Fans of muscular progressive rock will love Solar Fire, a concept album loosely designed around cosmology. The album opens with the majestic "Father of Night, Father of Day," which has the drive and complexity of a prime King Crimson track. As unlikely as it may seem, the track was controversial in Mann's native South Africa because of the "Father of black, father of white" line, implying that apartheid might not extend to infinite space. The album moves on to the progressive rock/jazz fusion of "In the Beginning, Darkness," a swinging, even funky track that benefits from soulful vocals by Doreen Chanter and Irene Chanter of the Grove Singers. The same duo contributes to the title track, a slow piece that begins with a fairly standard rock structure and incorporates a massive progressive jam in the middle.
The second album by Manfred Mann's Earth Band to be released in 1972, Glorified Magnified is as solid a heavy rock album as you're likely to find from that era, and it still holds up three decades later, mostly because these guys are smarter than the music they're playing and don't mind indulging their taste as well as their dexterity. They can romp and stomp through "Meat" or "I'm Gonna Have You All," complete with a slashing guitar solo by Mick Rogers on the latter, or throw in a synthesizer interlude by Mann on "One Way Glass" that's so quietly and carefully executed as to be worthy of a classical piece – and not skip a beat doing it. Between Rogers' bold yet tasteful leads, Mann's beautifully assertive yet virtuoso synthesizer and general keyboard work, and Colin Pattenden's muscular bass playing, this is a consistently inspired group, even when their material isn't as interesting as what they do with it, which is the case here…
Plains Music is an album released in 1991 by Manfred Mann's Plain Music, which was a project initiated by Manfred Mann after he retired his Earth Band in the late 1980s. "This album is called Plains Music, as it consists mainly of the melodies of the North American Plains Indians. We do not pretend that it is in any sense representative of the original ethnic music which was its source material. I tried to make a simple album of plain music, using as few notes as possible and keeping the tracks short and to the point." ~ Manfred Mann. Mann recorded some of the album in his homeland, which he had been exiled from for nearly three decades because of his opposition to apartheid. The album was initially released in 1991 and was re-mastered digitally with three additional tracks in 1998.
The album that was Manfred Mann's commercial breakthrough was a departure from the previous albums made with the Earth Band. Though the personnel are the same and the musicianship is as mind-blowing as ever, the songs are shorter and punchier, in some cases more poppy. This is not to say that the band had sacrificed a bit of ingenuity or complexity, but the long jams are gone in favor of briefer sound portraits. Nightingales and Bombers included Manfred Mann's first cover of a Bruce Springsteen song, the album-opening "Spirits in the Night," a single that charted, and became one of the only pieces written in 10/4 time ever to do so. It would prove to be an important move in their recording career, as 1976's Roaring Silence earned them a big hit with Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light."
As on Caetano Veloso's album from the same year, Gilberto Gil does not sound happy away from his homeland. Recorded in London, the eight songs on his final self-titled album are mostly blues and introspective, downbeat pop songs. Steve Winwood's "Can't Find My Way Home" is an inspired choice, delivered with a crushing sentimentality rarely found in other versions. Gil also reprises "Volks, Volkswagen Blues" from his 1969 LP. The effect isn't quite as doom-laden as Veloso's work, but Gil is definitely homesick, as the touching "Nêga (Photograph Blues)" shows. [This CD reisssue includes three bonus tracks: a live version of "Can't Find My Way Home" along with "Up from the Skies" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."]
"‘The A&M Years’ is a 5 CD, 59 track round up of The Tubes time with A&M Records between 1975-79, which includes the self titled debut album which gave them a worldwide hit in ‘White Punks On Dope’. Each disc comes in a replica cardboard wallet of its original LP artwork. Follow ups ‘Young And Rich’, ‘Now’, and the Todd Rundgren produced ‘Remote Control’. Always a sensational live act, the in-concert album ‘What Do You Want From Live’ completes the set. Housed in a sturdy box, each disc comes in a replica cardboard wallet of its original LP artwork along with a booklet containing pictures of all the records plus in-depth liner notes by Classic Rock’s Dave Everley."
Zebrahead have announced that they will be releasing their upcoming new compilation, ‘The Bonus Brothers’.The record features eleven tracks of songs that could only be found on the Japanese releases of the band’s albums. It will be released on the 24th November.