlikely candidate for Manfred Mann to record, but the band tastefully pull it off. At over 4 minutes, it was too long for a single, but it should have made and LP originally.
'She Once Was My Love’ - unfortunately, Mike D'Abo’s vocal was not well done and was soon abandoned. This is one of those unfortunate songs on which no matter what you try to do to cover up its mistakes, it really cannot be presented as it was intended.
‘Sitting Alone In The Sunshine’ - Mike D’Abo’s light vocal breezes right through this nice pop song, and it is another fine Fontana recording.
'Sleepy Hollow’ - there were two other recorded versions of this B-side: a demo version and an alternate take. The demo version is only D’Abo and McGuiness on guitar, while the alternate take is slower than the released version. They're both interesting.
‘Sunshine Superman’ - it wasn’t that much of a surprise, was it? Yes, Donovan’s song is reinvented as an instrumental jazz vehicle, and it really runs well.
'Up The Junction - Version 5' - this is easily the best and most amazing version of the five recorded versions of this song. With McGuiness’ wah-wah guitar effects (a la Eric Clapton’s work in Cream), and excellent arrangement, this is the version that should have appeared as a single.
There are other songs that have pieces that are not on the released versions, such as ‘Ha! Ha! Said the Clown’ and ‘The Mighty Quinn’. By hearing the full versions, one can hear why editing was a necessity: the songs simply do not have the same effect. Another great thing to catch is Manfred singing along with every jazz piano solo, a practise (or joke!) started on EMI tracks like ‘Sack O’Woe'.
Those who have been lucky enough to hear these songs have been literally blown away by the sheer quality of this unreleased material. lt is not known how these tracks will enter into the picture, but something from this list will surely be released on a Fontana compilation in the near future. You can count on it!
Well done Greg, it’s all news to me let us hope we can get to hear some of these soon. As a matter of interest, I have a Tom McGuiness song (I think), performed by Manfred Mann circa 1968 on the Simon Dee Show, called ’Budgie Won’t Be Singing Anymore’ (dreadful audio recording), almost as grim a recording of a jazz instrumental featuring Mike Hugg on
vibes called ’Golden Flower’, from a BBC 2 pioneer pop show ‘Colour Me Pop'. Whilst lastly I was offered an acetate of 'Brown and Porters' last year which l was unable to secure. I also suspect you are right Greg when you hint there’s more yet to be discovered plus of course all those radio sessions. On a lighter note, it’s nice to see at last we have got a previously unissued track ‘Sticks and Stones' before you guy’s. Keep up the good work. (Ed)
INTERVIEW WITH MICK ROGERS - PART 2
By Andy Taylor
Mick: Then I went back to Australia formed another band - always seemed to take my frustration out on the Australians a band called Eclipse, managed by Glen Weedle, John Farnham's manager and that was great, again started to happen, another phone call from Lillian Bron. Lillian and Jerry managed Uriah Heap and Heap were loosing their singer and they wanted me to join. I came, worked with Ken Hensley for a couple of weeks, wrote a few songs then Ken I’m not sure I want to get back together again, did a couple of sessions with Manfred and then I formed Aviator with Clive Bunker, John Perrin another three piece, I loved that, just ran out of money.
Andy: Was it actually a three piece?
Mick: Originally Jack Lancaster on horns but Jack was in a different area than we were, we wanted more of a rock band.
Andy: Aviator made two albums
Mick: I loved that band live again - you talk about not capturing it on record, on a couple of things but that band sounded enormous live. Turbulence came close our second album but that band
Andy: Never saw Aviator live unfortunately.
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Mick: Even Phil Collins came along and said he liked the band. It was good started to build up and I ran out of money and then to cut a long story I met up with Manfred - although we never lost contact l have done something on most albums and Earth Band were going through another change. We did '86 tour and now this is it now.
Andy: Was there something pulling you back all the time?
Mick: I think because Manfred and I are very close in our interest, and because I know him so well from the early days as well when he says he needs something I can lock into it even now we help one another so that association carries on.
Andy: What is it like coming back after such a long break what change, what was different?
Mick: What changed was that I was no longer the singer, I was working along side of Chris, which was great. Manfred has employed the two singer system so although Noel is the main singer I do my things, two totally different voices but when we sing together it comes together, I do a couple of songs and Noel does the majority, it works as a two singer thing, not forgetting Noel is out front, it comes across as two front men and not just one and I think that the '86 tour that I did with Chris that was more evident to Manfred although, before me Steve Waller used to sing.
Andy: He was the original Demolition Man of course?
Mick: Yeah, and of course me being the singer before I slotted straight back in. I enjoy this combination it’s great.
Andy: I happen to know that you are quite a mean song writer, we have got a little bit of that on Masque - ‘Rivers Run Dry’ how do you go about your own writing where do you get the ideas from what is your inspiration?
Mick: It could be anything - in fact I am being produced at this moment by a guy called Di De Derk a German producer who’s probably the guy I have wanted to work with for years, he used to produce a band called ’The Scorpians’ and we are in the process now of finishing off three tracks. He has got his own studio complex near Cologne and on days off on this tour I am going to finish off these tracks. He’s meanwhile out there searching for the deal for us and we have big interest coming from a German company and this is the main thing on my mind - Manfred Mann’s Earth Band will carry on but you can do two things.
The solo thing is very important to me.
Andy: I have been fortunate enough to hear some of your songs a lot of people would like to hear them, so do you think we’ll get to hear them now?
Mick: Oh yes absolutely, I have got my own 16 track at home and I’ll work on that big influences on me are Peter Gabriel, anything to do with Genesis, favourite is Beck, in fact I am very fortunate to have Becks guitar Tech working on this tour with me, great for me. I’ve loads of records of Choirs at home and I am influenced by almost anything.
Andy: You are a bit of a workaholic, I was trying to pick out bands you’ve worked in.... couldn’t remember them all you were with Greenslade for a while, Dave Kelly of course, even doing pub gigs when you’ve no other excuse to pick up guitar and play.
Mick: Yeah it's great. On a Sunday it give me the freedom to be in a band where I can play a bit of Rock and Roll, a bit of Blues, a bit ofJazz, Folk that type of stuff.
Andy: Are you still doing that or have you given it a rest?
Mick: Given it a rest for about 2-3 months, as soon as I’ve finished with Manfred recording and touring, I am hoping the thing with Dita will be far enough down the line to then be in an album situation. The pub band Willy Finlayson will still play at a little pub in Brentwood and it is great. Matt Urwin plays keyboards, and does vocals.
Andy: On the other extreme of course last year and this year you finished a major tour with Joan Armatrading, how did you find that in comparison to say with Earth Band?
Mick: Very different - she’s great to work with, I mean I have got such great admiration for her, she knows what she wants - totally self contained, the way she writes everything, and you couldn't help but admire her. I had heard such terrible stories about working with her, all very much unfounded because I found her a joy, we got on great, in fact she's doing a tour next year because she has just begun signing a major deal with BMG and there has been enquiries to do that next year, I don’t know whether I would, sounds terrible to say but I hope I won’t because I’ll be too busy.
Andy: Not because you wouldn’t enjoy it, but you hope to have other things to do. I was fortunate enough to see that and it was a good band - don’t you agree?
Mick: Yeah - there was no pressure. I took six months out, and I thought I am going to do this for six months where I can forget about writing and get out and play with something completely different and it was very relaxed and everyone in the band felt like that - so yeah it was good.
Andy: Are you going to record with Joan?
Mick: I’d like to if I’m asked and available.
Andy: Right, going back to Earth Band, there is this new album that we all know about. The mythical new album. We discussed that you've probably played on every album, how do you feel about this one so far?
Mick: I feel once we find the single, I think all the rest will fall into place. I think with the Earth Band every album it’s been the single that has come first. I think with Manfred when we have found that 3 or 4 minutes of magic I think we can settle down and finish the album. Manfred is working with Richard Burgess so things won’t stop now, once we have found that then we can relax. It makes perfect sense to get out on the road as soon as possible, we are doing about 20 gigs, big gigs and its all on the strength of the compilation in Europe. Going back to the new album, some of the tracks, because after we had done a three week tour through Europe we then went into one room and recorded some songs as we did them live, and they didn’t transfer very well and so we then needed to do it separately, but I think every will be ok in the end. It'll come out sounding live ‘cause that’s what we want.
Andy: You haven't written anything for the album?
Mick: I can’t see me ever writing a single for Earth Band. For people reading this magazine it’s Earth Band that are important but this solo thing for me is really important. Although, even if I had a solo career there is no reason to give up Earth Band.
Andy: Fans will be delighted to see your solo career take off.
Mick: Noel is supporting a solo career project and we come together as a band and forget solo projects and we are Earth Band. If I had a single away it would be great for Earth Band.
Andy: Well thanks for giving us the time Mick, and I know all the Earth Band fans wish you well both with Earth Band and your solo project. Thanks very much.
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OTHER NEW RELEASES
Reviewed by – Martin Wilson
‘THE BEST OF MANFRED MANN 1964-1966’ price £6.99
Twenty tracks and nearly 56 minutes of music is good value for money. With eight tracks not released on CD. in the U.K. before, at least not as far as l know, makes it even more interesting.
Hoochie Coochie Man
Don't Ask Me What I Say
Hi Lili Hi Lo
Stormy Monday Blues
The Abominable Snowman
Since I Don't Have You
Three of these tracks are from ‘Five Faces Of Manfred Mann’, and the other five from Mann Made'. All these tracks are mono as are ‘5-4-3-2-1’, ‘ShaLaLa’ and ’Hubble Bubble'. The other nine are stereo and they are:-
Do Wah Diddy Diddy
If You Gotta Go, Go Now
Oh No Not My Baby
Got My Mojo Working Pretty Flamingo You Gave Me Somebody To Love I'm Your Kingpin
It’s Gonna Work Out Fine
As it is a good mixture of hits and Manfred’s R ’n’ B and Jazz numbers, it is very good to listen to. It works well as an album instead of the usual hits album. Well done Music For Pleasure, EMI.
One thing though, how many more collection albums of this time are we going to get? At the moment there are six available. ‘The Collection Series’, ’E.P. Collection’, ‘Single Plus', ’The Ages Of Mann’, ‘Best Of EMI Years’ and now this one. We are still waiting for the 1966-69 period to be plundered. I hope we don’t have to wait too long.
In Issue 2 of Platform End, Blinded By The Light', The Very Best Of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was reviewed- On a recent trip to London I found a double CD. of the album. ‘The Very Best Of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band Vol. I 8: 2, Limited Edition'. It comes in a slim double CD. case, with black cover and Manfred Mann's Earth Band in silver. As this was an: import it was quite expensive at £25-99. There are no sleeve notes just track listings and the times.
Blinded By The Light (Ex. version)
The Mighty Quinn Father Of Day, Father of
Somewhere in Africa
Lies (Through The 80’s)
You Angel You
Don’t Kill It Carol
Spirits In The Night
Third World Service
Blinded By The Light (Ex. version)
The Mighty Quinn Father Of Day, Father of
Somewhere in Africa
Lies (Through The 80’s)
You Angel You
Don’t Kill It Carol
Spirits In The Night
Third World Service
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Platform End #5 - Summer/ Autumn 1994
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Producing a magazine such as Platform end has proved to be far more difficult than Carol and I ever imagined. Finding good material to go in, putting it altogether, designing the mags appearance and layout negotiating a reasonable price, proof reading, waiting on promised news or information from various sources and above all holding down a full time career and getting anywhere close to deadlines. So are we giving up - no chance, all we ask is for your support your articles and pictures, your money and a lot of patience and understanding (not much at all)! So at last we present with some relief No. 5 a sought of Noel McCaIIa special not to mention some interesting news on his predecessors recent activities.
Turning the clock right back to the first days of Earth Band in Australia and even further back to the pictures Mick offered us money to loose (but not enough)!
Thanks to the many contributors and keep up the good work. We were going to publish a few of the great letters we have had but despite all
my moaning and groaning we are desperate for space. Hope you all enjoy No. 5 and that we have managed to reduce the spelling mistakes.
If you have had five copies and you are one of the few who have forgotten we need your money, please another £10.00 Sterling payable to The Manfred Mann Fan Club. Costs are high and we are determined not only to keep up the quality but improve it. Also we are looking into a unique Platform End/Manfred Mann Sweat Shirt or T-Shirt, more news on this when we have it.
Lastly on club matters, Carol and I would like to thank John ‘The Oracle’ Arkle, Auntie Jean and Graeme ’The Beaver’ Yates (Our Treasurer), for all their help and support, Thanks.
It’s a fascinating thought that in a small way we are reaching out to friends across Europe, America, Australia, Scandinavia and the Far East - our Best Wishes to you all. Andy.
ARCADE GREATEST HITS T.V. ADVERTISED ALBUM DUE OUT IN U.K.
Fixed for release in the U.K. on 22nd August, 1994 is yet another variation on Arcade’s highly successful MMEB compilation already a big hit all over Europe. I understand the track listing will be ever so slightly different but as we go to print we are still waiting full details and a sample copy of the album and T.V. advert.
Hopefully we have arranged for all members to receive some information direct from Arcade on the album and of course we will bring you up to date in the next issue. Let’s hope the album is as big a success in the U.K. as it has been elsewhere. I understand THE new album is progressing well now with about eight tracks all but finished. As yet there is sadly no firm release date but we are hopeful that we may have a lot more information in the next issue. As at going to print, there are no gigs planned. As way of compensation we enclose details of some of Noel’s solo gigs as well as a review. Some how I missed out on the Alan Parsons tour (l didn’t know he did). If anybody out there knows of any ex-band members playing or recording please drop us a line.
THE BLUES BAND
A few days before going to print, Roy Bainton’s new book on the Blues Band dropped through our letter box. Roy is as dedicated to running the Blues Band Fan Club as we are to this one and is without doubt the greatest authority on that subject outside of the band. I expected a wonderful if slightly homemade volume, I was right about the wonderful but it is also a very professional
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and a very well presented volume covering almost anybody ever involved in the Blues Band. It is informative and enjoyable to read - nice to dip into. It covers in depth the two ex-Manfred’s Jones and McGuiness and Manfred himself crops up here and there.
There is one photo of the first major HMV line up after Dave Richmond had been replaced by Tom McGuiness, that makes the book worth a few times its value alone. No big deal you may say, pictures of that line up are not particularly rare, well ones taken in the 1970’s are very rare indeed. The Blues Band are a very good band steeped in history and this worthy tome is well written and painstakingly researched and put together. A must for everybody's collection, highly recommended, ”Talk To Me Baby” by Roy Bainton, published by Firebird Books Limited, P.O. Box 327, Poole, Dorset. BH15 ZRG - Price in UK. £8.99. If you live in Australia try Capricorn Link (Australia) Pty. Ltd., P.O. Box 6651, Baulkham Hills Business Centre, NSW 2153.
ALL ABOUT MR. MCCALLA
Following on from Andy’s interview with Noel in ‘End’ 3 & 4, some members have requested additional information on his musical career outside Earth Band. The following is not intended to be exhaustive, but gives an insight into some of the releases which, although long deleted, can still be picked up at Record Fairs.
Noel’ left school and joined the previously instrumental band Moon who released two albums on Epic, ’Too Close For Comfort’ (EPC 81456 1976) and ‘Turning The Tides’ (EPC 82084 1977). The latter was produced by Barry Blue and featured a fold out lyric inner with Noel appearing to be dying a painful death or about to eat his microphone.
Two singles were released from each album, namely ‘Lone Ranger’ and
‘Daydreaming' and ’Name Of The Game’ and ’All Night’ respectively. The ‘b' sides were also taken from the albums. Unfortunately the band received little air play, but did gig heavily in pubs and clubs and supported many bands including Thin Lizzy, Joan Armatrading and Linda Lewis.
Moon’s style is hard to categorize and this may partly explain their lack of commercial success. They were a very tight unit however, and many tracks such as the tittle track from their debut album do bear repeated listening.
Noel was retained by Epic following Moon’s split and in 1979 released ‘Night Time Emotion’ (EPC 83838) featuring a very young looking Noel on the cover. The album featured former members of Moon, but most instruments were provided by Trevor Rabin who also produced. There were some Earth Band connections, with Chris Thompson contributing backing vocals along with the great vocal talents of Stevie Lange who of course fronted Night with Thompson. Rabin assisted Manfred on ’Chance’ and Noel returned the favour on Rabin’s ’Wolf’ album (Charisma, CHR 1293) in 1981 which also features someone’s distinctive keyboards.
Epic released three singles from Noel’s album ‘Where Is Love’ due to its surefire chorus being issued twice (EPC 6725 and EPC 7041), ‘Ain’t Nothin But A Home Party’ (EPC 7486) and ‘Night Life On Venus’ (EPC 7855). Again all tracks on these singles appeared on the album,
unlike a later release the ’Beggin’ EP (EPC 8731, 1980).
However, Noel had become disillusioned with the way he’d been treated and sought a release from his contract. No concerts were arranged to promote the album for instance.
The album was varied but fell somewhere between what Noel would have liked and the record company’s more commercial aspirations.
Prior to leaving Epic, Noel sang lead vocals on Mike Rutherford’s ’Small Creep’s Day (Charisma, CAS 1149, 1980). This is a polished album such as you might expect from the Genesis guitarist and is something of which Noel can be proud. Seasoned session players Simon Phillips (drums) and Morris Pert (percussion) played on the album which was promoted by the single Time And Time Again’~(CB 364).
Over The years Noel has worked with numerous band’s including Mezzoforte, Morrissey Mullen and Sniff & The Tears. Noel’s association with the latter involved both touring and recording although he never officially became a band member. the band are perhaps best remembered for their catchy ’Drivers Seat’ 45 which received heavy airplay and is worth tracking down. It is taken from the album ‘Fickle Heart’ (1978 Chiswick WIKM 9).
In 1982 Noel maintained the Moon connection in singing backing vocals on Loz Netto’s ’Bzar’ album (Polydor, 231 1187) from which ’Fadeaway’/’Show Me’ was issued in July 1983 on 7” and 12” (POSP (X) 526).
Somewhat more surprisingly, Noel appeared on a 12” single credited to Viola Mills and Noel McCalla released in Nightmare Records (Mare 7, 1986). This was very much directed at the dance floor being called ’Take One Step Forward’. Intriguingly Noel is sporting a moustache on the cover shot. The track is not a classic, although Viola Mills of course is best known for her 1980 hit ’Never Knew Love Like This Before’.
Noel has always wanted to form his own band and did so in early 1987.
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Calling themselves Contact, they gigged regularly in London and eventually issued a cassette for sale at concerts only. The band’s line up consisted of Noel, Lou Salvoni (ex- Moon drums), Paul Gillieron (sax, flutes) Kevin Powell (bass), Tony Smith (guitar), Mick Dytche (guitar) and Ian Maidman (Keyboards).
The music can be if termed “dance music" with a message’, but is highly professional, varied (anything from funk, jazz, soul and rock can be recognised), and is highly recommended. It is perhaps something some rock-orientated listeners may at first write-off, but in reality music which cannot fail to interest and broaden some people’s taste.
Having changed their name to McCalla, last year saw the release of a 14 track CD on Ethnic World Music 'Push & Pull' (EWM 4038) which is even better and features 6 new songs, and otherwise totally rerecorded versions from the contact cassette. No single was released commercially, although a limited edition 3 track CD ’Pull Together/Trouble/Full Circle (EWM 4041) was issued for promotional purposes only. The band still play live regularly and now feature Noel, Salvoni, Powell, Dytche, Alan Fealdman (Keyboards) Andy Hamilton (Saxes) and Will Algar (trumpet). They even played a session for Greater London Radio.
Manfred saw Noel playing at the Bass Clef and of course Noel contributed vocal to Plains Music. Again the versatility of his vocal chords is demonstrated. Although not originally planned, he extended his involvement to live work with Earth Band after a couple of months of rehearsals. It was difficult seeing Earth Band in 1991 without Chris Thompson, but he has now made the role of lead vocalist his, breathing new life into old songs and enjoying singing new songs such as ‘Nature Of The Beast’ (in its originally performed version of single potential - I believe) and Miss You'.
We now look forward to a successful association, a new album and plenty of gigs, and trust Noel can proceed with both his McCaIIa and Earth Band duties.
McCALLA 11TH IUNE, 1994
On a pleasant evening, the instructions were to meet in the Rose and Crown pub in Kings Langley, which to the uninitiated such as myself is just north of Watford off the M25. I travelled from Brighton not just to see stalwart ”Enders” John Arkle and Martin Wilson, but to see Noel in his non- role with his own band McCalla.
Now they’ve been gigging heavily around London and even the West Country playing various pub and club dates. The pub was packed as previous appearances at the Rose and Crown meant people knew they’d be in for a good evening. Due to the small stage, the band were minus their usual brass section, but their sound was far from lacking, they were very very tight.
All told, they played for about 2 and a quarter hours with a short break. We were treated to tracks from their Push and Pull CD plus some new numbers and various covers. ”Family Affair" set things off with a funky rhythm being laid for Noel to exercise his vocal chords. He was very confident and encourage audience participations.
”Cause & Effect", a new song from their new CD planned for September release went down well as did a very riffy ”Take Me I’m Yours”.
Cover versions to compete with anyone’s interpretation such as ”Ain’t No Sunshine”, Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle~” and ”I Second That Emotion” were very well received by an increasingly enthusiastic audience.
Noel even broke into some tasteful raps, although it was Get Ready” which was the real crowd pleasure. In fact, they weren’t able to pull the plug as things were really bubbling and everyone was calling for more.
The Landlord could hardly get on stage quickly enough to announce they’d be back on 6th August. Noel was pleased to see some Earth Band fans there and is always happy to have a chat. See you on 6th August - be there or be square!
The eagle-eyed collector may like to look out for a 12” released by Noel under the alias ”Nuf-El-Tee” called ”Lets Go Deeper”. This means very healthy and Noel certainly looked very fit - there are only shorter instrumental passages compared to Earth Band shows in which he can catch breathe. The full set list was some 26 songs long!
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July 3 Bulls Head, Barnes
7 Dover Street Wine Bar, West End, LONDON
15 Watford, The Sound House
20 Churchills, Ramsgate
23 George Cannon, Brixton
28 Millers of Mansfield, Bermondsey
29 Torrington Arms, Finchley High Street
Aug 6 Rose & Crown, Kings Langley
7 Bulls Head, Barnes
11 Dover Street Wine Bar, West End, LONDON
Sept 2 Torrington Arms, Finchley High Street
4 Bulls Head, Barnes
16 Bier Keller, Bracknell
23 Weymouth, Dorset (venue to be confirmed)
29 Dover Street Wine Bar, West End, LONDON
30 Torrington Arms, Finchley High Street
Oct 2 Bulls Head, Barnes
8 Rose & Crown
16 Turks Head, Reading
N.B. Bulls Head is first Sunday of each month throughout the year.
The Dover Street Wine Bar is non-casual dress only for further information on other dates later in the year or confirmation nearer the time, do not hesitate to contact Lou or Noel on Tel. 081-341-9911.
ALAN PARSONS LIVE PROJECT - MAY 1994
You all know what a versatile and dynamic performer Chris Thompson is, but I wonder how many of you have had the treat of watching him front the Alan Parsons Live Project. This was Parsons’ first ever tour, after 18 years of big album sales and two cameo appearances by the ace producer and his band at ”multi-artist” concerts. ”Real” gigs by ”the band that never was”, an intriguing and mouth-watering prospect! Of the dozens of musicians who played on all the albums, who would appear on stage? There cannot be another recording act that has chopped and changed lead vocalists with the impunity usually applied to changing a guitar string. For economic reasons, a nine-date tour would have to be handled with no more than two singers. Parsons recruited Gary Howard (from the, erm, Flying Pickets) for the softer songs; the vocal chord-shredders would be tackled by Chris Thompson. The eight-piece band was completed by long-time collaborators Ian Bairnson, Richard Cottle, Stuart Elliott and Andrew Powell, and new boy Jeremy Meek.
Alan Parsons first worked with Chris Thompson on his 1993 album TRY ANYTHING ONCE,
the first LP under the Parsons banner in six years. The “Project” suffix was dropped following he split with songwriter Eric Woolfson: most tracks on the new album were written by Ian Bairnson. Thompson sung two of these, the marauding Turn It Up and Back Against The Wall. Bairnson is no slouch with the pen, but these songs are not his best ever and so I did not get hooked on Chris’ voice until I listened to my Earth Band LP’s properly! Why wasn't the man who wrote a gem like Blue Water asked to write for Try Anything Once? Alan treats the main vocal more like an instrument;
it is always the last part to be added to a track. 50, it is safe to assume that the album was virtually finished before the vocalists were chosen. I hope the day is not far off when Thompson writes AND signs with Parsons producing.
I managed to catch the last three gigs, at Rotterdam Ahoy Complex on Sunday 15th, Essen Grugahalle on 16th and Antwerp Queen Elizabeth Hall on 17th. If you’re reading this Chris, you may remember someone who accosted you in Antwerp! I had just found some LP’S including Night and Radio Voices in a nearby second-hand shop, and was talking to a roadie by the stage door when your taxi pulled up. Chris, look what I’ve just bought” etc. Thanks again for sparing time to chat and sign my records.
Perhaps I should get on with writing about the concerts! Parsons followed Pink Floyd’s example of ”no support act, two parts, a visual and aural spectacular”.
Having waiting a long time and travelled a long way for these events, I find it hard to criticise shows which entertained me so much. As the cliche goes, ”you should have been there!”
Eye In The Sky (GH)
I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You (CT)
Turn It Up (CT)
The Eagle Will Rise Again (GH)
Oh Life (There Must Be More) (GH)
I'm Talkin' To You (CT)
A Dream Within A Dream (1987)
The Raven (1987) (AP, GH, CT)
Prime Time (GH)
Back Against The Wall (CT)
Old and Wise (GH)
You're Gonna Get Your Fingers Burnt (CT)
Wine From The Water (GH)
Standing On Higher Ground (CT)
Don't Answer Me (inc. musician intro's) (GH, CT)
In The Real World (CT)
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The sound effects reached a peak as the lights were dimmed and the curtains pulled back over the intro to Sirius/Eye In The Sky. Fancy opening the show with the biggest single hit! Gary Howard took lead vocal here: he did a great job on all his songs, but he lacks the power to captivate and the presence that Thompson has.
Chris sang the funky I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You before the cool instrumental segue Lucifer/ Mammagamma. The Turn It Up and the classic Limelight, with lighting cutely arranged to match the chorus. Following work with Keith Reid and writing credit on Procol Harum's last LP, Thompson was now doing a song made for Gary Brooker! Chris stuck faithfully to the original Limelight - until the last note which he held long enough to make even For You sound short of breath.
Thompson left the stage while Howard sang the sparse, gorgeous The Eagle Will Rise Again, then returned to do the anthemic choruses of Oh Life (There Must Be More). After the instrumental Breakaway, Chris rounded out Part One with l’m Talkin’ To You and Psychobabble two songs made to be sung while strutting back and forth and sneering at the crowd.
The curtains were drawn for a 20 minute brake, before the fun started again with the menacing sound of Orson Welles’ narrated intro to A Dream Within A Dream/The Raven. Accompanied by some
stunning visual effects, everyone starred here including Thompson who blasted out the coda. Then Prime Time: formerly a good pop song, on this tour a rock’n’roll epic! Dreamscape calmed the
crowd, Back Against The Wall did the opposite. Old and Wise is the Project’s ”big ballad” which makes certain concert-goers hold cigarette lighters aloft.
The frantic You’re Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned was the most surprising choice of the set. Another classic ballad, Time featured Chris on rhythm guitar - good economic sense to employ singers who can also play!
(Thompson played percussion at other times Wine From The Water and Standing On Higher Ground made slight ill-fitting set closers.
The band encored with Don’t Answer Me: Gary and Chris sang a duet down one mic, before Parsons gave everyone and eloquent introduction. Thompson sang the final encore, the AOR stomper In The Real World.
There could well have been another tour by the time you read this - no doubt Chris will be in the lineup again. Anyone who enjoys his work on Manfred albums or his solo stuff should make a
holiday out of watching Chris Thompson from The Alan Parsons Live Project!
THE LIVE ALBUM DEBATE
I have watched and listened with interest to the dialogue about the issue of a alive album by the Earth Band - and of course, I mean live, not the ”this bit is live, and that bit there is, oh yes and that bit there almost was”, that we were given with ”Budapest". Not that ”Budapest” was unpleasant or of poor quality, but for those who saw the concerts of the ”Somewhere In Afrika” tour the album must have been close to offensive, the songs so unlike the stage versions they had enjoyed at the shows.
Living in Australia I was spared that frustration and disappointment until 1990. I have never had the privilege of seeing Manfred play live, but I had often wondered in my younger days about the band’s concerts, which songs they played, did Chris sing songs from the first band etc., questions that many of you would never have thought of simply because you have had the opportunity to see the band live.
Thus, Budapest” was an album I really enjoyed until I received some live tapes from a collector in England in 1990. Among them was a tape from the 1983 tour, quality very average, but of immense interest to me since I heard the songs as they HAD been played, not as we were conned into believing they had been played.
I can understand the difficulties of getting the sound you warm when recording such events. I have friends in band’s who express the same sentiments. I therefore, have no trouble with the use of some overdubs to improve the quality of what has been recorded through the desk if it is really necessary, but I do object to the wholesale editing, cutting and pasting that makes the finished product entirely different to the tape one started outwith. One might ask ”Why bother?”.
Most successful bands, at some point or other in their careers, release a live album. Some perhaps go overboard releasing a number of them (i.e. The Who). Do these other artists find it that hard to come up with the goods? Do the albums have to be perfect for the fans to enjoy them? My answer would be ”NO”! One only has to go as far as U2’s ”Under A Blood Red Sky" to find that live albums do not have to be perfect. Listen to The Edge mess up a note in his guitar solo on ”Party Girl”, an error the band could have covered up, but why cover it? Mistakes happen, people forget lyrics (don’t they Manfred?), miss intros and so what! The audience still gets into the show. If the music is good and the band is playing with energy, the positive vibes will come through on tape.
If you don’t think it’s true have a listen to the late Harry Chaplin’s live album, Greatest Stories Live”. The track ”Circle" is nothing special musically, but listen to the way he and his band build the mood so that at the song’s conclusion you can almost feel the audience jumping out of their seats. The applause is no overdub those people were hyped, and so was I when I first heard it.
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From all reports a live Earth Band album is feasible. The music is good. The band is playing with energy and enthusiasm. Attendances have been good with most people seeming pretty happy with the show. The ingredients are there. Now, somehow, we have to persuade the cook!!!
Come on Manfred - give it a go!!!
RECOLLECTIONS FROM AUSTRALIA
In early 1971, I read of a forthcoming tour by Deep Purple, Free and Manfred Mann Chapter Three. Wow, Aged 19 and having missed the 1965 Manfred Mann tour of Australis as my parents felt that I was too young at 13 to be travelling alone to see the concert, although I saw the group performing 4-5 songs on television which was great, but after 7 years as a Mann fan I was not going to miss this time around.
There was a definite uncertainty I concerning the l line up of Chapter Three. They would not be a 10 piece, possibly 4 piece, perhaps with Mike Hugg and rumours of ex Procession singer and guitarist Mick Rogers being included. This was a possibility as Mick had explained, when Procession split, that he would return to England where he ”may do something with Manfred Mann". Some weeks later the large Chapter Three unit had been reduced to 4 with Manfred and Mick the only confirmed members.
Tickets were purchased for the May (from memory) concert and a group of friends headed for Festival Hall in West Melbourne. It was well known for boding and wrestling matches but was the only venue for most visiting acts and seated about 6000 people.
Australian progressive group Spectrum opened the show. Their singer and guitarist Mike Rudd penned ”I'll Be Gone” and ”Launching Place”, a big hit here and later recorded by the Earth Band.
Spectrum started at 8.00 pm. and this show would eventually finish at 1.30 am. They were quite popular at the time and well received, however I found their songs and Rudd’s vocals a little tedious.
Free hit the stage next and played a very entertaining set. Considering we only knew ”All Right Now”, the crowd were pleased with their stage presence, particularly Paul Rodgers. Our only criticism was that their playing was sometimes a bit loose. Above the stage Manfred and someone in a denim outfit and cowboy hat watched Free’s performance. Was it Mike Hugg? We were still unaware of the Chapter Three line up. The denim clad musician turned out to be Roger Glover from Deep Purple.
Whilst roadies set up for the next act, Manfred walked on and tested his new mini Moog synthesiser. Woorooroohh (my best description) it went and the crowd really took notice. What was this spacey sound. I don't think the world had heard this mini Moog yet. A little more testing, calling on Billy McArtney, sound man and brother of one of my schoolmates, then Mick, Chris Slade and Colin Pattenden were on.
A very tight and wonderful sound emanated from the foursome. this was definitely a vastly different group to Chapter Three and I felt that Manfred had reached Chapter Four in his career. Tracks I remember include ”Virginia" which was given a typically Earth Band style revamp and a highlight of the show, ”Dealer" from As Is" was far heavier and longer than it’s 1966 showing and ”Captain Bobby Stout” a new song which was given a thorough workout and sounded great.
Halfway through the set Manfred shed his yellow jacket revealing just a black T-shirt and black trousers. My mind flashed to his sixties outfits, the beard was not longer pencil thin, hair a bit longer, but there he was, mobile as ever, new sound, new group and great. Mick mentioned that it was their third live gig.
I was witnessing Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s birth, though still billed as Chapter Three. Their set lasted around 50 minutes, I don’t remember all of the songs played, maybe Jump Sturdy” and the encore that is entrenched with the fans, the virtually rewritten ”Mighty Quinn”. They left the stage to loud applause, the audience were satisfied and amazed.
Deep Purple who were huge in Australia at the time, commenced a marathon set which was technically brilliant but very indulgent. Every song went for at least 20 minutes, a solid half hour drum and the crowd wishing the other members to return.
They did return to perform more marathon songs. People were becoming restless and started leaving near 1.00 a.m. Deep Purple were good but they punished us with their extended workouts. At 1.30 a.m. it was all over and as we filed out of Festival Hall people were consistently claiming that solo which left Ian Paice the only member on stage Manfred Mann were fantastic and the best act on the night. ”Better than Purple”, a Deep Purple fan told me. Over the PA system cam the unexpected news that on Sunday, which was only two nights away, Deep Purple and Manfred Mann Chapter Three would return to play and then jam together. ”Come Along”.
We returned early on Sunday evening to ensure obtaining good seats as they were issued on a first come first served basis. Word had spread quickly and a fairly large crowd were already there. I was pleased to hear repeatedly over the loudspeakers outside the Hall ”Manfred Mann Chapter Three and Deep Purple tonight". They had top billing and deserved it.
Top billing had its price, would we have to sit through a Deep Purple marathon first. No, they reduced their songs to album length.
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Platform End #6 - Spring 1995
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Believe it or not we first began No. 6 in December, 1994 rather later than planned. By mid January we had most of No. 6 ready for the printers, all I needed was some news on the album and we were ready to go to press. 50 I make the call and the next thing I’m booked on a day trip down to the smoke’ to check on progress first hand. No.6 went on hold just for a couple of weeks, then my trip was put back a couple of weeks so more delay. As the day of my visit approached there was talk of further delay and out of the blue came the news Chris Thompson was playing somewhere in the City. Well the excuses are a bit more imaginative than usual pressures of work, sickness in the family and so on, although we’ve had those as well.
I’m reasonably confident that you will have found the delays worthwhile. We have managed to squeeze in some of No. 6 ’as was’, in particular a piece I wrote inspired by the recent Beatles release. There was lots of mention of Christmas in No. 6 ‘as was’, it now seems a very long time ago. 1995 however promises to be a very exciting year. The new album is taking shape and sounding good and should be out in September (and this time I think it will happen). There will be more news l can’t give you yet, but hope to be in a position to do so next time. 1995 should be a vintage year for Earth Band fans and the clear message I brought back from the studio is that there are many more to come.
My thanks to all who have helped get No. 6 to you. Please keep sending your letters, articles and ideas, we are desperate for good pictures.
Andy Taylor February, 1995
As reported last month Chris Thompson has been working with Alan Parson's and a live album has recently been released in Europe and I’m told is due out in the UK. soon. Chris was planning to record a couple of studio tracks for a planned U.S. release later in the year. There is also talk of more Alan Parsons live shows this year. I hope to bring more news of what Chris has been up to next time.
Noel McCalla has a new album out around May, the follow up to ’Push Pull’. I haven't had the chance to go to a live gig yet and from what I have been told I am missing out. I hope to get this situation corrected in 1995.
BACK TO THE MEDIA
Did anybody manage to catch the major T.V. promotion for the Earth Band compilation. Sadly I blinked and missed it. Fortunately in my highly privileged position as editor of this occasional work of art, I was sent a copy of both the long and short adverts and I have to say they are quite impressive, what a pity they were not shown more. I can only speak for the Granada region of course. The graphics used based around well known album covers ’Messin/Roaring Silence’ and so on could have produced a much nicer packaging for the album. Still you cannot have everything and for a band getting almost no other promotion other than for the usual knockers who crawl out of whatever slimepit they live in, every time anything Earth Band is released it was at one point riding reasonably high in the HMV charts.
Satellite TV launched the grown ups version of MTV a short while ago and by enlarge it has been a desperately disappointing experience. Like MTV they seem to have a list of favourite artists and
videos and play them over and over again. So whilst the German channels like N3 churn out good rock concerts,
lots of jazz, R&B and old Beat Clubs gallore, MTV and its tn in. contrive to churn out endless predictable Pop videos, catering only for the most popular in vogue bands. 50 okay we get some edited Whistle Tests and there have been a few interesting Rockumentary's, Eric Burden (who once stood in for Paul Jones), The Yardbirds, who were supposed to record ’The One In The Middle, and Deep Purple to mention a few, but it is all so trendy that it makes Country Music Europe look almost refreshing. Is this a sign of old age?
So the new Beatles album sold out soon after release. All the old Beeb recordings lovingly remastered by George Martin from a variety of radio shows is described as a must for all Beatles collectors. My copy joins the inevitable ’Sgt. Peppers’ and my own favourite Beatles album ’Abbey Road’ in an anything but complete collection of arguably the best most innovative group ever.
I have however been an avid collector of all things Manfred Mann since I first heard the ‘Mann Made' album (my sisters!). I haven’t had the time to do a detailed research into radio appearances, dates which programme etc., these notes are more an overview. If anyone out there spots something I have overlooked or got wrong l would love to know. I have divided this review into two basic sections, ’The 60’s band’ and ‘Post 60’s band’, i.e. mostly Earth Band,
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many of the various appearances here were captured onto tape at the time often with poor or indifferent results, but then in the 60's it was all down to an ageing second hand reel to reel tape machine and later on a Phillips Cassette Mk. 1.
I have little to offer those who love the Paul Jones spell as lead singer. I was already a Manfred Mann fan and still love the R B and Jazz mixture of that period. Sadly I had not at the time discovered the B.B.C.’s radio output and have little knowledge of the bands appearances during that time. One radio session I know to exist includes specially recorded versions of ‘Oh No Not My Baby’, ’L.S.D.’ and the otherwise unreleased ‘That’s The Way I Feel’. I was also offered a B.B.C. record for a price far beyond available funds that included some four Manfred Mann tracks including Watermelon Mann’.
However, by the time Mike D’Abo had taken over as lead singer the band were making many guest spot appearances on programs such as ’The Saturday Club’, Peter Murray and John Peel. Many of these slots took place during the period following the release of the ’As Is' album in 1968. This was in those days a long time to be starved of new songs and was one good reason why the radio slots took on such importance. When I saw the band live at a teacher’s training college in a London suburb, much of the act was taken up with old blues standards never put out on record, but thankfully preserved from the B.B.C. sessions. Most obvious of those was ’Hoochie Coochie’ of which at least three versions still exist. This had been recorded by the first band on ’The Five Faces’ album
but the D’Abo version which also opened their live set was very different. On one of Peter Murray’s late night shows we were treated to ’Hoochie Coochie’, ‘Nitty Gritty’ (there are also other versions of this), and an instrumental of the classic Summertime’. Other classics from the live show ’Fever’ and ’Hound Dog’ were also recorded for the B.B.C. plus the Lennon/McCartney song ’She’s A Woman’.
Many of the bands radio performances remained closer to their Blues/Jazz origins than the Fontana releases of that time, much of which was now pure unashamed pop music, thus giving Mann, Hugg and McGuiness the chance to do some good old fashioned solo’s and D’Abo the opportunity to exercise his vocal chords fully. The instrumental ’Bare Hugg’ from the Mann Made’ album got reworked with Klaus Voorman on bass and flute. There was the bluesy ’So Long’ with Tom McGuiness guitar in the middle and a jazz piano fade, plus a short pure jazz piece curiously entitled Orange Peel’.
However, the Beeb sessions of that A period didn’t just convince the more cynical that Mann and Co were getting further and further away from what they really wanted to do which was to play Jazz and Blues and some good old fashioned Rock and Roll, it also highlighted the song writing talents of Mike D’Abo. The only place I have ever heard Manfred Mann perform the classic D’Abo song Handbags And The Gladrags’, was on the BBC. and the similar ’A Little Misunderstood’ likewise.
Other songs from this period include ’Oh What A Day’ (I think that’s the title), and covers such as ’The Letter’ (made famous by the Boxtops) and Abraham Martin and John. On top of these, there was a few (surprisingly few), album tracks specially recorded again for radio some very much as released included ’Vicar’s Daughter’ another D’Abo song ’Each and Every Day’ a Hugg composition, Cupids Town’, by Tom McGuiness 7'2‘" and ’Sleepy Hollow’ also by Tom. Most of the hits of the time also received the radio treatment even 'Sweet Pea’, and as one would expect were for the most part played much like the record. One notable exception being an updated and absolutely lovely version of ’Just Like A Woman’, with a great organ solo towards the end.
B.B.C. television is strictly outside the scope of these ramblings. However one interesting Paul Jones song ‘Sticks And Stones’ still exists, whilst on one of a variety of appearances on the Simon Dee Show the band sang a Tom McGuiness song called ’Budgie Won’t Be Singing No More’, again never released on record, this is about the only unreleased song I have mentioned so far that I have evidence that they did record, maybe with a single release in mind. Later on the band launched the Colour Me Pop B.B.C. 2 Whistle Test forerunner, with a show that featured hits, songs from ’Mighty Garvey’ and a jazz instrumental called ‘Golden Flower’. Mike Hugg wrote a song with this title recorded by the band but never issued. On another B.B.C.2 programme ’The Julie Felix Show’, the group played a jazz instrumental Belgravia’ from the ‘Up The Junction’ album and D’Abo sang a duet of 'Handbags And The Gladrags’ with their hostess, Klaus Voorman adding some pretty flute.
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How I wish somebody could dig all this stuff out of the B.B.C. archive if it still exists. They finished that show with hostess and band bouncing through the leaving of Liverpool! Lastly in this incomplete survey of the 60’s Beeb is the vague memory of the band being disqualified from a T.V. show because the song they played had been media aired before against all the rules of the show! I haven’t a clue what the show was but the song was ’The One In The Middle’ and recovered from this ordeal to head up the remarkable hit E.P. of the same title.
KNOWN RADIO RECORDINGS 1960'S
PAUL JONES: Oh No Not My Baby
That's The Way I Feel
Watermelon Man and
TELEVISION: Sticks And Stones
introduced by Jimmy
Obviously there were many Top Of The Pops appearances, however the most notable was the end of year 1966 Christmas Show at which Paul Jones was reunited with the new band introduced by Mike D’Abo to sing Pretty Flamingo, Klaus Voorman on Flute.
MIKE D’ABO: Hoochie Coochie
She’s A Woman
Handbags And The
Oh What A Day
A Little Misunderstood
Abraham Martin And
Just Like A Woman
Each And Every Day
MANFRED MANN (CHAPTER III)
Did little radio work I am aware of. One guest spot on John Peel produced a different version of ‘Time’ and a very much the same version of ’One Way Glass’. Manfred told me at a Chapter lIl gig in Liverpool around that time that he was very unhappy with the results of that session, so maybe that's why to my knowledge they never reappeared.
Once again the radio medium was used to good effect to promote Manfred’s new band and once again it is perhaps more through the B.B.C output that the new band demonstrated it’s enormous power and potential than on early releases. ’Messin’ for example was recorded and played for the B.B.C. before it’s release as the title track of the third album. ’Father Of Day’ also graced the John Peel show sometime prior to it’s release on the fourth album Solar Fire’. The version of ’Meat’ performed on Radio 1 was much more Earth Band than the recorded version on Glorified Magnified’ opening with a nice moog solo. Other songs recorded for the B.B.C. went through a change of identity altogether before making it onto record. The 60’s song ’Dealer’ from the ’As Is’ album, rematerialized as a heavy rocker on an early John Peel (also in the bands live act), but further mutated into ‘Prayer’ for the debut album.
Another John Peel session produced a lengthy mostly instrumental number ‘Bubble Gum Kipling', known later as ’Earth The Circle’ on ‘Solar Fire’. ’Mighty Quinn', inevitably appeared early on a Radio session and then there was the famous Paris Studios in concert. If you search for long enough and have a healthy enough wallet you may still be able to pick up the B.B.C. transcript Disc of this. A lengthy album although as I recall only half an hour was broadcast at the time, the full version includes ’Mercury The Winged Messenger’, ’Buddah’, ’Father Of Day/Capt. Bobby Stout/Glorified Magnified’, ’Messin' & 'Mighty Quinn’. There is also a bootleg CD containing these tracks.
It is strange but true, that however knowledgeable you think you’ve become it is equally amazing how much you didn’t know. It is only recently fellow fans unearthed evidence of another Peel session including ’Black Betty’ (from the Mighty Garvey). Later to change again for Glorified Magnified an early version of 'Ashes In The Wind’, and the Chapter III opus ’Happy Being Me’. Fascinating examples of early Earth Band.
The Radio session also produced versions of ’Get Your Rocks Off’ and ‘Joybringer’ (much the same as the single).
After Micks departure from the band, replaced by Chris Thompson and Dave Flett, l have no knowledge of any B.B.C. sessions although of course plenty of examples from the States exists from shows like, Retro Rock and King Biscuit.
In recent times there has been little on the B.B.C. in the way of sessions. Paul Jones of course has a regular blues programme on B.B.C. radio, Manfred makes the odd appearance notable a while
ago to promote the U.K. release of ‘Plains Music’, and more unusually appeared with other 60’s band members on Radio 5 to talk about the compilation album ’Ages of Mann’. This album also produced
a rare session by the Manfreds i.e. Paul Jones, Mike D’Abo, Mike Hugg, Tom McGuiness and Mike Vickers performing semi-accoustic versions of four 60’s hits, ’Pretty Flamingo', ‘Fox On The Run’ and
’Mighty Quinn', and a particularly fine version of
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’Oh No Not My Baby’ reminding anyone who might have forgotten what a fine sax player Mick Vickers is.
The Manfred’s also appeared on a B.B.C. T.V. lunchtime show Pebble Mill this time with the help of Rob Townsend and Benny Gallagher but minus Paul Jones, performing two of the 60's hits very much closer to the original 60’s recordings. It’s only a personal thing but I prefer live music to change, however I’m sure many enjoyed the nostalgia of the moment.
The subject of Radio Sessions probably deserves a great deal more time and research but hopefully this brief overview will have been of interest. Many of the radio recordings still exist in private collections, the quality varying from very good to downright awful.“ How much the B.B.C. still have is debatable, they have long since become notorious for junking valuable and historic programmes. The corporation itself now desperate to recover old episodes of popular T.V. shows like Doctor Who. It would be nice to think that one day all involved might agree to put out an album of some of the unreleased 60's material and for me at least, even more exciting maybe a compilation of some of the Earth Band sessions.
Sadly a lot of people would have to agree before either project could be considered and then do the B.B.C. have enough quality recordings, I suspect we should count ourselves luck they didn’t destroy the Beatles tapes.
Still if it was ever possible, there is no doubt both albums would be a must for every fans collection. ANDY TAYLOR DECEMBER 1994
IN THE WORKHOUSE
No this is not and essay on how we have fallen onto bad times, nor is it anything to do with conservative government policy for the 1990's, but a report on a very happy afternoon spent within those hallowed walls of the Workhouse Studios.
Here such Earth Band classics as ’Father Of Day’, and ’Blinded By The Light’ were first put onto tape. From the outside the Workhouse Studio is probably much less imposing than many Dickensian namesakes and easily missed by the average passer by. Inside in reception the wall is filled with gold discs, not only for Manfred Mann but for the many other artists who have graced these studios over the years. These include The Christians, Ian Drury, Stereo MC's and many others. Amongst Manfred gold discs are many of the 60’s group singles and the vast majority of Earth Band albums coming right up to date with the greatest hits of M.M.E.B. Blinded By The Light’.
Today however, I was here to check progress on what will hopefully be the next gold disc. Now it must be understood before I go any further that for most musicians of any note, the studio is a
very private place. This is where all the hard work and frustration happens. The painstaking work of making a record sound good. Manfred and Ian Tompson the ’invisible’ engineer, were working on
a track called ‘Tumbling Ball' a sort of slow kind of song accused by Manfred at one point of bordering on dreary. The basic song was already together on tape to which Manfred was adding a
Piano, Mini Moog and Organ. The Piano is played first directly onto computer, Manfred explains that it
becomes easy to correct mistakes, despite this he has various attempts before being relatively happy the piano is as he wants it. The Moog is added live onto tape, there is much trial and error in this and again various takes between more experimenting. Manfred has particular difficulty in making the Moog sound right in the chorus section. Once reasonably happy the organ is wired in and the process begins again. ”Now you know why it takes so long to make an album” smiles Manfred, ”I don’t want to go on I’d like to make the deadline earlier and do some gigs in the summer, but we’ve got to get it right!”
It has taken all afternoon to complete the above, the track is still not finished and still has to be mixed. Then it may or may not have worked.
I’ve spent three months on one track, ‘Times They Are A Changing’, I tried all sorts of different ways, it’s a great song, but it just didn’t work. l went away on holiday and came back hoping I was wrong, I played a couple of seconds and knew l wasn’t”.
So will ’Tumbling Ball’ work, Manfred isn’t sure if it’s not pretty enough it could sound very dull - it'll probably end up a good album track but no more. Manfred wanted to know if I recognized the vocalist. ”Well", I said, ”I know it couldn’t be, but Yes it is”, said Manfred, ”but don’t tell anybody yet”. So I won’t.
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There is more than enough music to fill an album already, about ten songs none of them quite finished and some still a little way from finished. There are about three more songs to do yet, not to mention those less fortunate junked along the way.
I am afraid it is going to be September now”, Manfred informed me sadly. ”Is that a deadline?" l enquired hopefully. Yes” I was told, Unless it’s not quite right, after it’s taken this long another six months hardly matters”.
Ian the Invisible, played me a few more tasty snippets, songs we’ve heard on the road and some we haven’t. Songs like ’Pleasure And Pain’, and ‘Nature Of The Beast’, were first recorded live in the studio but for whatever reason they didn’t work so they to have gone through the same laborious process of ’Tumbling Ball’. Perhaps surprisingly they haven’t lost the live band quality in the process. Amongst the tracks I hadn’t heard is an 80’s Earth Band track reworked and a glorious ten minutes long, with the best studio moog solo since ‘Angel Station’. At the moment the song is going. ”I might keep the moog solo", Manfred told me. There is quite a lot of moog so far, Manfred says others have told him too much. I did my level best to insist that this was impossible.
I was I think expecting a ’Tango’ style album, but so far this album has a life and style of its own. Although if anything it has much more to do with Angel Station’ and maybe ’Chance’ than the more recent stuff. So far it has all the making of a classic Earth Band album. Noel has a great voice then there’s that other chap, what’s his name?
Meanwhile, I have upset Ian the Invisible, who is not only an excellent engineer, (and excellent engineers need to be invisible), but has a good feel for the music and what Manfred is trying to achieve. ”There is an off the wall sort of song I really like and he doesn’t, it could even be the first single”. Manfred is now very keen to get the album finished. Although now close to realising this aim he has no intention of rushing things. Then there will be a tour. Although as yet no decision has been made as to whether they use the cartoons.
Manfred is perhaps surprisingly a modest man, often putting down his own abilities although he did rather grudgingly admit, ”I got fed up with my own playing at one time, but I think I’m playing very well on this album. That’s why I’ve left most of the moog in. I was in danger of the moog sounding like a cliché, now I’m mixing it with other sounds. The solo on Lead Me To Water’, sounds like moog but it’s something else going through the moog creating marginal variations in it. I was interested in knowing more about the songs that don’t make it onto the albums and if mood swings could lead to good tracks being ditched. ”If I like something and somebody else doesn't then I’ll take notice, but I know when something hasn’t worked. Mood swings wouldn't effect that. When you take three years to make an album much of the time is spent on stuff that in the end just doesn’t work. Most of the material that survived on PIains’ was done very quickly”, he told me ”Lots of experiments got thrown out”.
Manfred obviously has some difficulty deciding what ends up on an album. In the end, I have to trust my own judgement.
It wasn't that some of the PIains’ stuff didn’t work it just wasn’t as good as what was there. There were other things that could have gone on. The new album isn’t much different in that respect”.
So what about the future. Manfred has always told me he cannot look beyond the current project. ”I don’t see anything particularly different. I see finishing this and then going on the road with it”. I then asked and beyond that? ”I would imagine another Earth Band album. I’m not interested in producing records for other people really, and I’m not interested in business. I just want to try and focus on what I do best. What I do best is being a musician. I play keyboards in a particular way, that’s what I do. That’s why I don’t play too much piano and organ on albums, because I don’t play them that differently to most other people, but I do play mini moog and Yamaha VLI differently to others”.
So how does Manfred feel about the new material two and a half years on. I think overall it does sound good, it has emotion around here and there. We’ve done songs that are sort of Love songs. I think it’s better than recent Earth Band albums”.
I heard plenty that was music to my ears during the afternoon, however one remark Manfred made must be music to all our members ears. Talking again about the future he said he just wanted to stay focussed on being a keyboard player and song finder for the band.
l'II drink to that.
My thanks to both Manfred and Ian for their time and patience and making me feel welcome and not in the way, even if I didn't quite get the nack of being invisible’.
Andy Taylor Feb. 1995
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SOS BAND WITH CHRIS THOMPSON
Most of you (U.K. members in particular), will have received a brief newsletter including mention of a series of 4 gigs at the ’Bottom Line Club’ in Shepherd’s Bush. A few of us managed to overcome the short notice to be there for the first night and if I’m honest it was not quite as expected. The evening featured the SOS Band a five piece band of musicians varying from the competent to the very good and a series of guest appearances of different singers performing some of their favourite songs.
Thompson opened the show with an energetic couple of numbers, one being the familiar ’Davy’s On The Road Again’. ’Davy’ without the moog solo is as near to musical sacrilege as you can get. However, Chris is as we all know one of the great rock singers of our time and threw himself into the song with such determined enthusiasm they just about got away with it. Sadly even Chris’ fine vocals could not rescue ’Blinded By The Light’ which frankly made me cringe. Never the less it was good to see Chris in action again not only a great singer but a great performer so glad that once the two obvious covers were done and dusted, l was looking forward to more of the Thompson magic. However, firstly we had to endure the first special guest Tony Hadley. To be fair he wasn’t that bad and the reasonable audience seemed to love him. However, I found his strutting around the stage in a red rockers coat (a little too overawed by his own brilliance) a touch irritating. Then came the bit I was looking forward too, Stevie Lange, or whatever her name is, once of the group’s Night and Filthy McNasty. The girl’s in our party were nearly put off by what they described as her dreadful dress sense, a sort of black see through number. I reckon her outfit was in danger of distracting from the main business of bending our eardrums but in the end it didn’t. I've never seen Stevie Lange before but I was in no way disappointed.
She must be the best female rock singer around with an amazing vocal range and with great stage presence to boot. She took on during her short set Tina Turners Steamy Windows’, and a marvellous cover of Janis Joplins ’Move Over’ amongst others. I expected her to be one of the highlights of the night, great expectations can often lead to great disappointment, but not this time.
The fact that the band was gradually getting louder didn’t seem to bother Stevie, but gave the next guest Fish, plenty of problems drowning out much of his vocals.
So Tony Hadley returned supported by Chris and Stevie in an enjoyable version of ’A Little Help From My Friends’.
The other true high spot of the night was the first encore sung by Chris, giving his all on the song he co-wrote for john Farnham ’You’re The Voice’. This was superb and would have been a better finish than a nevertheless spirited attempt at the old Mott The Hoople classic ’All The Young Dudes’.
All in all I found the night disappointing, I would have much preferred a Chris/Stevie show perhaps doing some of Night’s stuff as well as a few more of Chris’ own songs. The band wasn’t tight enough and at times got almost too loud. In defence of the show all those involved seemed to be there to have a ball, first and foremost, and this good feeling came across to the audience who in turn had a ball. This was also the first night at the Bottom Line Club' so later shows will no doubt get better and better. Different guests will appear each week so the show will change. So for a good fun and inexpensive night out and some good loud rocking music, the SOS Band are worth checking out. My only plea is give us more of Chris and Stevie and less of the special guests. More on the S.O.S. band next time. Andy Taylor February, 1995
Dear Andy and Carol,
Thanks very much for sending me a copy of ’Platform End’. I had no idea that Manfred was still active on the music scene.
The magazine is of good quality and an interesting read. Keep up the good work! I have been an avid Earth Band fan since the release of the album ’Watch’ in 1978. I finally got to see them at the Hammersmith Odeon on the Criminal Tango’ tour in 1986. I went along not knowing quite what to expect, fearing that they past their best after not being greatly impressed by the Budapest album. I remember sitting in the comfort of one of the seats upper level after watching an abysmal support band. I wondered, who would be in the line up? What songs would they sing? Would Chris Thompson be there? I needn't have worried, the show was superb, a real treat with both Chris Thompson and Mick Rogers on stage, coupled with some stunning visual effects and touches of humour, it was an evening to savour.
Nick Roberts Swansea
To let you know, I am 15, and am a big Earth Band fan. I have three C.D.’s and am planning to order the boxed set from Cohesion. I own 'Nightingales And Bombers', ’The Roaring Silence’ and '20 Years Of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’. Even now I can remember my dad putting on his N&B record and he and I listening to it over and over. That was a long time ago and now we put the CD on and do the same thing.
Thank you for the copy of Platform End, I will join ASAP. The Earth Band's music is sacred to me, it's what I was raised on and I plan to own every one of their CD's. Their music has a soothing effect on me sometimes, and at other times I turn it up and play air guitar.
Once again thank you for all you've done. It meant a lot to me to receive this package from you . I plan to keep in touch and hope you will keep me informed of any plans of the Earth Band , especially a U.S. tour.
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Dear Andy and Carol,
I have followed the Earth Band since 1976 and for most of the following 18 years have struggled to find out any information on them (i.e. albums, concerts etc). I was really pleased therefore to catch up (through your newsletter) on what they are doing and look forward to the release of their next album. I last saw the band in Worthing (Assembly Halls) in June 1991 when they were advertised as Manfred Mann’s Earth Band II (3). They were excellent, and I was particularly impressed with Noel McCaIIa’s vocals. (I have just ordered a copy of Push and Pull - thanks!).
I had found out that Chris Thompson had appeared on the Alan Parsons 1993 album and found the review of Alan Parsons Live, very interesting. Another well know musician using the services of CT (common knowledge I guess) was Mike Oldfield on his 1989 Earth Moving’ album. CT sang on two tracks well suited to his singing style - ’Runaway Son’ and ’See The Light'.
I have kept many cutting over the years and include a couple of the more obscure ones. I hope very much that they will be of interest. I also include photocopies (my friend had the courage to ask for the originals) of the song listing used by members of the band at the Guildford Civic Hall and Dominion Theatre Gigs back in 1983.
Having enjoyed issue 5 so much I would be interested in purchasing 1-4 if you still have any left. Thanks again for such an informative newsletter. Please keep up the good work and I look forward to receiving the next issue.
All the best
See back cover for song listings mentioned!!
I just thought I would drop you a few lines to let you know that I received a promo CD from Arcade. Thanks for that one! I got the 18 tract ’Best Of’ or rather by Brother did on Monday past, a day before it’s release date. There has to be a record somewhere in there! Northern Ireland actually had something before it was released and an Earth Band album at that. Amazing isn’t it! I came across an unreleased 7” called ’California Coastline’, no not in Belfast, what do you expect miracles, I got this from Holland. I had seen it for sale in Record Collector. Oh yeah don’t ask me what my favourite track from the CD is, Why?, I don’t know, they are all the best ones.
How’s the magazine going? It’s packed with good information. Hope to hear from you soon.
I will write again when I get something else no doubt All the best for now.
Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Dear Andy and Carol,
Firstly, apologies for not writing sooner to thank you for very kindly sending me the issues of your magazine. The information in your magazines was immensely interesting - it was great to read once again about artists that I have always held in high esteem and who, sadly, seem to have little relevance to the current music press. Thank you for keeping the flame alive. Keep up the good work.
RECOLLECTIONS FROM AUSTRALIA CONTINUED