Friday, 10 July 2015

"Slow Motion" by MAN (2008 Esoteric Recordings Expanded CD – Paschal Byrne Remasters) - A Review By Mark Barry...




"...You've Been Packing All Your Life..."

Following the critical and commercial success of "Rhinos, Winos + Lunatics" in May of 1974 – MAN wasted no time in popping out their 9th UK LP "Slow Motion" in November of that productive year - once again winning plaudits from their loyal fans and glasses raised by music press critics alike. If anything “Slow Motion” showed maturity and inspiration in the songwriting and a very definite 'Man Sound' in the twin lead guitars of Deke Leonard and Micky Jones. And the album cover photo got banned by the people at Mad magazine too (how very street cred). Esoteric Recordings of the UK (part of Cherry Red) have colluded and canoodled with the remaining band members directly and reissued their entire vinyl catalogue from 1969 through to 1977 (see list below) in real style. Here are the details for entry number nine...

UK released May 2008 (June 2008 in the USA) – "Slow Motion" by MAN on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 2062 (Barcode 5013929716223) pans out as follows (72:46 minutes):

1. Hard Way To Die
2. Grasshopper
3. Rock And Roll You Out
4. You Don’t Like Us
5. Bedtime Bone [Side 2]
6. One More Chance
7. Rainbow Eyes
8. Day And Night
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 9th album "Slow Motion" – released November 1974 in the UK on United Artists UAG 29675 and in the USA on United Artists UA-LA345-G

BONUS TRACKS:
9. Rock And Roll You Out (First Mix) – Previously Unreleased
10. A Hard Way To Live (Live) – non-album B-side to "Day And Night" – a UK 7” single issued May 1975 on United Artists UP 35739
11. Hard Way To Die (Live)
12. Somebody's Calling (Live)
13. May Are Called, But Few Get Up (Live)
14. A Hard Way To Live (Live) – tracks 11 to 14 recorded live at The Keystone, Berkeley, California in April 1975 – Previously Unreleased

For "Slow Motion" MAN was:
DEKE LEONARD – Lead Guitars, Keyboards and Vocals
MICKY JONES – Lead Guitars and Vocals
KEN WHALEY – Bass and Vocals
TERRY WILLIAMS – Drums and Percussion

The 16-page booklet features new liner notes by DEKE LEONARD recalling how the album was made (the stunts pulled by Foghat at Rockfield Recording Studios) and has repros of rare European Picture Sleeves for the one 45 pulled off the album – "Day And Night" b/w "A Hard Way To Live". There’s musical trade adverts for tours with Badfinger, Chris Darrow, Neil Innes and A Band Called 'O' – as well as Rick Griffin’s full painting of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman holding a fish which was clipped to only show the fish and a bit of his famous smile. There’s also the telex sent by Leonard to the record company as an explanation of who played what – it was famously printed verbatim complete with errors and gobbledygook. The superb remaster has been handled by PASCHAL BYRNE at Audio Archiving using original master tapes.

"Hard Way To Die" opens the proceedings with a wallop – a clever duet of the vocal being aped by the guitar – coming on like Wishbone Ash when Laurie Wisefield joined them in 1974 – both rocky and melodious at the same time. And you’re also hit with the audio quality of the remaster – easily the best sounding Man CD to date. "Grasshopper" feels like Lindisfarne circa "Dingly Dell" – an acoustic ballad filled with clever vocal breaks – and again with top- notch sound (the drums and bass now perfectly pitched in the mix). "Rock And Roll You Out" feels like "Bananas" Part II – a jaunt on guitar that bewails our hero not being able to get into a gig – woman left me – they’re all locking the boys out. Side 1 ends on "You Don't Like Us" which might have been single number two – except that the aggressive lyrics would have probably put the punters off.

"Bedtime Bone" sounds most like the Prog of "Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day" from 1972 – guitars battling it out with treated keyboards interspersed with Bluesy chord changes and suitably doomy lyrics. "One More Chance" feels weedy at first but then goes into a great vocal/guitar duet like "Hard Way To Die" and wins the day. Stuart Gordon does a great job of arranging the strings on the Dennis Wilson "Pacific Ocean Blue" vocals of the lovely "Rainbow Eyes" – as sophisticated an acoustic tune as they’ve ever managed. The album ends on the Badfinger Pop/Rock of "Day And Night" – an obvious single with great guitar licks flying over a driving beat.

The extras are cleverly chosen – opening with a 30 August 1974 ‘First Mix’ of a strong album track "Rock And Roll You Out" which at 4:37 minutes sounds only marginally different to the finished version (but in a good way). The B-side "A Hard Way To Live" was recorded live at The Chicago Auditorium on 21st of March 1974 at "The 1999 Party" and for much of its duration sounds like a great Rocking studio track with that weedy organ sounding like Rory Gallagher's studio band. The four Previously Unreleased Live Tracks has the band in tight condition – Prog Rock mixed with Boogie – eliciting yelps from the small but enthusiastic crowd. My fave here is "Somebody's Calling" – a fantastic boogie tune that runs to only 2:53 minutes – it's not dissimilar to Ten Years After with that Man guitar sound instead of Alvin Lee. An exciting addition to the Man cannon...

So there you have it – like its predecessor "Rhinos, Winos + Lunatics" - "Slow Motion" is remembered with affection – and on the evidence submitted here - for a reason. A forgotten 70s album that shouldn’t be forgotten - reissued by a label that cares...

Deke Leonard put out three Solo LPs in 1973, 1974 and 1981 (also on UA), Terry Williams later joined Dire Straits and Guitarist Micky Jones passed away in 2010.

Esoteric have reissued and remastered the entire MAN catalogue in the same upgraded manner with full co-operation from the band (see list below) and I’ve reviewed 4, 6, 9 and 10 to date.

'MAN DISCOGRAPHY' for Esoteric Recordings CD Reissues (2007 to 2014):
1. Revelation (January 1969) – Esoteric ECLEC 2127 (2009 Remaster with 4 Bonus Tracks)
2. 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (September 1969) – Esoteric ECLEC 2128 (2009 Remaster with 3 Bonus Tracks)
3. Man (March 1971) – Esoteric ECLEC 2012 (2007 Remaster with 2 Bonus Tracks)
4. Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In? (November 1971) – Esoteric ECLEC 2013 (2007 Remaster with 3 Bonus Tracks)
5. Live At The Padget Rooms, Penarth (September 1972) – Esoteric ECLEC 2014 (2007 Remaster with the original 3-track album expanded onto 6 tracks across 2CDs)
6. Be Good To Yourself A Least Once A Day (November 1972) – Esoteric ECLEC 2019 (2007 Remaster In Card Digipak with "Map Of Wales" insert and 2 Bonus Tracks)
7. Christmas At The Patti by MAN and FRIENDS (July 1973) – Esoteric ECLEC 2018 (2007 Remaster. The original vinyl was a live double 10” record which featured FLYING ACES, DUCKS DELUXE, THE JETS, PLUM CRAZY with DAVE EDMUNDS, HELP YOURSELF with DEKE LEONARD and B.J. COLE and finally MAN with DAVE EDMUNDS and STAN PHIFER. The CD contains the full double with no extras)
8. Back Into The Future (September 1973 – Half Live/Half Studio Double-Album) – Esoteric ECLEC 2060 (2008 3CD Remaster with the 2LP set on CD1 whilst CD2 (June 1973) and CD3 (August 1973) have 10 Bonus Tracks)
9. Rhinos, Winos + Lunatics (May 1974) – Esoteric ECLEC 2020 (2007 Remaster with a Bonus 7” single cut on Disc 1 and a Previously Unreleased 5-Track Live Concert at The Whiskey A Go Go in LA on Disc 2)
10. Slow Motion (November 1974) – Esoteric ECLEC 2062 (2008 Remaster 6 Bonus Tracks)
11. Maximum Darkness [Live] (September 1975) – Esoteric ECLEC 2061 (2008 Remaster with two Live Bonus tracks)
12. The Welsh Connection (March 1976) – Esoteric ECLEC 22403 (2013 Remaster with a Bonus 7” single B-side ad 5 live tracks on CD1 and a 2nd CD of 9 tracks)

13. All's Well That Ends Well [Live] (November 1977) – Esoteric ECLEC 32431 (2014 Remaster of the album on CD1 with 2 Previously Unreleased CDs of the entire show from December 1976 (Discs 2 and 3) newly mixed from the 24-track tapes. There is also a repro of the "History Of Man" insert that came with the first 5000 copies of the original vinyl album)

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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