Today on Blogcritics
Home » Man: The Best Band You’ve Never Heard In Your Life

Man: The Best Band You’ve Never Heard In Your Life

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

The Welsh band, Man, is certainly one of the best bands you’ve never heard in your life.  Much like their Welsh peer band, Budgie, Man has managed to have a loyal cult following since the ‘70’s, but just never was able to break through to major radio hit success like their fellow Welsh band, Badfinger.  But then again, if you’re familiar with the fate of Badfinger (suicides of 2 of their primary members), MAN is probably not envious.  In fact, Man was a band that seemed to embrace the underground spirit of their music.

Radio hits or not, they certainly can hold their heads high, as they’ve left behind some of the most interesting rock music of the 70s… and that’s saying a lot!  Although mostly remembered as a progressive rock band, Man did progressive in a way that was completely original from most other progressive bands, blending together the best elements of psychedlia, blues, vocal harmony, and West-coast style jam-driven rock and roll.  Very much in line with such opinion-polarizing counter-culture bands The Grateful Dead and even Phish, Man were praised for their live shows, which were never the same twice.  But Man’s jamming was less loose and laid-back than the Dead and a bit more gritty, thereby actually sharing more an affinity with Phish, especially in their use of the occasional silly lyric…“I like to eat bananas, because they got no bones… I like marijuana, ‘cause it gets me stoned” (from their live show staple, "Bananas").

But comparisons with those bands are more in the way that fans felt about their live shows.  And I would be remiss to make any further comparisons, especially without mentioning the influence of the heavily touring, dual-lead guitar West-coast band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, one of the most well-respected live acts of the late 60s.  Not only that, Quicksilver guitarist John Cipollina even joined Man in 1975 and can be heard on Man’s 1975 live album Maximum Darkness, but they never recorded a studio album with “Chippo”.  But just a year later in 1976, after 8 years of intense gigging, we would see the end of the golden era of Man as they called it quits, as if they could foreshadow the future musical landscape turning to punk and disco… a landscape that probably would not have been a friendly one for such a tried and true progressive rock band.  Remember, this is the era that chewed up and spit out Yes, the most popular prog rock band of all time.  And by this time, the band had weathered many personnel changes and the instable membership of one of two primary singer/guitarists, Deke Leonard.

So where to start with such a band that has been completely off your radar all your life?  Well, MVD Entertainment has a unique Man retrospective, Sixty Minutes With Man, that will definitely give you an excellent introduction to the band.  One of the coolest things about this compilation is that the majority of the songs are vinyl-sourced!  And they sound amazing!  It’s like they’re meant to be heard that way.  And if you thought you could never sit through a 15-minute song, try resisting the live cut, “Bananas”.  Packed with favorites like “C’mon” (also live), “Romain”, and “Many Are Called But Few Get Up”, the only downside with this compilation is that it’s not long enough.  So if it leaves you wanting more, then you can start checking out their original releases from the late 60s and early 70s.

Then when you become a true Man fan, you’ll be chomping at the bit to see Man, Live at The Roundhouse, which documents Man’s farewell show in 1976.  It’s sort of a Last Waltz meets This Is Spinal Tap.  There’s plenty of juicy live footage which reveals just how much fun these guys had onstage.  And there are interviews with the band, the manager, and even the roadies.  It’s certainly not High-Def in any way, but it is a nice intimate look at the bands final 70's run in the raw form that it was originally shot in.

So, if you’re ready to become a Man fan, take a look and listen below to “Angel Easy” on YouTube, and start checking out one of the Best Bands You’ve Never Heard In Your Life.

Powered by

About NewmRadio

  • http://ggould.blogspot.com Geoff Gould

    actually out here in SF, the album they did with Cipollina got a decent amount of airplay on KSAN, especially the covers of the old Quicksilver songs, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and “Codine.” Classic picture of Cipollina’s customized SG on the cover.

  • franklyn

    Angel Easy ROCKS!

  • Rupert

    Great write up Mike.

  • http://newmradio.wordpress.com/ NewmRadio

    Thanks Rupert!

  • Mike Thompson

    Really object to the assumed one-upmanship of ‘I’m the only person who has heard/understands this record/band’. For you information I bought their first LP on the day it was released, and have everything they have ever done. Their efforts also charted in the UK, so they weren’t that obscure. I also have a Bystanders single. I agree with the general tenor of the review though. They really are one of the best under-rated bands from the last 40+ years (with a similar background to Nektar in having to find fame away from their country of origin). At their best they were innovative, and fine musicians especially performing live when they became an awesome musical monster with almost telepathic understanding (comparable to Grateful Dead). At their worst, they were proficient rock musicians. The real tie-in with Budgie is nothing to do witrh Wales, but the fact that they had some really wierdly named tracks. The only thing I have trouble with is that despite being brilliant with Man (when he was with them) Deke Leonard’s solo albums were truly awful.
    Although it is invidious to select a single track, for anyone who wants to hear some great rock music then I would recommend Bananas from the Rare Man CD.

  • RON

    I BEEN A FAN OF MAN FOR A VERY LONG TIME THE FIRST ALBUM I GOT WAS 2OZ OF PLASTIC WITH A HOLE IN THE MIDDLE FROM THAT ALBUM THAY ARE AND STILL THE BEST BAND IN THE WORLD
    BUT MAN WILL MISS MICKY JONES DIED ALL I CAN SAY THANK YOU MICKY FOR ALL YOUR MUSIC
    DON’T TAKE MY WORD GO OUT OR DOWNLOAD AND ALBUM YOU MAY LIKE THEM ONE OF MY BEST TRACK I LIKE IS SPUNK BOX FROM THE 2OZ