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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Man - Back Into The Future

A crossover between the US West Coast sound and the homage of the Grateful Dead, Welsh prog-pub rockers Man gets the audience jumping and dancing with its bluesy guitar works and early incarnation of the Jam Band sound. Almost sounding like coming out of the greasy truckers party, the band had a huge following from their psychedelic-era in the late ‘60s to experimental homage’s that would make Jerry Garcia proud – Back Into The Future was their seventh album, and while the music is groovy, it was the group’s eclectic sound that would make your money worth wild.
Man was formed in the Swansea area in Wales in the mid ‘60s as two bands The Bystanders and The Dream, they soon become a concept album band in the psychedelic scene to follow in the footsteps in The Beatles Sgt. Pepper with their first two albums released on the Pye label; Revelation and the 2 Oz’s of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle. Even though they had a small following, the group moved to the label United Artists as their music was growing from a psychedelic pop sound to more of a blues prog influential jam sound that would be about for only 19 and 24-minutes long of pieces like Alchemist, Bananas, C’mon, and Would the Christians Wait? The Lions are having a Draw.
Back into the Future sees Man going a little commercial and singing a traditional Welsh folk song along with a choir. With some beautiful composition pieces like A Night in Dad’s Bag, the melodic country rocker Don’t Go Away, the funky rockin’ blues wah-wah sound of Ain’t Their Flight, and the Gentle Giant renaissance folk rock taste of Never Say Nupus to Nepalse, including some astonishing lushful pieces like the self-titled track and the welsh Gwala choir following along with Man on an old 19th century Welsh tune Sospan Fach, the bonus tracks that are now featured in this 3-CD set released on the Esoteric label, just keeps getting better and better on the expanded reissue edition.
On Discs 2 and 3, in its entirety is the full performance of Man’s live recording at the Roundhouse in London on June 24, 1973 just before the album was released. You can tell they were having a good time including the audience were having a ball. Live tracks including the 19-minute version of C’Mon, which starts out as a train-chugging upbeat tempo then during the midsection of the piece goes into a Floyd-like atmospheric composition as Phil Ryan who replaced Clive John because of the touring schedule for him, was almost a disaster for him. Phil and the two other guitarists Micky Jones and newcomer for the band Tweke Lewis do an outer space guitar work and then get the wheels rolling for the last 3-minutes of the piece while Micky gets the rhythm chugging and Tweke lays down the guitar work like David Gilmour and Jimmy Page combine. This was a perfect match made in heaven for the Man band.
Jam Up, Jelly Tight / Oh No, Not Again (Spunk Rock ’73), a little different from the Penarth live album, is almost a sequel to the Grateful Dead’s arrangement of their 23-minute instrumental track, Dark Star. The band is doing a country blues rocking sound in the first 13 minutes then becomes a powering achievement. Back into the Future is one of their crowning achievements and its influential roots of the West Coast, a sound of the American scene in the late ‘60s still grows and it keeps on growing with the legacy from these five guys who know the score very well.

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