August 24, 2009

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND: FEBRUARY 1974

Mick Rogers, Manfred Mann

Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Winterland, San Francisco
February 10, 1974

All photos by David Miller

Mick Rogers

Manfred Mann was born in South Africa and moved to the United Kingdom in 1961. During the years of the British Invasion in the 1960s, he first became known as the keyboardist and leader of Manfred Mann, the group that bore his name. With Paul Jones on vocals, the musicians of Manfred Mann scored major hits with "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," "Sha La La," and "Pretty Flamingo." In 1968, with Mike d'Abo singing, they had another hit with "Mighty Quinn," a song written by Bob Dylan.

Mick Rogers, Colin Pattenden

In 1969 Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg (the drummer of Manfred Mann) formed a new band, Manfred Mann Chapter Three. After the release of two albums on Vertigo Records, Manfred Mann Chapter Three and Volume Two, Manfred Mann Chapter Three ended and Manfred Mann formed another band, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, in 1971. In addition to Manfred Mann on keyboards, the Earth Band featured Mick Rogers on guitar and vocals, Colin Pattenden on bass, and Chris Slade on drums.


The first and second albums by the band, Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Glorified Magnified, were released on Philips Records in 1972, followed by Messin' on Vertigo Records in 1973. When the photographs here were taken at Winterland, Manfred Mann's Earth Band was touring to promote a fourth LP, Solar Fire, released in November, 1973, and now regarded as one of their best albums. It included a full-bodied rendering, nearly ten minutes in length, of another song by Bob Dylan, "Father of Day, Father of Night."

Chris Slade

The music of Manfred Mann's Earth Band was both straightforward and inventive, skillfully blending rock, jazz, and melodies from classical works. Manfred Mann made extensive use of his synthesizers, creating a distinctive sound within the framework of each song. Mick Rogers sang in soulful tones and played his guitar with stylish feeling. The bass of Colin Pattenden and the drums of Chris Slade combined to provide a musical foundation that was strong and tuneful.
                                                                           


David: Seeing Manfred Mann was quite a thrill. I mainly thought of him as part of the British Invasion. Later I was a fan of his cover of the Bob Dylan song, "Mighty Quinn." I think it was Gary who told me that the song was about the actor, Anthony Quinn, and a movie he was in, The Savage Innocents. I guess that stuck with me, because when I saw Manfred Mann on stage, that is what I was thinking about: "Wow! That's the guy who sang about Anthony Quinn!"

I was very happy to secure a spot at the front of the stage. Manfred Mann was just to my right, and the other musicians were directly in front of me. I felt that the over twelve hours of waiting in line since the break of dawn had been worth it. Not to mention having to wait through the opening act, Fever. I have no memory of them at all, so I must have slept through their act.

The music was great. They were doing newer songs and not so much from their first album, which I loved and still think is their best effort. They were definitely out to rock and left out "Living Without You," the Randy Newman song. I had found that to be the case with most touring bands. They have hits with ballads and pop songs, but on stage they go for the jugular with the heavy stuff.

Mick Rogers was the main show. He looked great in his white suit. He sang and played guitar fantastically. I was able to get the best shots of him, since Manfred Mann was less in the bright spotlights. Manfred Mann was up front, but he leaned over his keyboards, bathed in darkness. He reminded me of Captain Nemo.




Gary: Manfred Mann's Earth Band was a real favorite of mine. I liked the early Manfred Mann band with Paul Jones and Mike Hugg, and also Chapter Three (I have the Vertigo LP of Volume One by Chapter Three, which I think is great, with "Mister, You're a Better Man Than I," Manfred singing on "One Way Glass," and the great arrangement on "A Study in Inaccuracy.") Those bands preceded the Earth Band and were great individual bands that had their own lifespans. Manfred Mann not only kept reinventing himself, but did so with great artistic vision. I heard that there was an unreleased album by Chapter Three, Volume Three, that was recorded but had no backing from the record company. Maybe that caused Manfred Mann to form a new band that was smaller and more mobile.

Dave had the first couple of Earth Band records, and I remember wanting to hear them. I eventually got them and they were great. I also liked Solar Fire, the record they released around the period that we saw them at Winterland. (My sister borrowed my copy of Solar Fire and listened to it a lot, while studying physics and astronomy.)

Manfred Mann's keyboard technique and choice of keyboards (organ/electric piano/Moog synthesizer) was uniquely different from other progressive rock bands. He bent notes and slid, modulating very subtly, and pounded when he needed to drive the band. His background (coming from apartheid South Africa), his jazz/blues influences, and his rugged individualism made me really take note. Colin Pattenden and Chris Slade were a very strong bass/drums rhythm section. When they started getting into driving rock grooves, they really kicked it. Mick Rogers was a masterful guitarist and a fine musical thinker.

I like Manfred Mann. I like his sense of humor, his sense of justice, and his musical sensibility. That performance at Winterland will always stay in the forefront of my memory. 



Michael: I agree that Mick Rogers was quite impressive in his white suit. He gave a sharp performance, displaying the kind of polished showmanship that was plentiful among British musicians in the 1960s and 1970s. Colin Pattenden and Chris Slade also made a strong impression. Seeing Manfred Mann himself was a special thrill for me. I was always excited to see a famous musician from the days of the British Invasion.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band was generally comparable to other British bands of that time, but they also were different in some ways. There was an element of prog rock in their sound, which was a common thing in British music during the early 1970s, but there also was an element of jazz (coming mostly from Manfred Mann himself), which was not as common. Overall, their sound was polished without being too slick.

As David mentioned, Manfred Mann was in darkness most of the time, but he clearly was in charge of the music, directing the other members of the band from behind his keyboards. During a difficult moment in one song, he crossed himself and looked upward, as if he was soliciting divine assistance.


Photos and memories from another performance by Manfred Mann's Earth Band at Winterland can be seen here
  
More about Manfred Mann's Earth Band at David's Rock Scrapbook 

Next: Uriah Heep

8 comments:

  1. Nice job putting this piece together...

    Bob Vergura

    ReplyDelete
  2. Impressing to read that you guys describe the band exactly how they are today, 35 years later, and us younger once who never saw them back then, describe them like you do!!

    They tour extensivly in Europe still, to large crowds, about 50 shows a year...Manfred well hidden behind his keys bending notes, playing out of this world keyboards blending classical music into the solos in a jazzy style and keeps himself out of the light, and Rogers still amazing with his virotuoso guitar, being gentle and nice. These guys describe respect.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fantastic pictures and a great description of the band. How can you guys remember so much from so long ago? They must've made a big impression.

    You make me want to hear those records you refer to.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Who IS that guy with hair & a bad head?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mentioned Manfred Mann with affection on my blog today. 45 years ago 'do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do' was Number 1 in U.K.

    http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mick,

    While looking through a box of memoribila from the 1970's I found a book with your name in it. "The Tibetain Book of the Great Liberation", dated 16.8.72.
    While you were playing in Clevelnd, Ohio we meet and had a great chat about the book I was reading, "Siddhartha" .......and you know the rest of the story. I hear your songs on the radio from time to time and wonder, what if.

    Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  7. We were right in front with you at this show. I handed Uriah Heep lead man a gallon jug of Southern Comfort. You don't happen to have a shot of that? realtor@shasta.com

    ReplyDelete