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Cream of The Crate: Album # 179 - Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Live Budapest


  • Cream of The Crate: Album # 179 - Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Live Budapest

    "Sound quality is impressive for a live album, particularly the vocal work which comes through clear and strong." (The News (Australia) April 1984)
    This is a crowd-pleaser with howling guitars and hot organ flushes most of the way."
    (Adelaide Advertiser April 1984)
    "This album should remain a testament to his (Manfred Mann) and the group's ability to play quality music in a live format
    (This Review)

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    This is album review number One hundred and seventy nine in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and CD albums from my collection.

    The series is called Cream of The Crate and each review represents an album that I believe represents significant musical value, either because of its rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of a music or because there is something unique about the music, the group or the particular production. The first fifty reviews were based on vinyl albums from my collection, with the following fifty on CD albums from my collection. Links to all these reviews can be found at the bottom of the page.

    Some artists from the 60's failed to transition into the '70s and even fewer made it into the 1980's. I have pulled a vinyl album from my crate featuring a man, who was successful in all three decades.

    This artist is Manfred Mann and this, a vinyl album is titled - Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Live Budapest. Released on the English Bronze label in 1983, it has the identifying code of L 38153. The album has eight tracks and are from a series of live performances when the band played to over 350,000 people at 50 shows in 10 European countries between February 8th and April 14th, 1983.

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    Manfred Mann's
    career started way back in 1962 when he met Mike Hugg and they formed the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers. This was the period of the early formation of what would later become known as the British Beat period, giving rise to such memorable bands as the Beatles, Stones, Animals, Pretty Things, Kinks and many more, including a group called Manfred Mann, which developed from the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers.

    Manfred Mann (the band) had considerable success right through the 1960's, and although never quite reaching the pinnacle of fame that the
    Stones and Beatles reached, they were indeed very popular and very successful. The group had many lineup changes but Manfred Mann (the artist) and Mike Hugg remained the consistent lynch-pins.

    In 1969 the group finally split, even while having the track Ragamuffin Man in the top 10.

    Manfred Mann Chapter Three formed out of the Manfred Mann group, but followed an experimental jazz style and only lasted about 2 years when they disbanded in 1971.

    This saw the formation of the
    Manfred Mann Earth Band. The original line-up consisted of Mick Rogers (guitar and vocals), Manfred Mann (organ, synthesizer and vocals), Colin Pattenden (bass guitar) and Chris Slade (drums and vocals). The group were probably best labeled as a progressive rock band, although with Manfred's predilection for jazz and a love for English 20th Century classical music, the group's style was in fact quite unique.

    Not long after it formed, Manfred purchased a Moog synthesiser and used it extensively on stage, and being a new instrument at the time, it also helped with the group's unique sound.

    By the 1980's Mann had become personally active in the international anti-apartheid movement and was banned from entering his home country of South Africa. Undeterred, members of the band made journeys to South Africa to record African musicians for the album Somewhere in Afrika.

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    MMEB in Budapest - Lingwood, Irving,Mann,Thompson & Waller

    By 1987 with membership changes, the band temporarily retired before being revived in the 1990's and with constant line up changes, in fact a total of 23 musicians have at one time or another been part of the band, it has continued playing through until today.

    This album, as indicated earlier, came about as result of a series of concerts in Budapest, and the recording was actually taken from the shows on April 6th and 7th 1983. At this stage the band consisted of:
    Manfred Mann - Keyboards & Synths
    John Lingwood - Drums
    Chris Thompson - Vocals & Guitar
    Steve Waller - Vocals & Guitar
    Matt Irving - Bass

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    Inner Cover - Credits

    Track Listing:

    Side 1

    1. Spirits in the night (6:04)
    2. Demolition man (4:32)
    3. For you (6:49)
    4. Davy's on the road again (4:43)

    Side 2

    1. Lies (through the 80's) (4:34)
    2. Blinded by the light (7:45)
    3. Redemption song (No Kwazulu) (3:26)
    4. Mighty Quinn (4:15)

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    Rear cover

    Side 1 kicks off with a rousing audience and the band breaks in a Bruce Springsteen number, Spirits In The Night. A powerful track it grabs attention without being an uptempo track. Featuring a Talk Box and some very nice guitar lines, it is lush with keyboards and some beautiful harmonies. In some ways it is a good track to start the album off with as it allows us to slip into the mood of the night, and is a nice track for both the head, and the ears.

    The track, as written and released by Springfield,had no "s" and was called Spirit in the Night. On this album and indeed the original album it was released on - that being the 1975 album Nightingales and Bombers; the "s" was added to the title. When in 1976 it was released as a single, the "s" was dropped. The track is not my favourite on this album, but it's still pretty damn fine.

    Spirits In The Night

    Track 2 is Demolition Man. This track was written by Sting and both The Police and Grace Jones recorded it. This is the version I prefer, by a lot! The group originally released it on their Somewhere In Afrika album, and that version is probably the best, but this version is no slouch. There is something about a well played live version that just generally gives it an edge over most studio versions, the general studio sound quality notwithstanding. The guitar work on this track is quite outstanding.

    The track is a real rocker with a wonderful uptempo beat and the vocals are excellent - in fact the quality of the recording is amazingly good. Around the 3:10 mark you would swear the band was bringing the piece to a conclusion - but oh no! That comes almost a minute later after the guitars have made some really fine statements.

    Tied to the tracks
    And the trains just coming
    Strapped to the wing
    With the engine running
    You say that this wasn't in your plan
    Don't mess around with the Demolition Man

    I am a walking nightmare
    An arsenal of doom
    I kill conversation as I walk to the room
    I'm a three line whip
    I'm the sort of thing they ban
    I'm a walking disaster boy.

    Tied to a chair
    And the bomb is ticking
    This situation was not of your picking
    You say that this wasn't in your plan
    Don't mess around with the demolition man


    Demolition Man

    ​The final two tracks on this side are For You, and Davy's On The Road Again. For You is another Springsteen number and appeared on the Roaring Silence album. Kicking off with a piano solo it breaks into a quite a power track with some almost heavy metal power chords. A nice enough track, but it's another track that is not a favorite of mine. Davy's On The Road is a Robbie Robertson composition, and when it first starts you can almost imagine the Band playing it, but very quickly the Earth Band put their own mark on this uptempo piece.

    Side 2 kicks of with a brilliant performance of the track Lies (through the 80's), which first appeared on their 1980 album - Chance. This live performance is a great example of the group producing a live version of their studio track that is every part as good, if not better, than that studio version. A very nice rocky piece it tells of the rising concerns that in the 80's technology and how the rising pace of change was leaving many behind. It tells of feelings of lost hope and despair, and cleverly refers back to Joni Mitchell's 1970 track - Big Yellow Taxi, when they use the line, "Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot"

    It is very ironical that here we are over three decades later, still feeling the same thing. If you aren't familiar with this track you must take a listen, and if you are familiar, then enjoy it once more.

    We're all gonna live out the Hollywood dream
    Everything's gonna be just what it seems
    Gonna find a better way to run our cars
    All through the Eighties
    'Cause the race is on, we're gonna land on Mars
    All through the Eighties
    The Video Screen will open up the door
    All through the Eighties
    Information - there'll be more and more
    All through the Eighties
    Will the man on the street finally know the score

    But I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
    Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
    I've lost my hope there isn't anywhere to play
    (Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot)

    The play's been written we'll all be in the cast
    All through the Eighties
    And our feet are gonna point away from the past
    All through the Eighties
    Will supersonic travel be our ticket to ride
    We'll have cruise missiles, they think as they fly

    But I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
    Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
    I've lost my hope there isn't anywhere to play
    (Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot)

    Time will go and the years fly by
    All through the Eighties
    And we'll have another slice of American Pie
    All through the Eighties
    Credit card living, push button cash
    All through the Eighties
    We'll pay our money and we'll take our trash
    All through the Eighties
    And another generation will "Talk about their Generation"

    But I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
    Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
    I've lost my hope there isn't anywhere to play
    (Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot)
    I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
    Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
    I saw a kid with no smile on his face today

    Lies (Through the 80's)

    To be perfectly honest all three remaining tracks are absolutely great performance tracks, it's really hard deciding one over the other. I really can't go past track 2 - Blinded By the Night. Another Springsteen composition, this live version kicks of with a "cosmic" crash before the familiar piano refrain kicks in, and we are off and running.

    Originally released on the 1976 Roaring Silence album, it was released as a single and reached the number 6 position. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this live version is easily the best version. The quality of the playing and the quality of the recording is absolutely second to none. In my mind it is the "feature' track of the album and should remain a perennial favourite.

    It also contains one of the most "misheard" lyrics of all times with many people wondering why they sung about being "revved up like a douche"! Well, the lyrics actually are -
    Blinded by the light
    Revved up like a deuce
    Another runner in the night

    Now a "Deuce" is a 1932 hot rod, typically Ford, although others have been modified as well. They are built for racing or as show cars. The Beach Boys had a hit about "A Little Deuce Coupe", and if you look up the term in Google images, you will find numerous cars which clearly reiterate the idea of a hot rod engine revving in the night. The rest of the song details the protagonists various run-ins with people in the night.

    Blinded By The Night

    Track 3 is a wonderful rendition of a much covered Bob Marley track, Redemption Song.

    The final track is a rearranged version of an early Manfred Mann hit - The Mighty Quinn. The track has had a mighty ingestion of steroids - as it is powered up. I actually like that original version, but Manfred would be paying appropriate dues to his earlier work in the Manfred Mann band of the 60's, and the audience would be demanding to hear some of the earlier hits - and this is the one they chose, and did so with great power and emotion.

    Manfred Mann is a survivor, that is for certain, In a career that has spanned 44 years he has entertained and grown and continually developed. The Earth Band was indeed a very good incarnation of Manfred's musical groups, and this album should remain a testament to his and the group's, ability to play quality music in a live format.

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    The album Budapest, is a beauty. The playing, production and engineering associated with it is of the highest quality. it would be remiss not to acknowledge the work of Pete "Manuel" Carson as the Recording engineer, Alan Bradshaw as the sound engineer and the production work of John Lingwood and Chris Thompson.

    An album highly recommended for any collection it is available in vinyl for those vinyl collectors it has been re released in 2012 on vinyl and will cost around $45.00. There are copies of the original pressing for around $25.00. If you are not a vinyl collector, then the CD version released in 2011 with three bonus tracks might
    be the way to go, and it retails for around $22.00 with free postage. All forms are available on Ebay.

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    VIDEOS - There are a good selection of videos from these performances on Youtube. I have selected ones for the tracks not discussed.

    For You

    Davy's On The Road Again

    Redemption Song

    Mighty Quinn

    If you are interested in checking out the first fifty vinyl albums reviewed, just click here

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    If you are interested in checking out the first fifty (50) CD's reviewed by me, just click here

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    If you are interested in checking out reviews 101 to 150 (Vinyl & CD) as reviewed by me, just click here

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    Past album Reviews - Numbers 151 onward:

    Number 151 - The Shaggs: Philosophy Of The World

    Number 152 - The Animals: The Animals

    Number 153 - Omar Khorshid: Live in Australia 1981

    Number 154 - Alan Parsons Project: Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Edgar Allan Poe)

    Number 155 - Billy Thorpe: Tangier

    Number 156 - Aretha Franklin: The Best Of

    Number 157 - Big Bill Broonzy: Big Bill Blues [His 23 Greatest Songs]

    Number 158 - The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go

    Number 159 - The Band: Stage Fright

    Number 160 - Ray Brown & The Whispers: Hits and More 1965 - 1968

    Number 161 - Guitar Junior: The Crawl

    Number 162 - Jimi Hendrix: Radio One

    Number 163 - Memphis Minnie: Queen Of The Blues

    Number 164 - Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)

    Number 165 - The Loved Ones: Magic Box

    Number 166 - Various Artists: On The Road Again [An Anthology Of Chicago Blues 1947 - 1954]

    Number 167 - Janis Joplin: Greatest Hits

    Number 168 - David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust

    Number 169 - Red Hot Chili Peppers: Californication

    Number 170 - Chain: Two Of A Kind

    Number 171 - Bob Marley and The Wailers - Legend

    Number 172 - Coco Taylor: What It takes

    Number 173 - Stevie Wonder: Original Musiquarium

    Number 174 - Various Artists: The Unissued 1963 Blues Festival

    Number 175 - Noeleen Batley: Little Treasure

    Number 176 - B.B. King: The Best Of

    Number 177 - Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac (The White Album)

    Number 178 - Memphis Slim: I Feel So Good
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