Platform End #7 - Spring 1995
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The New Album
Lets get the bad news out of the way quickly, the new album is now scheduled for release in February, 1996. That is however, I promise you the only bad news. The album is all but finished as I write these notes. The decision to hold back release until next year is for commercial reasons although the opportunity will be taken to record one more track in the Autumn for possible inclusion. I have been given the opportunity to listen to some of the songs in their current form, and I am convinced we have the making of a classic Earth Band album.
As many of you may have guessed from hints in my last ramblings, the big news is Chris Thompson is back in the studio with opportunity will be taken to record one more track in the Autumn for possible inclusion. I have been given the opportunity to listen to some of the songs in their current form, and I am convinced we have the making of a classic Earth Band album. As many of you may have guessed from hints in my last ramblings, the big news is Chris Thompson is back in the studio with Manfred. he will sing on around half the songs on the album with Noel McCalla taking the lead on the remainder. Despite initial reservations I found this worked very well. The two different styles of vocalist compliment each other well, and my fears that it could lead to a fragmented album have proven to be totally unfounded. Instead we are treated to the raw power of Chris' voice contrasting nicely with the more soulful Mr. McCalla.
I don't promise at this stage to run through every possible song, although as I said earlier the album is all but finished,
there are bound to be a few changes and one or two of the tracks that have made it this far may yet been left off.
Having said that there is a lot of strong material to choose from. The most recent recordings l have heard open with ”Pleasure And Pain”, powerfully sung by Chris Thompson. This is very much the album version although the arrangement isn’t too far removed from the live one some of you will be familiar with. There is a great Moog guitar fade to end what is still one of the strongest tracks. ”Shelter From The Storm”, had also been in the live act and the album version again a similar arrangement is somehow stronger and more powerful. Noel sings this one as he did live of course, and the song suits his vocal style well. As a bonus there is a rare chance on this album to here Mick’s vocals. Again the instrumental guitar solo at the end is lovely and much longer
than when I last heard it. ”Nature Of The Beast”, sung by Chris is shorter and tighter and could easily be a single but then so could ”Nothing Ever Happens” with Noel once again on lead vocals.
It is difficult to compare the new material with previous albums. There are moments when the listener could easily be transported back to the days of Watch and Angel Station, however, there is also much that is new and fresh. Although I didn't dislike Criminal Tango (I love Banquet), and enjoyed much of Masque, for me the new album follows on from the later Bronze albums Watch, Angel Station, Chance, Afrika, in other words it is much more an Earth Band album.
The material is strong, two great singers and Manfred playing a variety of keyboards sounds better than ever. There is some traditional Manfred Moog, (there can never be too much for me), and I am still hoping that one particular wonderful Moog solo will find it’s way onto the album even though the song it appeared in when I heard it, had long since been junked. Having sang the praises of Manfred, Noel and Chris and of course Mick, Steve and Clive and all the other people involved in playing, mention should also be made of Mr. Invisible Engineer - Ian Tompson, who has lived and breathed the making of this album over the last three years. I've almost convinced him to write a few notes on the making of the new record when it finally escapes. That assuming he’s still coherent by then. I hope I have wetted your appetite a little as if I needed to. I could go on and on but there would be no surprises when you finally get your hands on a copy, and they’re adding real drums to one track, ”The History Of Sexual Jealousy” and Ian’s reworking another one ”Miss You" and there is that other song to do in October and then there’s that Moog solo, so it isn’t quite finished YET!
And after the NEW ALBUM the TOUR No dates, no details, hope to give more details next time.
Noel McCalla’s new album is out and I am told can be purchased from Virgin stores throughout the UK. I can also get copies direct if anybody wants me to. I do not at the time of going to press
have a copy to hand but I am told it is similar in style to the last one and to Noel’s usual high standards. I hope to have a review next time but don’t wait until then, buy it now!! I am
delighted to feature our American correspondent Greg Russo after a long gap. I am also equally delighted to announce the imminent arrival of his book ”Mannerisms: The Five Faces Of Manfred Mann,
three years of hard work and dedication in the writing. Nobody is more passionate than Greg on the subject of all things Manfred
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and this book is a must for all our collectors. We sadly have been forced to go to press whilst the book is still with the printers so I do not have a copy to hand but am looking forward to
receiving one soon. Until next time.
MY FIRST RECOLLECTION
by Barry Winton
Well Andy you have asked me for some considerable time to pen my recollections, so here goes. Although being very young in the 60’s I enjoyed most of the singles particularly ’Pretty Flamingo’, ’Semi-Detached Surburban’, and ’Fox On The Run’. The Chapter III phase was slightly vague although l remember the albums coming out, and hearing ’One Way Glass’ on a compilation album and rather liked the feel of the song particularly the bass line. My introduction to the Earth Band came rather by fated in or around June 1973. l avidly remember going to the Marquee Club in London to see a band called Writing On The Wall, because it was a freebie in those days for promotion purposes if you arrived before 8.00 pm. with a Melody Maker in hand it would secure your entrance admission, as I arrived slightly late I was asked to pay the tow, frantically I checked the gig guide and was quick to notice that the Manfred’s were playing a free gig at the Greyhound pub in Fulham it seemed a logical alternative though I had little insight into the musical transfiction I was about to experience.
The gig was billed as Manfred Mann and Earth Band, being a naïve teenager I assumed that Earth Band were the support act, and was expecting an evening of 60’s nostalgia.
I arrived shortly after 9.00 pm. the venue was crowded though I still managed to sneak down to the front, I was slightly alarmed at the rather minute amount of practice equipment in sight, a small red Hammond Organ with a set of bongo drums behind, a pair of puny amplifiers and perhaps the tiniest drum kit I had ever seen ”curious indeed”, tension was soon mounting, and there they were Manfred longer haired and beardless, Chris Slade complete with Karate outfit and matching head band, Mick and Colin looking ever much the enthusiastic rockers launched into a thunderous ’Can’t Eat Meat’ followed by ’I’m Gonna Have You All’, delivered with such passion and intensity which easily made them a match for many of their contempories, without knowing any of MMEB’S repertoire I was instantly bowled over with amazement not just with the songs but also with the dynamic interplay between the musicians the powerful and vibrant rhythm section and the constant swopping over of high notes between Mick and Manfred made them a very exciting band, as far back as I can remember, ’Look Around’, ‘Prayer’, ”Buddah’, ’Get Your Rocks Off’ and ’Glorified Magnified’ was the best piece of music I had heard since Focus’ ’Hokus Pokus’, and to my surprise the set ended
with a rousing version of ’The Mighty Quinn’ (reworked of course), I recall that the Earth Band looked delighted with the reception they had received, the crowd were still demanding more 10 minutes later, Mick Rogers announced that they would promise to return soon as they were just about to tour the States with Savoy Brown.
As I left the Greyhound that night, they had instantly become my favourite band (save for Uriah Heep), I made myself a promise that I would never miss them, 82 gigs later I eagerly await their return, my devotion for Earth Band has never waned, and yes I did go out the following day and buy the MMEB - ’Glorified Magnified’ and Messin’ albums, it would be just a had instantly become my favourite band (save for Uriah Heep), I made myself a promise that I would never miss them, 82 gigs later I eagerly await their return, my devotion for Earth Band has never waned, and yes I did go out the following day and buy the MMEB - ’Glorified Magnified’ and Messin’ albums, it would be just a matter of time for Earth Band to have their first hit with ‘Joybringer’ the rest is history. My eternal thanks goes out to you Andy and Carol for keeping the ‘Solar Fire’ burning, your endeavours by all of us fans is very much appreciated.
Life and Love First
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Manfred Mann’s Earth Band - The Picture Sleeves
By Graeme Yates
Single releases in Britain continued to lack picture sleeves long after they routinely appeared in Europe. Earth Band 7”s remained in white or company sleeves until ’Lies (Through the 80’s)’ in 1980, although ’Don't Kill It Carol’ was issued on picture disc the previous year. The second single from Chance’, ’For You’, reverted to a white sleeve, but all subsequent releases had picture sleeves. It is therefore of interest to consider picture sleeves around the world both for the differences in sleeve design between countries and also the release of tracks not featured on single in Britain. Some are more collectable than others, but many of the Dutch and German releases are relatively easy to find.
The more interesting sleeves feature group pictures and art sleeves, though some like the German ’Living Without You’, are unexciting, merely being coloured lettering on a dark background. Like many Philips releases around Europe, it features pictures of other label releases on the back. The French version however has an early group photo taken with a typical grey wall backdrop. Chris Slade has hair, Manfred a Chapter III type beard and Mick and Colin Pattenden both look very young.
‘Mrs. Henry’, was still credited to Manfred Mann (sans Earth Band), with the German issue having a strange one-eyed art sleeve. By contrast, the Dutch issue has a close-up picture of Manfred from a period when few photos exist.
Get Your Rocks Off’, has a relaxed feel to it on the Dutch sleeve with the band grouped around dustbins which seem to have been used by someone with little idea that rubbish is meant to go in the bin. The German sleeve shows a denim-clad band walking against a street backdrop by which time Colin has developed notable sideburns.
The French ’Joybringer’, is colourful with the band clearly expecting a heatwave apart from Colin who thinks the next gigs are in Siberia. The German release has a rare live shot which also adorns both sides of the Italian sleeve, albeit with different artwork.
'Father Of Day, Father Of Night’, has the same group picture on both German and Dutch sleeves, but with different artwork and the Earth Band logo makes its first appearance on the Dutch copy. ’Be Not Too Hard’, also features a group shot.
One of my favourite sleeves for its mass of colour and period costumes is the German ’Spirits In The Night’, which has a live shot taken from ’The Music Shop’. Italian and Dutch copies are different again featuring four intrepid aviators bedecked in headgear.
EARS AND SCARF
'Blinded By The Light’, was housed in the same ’ear’ sleeve in Germany and Holland, though the Portugese and Italian copies both feature Manfred and Chris Thompson with one large ear each but
different headings. The American promo has a plain sleeve with lyrics on it and the Japanese release shows the band in relaxed mood with Thompson sporting an oversized scarf. The German
Questions', has a shot taken from the same session as the Portugese and Italian ’Blinded’ sleeve, but the back begins a trend of promoting various albums. the reissued ’Spirits In The Night’ with
Thompson on vocals was housed in a space type sleeve. The Dutch ’California’ depicts a badlands type hillside and was followed by ‘Mighty Quinn’ which has the heads from the inner sleeve of
Watch’ on its front cover. There are very dark pictures of all previous albums on the back as indeed there are on the German version, the front of which shows band members with a Watch’ cloud
scene projected onto them. This was the first picture sleeve I ever stumbled across at a Record Fair. ‘Davy’s On The Road Again’, has an attractive blued ‘Watch’ cover whereas the German version
features the ubiquitous wall as backdrop. The Dutch ’You Angel You’, has a sad black angel on an unexciting sea of blue, with Germany choosing a colourful ’Angel Station’ front cover complete
with Earth Band logo (and it
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really is a good logo isn’t it?).
A ’B’ SIDE
But things hot up for ’Don't Kill It Carol’. A sepia shot shows cuddley band members on Holland’s sleeve whereas Germany was treated to two releases. The sleeves are the same except one tells you it features Blinded By The Light’ and the other has ‘You Are, I Am’ as the ’B’ side. The catalogue number is the same. Why there were two releases I don't know, although Germany also enjoyed a 12” which had the album version of Carol’ and ’You Are, I Am’ on the flipside. Answers on a postcard Lies (Through The 80’s)’ in Germany was basically the same as Britain’s first picture sleeve 7” except it has the lyrics on the reverse cover. this is of note as many of us bought ’Chance’ when it was first issued not realising we’d been diddled out of a lyric inner. I do like ’For You’ though, which lists the 36 European tour dates on the back, has Manfred in a deckchair and colour shots of all album covers.
SOMEWHERE ON 7”
It is at this point that we move into the last phase of Earth Band picture sleeves. Bronze now issued picture sleeves in Britain and differences between countries are less marked generally. For some such as ’I (Who Have Nothing), and ’Redemption Song’, there are no differences. ’Eyes Of Nostradamus’ was not issued in Germany (or elsewhere?), but ’Tribal Statistics’ saw the light of day in Germany with ’Demolition Man’ as its flip and a different back cover featuring the parent album. Furthermore, ’Tribal Statistics’ reappeared when the non-British 7” Third World Service’ was released to coincide with the ’Somewhere In Europe’ tour. This is an interesting single, with tour dates on the reverse and both tracks differing from otherwise available versions. At this time, a bootleg 33 rpm 7” emerged in France allegedly recorded in Brussels. It went under the hideous title ’Somewhere In The Land Of Wet Lips And Big Tits’. It was of limited edition (no more than 9,999, but maybe fewer). The sound quality is not all it could be, but tracks are listed as ‘Pretty Flamingo’, ’Mighty Quinn’, Eastbound Train’, ’Step By Step’, Davy’s On The Road Again’ and Grande Finale’.
This is an exaggeration, but is intriguing and scarce.
‘Runner’ varies in that Germany had a larger picture of the athletes than Britain or France. I always remember the NME slating Bronze for the lack of imagination given to the sleeve design, but as they say, any publicity is good publicity. The releases from ’Criminal Tango’ were basically the same apart from their catalogue numbers, although Who Are The Mystery Kids’ was issued as a limited edition tour single in Sweden (Crossfire was on the flip side). Geronimo’s Cadillac' from ’Masque’, benefited from a special radio mix of under 3 minutes length in Germany which merited an ’ACTUNG’ sticker. Also, unlike Britain it appeared on 12”. There are some other releases from Asia which are unusual, though their status as official releases is unclear. A colourful E.P. lists ’Father Of Day, Father Of Night Part I’, on one side with ’Part II’ and ’Solar Fire’ on the flip. The lead guitarist is some unknown called ’Mike’ Rogers! A similar E.P. has ’In The Beginning’ c/w ’Solar Fire’ and ’Pluto The Dog’. Another pairs Give Me The Good Earth’ with ’Earth Hymn’ sports the parent album cover on the front. These releases are hard to find, and although all three are on different labels, they all feature the same type-set on the reverse. This article is not meant to be exhaustive (though you may be exhausted having read it). Other variations exist out there somewhere for you to find. I do however think that they show how decision-making and marketing have changed, becoming more centralised and how casual group shots have been replaced by art sleeves and shots based around album covers. Nevertheless, it all makes for added interest and I’ve not mentioned the weird Dutch sleeve for Chapter III’s Happy Being Me’ or ’Plains Music’ releases. Of course, anybody wishing to add, subtract or chat about sleeves generally should put pen to paper and write to the fan-club address.
NOTES FROM AMERICA
by GREG RUSSO
MANNERISMS: THE FIVE PHASES OF MANFRED MANN” - AVAILABLE NOW!
Well, a few issues have passed since my last contribution to Platform End. During this time, I finished my book on Manfred entitled
”Mannerisms: The Five Phases Of Manfred Mann”. It has taken almost three years to complete the book, and it is fully authorised by Manfred himself. In fact, Manfred has contributed to the book in a large way, in terms of information and the interviews he has graciously provided over the years. Many band members have also helped out and it has resulted in the most accurate, in-depth and fully researched document of Manfred’s career. For information on obtaining a copy, please see the ad which appears in this issue.
“THE VERY BEST LIVE"
On the 27th June, the US edition of Alan Parsons’ album ”The Very Best Live” was released on the RCA Victor/BMG label. In addition to the 12 live tracks on the Arcade issue, the American version includes three new studio tracks recorded earlier this year. Take The Money And Run”, ”When" and ”You’re The Voice”. ”Take The Money And Run”, was co-written and sung by drummer Stuart Elliott with keyboardist Andrew Powell. ”When” (written by lead guitarist Ian Bairnson) and ”You’re The Voice” have the added distinction and pleasure of Chris Thompson's lead vocals. ”When" and Take The Money And Run” are customary Parsons fare, however, Thompson’s uplifting vocal talent always manages to elevate this middling material. The real highlight of the album is undoubtedly ”You’re The Voice”, which Chris wrote with Andy Qunta, Maggie Ryder and Keith Reid for Australian vocalist John Farnham's mid-’80’s album Whispering Jack”.
One may ask, why was the latter song included, even though it was a tremendous hit by John Farnham? Well, ”You’re The Voice” was tremendous everywhere except North America, where it was an inexplicable flop. Ann and Nancy Wilson of the US group Heart also experienced this frustration when they released it as an unsuccessful single from their live album ”Rock The House Live”. In the hands (and vocals) of its principal writer, ”You’re The Voice” equals, and in fact surpasses the magic of Farnham’s version. The reason for this is that a real band is backing
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Thompson, as opposed to the drum machine and keyboard arrangement which assisted Farnham’s undertaking. Even though the Alan Parsons version of the song is an excellent vocal and band performance, it faces an uphill battle on the extremely fragmented US radio airwaves. Parsons will be playing live in the US this summer, so Americans can experience the same top-notch performance that the band provided in Europe last year.
US EMl CD - ”THE MANFRED MANN ALBUM”/”THE FIVE FACES OF MANFRED MANN”
In past columns, I had discussed the imminent release of the first two US Manfred Mann albums on one CD. With record companies (and all companies nowadays), changes in staff take place quite frequently. As a result, this CD, which was originally planned for release early last year has now placed on the fall 1995 schedule. Whether it will finally appear at this time is anyone's guess, and I submitted the liner notes to EMI so long ago I forgot what I wrote! Well, not really, but it certainly feels that way. Let’s hope it makes its way into the shops soon.
THE UNOBTAINABLE EARTH BAND
Even though a vast quantity of Earth Band CD’s have been released over the past decade, the entire set leaves fans and collectors a bit short in attaining their goal of possessing every track that Manfred has released in his MMEB phase. Latter-day fans, especially those that only own CD’s have not been exposed to the entire scope of Manfred’s output, and this guide endeavours to redress the balance. Other than unreleased tracks and the bits of pieces of songs missing on the CD’s ”Messin”, ”The Good Earth”, ”The Roaring Silence" and Angel Station”, the following is a list of recordings that you're missing out on if you only have MMEB CD’s:
1) Please Mrs. Henry (UK single version) - Compared to the later stereo LP mix, this mono single version is edited and mixed differently with different guitar overdubs from Mick Rogers.
2) Please Mrs. Henry (US single version) - Also a mono edited remix, but Mick has even more guitar parts on this single than its UK counterpart. Even though it is superior to the UK single, it is 8 seconds shorter.
3) Joybringer - Believe it or not, the original UK hit single mix is not available on CD! An alternate mix from the ”1971-1973” album without guitar overdubs at its end appears on CD. The reason for this is the following : it was transferred from my copy of the above LP, as I didn’t have an extra copy of the single. Being a true collector, I didn’t want my mint condition copy of the single being potentially ruined or lost. Forgive the collector in me! Of course, UK PolyGram had the master tape all along, but there was no time to get a copy from them when it was originally required for the ”20 Years Of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band” CD. This should be rectified soon.
4) Pretty Good - This John Prine song was released on the US version of the Messin" album, retitled ”Get Your Rocks Off”. The song is exactly as the title says.
5) Father Of Day, Father Of Night (single version) - The version that appeared on a 45 long after the album’s release was an edited, remixed presentation of this Bob Dylan song. Near its end, Mick Rogers added searing guitar lines which added another dimension to the recording. On the promotional sampler ”EMI Introduce The New Bronze Age”, the single version was used. However, unlike the single, the song did not have the same kind of faded ending that the single had. 6
6) Quit Your Low Down Ways Another Bob Dylan song, this time appearing on the US version of Nightingales And Bombers”. More guitar driven than most MMEB efforts, this one packs a powerful punch.
7) Spirits In The Night (second version) - This was the follow-up to Blinded By The Light” and actually reached the Top 40 in the US. This success enabled the band’s US label, Warner Brothers, to create a second version the LP ”The Roaring Silence” with this version as an extra track. Incidentally, the US mix is 3:20 while the UK version is five seconds shorter.
8) California - Issued a few months before the ”Watch” LP, this single was another edited remix of the version which would turn up on that album. The US single however, was a straight edit of the album version.
9) Mighty Quinn (live/studio version) When this song was planned for release to commemorate the tenth anniversary of its original hit version, Manfred decided that the song needed some restructuring to really make it as a single. Since it was a live recording, some studio work was deemed necessary to accomplish this goal. As a result the live version lasted for about 10 seconds before it was edited into a studio rendition of the song.
10) You’re Not My - This single B- side is an edited version of the ”Angel Station” album track ”Adolescent Dream”, bit it goes to a full ending, unlike the fade on the original LP.
11) For You - An amazing transformation of the ”Chance” track for single release with new backing vocals and Moog solo by Manfred.
12) A Fool I Am - The non-album B- side of the ”For You” single. A strange but very enjoyable song with a lead vocal by Steve Waller. As a B-side, it was not considered strong enough for inclusion on ”Chance”.
13) ”Rennbahn Express” flexidisc This special record was included with the February 1981 issue of this German magazine. Besides including excerpts of the ”Chance” album, interview snippets with Manfred were also included.
14) I (Who Have Nothing) - The first fruit of the ”Somewhere In Afrika” sessions, this recognizable hit by Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey received a strong Earth Band treatment in 1981. This was the first of four straight single which provided non-album material.
15) Man In Jam - The keyboard- dominated instrumental flip side of ”I (Who Have Nothing)” was a brilliant illustration of the new line-up's talents. It was later used on the 12” release of Eyes Of Nostradamus”.
16) Eyes Of Nostradamus - A haunting and complete reworking of the Al Stewart epic. Again, Steve Waller’s growly vocals win big points here. The 7” was an edit of the 12” version, and neither has appeared since.
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17) Holiday’s End - The B-side of Nostradamus", this was a quirky but enjoyable song with a vocal by Manfred. While vague, the lyrics were mainly about Manfred and his family.
18) Redemption Song - A stirringly powerful take on the Bob Marley anthem. Certainly, this non-LP version takes some getting used to before it finally takes hold, but its impact remains undiminished.
19) Wardream ~ Definitely not one of Manfred’s strongest tracks, but as with its A-side (”Redemption Song”), it presents the poor state of South Africa during the early ’80’s. 20) Tribal Statistics - The rapid-fire keyboard introduction that appears on the single is not available elsewhere, and the song is slightly resequenced and remixed for 45 release. 21) Third World Service (US version) The American ”Somewhere In Afrika” album version of this song is edited and remixed. 22) Demolition Mann (US version) Same as ”Third World Service”. 23) Rebel (US LP Version) - This track appears only on the US version of Somewhere In Afrika”. 24) Rebel (US single version) - The mix of this single, which is far superior than the LP mix, utilised a different drum track and additional keyboards to create a totally different sound. The attempt was create a sound closer to the Police, but US radio stations avoided it despite the success of Runner”. 25) Brother And Sisters Of Africa (Live) - This live version appeared only on the rare cassette edition of the ill- conceived and executed ”Budapest Live” album. 26) Don’t Kill It Carol (live) - The live version of this song was also on the same cassette as above, and it appeared on the UK 12” of ”Davy’s On The Road Again” (live). 27) No Transkei (live) - This song was released on the UK ”Runner” 12”, and prior to that, it was released in a longer version on the ”Budapest Live" cassette under the title ”Where Do They Send Them”. Its correct title should have been ”To Bantustan?
28) Geronimo's Cadillac (7” edit) This was one of the numerous re-sequenced remixes that Manfred did of this song. It is much different than the album version.
29) Geronimo’s Cadillac (12” remix) Only released in Germany, this remix was yet another view of the recording. Sections of this version appear only on this record.
30) Two Friends (From Mars Saturn) - An absolutely brilliant instrumental based on themes from classical composer Gustav Holst. This was the B-side of ”Geronimo's Cadillac”. Well, that’s about it for now. More next time.
THE BEST OF THE BRITISH 60'S TOUR
VENUE: Her Majesty’s Theatre Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
DATE: 21st February, 1995
BACKGROUND: This 19 date Australian tour was announced in December 1994 and would commence in MacKay, Queensland and finish in Perth, Western Australia. The tour would include several East Coast regional towns and feature a selection of British popsters but certainly not the best of British from the sixties era. A three hour set from six acts promised variety and short sets. The most important question was how many original members would be in the line- ups.
Some further investigation revealed that:-
1. Gerry And The Pacemakers had Gerry Marsden and three non sixties Pacemakers.
2. Mike Pender’s Searchers featured guitarist and vocalist Pender plus three unknown names.
3. Hermans Hermits with original drummer Barry Whitmam and three non sixties members.
4. Brian Poole and Electrix. Poole and an unnamed line-up who were sometimes advertised as The Tremeloes.
5. The Manfred's shortened from Manfred Mann to avoid confusion with the singular Manfred and his Earth Band who have reformed and are performing. The Manfred’s featured original vocalist Paul Jones (1963- 1966) and his replacement Mike D’Abo (1966-1969) together with lead guitarist Tom McGuinness and Mike Vickers on sax and flute.
Augmented by Benny Gallagher on bass and drummer Rob Townsend who are members of The Blues Band with Jones and McGuinness. With four sixties members and successive vocalists, this line-up was looking good.
6. Billy J. Kramer. No backing group listed, presumably Electrix would provide it.
CONTROVERSY: On 20th February, a joint media release was issued by Manfred Mann, The Searchers and The Tremeloes, protesting that the promotional activity for the tour indicated that they were included. Whilst they ”have no desire to jeopardise a British Tour being presented in Australia by others”, they did not want fans ”misled by inaccurate advertising”. As the tour was already halfway completed it was in Perth that there was a reaction particularly with The Manfred’s group. Demands for ticket refunds were quelled once fans were informed that the consecutive singers were involved, however, other wanted their money back if founder and organist Manfred Mann would not be present. The fact that Peter Noone was not fronting Herman's Hermits did not appear to rate a mention.
THE CONCERT: An enthusiastic crowd milled around Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ballarat, no controversy here, the local newspaper had binned the media release and a journalist there was
unaware the British rockers were in town, but these locals were out to have a good time and hear some genuine British pop. Around 600 people (in contrast to an estimated 6000 people who would
attend Flinders Park, Melbourne three nights later) waited quietly for the show to commence in a very lovely old theatre. Billy l. Kramer who had very few hits in Australia opened confidently
backed by Electrix. He was in fine voice and competently performed ”Do You Want To Know A Secret”, ”Little Children”, Trains And Boats And Planes”, plus a few rockers
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including Neil Diamonds 'I’m A Believer”, a big hit for The Monkees. Kramer would have received a more spirited reaction had his UK hits been more recognised to us.
Brian Poole and Electrix followed, he had a minor hit in Melbourne compared with several in Sydney and a successful British career from 1963- 1965, and again the audience were unfamiliar with the hype of all these No. 1 hits in Melbourne. Poole and band played a nice rocky set including "Do You Love Me”, ”Twist And Shout” and a fine moment the beautiful ballad "Someone Someone” apparently given to a young Poole and his Tremeloes by the Crickets on a UK tour. A low point was announcing his No. 1 hit ”Silence Is Golden”, which of course was a hit by his long separated Tremeloes in 1967. The audience were enjoying the show and it didn’t seem to matter. Hermans Hermits on paper would have to be a cover act with drummer Barry Whitman the only original member. To their credit, this line-up performed admirable versions of ”No Milk Today”, My Sentimental Friend”, ”Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter”, There's A Kind Of Hush”, ”I’m Henery The Eighth I Am” and other crowd pleasing hits.
It was intermission, the audience had willingly participated in the sing along sections, the lighting tasteful reds and blues, the set changeovers a mere few minutes and Billy J. Kramer could be found in the foyer selling and autographing his latest CD.
The Manfred's opened with a charged performance of ”Ha Ha Said The Clown" with mike D’Abo on vocals and keyboards, Paul Jones and Mike Vickers on Harmonica and Flute/Sax respectively, gave the song much more punch. ”Sha La La”, ”Fox On The Run”, ”If You Gotta Go, Go Now”, followed to loud applause. Some of the songs were given a bluesy jazz feel in parts but they never strayed too far from the originals. ”Mighty Quinn” had D’Abo and Jones alternating verses.
The D’Abo penned ”Build Me Up Buttercup”, a hit for The Foundations was next and finally the encore ”Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, which included enthusiastic audience participation and I feel the highlight of the night a blistering R & B harmonica solo from Paul Jones as the song finished. The Manfred’s received a standing ovation for their fabulous set.
The Searchers had an inevitable task of following The Manfred’s however under Pender’s direction produced a set of favourites including ”Needles And Pins”, ”Sweets For My Sweet" ”Love Potion No. 9" and ”Don’t Throw Your Love Away”. Their surprise finale was an excellent cover of ELO's ”Don’t Bring Me Down”. The sound emanating from the foursome leapt into the seventies and could have been the full ELO ensemble. A nice finish and showed that Pender’s Searchers could offer much more than their sixties hits. Gerry Marsden leading his latest young Pacemakers played many hits with a cheerful banter between songs. ”I Like It”, ”I’m The One”, ”How Do You Do It”,
the poignant ”Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”, ”Ferry Cross The Mersey” were all well done with Gerry playing some nice guitar. On the finale You’ll Never Walk Alone”, I wondered if Gerry would reach the top notes, he did but only just.
The audience were then treated to an all star encore featuring all vocalists backed by Electrix performing The Beatles ”I Saw Her Standing There”. The Ballarat audience were satisfied with this recreation of the sixties. lt didn’t matter that not all the original members were present.
The artists half hour sets of mostly hits keep all entertained and it was a similar reaction in Melbourne later that week. As we left the theatre, survey sheets were being distributed, a ”which was your favourite act” in ballot paper style, and this survey was conducted throughout the tour, the winner, overwhelmingly The Manfred’s.
It’s Always like: driving to boring places somewhere in Germany, getting lost, finding the place eventually, running around the venue trying to catch a few notes of the sound check, looking for a toilet, never finding one, sitting in the car reading because it is raining the German Drizzle again, getting bored, seeing a band member ambling around being bored, eating tons of chocolate because that’s all I can digest when the MMEB-on-tour- adrenaline has hit me, hanging around the doors for hours to be sure to get into the front row a bit to the right, talking to people with weird accents, running into the venue with maximum speed to notice I am the only one who’s running (this is the 905 not the 805), drinking a beer to calm down, smoking too much, talking to more people with even weirder accents, surviving the support act, smoking more cigarettes, reading a book, getting very nervous as the show starts (what will the audience be like?), singing along, dying about ten times because of beautiful guitar and moog solos and Noel's wonderful vocal performance, suffering from a sudden manic depression because after 90 minutes it;s all over now baby blue, getting even more depressive at the sight of the merchandising stand, falling into the car, trying to find the Autobahn, getting lost, finding the way eventually , arriving at home in the very early morning, passing out out on my bed.
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Platform End # 8 - Winter 1995
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Or for this special Platform End perhaps it should be Launching Place. Platform End 8 is our first special I suppose devoted almost completely to the album The Good Earth', released some 21 years ago when it wasn't politically correct to be GREEN.
This isn't just a retrospective look at one of perhaps the less well known Earth Band albums. Its nice to see the interest 21 years later in the concept. It was a chance to get some media attention and it was great to meet up with some of our friends from around Europe. I'm sorry we couldn't have given more notice so that more of you could have made it to the Good Earth. Hopefully we'll have another excuse to get us all together next year, and I'll try and give more notice next time. Anyway, as a memento for those of us who were there and as compensation for all of you who couldn't make it, we have the full story and loads of good pictures.
No I'm sorry just for once I'm not going to mention you know what - who knows Platform End No. 9 could-be a special on that very subject!
Mick as well as coming up to the wilds of Wales with us has been recording and touring with the Hot Rods. The new Hot Rods album featuring Mick is out in January and sounds really good and loud. He is also working on some new solo stuff which I hope to report on more next time.
Cover Photo: Mick Murphy
GOOD EARTH THE BEGINNING
In 1974 Manfred Mann's Earth Band released their fourth album, The Good Earth. The front cover of the album (I've never particularly liked it), was of a square foot of land. In harmony with the musical content of the new record purchasers could register ownership of one square foot of land on a Welsh hillside. The new owner of this foot of turf could of course have access to it over everyone else's square foot, but the entire hillside would become protected for ours and future generations to enjoy. A simple but very effective idea. When it came to registering ownership the large numbers involved made the entire thing somewhat impractical. In the end
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it was decided that if you purchased the album before the end of 1975 you got your 12 inches although nobody could ever point to your actual plot. This wasn't of course the point of the exercise and in no way detracts from the good feeling you get when you visit this remote spot and realise that you have played a part if only a very tiny part in preserving one small piece of our Good Earth.
THE GOOD EARTH VISIT
First came the Phone Call from Roger Dobson at the Daily Telegraph asking me all sorts of questions about the Good Earth the concept of the square foot of land and so on.
“What's it like?” he asked.
"Well, ", I said.
"You must have been there a lot", he ventured, "I gather some fans want their ashes scattered on the hillside".
"Really", I said.
This didn't seem a good time to explain that l have already decided to have my ashes scattered in Cumbria near to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and more to the point I'm hoping not to have them scattered anywhere for a very long time.
"How many times have you been?" enquired our man from the Telegraph.
"Not that many", said I.
"Not that many!" said he.
“Well sort of, to be more accurate, never!“.
He seemed surprised asked me a few more questions and was gone only to call me back 10 minutes later.
"But you will go one day?".
"Well yes". I wasn't convinced, "Of course I will".
"How about next week then?" asked the man from the Telegraph, "and we can take your photo on YOUR square foot of land".
I tried to talk him out of it of course, pointing out that there were an awful lot of square feet of hillside in Wales. Still it was promotion for the band, and I hadn't ever been.
Monday 4th September, 1995, was the last day of the school holidays. A family day out to Wales and the Good Earth. It's further than it looks from Merseyside and it was a grey wet and miserable sort of day. Still we made pretty good time and found ourselves in a truly wild and woolly part of Wales. Had we found the last major landmark in our instructions, a cattle grid, there would have been no problem, only we didn't. Thus we spent and hour or more driving around whilst my son Tom decided every hill we saw (and we saw lots!) was ours. l was expecting him at any moment to spot our own square foot. After much exploration we came across a farm
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come small holding in a remote valley. Here I was sent to ask the way braving Ducks, Geese, Hens, Dogs and all sorts. The lady tried to be helpful but considering she had only moved in a month earlier knew nothing of my square foot of land which was a pity as we found out later it was on the hill overlooking her home and indeed the Good Earth.
Still it was a blessing in disguise as during further searching we bumped into our photographer Jed Murray from Manchester who was almost as lost as we were. However, he held the missing pieces to the puzzle in particular the whereabouts of the cattle grid and another small holding where we met Roger Thrup. He in turn kindly took us back to our hill.
Once you realise what you are looking for it is obvious. All the surrounding countryside has been turned into one enormous wood factory. Not that it isn't very pretty row upon row of fir trees but not exactly what nature had intended. I suppose I have always thought nice idea but who would want to develop a Welsh hillside. In reality all those square feet of land join together to form an unspoilt Welsh hillside surrounded by man made forests. What many of us believed to be no more than a symbolic gesture has in fact proved to be a small win for conservation born out of a time before many of us had seriously considered the environment we all take for granted.
Our friendly photographer from the Telegraph had me standing on one leg, giving peace signs and even the clouds cleared and the sun came out for us, (the heavens opened later on again though). It was all great fun and I was delighted when the article appeared in the Telegraph a few weeks later, partly because the more ludicrous photos of me had been lost in favour of a wistful shot of a slim looking chap gazing out thoughtfully into the distance (who said cameras don't lie), but mostly because there was none of the media‘s normal habit of knocking a good idea but a warm and factual account of the Good Earth 21 years on. Oddly, for about as long as it took Jed to shoot off two roles of film, the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly on The Good Earth.
ENTER THE BEEB
By Andy Taylor
On 28th October, 1995 a group of fans, Men, Women, Children and a BBC crew climbed to the top of a large hill or small mountain in Wales. True in theory some of us own I Square Foot of the land. In truth I do not believe this was why a group of people stood on a mountain in drizzle and sometimes rain, not allowing for the many other people who would like to have been there but couldn't at such short notice.
It was, and this sounds corny but I don‘t know how else to write it, a day full of laughter and fun. A very special day for all those that took part. There was a good feeling that didn't just stop with the fans but quickly infected everybody on the Good Earth that day.
Roy Heath researcher for the BBC's Country File read the Telegraph article and thought it made a nice story, so he phoned me.
Did I think it would be a good story for Country File to do.
Yes", I said.
Would I be prepared to go back to the place again and talk about the concept of the Square Foot of land.
"Why Not", I said.
Could I get one of the band to come along.
"I don‘t know", I said.
"How about Manfred!
"How about Manfred!“, I said.
A telephone call to Mick secured his agreement to come to Wales. Manfred however is a different kettle of fish, and as I was due to visit the studio a couple of days later I decided a direct approach would be better.
At the Workhouse, Manfred, Ian and Chris were working on a new song for the album. However, they had a copy of the Telegraph article to hand so that the very moment I walked into the studio they
were able to take the p...!! "Ah but“, I said, "there is a spin off, the BBC want to do something".
For a moment they almost looked impressed.
"but wait till you hear what the programme is", I added quickly. "Gardener's Question Time?", suggested Chris Thompson.
"No, but very close", I said.
“They want you to do it", ventured Manfred, "That's alright".
Well yes they do", I agreed "but they would like you as well!".
"Why don't you ask Mick“, suggested Manfred, “He'll do it".
"I have, and he is", said I, "but they would still like you as well, here in London at the studio“.
And so it was agreed.
Over the next few weeks Roy and I discussed the idea in much more detail because it was at this stage still no more than that. What we came up with sounded to good to be true. A day or two
filming in Wales followed by a day in London. Archive footage would be dug up out of the darkest storerooms of the BBC. There would be action shots of Manfred and Ian mixing the new album. Mick
visiting the Good Earth for the first time ever. Surely this would never happen.
Then Roy phoned me, to say it was on and I was given the task of getting back to him with suitable dates. This did not prove difficult and everything was set up for 28th, 29th and 3oth October, and another trip to The Good Earth.
The rest you know because with only a week to go the dates were confirmed and all members advised via a scribbled note with Platform End.
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Back to The Good Earth
(The Strangest Gig)
We had been away for a week prior to the event. Graeme 'The Beaver' Yates and Martin 'The articles in the post' Wilson, both regular contributors to this journal arrived at our home around teatime. Sadly our other good friends John 'The Oracle' Arkle and the lovely Jean Pegg were unable to join us as Jean wasn't well having gone down with a nasty dose of flu. A shame because this would have been the first gathering of the small group of people who helped get the fan club off the ground and have provided immeasurable support to Carol and I over the last few years.
Of course, Martin, Graeme and I were up until the early hours catching up on all the news so we didn't get a lot of sleep.
We didn't expect many fans to be able to come along at such short notice and our hill is not the easiest place in the world to find. So imagine my surprise when two of our German friends rang me Steven and Frank to ask if it was still on. I explained that it was but I wasn't sure if it would be worth coming all the way from Germany for. They had in fact already arrived.
A 7.30 am. start from our home on Merseyside got us to the meeting place at 10.00 o'clock where I met my new friend Roy for the first time. Mick the director and Jilly Parton our presenter. There were others there Steve Hillyard from Birmingham, Nick Roberts from Swansea, my good friend Phil Sixsmith and family from Warrington and our official photographer for the day.
As well as the Sixsmiths two children Emma and Rachel we also had the Taylor brood, Gemma, Thomas and Jennifer. Now, the Telegraph man was happy with almost the bottom of our hill,
Mick Murphy our Director was not. After a brief exploration up the forestry commissions tracks that border onto our hill we both agreed there was nothing else for it but to climb.
So we did, men, women and children. My knee came into contact with the foot of earth far sooner than I intended and a few others managed to fall up the hill and even more fall down again! By the time our party reached the top it was as if we had all been friends for ever. I think it is known as a bonding experience. The BBC crew proceeded to film us not to mention a passing horse and Jilly Parton the presenter interviewed me as well as a variety of group interviews.
Down below Mick had arrived and was already tucking into the huge picnic Carol and Sheron had brought. We were seven miles from the nearest Pub and that's probably closed on Sundays. Coming back down the slippery slopes was even more of a Bonding experience!
The crew now had Mick miming to the Good Earth by streams, on the hillside and so on. Worse was to come when
all the assembled gang were forced to act as backing singers!! Worse still we had to send down for the words.
A real cockerel kept giving forth in the background although not necessarily in the right places, whilst half a dozen large ducks came along to see what was happening.
The day ended with Mick's interview followed by a parade of cars out of the valley headlights blazing as we headed into the dusk. Other's have written their memories of a very special day, so I won't ramble on any longer.
1995 AN EARTH ODYSSEY
by Graeme Yates
This story starts in 1978 when I borrowed the Good Earth album from a friend at school who had been going on about an excellent record his sister had. Having just purchased my first single (Airport by The Motors), and mastered the complexities of my parents underused record player, I confidently borrowed the album from him expecting to have no problems in dampening my friends enthusiasm for it.
I still can remember being impressed by the patterns the tracks made on the vinyl and in my ignorance, wondering what they were and the great Bronze label itself. From the moment the cockerels cry reverberated across the speakers, I was transfixed. To this day the Good Earth remains my favourite album; it gives me a strong feeling of expectation, the nostalgia of playing it for the first time, not to mention the great keyboard guitar interchanges.
And so 17 years later, off to the Irfon Valley I trekked for a rather unlikely rendezvous with the BBC, fellow Platform Enders, and the Good Earth. It was a long way but Frank and Stephan had come all the way from Germany. Full marks to our editor for having found the place a few weeks beforehand for a Saturday Telegraph photo and article and for making arrangements with the BBC.
I couldn't believe we ended up spending about 7 hours on a hillside near nowhere except a cottage (complete with eerily appropriate cockerels).
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The BBC were great and the morning passed quickly as we huddled like children around the album's back cover confirming we were in the right place and standing on our square foot (even if we were either too young (me!) or didn't register for fear of damaging the inner sleeve.
The location was beautiful the air refreshingly clear and the Earth itself hidden beneath very. slippery grass and sheep droppings (visited by Andy's knee early on) and totally devoid of snails.
In the afternoon some bloke called Mick Rogers turned up looking very suave. After chatting happily about Earth Band activities past and present over rolls supplied in never ending quantities by Carol, he was forced to mime and guitar along to Give Me The Good Earth. He was very relaxed and the same feeling spread amongst the BBC crew and us train spotters'. Mick was grinning from ear to ear and waved to the occasional bemused passing car. The finale saw everyone 'singing' backing vocals and getting the lyrics wrong.
After a little rain the descent was even more slippery and due to his inability to stand, Steve Hillyard found love and a helping hand from the man from Auntie. We left the valley in a convoy and said our goodbyes down the road.
In the new year my friend will again have to pay the price for lending me the Good Earth by being dragged along kicking and screaming to some new gigs. They played the title track as a concert
opener on the Angel Station tour when I first saw them, and l for one would love to see its return to the live set.
WORKHOUSE TUESDAY, 30TH OCTOBER
Ian and Roy were working in the studio when I arrived, Manfred turned up shortly after and finally Mick and our friends from the Beeb. To start with they filmed Manfred's interview, then Manfred and Ian mixing 'Fire' for the new album. Ian told me earlier that Country File was his flat mates favourite TV show, although he never went to the country he owned green wellingtons specially. I wonder if the invisible engineer is invisible on camera?
The biggest job was filming Manfred and Mick miming to the final sequence of Pleasure and Pain I wish they could have filmed Mick The Director, and Manfred's impromtu comedy act. Mick The Director isn't a bad pianist although he spent the day telling a lot of very bad jokes.
To finish with the crew did some outside and reception shots with Jilly. Then it was all over. Everybody said their goodbyes and we all headed for home.
It has been a most enjoyable experience and I would like to finish by thanking everybody else involved for making it so. I wonder how the cynics who criticised the nice idea of the square foot of land feel now 21 years on. Most of them are long forgotten but the symbolic gift of a hillside to a group of Rock and Roll fans isn't. Maybe it has struck a blow for the environment, and lets face it the environment needs every bit of help it can get nowadays.
THE END RESULT
by Andy Taylor
On Sunday 15th November, 1995 the BBC's Country File broadcast the results of all our efforts. I hope most of you managed to keep an eye open for it having been tipped off in the last Platform End. All credit to Mick Murphy and his superb crew for the 'End Result’ he had managed to edit together between seven and eight minutes of superb television featuring all of us who had ventured into the depths of darkest Wales, some great comedy from Roy Heath proving just what you can do on a Square Foot of land without losing the more serious side of the story. There were interviews with Mick and myself and other Platform Enders. before the scene switched to the Workhouse Studio introduced to us by our presenter Jilly Parton before fading into Manfred and Mick playing (miming) to the end of 'Pleasure and Pain'. There was an interview with Manfred and even a trip to HMV records to talk to present day record buyers about the concept. Throughout all of this The Good Earth was featured either through the clever use of archive material from The Old Grey Whistle Test or very much more recent footage of an ever so slightly older Mick Rogers strutting his stuff on the Hillside. Incidentally, during the course of all of this I discovered that the BBC still have 'Joy Bringer', 'Our Friend George', 'Captain Bobby Stout' as well as 'The Good Earth' all from the Old Grey Whistle Test in their archives as well as the Top Of The Pops performance of Joy Bringer'. Whether we will ever get to see these is another matter. In closing I can do no more that thank Mick Murphy and the team, especially Roy who sniffed the idea out, for a great finish to a very enjoyable few weeks.
The End Result - BBC Countryfile Clip
Platform End # 9 - Summer 1996
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Andy Taylor has asked me to write an article for MMEB fans, which is something that I’ve never done before in my career, I’ve however decided to take this seriously and write at some length.
First of all may I say that I am genuinely gratified by your continued interest in M.M.E.B. and it is not something that I take for granted, or am in any sense blazé about.
What I would like to do in this letter, is to give an insight into, and explanation for what I’ve done over the last few years (since Plains Music), this may partly explain why it’s taken so long to produce the new E.B. album.
The standard way that most people make albums, is to go into the studio, record an album, and then after release go on tour, and promote the album with a concert tour.
We decided in 1991 to break this pattern, (partly accidentally because we were offered a summer tour with The Beach Boys). We would rehearse songs for the concert stage first,
and then having performed them in front of an audience, we would consider them as songs for the album. This would give us the benefit and experience of repeated performance in front of audiences, to knock out the rough spots, and to be comfortable with the arrangements etc.
Part of me, was attracted by breaking the accepted current methods of working and trying to do something new, although of course in one sense it wasn’t new at all, intact it was the way the original Manfred Mann group recorded its very first album in 1964, or at least most of that album. "Five Face of Manfred Mann"
The Earth Band that did the ’91 concerts included: two new members Noel McCaIIa (who had sung beautifully on Plains Music), and Clive Bunker, (drums).
For me, personally it was pretty nerve wracking to appear in front of an E.B. audience with a new singer. As a result we rehearsed very intensively over a fairly long period, because I wanted to
Quite sure that we could carry it off.
For those of you who saw the performances over the past few years, I hope it was obvious that I needn’t have been concerned. Noel was a wonderful singer and performer, and it only took one line of 'Shelter From The Storm', our opening song, for the audience doubts to evaporate, (or so it seemed).
In deciding how to record the album, it seemed obvious that we should play live in the studio as we had on stage. However, I think I ought to explain how I view the concept of ‘live in the studio’ because it has meant different things at different times, due to changing technology.
In the early 1960’s, there was no alternative other than playing live. ’LIVE’ meant all playing together at the same time, with vocals and perhaps SOLOS added afterwards. This was four track
recording, and it meant that if the group played out of time or badly it was awful and if good it could be wonderful, but the concept of timing meant playing well in time with each
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other, not a metronome click, so that any variations took place naturally, because we were inter- acting with each other we didn’t bother to analyse it at all. We were just concerned to ’lock into’ each others playing, as best we could. We couldn’t repair mistakes. We had to play it all again. As the 60’s & 70’s went by, we were able to use more and more tracks for recording, currently 48, which meant that we could start repairing mistakes, and eventually doing our playing one at a time. However since human beings are not metronomes, what we were doing was adding timing inaccuracy because headphones are not the same as playing in the same room at the same time. This is one of the reasons for the speed on some 50’s and 60’s recordings. There is much more l could say on this subject, for example the use of computers and how they affect our concept of timing, but, I’ll never get to the point if I do. The point being that I decided to record this album to an old fashioned, almost retro fashion. We rehearsed and played all at the same time in the same room, over a period of 7 or 8 days and did about 10 songs and then overdubbed vocals. Some of these songs had been performed in concert and been enormously successful. However to my surprise and immense disappointment, it simply didn’t work on tape. For some reason the emotion and power, simply didn’t transmit from the speakers. I really didn't know why, but I suppose its obvious really, we expect different things on tape as opposed to live performance. In making the album we went through a number of different stages, very roughly, these are:-
a). The original live recording.
b). The tracks that Richard Burgess produced.
c). Chris Thompson’s re- involvement. Each of these phases have produced some tracks I am happy with and some that have failed. Let me explain the re- involvement with Chris Thompson.
Early in ‘95 at the suggestion of our mutual accountant, (currently under Police investigation for financial irregularities, involving Chris Thompson, myself, Robert Palmer, Chris Slade and Colin Pattenden),
I tentatively decided to try Chris on 2 or 3 tracks, which I felt might benefit from his voice. Immediately certain things felt right, it was as if the traditional sound of the Earth Band was resurfacing, and as a result we’ve done a few more tracks. This wasn’t at all easy, because in some cases, I had to completely re-do tracks in different keys, in order to get the best out of Chris. One of the difficulties in working with Chris Thompson is that he always sounds very good, never ever bad, and it can be misleading, because although his sound is good, it’s not necessarily great, and the emotion doesn’t ultimately transmit as you might imagine it would.
Pleasure and Pain which is one of my favourite tracks was finished after endless work, first with Noel and then with Chris. and it was OK. l then decided to start it again in another key. because I thought perhaps Chris could do it still better. Although C# is very close to C, it made and enormous difference, suddenly lo and behold it felt wonderful and the final track was fairly quick to finish and mix. Another problem I have is being a split personality. Although I really am at all times trying to make music that stands the test of time, music that Earth Band fans are not disappointed with, and music that hopefully can stand comparison with the best that we've done before, which is not at all easy. There is another aspect, which is derived from the fact that l did once make ’Do Wah Diddy’, ’Pretty Flamingo’, Mighty Quinn’ in the 1960’s and ’Joybringer’, ’Blinded By The Light’ and ‘Davey’ in the 1970's. These were all very successful hit chart singles. I suppose there is a part of me that realises that one successful chart type single would make an enormous difference to the longevity and future success of Earth Band. As a result I do very often spend too much time on tracks that could conceivably be ’HIT records' and which very often aren’t used in the end, because they neither sound like they would succeed and on the other hand they aren’t good album tracks. Another problem I have is that less and less of Rock music moves me in the way it used to when I was younger, and as a result less of my own music touches me emotionally, and so the search goes on and on. There is also of course the sometimes quite subtle distinction between what is a classic sound and what is simply old fashioned'. Don’t let me give the impression that l
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approach the music in this way, not at all, I operate very much on instinct, it’s only when I step away from it all that I can analyse it in this manner. Nevertheless, as I write this we are virtually finished it just remains to conclude the business arrangements which may delay things a bit.
I hope that you enjoy the results and once again thanks support.
The Birth of MMEB
By 1969 Manfred Mann had become a somewhat schizophrenic group putting out pretty 3 minute pop hits such as ‘My Name Is Jack’ and ’Fox On The Run', whilst producing strangely contrasting music from straight pop through R & B to pure jazz at one and the same time. The band no longer had any strong identity or direction, and even stopped playing together live. Manfred and co,- founding member Mike Hugg had diversified into writing jingles for the likes of Hovis, Ski, Maxwell House, Michelin, Manakin Cigars and so on, as well as a brief flirtation with film scores. They had even formed a new band ’Emanon’ whilst the pop group still managed to churn out hit records. Emanon of course was to develop into Manfred Mann Chapter III, when the inevitable happened and the current Manfred Mann group split. On the surface Chapter III gave Hugg and Mann the freedom they had been denied by the commercial demands of the previous outfit. In reality it had almost as many restrictions imposed upon it during its short life. In the end became more and more simply a vehicle for Mike Hugg’s
unquestionable talent for wistful song writing, best demonstrated on his first solo album ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. Although Chapter
III did have it moments and produced two interesting albums with a third sadly never to be released, it was never going to evolve into the ideal vehicle for Manfred’s talents. Even when the band split and Manfred quickly formed his new line up, the direction of that band was not clear to anybody.
The new line-up avoided the temptation of calling themselves Chapter IV, although friends in Australia still insist that on their first visit there they were billed as Chapter Ill still.
To the record buying public Manfred Mann reformed after a two year absence with a new line-up and eyes set once again on chart success. The new Manfred Mann in contrast to the large band band format of Chapter Ill was made up of just four people. Manfred on keyboards including his newest keyboard the ‘mini moog’, Mick Rogers who had been working in bands in Australia, and had been produced by Mike Hugg in a band called Procession. Chris Slade who'd played with all sorts of people including Tom Jones and had worked on the aborted Chapter III Vol.3 and Colin Pattenden a friend of Chris Slades.
Their first single a Randy Newman song, (as had been ‘So Long Dad’) , called ’Living Without You’, received plenty of airplay but failed to impact album entitled ‘Stepping Sideways’ a title l suspect designed to ensure that followers of Chapter III didn't feel the band were Stepping Backwards, was never issued although it got as far as being listed in the record catalogues. Whilst a second Manfred Mann single ’Mrs. Henry’ hit the shops, the new band was already discovering they had
stumbled on something a little special and far from stepping sideways, Manfred had at last found the vehicle from which he could step forward. The new group by enlarge forgot about hit singles and perhaps most importantly set about their music without any rules or restrictions. Some of the early radio recordings best illustrate how the new quartet quickly evolved. The Chapter III opus ’Happy Being Me’, recorded for a John Peel show is a prime example, a high level of experimentation both from Mick and Manfred whilst Chris and Colin provided firm and powerful support as they always did. Once it became clear that the new Manfred Mann were not aiming to repeat the hit factory style of the 60's band, it became equally obvious that they needed a name that would emphasize a further change in Manfred Mann’s musical direction.
Many stories have been told as to how the name was chosen, who chose it, and where they were at the time. The music has evolved over the years with a variety of coming and goings within the band, the name however has stuck from those early days. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band has come a long way since then, and looks set to continue for a long time to come.
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND 1996
Born in England Chris grew up in New Zealand qualifying as a teacher before joining a band called Hillberry Walker. Chris returned to England in 1974 joining Earth Band in 1975. The following year the band had a world wide hit single with ‘Blinded By The Light’ along with the hit album The Roaring Silence. Chris continued recording and touring with the band until leaving in 1979 to work on his own band Night who made two albums, and had to US top twenty hits. Chris however, still found time to record three songs for the Chance Album and was to continue recording and touring with the band up to and including the Criminal Tango album and European Tour. At the same time he was busy developing his own solo career with a number of excellent solo albums on top of which he has recorded with many other artists including Elton John, Brian May, Mike Oldfield, Alan Parsons and Comic Relief’s - The Stonk. Chris also co-wrote John Farnham's huge hit ‘You’re The Voice'. Last year Chris was on the road with Alan Parsons a tour which has resulted in a live album with more gigs planned, when not busy with that he has been fronting the S.O.S. band around London and has once again been recording with Manfred and Earth Band. A detailed account of Chris Thompson’s career researched and written by Graeme Yates with an (almost!) complete discography is featured in Platform End No's 1-4.
NOEL MCCALLA - VOCALS
- *1991 To Date
On leaving school Noel joined the band Moon who were signed to Epic. Then Moon split up, Noel remained with Epic releasing the album Night Time Emotions. Trevor Rabin produced and played on the album whilst Chris Thompson provided backing vocals. Around this time Noel also sang vocals on Mike Rutherford’s Small Creep Day. Noel went on to work with many other bands including Mezzoforte, Morrisey Mullen and Sniff and The Tears. In 1987 Noel at last achieved his ambition of forming his own band Contact. Contact was a working band becoming popular on the London circuit and produced a cassette to sell at gigs well worth tracking down. In 1983 the band changed it's name to McCaIla and released a 14 track CD ‘Push And Pull’ which was received with enormous critical acclaim. Blues and Soul suggested that Noel must be one the best British Soul Singers. Noel’s first involvement with Manfred was as a vocalist on the beautiful Plains Music album. When Manfred reformed Earth Band he asked Noel to join the new band which he has done on the 91, 92 and 93 European Tours.
Noel has also been busy recording for the new Earth Band album as well as finishing the second McCalIa album which should be available by the time you read these notes. Graeme Yates wrote a more detailed account of Noel’s career in Platform End No. 5. See also interviews in PE. No’s 3 & 4. My thanks to Graeme and Noel for much of the info.
*previously recorded Plains Music.
LEAD GUITAR/ LEAD VOCALS - 1971-75 LEAD GUITAR/ LEAD VOCALS - 1983 To Date
Mick comes from a musical background. His Dad a drummer and his Uncle String Bass Player. The young Rogers was weaned on 50's Rock and Roll. First working in music was a summer season at a Holiday Camp. Later Mick joined hit Australian band Nory Rowe And The Playboys followed by Procession who were produced in the UK by Mike Hugg. Back in Australia Procession did the first live album ever recorded there at a club called Sebastians. Mick returned home to England to join Manfred’s new band, recording six albums and one major hit single ‘Joybringer’. Mick left the band after the Nightingales and Bombers album in 1975 first returning to Australia to work over there but ending up back in the UK, where he formed the band Aviator with amongst other Clive Bunker. Aviator was never a commercial success although they produced two albums and in 1983 at the end of the Somewhere In Africa European Tour he re-joined Manfred to record to new songs for the US version of Somewhere In Afrika one of these was Runner becoming a hit record in the States. Mick has never been far away from Earth Band contributing to almost every Earth Band album over the years as well as the Plain Music Album. In between his work with Manfred, Mick is a prolific songwriter, and has produced for other artists and played in various bands including Joan Armatrading’s last sell out world tour. At the time of writing Mick was doing some work with the Hotrods and talking about forming a band with Pat King whilst there is also rumours of a solo single release in Europe later in the year with an album to follow. An interview with Mick was in Platform End No.5 3 4, archive material on procession in PE No. 5.
BASS - 1985 To Date
A glass blower by trade Steve has been playing guitar since the age of 12, turning professional when about 20 years old. Steve's first taste of the big time was joining Hazel O'Connor's band in 1980 which toured the UK Europe and The States. In 1984 he joined Jim Capaldi for a US tour which in the event was never to happen. In 1985 Steve joined Earth Band during the recording of the Criminal Tango album.
He did the tour and also worked on the Masque album. In the long gap following Masque Steve toured the world with the well known 70’s band The Rubettes. Steve has however remained with Earth Band touring extensively in the 90’s as well as working on the new album.
Drums - 1996
John is 29 years old and comes from North East, joining M.M.E.B for the forthcoming 1996 Soft Vengeance Tour. He tells me he has been a fan of the band for years and loved Blinded by the Light when it was out. His own credits are numerous, Studio and live work with Jimmy Barnes, Chris Thompson, Colin Blunstone, Andy Fairweather Low, Robert Hart of Bad Company, Don Airey, Whitesnake, Richard Niles, Phillip Pope and many more. He has also done many TV. sessions including Not the 9 O’clock News, Spitting Image, KYTV, Aunties Bloomers, Clive Anderson, Noels House Party, Who's Line is it anyway and French Saunders. He moved to London 10 years ago and has lived and worked there since.
PE#9 - Pages 6-7
PE#9 - Page 8
THE NEW ALBUM
SOFT VENGEANCE - MANFRED
Pleasure and Pain
Play With Fire
Nothing Ever Happens
Shelter From The Storm
The Price I Pay
Lose The Touch
Wherever Love Drops (part one)
interval 10 seconds
The Complete History Of Sexual
Nature Of The Beast
Wherever Love Drops (part two)
SOFT VENGEANCE 1996
Manfred Mann - Keyboards
Chris Thompson - Vocals, Guitar
Noel McCalla - Vocals
Mick Rogers - Vocals, Guitar
Steve Kinch - Bass
John Trotter - Drums
Ian Tompson - Keyboard Technician
Ian has toured with M.M.E.B. since 1991 and has not missed a gig. He was also engineer (The invisible one) for the Soft Vengeance album as well as Plains Music.
Andy Roberts: Guitar Technician
Worked with M.M.E.B. since 1993 tour. Also worked with Jeff Beck and Stevie Winwood amongst others.
Lance Miles: Drum Technician
Lance has also been involved with M.M4E.B. in various roles throughout the 90's.
Tony McGrogan: Tour Manager
Just finished the Big Country Tour. Tony has been tour manager for M.M.E.B. throughout the 90's except for one short spell when Lance Miles stepped in due to Tony having other commitments.
Simon Rickman: Lights
Simon has been around M.M.E.B. a very long time joining the crew in the late 70’s.
Alan Morrison: Front of house sound (festivals)
Alan has worked with many bands most recently with Tony on the Big Country Tour.
John Halke: Front of house sound (indoor concerts)
John has been doing FOHS for MMEB for some time but was unable to do the Summer Festivals as he is present touring with Jethro Tull. He joins the M.M.E.B. tour later in the year for the indoor gigs.
Manfred Mann Fact File
The Mann/Hugg Blues Brothers
Manfred Mann, Mike Hugg (Hug), Paul Jones (Pond), Mike
Vickers. Dave Richmond bass, Ian Fenby trumpet, Tony Roberts tenor sax, Dun Fay baritone sax. Group is formed December '62. Plays debut gig March '63.
Manfred Mann the group change their name
following the signing of the band to EMl’S HMV label. The band is now Mann, Hugg, Jones, Vickers and Richmond and their, first single is a jazz instrumental with a North American Indian feel called Why Should We Not'.
Manfred Mann 1964-66
Tom McGuiness replaces Richmond on bass and the band have a string of top ten hits including ’Do Wah Diddy' which makes number 1 in the UK. and the States. Behind the hits the band stay close to their R+B and Jazz routes.
Manfred Mann 1966
Paul Jones is serving his notice (11 month) Vickers quits and McGuiness moves to Lead Guitar. Peter Burford and then David Hyde fill in on bass whilst new man Jack Bruce works months notice with John Mayall. 2 piece horn section Henry Lowther trumpet and Lyn Dobson sax are also added. Eric Burden of the Animals stand in for Paul Jones at a London gig and the band have another U.K. no.1 with Pretty Flamingo.
Manfred Mann 1966-69
Mike D’abo replaces Paul Jones and Klaus Voorman replaces Jack Bruce and the group continue to clock up
PE#9 - Page 9
regular Top Ten hits although now a long way removed from the R+B/Jazz feel of earlier records.
Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg write film music notably Up The Junction, Venus in Furs, Music for a TV. Drama ’The Gorge’ and many commercials including The Ski Full of Fitness Songs, Michelin Tyre Theme, Maxwell House Shake and the Manikin Cigar ads. Mighty Quinn is the third no 1 in the UK. and top ten in the States.
Mann Hugg formed Emanon a jazz rock band and with the pop group calling it a day Emanon becomes Chapter III. making two albums with amongst others, Bernie Living, Clive Steves saxes, Steve York bass, and Craig Collinge later replaced by Conrad Isidor on drums.
Manfred has done little outside of Earth Band since it was formed although he has guested on a number of albums such as Uriah Heep’s ’Look at Yourself’, Trevor Rabins ’Wolf’, Mike Huggs debut album, ’Jack Lancasters’ ‘Peter and the Wolf’, plus other guest appearances. He also produced an Album of Dylan songs recorded by McGuiness Flint.
Following on from the Masque Album Manfred recorded an album of North American Indian Music. The Album 'Plains Music’ credited to Manfred Mann’s Plains Music featured Barbara Thompson on Sax and introduced Noel McCalla on vocals, prior to him joining the reformed Earth Band. Plains Music is a sort of Manfred Mann unplugged (well almost), and if you have not heard it you are missing a beautiful album.
For a more detailed look at Manfred Mann's career Greg Russo has written a book ‘Mannerisims’ etc available through the fan club.
Firstly we welcome all our members across the world to Platform End No. 9, I hope you will agree that this is a very special edition celebrating the release of the new album and a major European Tour, 1996 is looking to be a good year!
We hope however, that this edition of our magazine will be able to reach out beyond our loyal and faithful membership to all you other fans out there, who maybe were not aware that there was an official Fan Club. You may have acquired this copy at a Festival or Concert somewhere in Europe and I hope it will tempt you to join our ever growing numbers.
For just £10.00 sterling per annum, we provide the quarterly Platform End and do our level best to keep everybody up to date with what's going on. In the future we hope to do other things with the Fan Club, so come and join us we are a friendly bunch and are always keen to welcome new friends.
A special thanks to Manfred who has taken time out of a very busy schedule to write a lengthy article for this edition.
Hope you enjoy this, the new album and tour and hope to bump into you at a gig. Somewhere in Europe!
Carol and Andy
Thanks to: Graeme Yates, Barry Winton, Greg Russo and John Arkle.