If you know Manfred Mann at all, it is likely as part of the so-called British Invasion when British bands, starting with The Beatles, flooded America with rock and blues bands. Mann’s big hit was a song called “Doo-Wah-Diddy.” They also famously covered the Bruce Springsteen songs “Blinded by the Light,” and “Spirit In The Night.” (I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that their version of “Blinded” is far more well-known to the general public than is Bruce’s)
As the ‘6o’s progressed, the band decided to add Earth Band to its name. This also signaled a shift to more of a prog-rock sound, light years from “Doo Wah Diddy.” I’m not sure exactly who to compare their sound to. King Crimson? A little? Genesis? Maybe. Not sure. Floyd. Definitely jazzier and funkier in places than any of those.
I actually hadn’t heard or even thought about the album in a long time. When I listened to it, it was just as good, mystical and jazzy as I remembered. First song “Father of Day, Father of Night,” is a radical revisit of a Bob Dylan song, originally just called “Father of Night.” It came from an album called New Morning, an odd but good album Dylan put out to counter his disastrous Self Portrait.
If you’re a prog-rock fan and you can spare 45 minutes, check the whole album out. If not, at least go out to about 9:48 and listen to “In the Beginning, Darkness.” The guitar tradeoff is awesome. This is the kind of shit bands used to routinely put out back then:
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band is still very much around and in fact, are touring Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Sweden in May.
2 thoughts on “Featured Album – Solar Fire – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band”
Well, I learnt something today. I never knew Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was a prog rock group. I hear distinct echoes of Gentle Giant in “Earth, The Circle Part 1”. Interesting.
Yeah, thev’ve been doing prog-rock a long time, likely only to a core group of devoted followers these days. Thanks for the reminder on Gentle Giant. I remember a number they did called ‘Peel the Paint.’ Listening to it now on YouTube.
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