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Articles Home » 1976 Articles » Mann, Manfred (Earth Band) - 1976 The Roaring Silence
Mann, Manfred (Earth Band) - 1976 The Roaring Silence

ARTIST: Mann, Manfred (Earth Band)
ALBUM: The Roaring Silence
LABEL: Bronze
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 1998, Creative (UK), MANN 009 * 2008, Airmail (Japan), AIRAC-1129


LINEUP: Chris Thompson - vocals * Dave Flett - guitar * Colin Pattenden - bass * Chris Slade - drums * Manfred Mann - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blinded By The Light * 02 Singing The Dolphin Through * 03 Waiter, There's A Yawn In My Ear * 04 The Road To Babylon * 05 This Side Of Paradise * 06 Starbird * 07 Questions


It's a certainty that at this moment a classic rock station somewhere in the US is playing 'Blinded By The Light', Manfred Mann's classic cover of the Bruce Springsteen track a number one single and always unfairly trimmed for radio purposes leaving out some melting guitar work that sums up the majority of this classic prog rock effort from Mann. The seventh album from this version of Manfred Mann, the musical direction Mann pursued was light years from his pop origins and more in keeping with the likes of King Crimson before him and a mass of other acts plundering the same glorious progressive territory during the seventies. Thompson and Flett replaced Mick Rogers, and both would remain until the late 70's, and thanks to 'Blinded By The Light' this has become to many the quintessential Earth band album, the musicianship arguably at its peak.

The Songs
The three minute 'Starbird' is the progressive highlight in terms of instrumental overload, highlighted by Mann's exceptional keyboard wizardry which interplays nicely with the acidic guitar work of Flett that threatens to melt all around it. This pomp mastery ranks with the best of the genre, the band with six albums to their name to give them necessary time to gel. 'Blinded By The Light' is easy to tire of after several thousand listens, but the band made the track their own as the Springsteen original was obscure to begin with and the hard rock treatment afforded gave the song an identity that would be the only one familiar to most. 'Singing The Dolphin Through' is another cover, this time from The Incredible String Band, and the dolphin sound effects might seem fairly ludicrous but this type of behaviour was perfectly acceptable during the 70's. Swirling keyboards mix with a gentle musical backing, atmospheric and utilising female backing vocals for that lush soundscape. 'Questions' is also slower, Flett's soloing emotional rather than bombastic. 'The Road To Babylon' nears seven minutes, recipient of stunning backing vocals and Flett's again amazing axe work which transforms from slow to speed of light in a blink of an eye. Mann's keyboard genius comes to the fore during 'This Side Of Paradise' and I'm surprised his name is not mentioned more frequently among the premier keyboard artists of the 70's. Mann shines again on prog classic 'Waiter There's A Yawn In My Ear', five and a half minutes of instrumental madness which splashes space rock synths around dynamically. For lovers of prog this is required listening, similar in execution to ELP or Yes, and musically as tight.

In Summary
A varied approach overall but essentially a prog rock album at heart and one that shouldn't be overlooked among the veritable thousands that cropped up during the decade. It appears Mann's pop background might have caused some to overlook the musical talent offered on this and all of Earth Band's seventies recordings, but for seasoned fans of the genre, this is held in high esteem from what exists on the internet in terms of opinions and discussion. There were several more albums released during the 70's and sporadically during the 80's and amazingly Mann is still keeping the Earth Band alive to the present day, with an album recorded in 2006 itself.

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#1 | Eric on November 24 2007 20:56:42
Alun, right on with this review. I love thier late 70's stuff and my favorite is 1978's 'Watch' album, although thier earlier proggy 'Solar Fire' album was good as well. 'Blinded By The Light' is as overplayed as 'Freebird' here in the States as you probably know and because of this I rarely pull out this LP for a spin but it's a good one for fans of melodic prog.Thumbs Up
#2 | jeffduran on January 24 2008 08:03:02
The greatest cover band of all time imo. As much as I like Manfred Mann, every great song is a cover band. 'For You', 'Blinded By The Light' and 'Spirits In The Night'-Springsteen....'Mighty Quinn'-Dylan....Even the latter stuff like 'The Runner' and 'Going Underground' were covers. 'For You' and 'The Runner' are classics!hilarious
#3 | jefflynnefan on July 03 2010 04:45:19
I forgot about that song "Runner" until recently. Then was suprised that it was Manfred Mann singing it!
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