Work as "of a wild, methaphysical and inexplicable kind". Lord George Gordon Byron
18 hits including Mighty Quinn, Ha Ha the Clown, the Vicar's Daughter, I Wanna Be Rich and more. This is the definitive compilation covering the Mike D'Abo era. This compilation is book-ended by two Bob Dylan songs (Mighty Quinn, Just like a woman), both of which were among the seven top ten UK hits that Manfred Mann clocked up with Mike D'Abo as lead singer between 1966 and 1969 following the departure of the original lead singer, Paul Jones.
The visionary tribal-ambient trio of Byron Metcalf, Steve Roach & Rob Thomas opens a portal into an expanded state of being. Monuments of Ecstasy contains six impeccably crafted pieces of modern-tribal magic; the visceral power of sound and rhythm work to activate a body-centered passion and life-force arousal. Byron’s drums and percussion fuse with Steve’s hybrid grooves, array of analog modular, virtual analog synths and mixing enhancements; Rob’s serpentine didgeridoo weaves aboriginal textures and otherworldly voices, adding ancient layers to the trio’s flows and soundscapes. The result are majestic and powerful formations that rise up from the earth in an ever-evolving organic listening experience…
Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony, a tone poem based on a detailed program drawn from Lord Byron's epic poem Manfred, lasts for close to an hour and is rarely performed, although somewhat more often recorded. When conductor Semyon Bychkov proposed the present performance to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the players were unenthusiastic. But then, he recalls, "something wonderful happened…
For while it would be idle to pretend that this 70-year-old virtuoso, struck down at the height of his career with psoriatic arthritis, still commands the velocity and reflex of his earlier years, his later Chopin and Liszt are a tribute to a devotion and commitment gloriously enriched by experience. The First Impromptu is piquantly voiced and phrased while the C sharp minor Etude, Op. 25 No. 7, could hardly be more hauntingly confided, more ‘blue’ or inturned. How you miss the repeat in the C sharp minor Mazurka, Op. 50 No. 3 (not Op. 15, as the jewel-case claims), given such cloudy introspection and if there are moments when you recall how Rubinstein – forever Chopin’s most aristocratic spokesman – can convey a world of feeling in a scarcely perceptible gesture, Janis’s brooding intensity represents a wholly personal, only occasionally overbearing, alternative; an entirely different point of view. Time and again he tells us that there are higher goods than surface polish or slickness and in the valedictory F minor Mazurka, Op. 68 No. 4 he conveys a dark night of the soul indeed, an emotion almost too desolating for public utterance… Janis is no less remarkable in Liszt, whether in the brief but intriguing Sans mesure (a first performance and recording), in a Sonetto 104 del Petrarca as tear-laden as any on record and in a final Liebestod of an exhausting ardour and focus.
Janis backed by one of the greatest symphonies ever assembled (the 50's/60's Chicago Symphony under the baton of the micromanaging Fritz Reiner) put together in short a legendary and frenzied performance of the Rachmaninov Concerto No. 1. I wish I could stop there, but unfortunately this recording was coupled with a stale performance of the No. 3.
Somewhere in Afrika, an ode to Mann's home country of South Africa, contains a formula that is atypical of Manfred Mann's Earth Band sound. With rhythms that combine an African flavor with a modern rock feel, vocalist Mick Rogers takes over on vocals with the number 22 hit "Runner," released as the album's only single. Tracks such as "Demolition Man" and "Eyes of Nostradamus" are model Earth Band efforts, but the compelling material lies in songs such as "Lalela," "Koze Kobenini," and the title track, which conveys Mann's love for his birthplace without sounding overly pretentious or manufactured. The instrumentation is solid and free-flowing, with drums and other percussion work coming to the forefront while maintaining the group's atmosphere as a rock band.