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Bern Elliot and The Fenmen - The Beat Years

Bern  Elliot and The Fenmen  - The Beat Years


The Fenmen made just four rare singles under their own name in 1964-1966, but were notable players in the British Invasion on a couple of counts. At the beginning of their recording career, they operated as the backup group in Bern Elliot & the Fenmen, who had U.K. hits in 1963 and 1964 with covers of "Money" and "New Orleans." Not long after their final single, two of their members became key components of the psychedelic lineup of the Pretty Things. Their meager recording legacy as a self-contained outfit shows them to be a good vocal harmony group strongly influenced by American stars the Four Seasons and the Beach Boys, though they didn't start to record original material until shortly before they broke up.

The Fenmen formed in early 1962 in a suburb in Kent, England, the act originally getting billed as Bern Elliot & the Fenmen. With Elliot as frontman, they had a number 14 British hit in late 1963 with the oft-covered "Money," and a smaller one with their follow-up, a version of Gary "U.S." Bonds' "New Orleans." They also did an EP and a couple live tracks on the compilation At the Cavern, their recorded repertoire dominated by covers of American rock and soul songs.

Elliot and the Fenmen separated in 1964, leaving the Fenmen to develop a different style heavily derivative of American pop/rock vocal harmony outfits. A couple flop Fenmen singles for Decca in 1964 and 1965 found the Four Seasons flavor especially strong, including a cover of the Seasons' smash "Rag Doll." The move to CBS for a couple of singles in 1966 was no more successful, including a cover of the Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'" and, more impressively, the Wally Waller composition "Rejected," which showed the emergence of a more original style building off the group's vocal harmony base.

The Fenmen ended, however, at the beginning of 1967, when rhythm guitarist/singer Waller reconnected with childhood friend Phil May, lead singer of the Pretty Things. After the two wrote "The Sun" together, May invited Waller to join the Pretty Things, with Fenmen drummer/singer John Povey also joining the Pretty Things lineup. "The Sun" would appear on the Pretties' 1967 album Emotions, and Waller and Povey would be an important part of the band's transition from an R&B-oriented group to a far more psychedelic one in the late '60s and early '70s. The Fenmen's two Decca singles can be found on the Bern Elliot & the Fenmen CD compilation The Beat Years, while three of the four tracks they released on CBS (as well as some BBC sessions and unreleased recordings) are on the Fenmen compilation Sunstroke.

Bern  Elliot and The Fenmen  - The Beat Years

Twenty-three songs from 1963-65, including everything Elliot and the Fenmen recorded for Decca, together or separately: the Bern Elliot & the Fenmen singles, their EP and compilation tracks, the sole Bern Elliot & the Klan single, the Elliot solo efforts from 1965, and the first two singles the Fenmen recorded without Elliot. It's quite impressive that See For Miles went to all the trouble to tie up the loose ends for a band that was so marginal, even in the eyes of British Invasion specialists. Elliot & the Fenmen were a good rockin' combo, but one without any songwriting ambitions whatsoever, which limits the interest of the material here considerably, as it consists entirely of well-worn R&B/rock covers. Mildly unusual in this context are Elliot & the Klan's "Good Times," awith a more-poppy-Animals feel, and the Fenmen's "I've Got Everything You Need Babe," an obscure number that Al Kooper co-wrote. Unfortunately this disc doesn't have the Fenmen's 1966 CBS single "Rejected," the best thing they did, either with Elliot or on their own.

The Zombies - The Singles Collection - A's & B's (1964-1969)

The Zombies - The Singles Collection - A's & B's (1964-1969)


This presents, in chronological sequence, both sides of all 14 of the Zombies' British singles. The Zombies were one of the most consistent British '60s bands, so it's no surprise that this is a great compilation, containing nothing mediocre and little that's even average. In addition to the three well-known hits "She's Not There," "Tell Her No," and "Time of the Season" (all present), there's an abundance of gems from B-sides and flop singles: "I Must Move," "Indication," "She's Coming Home," "Gotta Get a Hold of Myself," and "Beechwood Park" are just the very best of those. However, the absence of the great U.S.-only 1965 single "I Want You Back Again"/"I Remember When I Loved Her" and, to a lesser degree, some standout LP-only tracks (particularly "Changes" from Odessey & Oracle) prevents this from being the definitive single-disc best-of.

The Zombies - The Singles Collection - A's & B's (1964-1969)



Eric Burdon And The Animals - Roadrunners! (1966 - 1968)

Eric Burdon And The Animals - Roadrunners! (1966 - 1968)

A 19-track collection of otherwise unavailable live performances from 1966-1968, taken from shows in Melbourne, Stockholm, London, and the '67 Monterey Pop Festival, as well as radio and television broadcasts. Most of this dates from the psychedelic version of the band, which will disappoint those who are primarily interested in the group's rock/R&B prime. It's quite a good relic, though, with rough and ready execution by both Burdon and the band, and some unusual R&B and psychedelic material alongside the versions of hits like "Inside Looking Out," "Monterey," "San Franciscan Nights," and "When I Was Young." Sound ranges from fair to very good.


Eric Burdon And The Animals - Roadrunners! (1966 - 1968)

Eric Burdon And The Animals - Roadrunners! (1966 - 1968)

Eric Burdon And The Animals - Roadrunners! (1966 - 1968)

Eric Burdon And The Animals - Roadrunners! (1966 - 1968)

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting



The band's history began in 1963 with a group called the Blue Jacks in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, to the north of London. The band had just gotten a new lead singer, Kenny Pickett (who'd previously driven the van for Neil Christian & the Crusaders), and with the addition of a new lead guitarist, Eddie Phillips, they changed their name to the Mark Four. The latter band got signed to Mercury Records' British division in 1964 but the resulting two singles failed to sell. Even as British audiences were finding their work quite resistible, however, German audiences were greeting their performances at the Big Ben Club in Wilhelmshaven with rousing enthusiasm. It was during their extended residence in Germany that the band chanced to cross paths with a local band called the Roadrunners, who had attracted amazing local club attendance with their use of guitar feedback in their songs. Eddie Phillips made note of the effect and started working out how he might assimilate it into his playing.

The Mark Four got a second crack at recording success with Decca Records, which resulted in a single of "Hurt Me (If You Will)" b/w "I'm Leaving." It also failed to sell, but it did establish the beginning of a new sound; on that record, Phillips introduced his own approach to guitar feedback. It was all a little too wild for Decca, which stuck the song on the B-side, but it was a beginning of sorts. It also coincided with an ending, as the band's rhythm guitarist, Mick Thompson, and their bassist, John Dalton -- soon to join the Kinks, replacing Peter Quaife -- quit. The Mark Four finished their history with a temporary lineup and one last single in early 1966. During the weeks that followed, Pickett and Phillips, along with drummer Jack Jones, held the group together and began rethinking their precise image and direction -- for a brief time, future superstar bassist Herbie Flowers even sat in with them. By the spring of that year, the group had evolved into the Creation, with ex-Merseybeats bassist Bob Garner filling out the lineup, and they had also signed with an ambitious young Australian-born manager -- then closely associated with Brian Epstein -- named Robert Stigwood.

The Creation burst on the British pop/rock scene that June with "Making Time," a single that seemed to have everything going for it -- a killer beat after a brief (but catchy) stop-and-go intro, a great chorus, and a flashy, slashy, crunchy lead guitar part by Eddie Phillips that intersected very neatly with and expanded upon the kind of sound that the Who were carrying high onto the charts at the time. The parallel was no accident, as that single was produced by Shel Talmy, who'd also worked on all of those early Who sides. In an eerie and inexplicable portent of their future, however, "Making Time" soared to number five in Germany but peaked at an anemic number 49 in England, this at a time when they were getting amazing press for their stage performances, which included paintings being lit afire and, in anticipation of what Jimmy Page would one day be doing with the Yardbirds, among others, Phillips began playing his electric guitar with a violin bow.

The group finally saw some slightly significant chart action at home in the fall of 1966 with "Painter Man," a cheerfully trippy pop anthem -- with a feedback-oozing guitar break -- that made the Top 40; predictably, the same record hit number one in Germany. The B-side, "Biff Bang Pow," opened with a "My Generation" guitar riff and jumped into a pop/rock idiom with a psychedelic edge that could have earned it airplay on its own.

By the start of 1967, however, the Creation had hit a crisis point, as Kenny Pickett quit over creative differences and frustration at the need to continue touring in Europe, where their audience was seemingly rooted. He was eventually replaced by Kim Gardner, late of the group the Birds. Their sound at that point was still intact -- Phillips was still there on guitar, which was a huge part of what they were about musically and sonically. At this point, with whatever momentum they'd built up in jeopardy, the group took a totally unexpected turn into blue-eyed soul with "If I Stay Too Long," which was a good enough showcase for Gardner (supported by some reverb-soaked backing vocals and an organ) but offered little from Phillips except some emphatically played chords; it was as though the Who, having established themselves on the charts and the radio with "My Generation" and "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere," had suddenly issued their version of "Please, Please, Please" as a 45 rpm -- it confused people who knew the Creation, and was mostly ignored by established fans. Much more like their established sound were "Can I Join Your Band," which somehow only got issued in France, and the U.K. single's B-side, "Nightmares."

We Are Paintermen They were still struggling for a commercial foothold in England, despite being one of the most widely touted live acts of the time, when the group's German label decided it was time to release a Creation LP. We Are Paintermen ended up being better than anyone could have anticipated, highlighted by the previous hit plus a surprisingly good, crunchy, at times almost Byrds-like rendition of "Like a Rolling Stone," and a version of "Hey Joe" that had the temerity to take Jimi Hendrix's slow tempo and treat its jagged guitar line even more harshly. There was also a rousing rendition of "Cool Jerk" for anyone who cared, though a lot else of what was there was either off-point or represented the earlier lineup. One more single, "Life Is Just Beginning" b/w "Through My Eyes," showed up in the fall of 1967 -- the A-side was a rousing psychedelic showcase, with elements of Indian raga and a catchy, chant-like main body, plus jagged guitar and a string orchestra with the cellos sawing away in the best "King Midas in Reverse" manner. "Through My Eyes" was no throwaway, either, with a lean, crunchy guitar, beautiful choruses, and a great central tune, with three-minutes-and-change of spacy sensibilities ending in a feedback crescendo.
Evidently, Eddie Phillips felt that the single was as good a showcase as he would ever get, and in October of 1967 he quit. His departure was followed by Kim Gardner's decision to exit the group for a team-up with Ron Wood, Jon Lord, and Twink in what became known as Santa Barbara Machinehead. The Creation was kept "alive" into the spring of 1968 when their U.K. label, Polydor, released a single of "How Does It Feel" b/w "Tom Tom" on both sides of the Atlantic, with the U.S. version tarted up with all sorts of dubbed-on psychedelic effects. They were both good sides but never charted, and that might've been the end of the group, but for the sudden re-emergence of Kenny Pickett, who got Gardner and Jones back together to form the core of a new Creation. That band went through a couple of lineup changes, played around Europe for a bit with Ron Wood as a member, and then dissolved, and somewhere in the midst of all of those lineup changes a new album was started and abandoned (and forgotten for 36 years). Oddly enough, the "new" group at its best didn't sound bad, or all that much different from the classic lineup, although they lacked Phillips' knack for brushing up right against the edge of chaos with his guitar breaks.

That might've been the end, once and for all, of the group's history, but for four excellent (and very early) sides, probably demos by the Pickett/Phillips lineup, with Herbie Flowers sitting in on bass -- including a fine soul side, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and a killer rendition of "Bonie Maronie," kitted out in a manner not that different from "Hey Joe" or "Biff Bam Boom" -- that turned up in Germany in 1968. This time, however, the group was really gone, the members going their separate ways -- Phillips into soul singer P.P. Arnold's band, among other activities; Gardner became part of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke ("Resurrection Shuffle") and Tony Kaye's group Badger; Dalton and Thompson tried reuniting under the name Passtime, and Kenny Pickett, after enjoying some success as a songwriter and performing in a variety of contexts, returned to being a roadie, this time for Led Zeppelin and other bands; and he eventually re-formed the Creation in the first half of the '90s.

How Does It Feel to Feel? His reactivation of the Creation was a response to a long series of events belatedly recognizing the band. In the early '80s, Eva Records of France released an LP that combined the singles by the Mark Four and some of the key sides of the Creation, while England's Edsel Records released How Does It Feel to Feel?, the definitive LP collection of the Creation. The group gained a reputation as one of the great lost missing links of '60s rock, sort of England's answer to Moby Grape in terms of massive talent unaccountably caught in a dead-end. The latter-day group enjoyed three years of success before Pickett's death from a heart attack in 1996 ended their history. Since then, Demon Records in England has issued a slightly fuller, better mastered compilation (Our Music Is Red -- With Purple Flashes), and Retroactive Records released two CDs of their work, complete with outtakes, alternate mixes, and television performances, all amazing for a band that couldn't get a proper LP recorded in their own time. In 2017, the Numero Group released Action Painting, a double-album that included new stereo mixes of most of their records, and Edsel made a bid to top that with a four-CD set called Creation Theory, which gathered up later-period recordings in addition to their classic sides.




The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting 2017


Of all the bands that almost made it in the swingin' '60s, the Creation are one of the most storied and most anthologized. Thanks to a small number of classic singles, especially the brilliant "Making Time," their incendiary stage show, and their guitarist Eddie Phillips' use of a violin bow to conjure otherworldly sounds out of his guitar, the art-pop freakbeat group is often seen as the quintessential lost band of the era. The Numero Group's double-disc set Action Painting is the latest effort to make sure the Creation's music is given the attention it deserves. From the exhaustive booklet to the pristine remastering done by the group's original producer, Shel Talmy, it's the best-looking and best-sounding set yet. It gathers up all their singles, tracks that never saw the light of day at the time but were later issued on compilations, a handful of songs cut by the band in its pre-Creation Mark Four incarnation, a small number of backing tracks, and, most interestingly for Creation obsessives, 15 new stereo mixes done by the collection's producer Alec Palao and approved by Talmy. Hearing the songs yet again, it's clear that given a break here or there, or if they had managed to keep a stable lineup together, the Creation really could have been as big as the Small Faces or the Who. Songs like "Making Time," "Try and Stop Me," and "Biff, Bang, Pow" have the powerful crunch of the latter and the swaggering attitude of the former. Add in Phillips' startling guitar work, Kenny Pickett's powerfully soulful vocals, and the punchy overall sound and you've got some timeless stuff. Even when the band reconfigured and lost Pickett's vocals, the other guys stepped up to fill the void, and later songs like "How Does It Feel to Feel" and "Life Is Just Beginning" have all the energy and power of the best music coming out of the U.K. at the time. All their best songs are here, interspersed with the R&B covers and novelties bands had to do to survive the '60s. Even at their dorkiest though, when covering "Cool Jerk" or singing about dancing girls on "The Girls Are Naked," the Creation always had that special something that made everything they did sound alive and important. In the years since the band split up, smart labels have made sure to keep the Creation's work available with varying degrees of quality. The Numero Group have done their usual top-notch job, and Action Painting is the best Creation collection yet. The remastering is clear and strong, the booklet is a great read, and the stereo mixes on the second record are an interesting diversion, opening up the sound a little and giving the guitars more room to breathe. The band is a classic just-missed story, detailed in painstaking fashion in the booklet, but as Action Painting shows, the Creation's music lives on as some of the most exciting, most impressive sounds of the '60s.

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting

The Creation ‎– Action Painting


The Creation ‎– Action Painting


The In-Sect ‎– Introducing The In-Sect Direct From London (1965)

The In-Sect ‎– Introducing The In-Sect Direct From London (1965)


The In-Sect
The In-Sect (The Flies) grew out of an East London band called the Rebs, and in 1965 they recorded a British Invasion exploitation album under the name of the In-Sect, all but one of the songs on the LP being covers of contemporary hits. They are released three singles during their recording career and in 1965 the band recorded a British Invasion-exploitation album on RCA Records, "Introducing the In-Sect Direct from London", under the name In-Sect, with all but one of the tracks on the piece being cover versions of contemporary pop hits.. 
 Robin Hunt, who had to go to hospital, was unofficially replaced by Phil Chesterton and John Hollis. When Hunt recovered, the band continued as  No Flies On Us But and eventually The Flies.By the end of 1966 they were signed to Decca and were recording as the Flies, though they issued only a couple of singles for the label.

The In-Sect ‎– Introducing The In-Sect Direct From London (1965)


A really interesting artefact this group are ac=tuallt the UK group 'The FLIES'. They recorded this album under their present name (in 65) name of IN-SECT to try and conquer the 
British - besotted American market. This is strong garage and beat music!. As the Flies they made some classic freakbeat singles for RCA and were a mainstay of the UK underground scene. 

VA - Underground '60s British Invasion

VA - Underground '60s British Invasion


1.What You Got - the Eccentrics
2.See You Later, Alligator - Wayne Gibson & The Dynamic Sounds
3.Pins In My Heart - The Beat Buddies
4.Baby, Baby, Baby Pity Me - Wayne Gibson & The Dynamic Sounds
5.Time, Time, Time - The Knack
6.You Don't Know What Love Is - The Dennisons
7.Just A Little Bit - The Laurie Jay Combo
8.Make Her Mine - Hipster Image
9.Louie Go Home - The Transatlantics
10.Keep A Knocking - The Outlaws
11.I've Got Everything You Need, Babe - The Fenmen
12.Got the Flame - The Worrying Kynde
13.Don't Come Any Closer - Just Four Men
14.Shake With Me - The Outlaws
15.Sweet Little Baby - The Zephyrs
16.Don't Lie To Me - The Four + 1
17.Midnight Hour - The Deejays's
18.Just Like Me - Scorpions
19.Louie Louie - The Athenians
20.Hosanna - The Darwin's Theory
21.You Came Along - Moquettes
22.Say Alright - The Rattles
23.Tossin' & Turnin' - Dave Duvani
24.Bull Moose - Firing Squad
25.Baby Don't Look Down - The Blues Council
26.Bald Headed Woman - Jay-Jays
27.Baby Not Like You - Whirlwind
28.Dig A Little Deeper - The Cherokees
29.The Train Kept A-Rollin' - Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages
30.You Better Make Up Your Mind - The Koobas
31.Get Out Of My Way - Bo Street Runners
32.At The Station - The Bunch Of Fives
33.Don't Treat Me Bad - Rey Anton & The Peppermint Men
34.Ma's Place - The Meddyevils
35.She Thinks - Haydock's Rockhouse
36.I'm Looking For A Woman - Jimmy Powell & The Five Dimensions
37.Me - A Band Of Angels
38.She Ain't No Good - The Knack
39.It's Love Baby - The Knack
40.That's the Way It's Got to Be - The Poets
41.I'm Not A Bad Guy - Heinz
42.Right String Baby, But The Wrong Yo-Yo - Moquettes
43.Doin' the Ton - Mel Turner & The Mohicans
44.I Can Tell - The Casual Four
45.Keep On Doing It - The Outsiders
46.Just For Me - Midkinghts
47.Your Friend - Mal Ryder & The Spirits
48.I Don't Wanna Know - Mike Cotton Sound
49.How Do You Feel - The Primitives
50.What's Your Name - Valkyries
51.Ain't Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore - Loose Ends
52.Things She Says - The In Crowd
53.I'm Leaving You - Jimmy Royal & The Hawks
54.Work Song - James Royal
55.I'm Ready - The Quakers
56.Bony Maroine at The Hop - The Manchester Mob
57.Peace in My Mind - The Slade Brothers
58.Just In Case - Tony Howard & The Dictators
59.I Feel So Blue - Tony Knight & The Live Wires
60.Think It Over - The Hellions
61.Shake, Shout and Go - Brian Diamond & The Cutters
62.I Got A Woman - The Banshees
63.Come On Home - The Shevells
64.Oo Poo Pa Doo - Mal Ryder & The Spirits
65.Bye Bye Johnny - The Regents
66.Alley Oop - Boston Crabs
67.Think I'll Sit Down & Cry - Phase 4
68.She Makes Me Feel Better - Gary Walker
69.Yes I Do - Tony's Defenders
70.Seventh Son - The Soul Agents

****


The Zombies - The Singles As & Bs

The Zombies - The Singles As & Bs

This double-CD set isn't a substitute for the four-CD box from Big Beat, but it does provide a slightly leaner and less-expensive way of running through the band's history. It's difficult to believe that a group whose recording history lasted just a little more than three full years could account for the 22 single A- and B-sides on disc one of this set, but that was the pace of the business in those days, and it wasn't unheard of for a band to get four or five singles out in a year, especially if they'd enjoyed a major hit early on, as the Zombies did with "She's Not There," topped off by a huge U.S. hit ("Tell Her No"); the second disc, however, is a bit of a cheat, with five of its 20 songs consisting of EP tracks. But that first disc, made up of the songs that the group wrote and recorded for 5" platters, is a glorious listening experience -- the Zombies only experienced a fraction of the success of the Beatles, but their harmony-based, more heavily soul-influenced brand of British beat music nearly matched the Fab Four in sheer quality and inventiveness. The state-of-the-art remastering isn't a huge improvement over the excellent sound on Big Beat's box, but for those on a budget or just desiring to hop, skip, and jump through the most visible of the group's efforts, this is the place to start and finish, transcending any prior hits compilation in its range and sound quality, as well as its annotation. The keyboard solo and the harmonies on "Just out of Reach," as an example -- a white soul-shouter par excellence -- are so close they sound almost like part of a live performance. The songs off of Odessey & Oracle have even better sound, though at this stage of the game there are so many good digital editions of the latter album that this isn't a huge selling point for this set.

The Zombies - The Singles As & Bs

The Zombies - The Singles As & Bs

The Zombies - The Singles As & Bs

The Zombies - The Singles As & Bs

Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966

Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966


Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966


Manfred Mann was a band that never got a lot of respect, least of all from their own record label, EMI. They generated hits on both sides of the Atlantic and released their share of albums, singles, and EPs. But apart from the hit singles (which, in keeping with the practice of the time, were separate from and not represented on their U.K. albums), one had a real sense that it was only the most serious listeners (and primarily other musicians) who were listening to their records, especially when you took original lead singer Paul Jones out of the equation, which is exactly what EMI did in 1966 by signing him as a solo act and then dropping the band from its roster. They survived this indignity and went on to record a string of subsequent hits on Fontana with lead singer Mike d'Abo, and more albums that showed off what they could really do, before the members went their separate ways in music at the end of the '60s. Over the years, however, few bands covered them and they weren't often cited as an influence the way that the Who, the Kinks, the Animals, the Small Faces, and even the Move were. There have been earlier reissues of their EMI recordings -- still, the exhaustive (yet not exhausting) four-CD set Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966 can almost be regarded as the company's apology to the band, a long-overdue vault raid that issues every single, EP track, and LP track ever released by the band, plus a tiny handful of surviving outtakes, that the group left behind.
Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966

Influence is not the same as accomplishment, and Manfred Mann, in their earliest incarnation, were certainly accomplished, as musically adept as any of their peers, and more versatile than most. With the exception of the Beatles, there's not a major act on the EMI roster whose library contains so much seriously worthwhile music, so densely packed with virtuosity and inventiveness -- and none (including that of the Beatles) that veers so wildly around the definition of pop/rock, the singles usually serving as nothing more musically than an accessible anchor for all kinds of jazz-cum-R&B excursions, all compartmentalized in neat little three- to five-minute packages; for all of their ambitions, the Manfreds understood the needs and limitations of pop listeners, and as this set demonstrates, they were always trying to reach them in form if not style, and draw them to their "real" sound and the sensibilities behind it. In that sense, they were every bit a musically subversive (in the best sense) as the Rolling Stones -- what's more, collectively, they were also a bit reminiscent of big-band jazz legend Jimmy Dorsey, a heartbreakingly talented musician for whom stardom, band leadership, and pop success were merely the means to get to play what he liked. The very size of this set -- four discs, just three cuts shy of 100 tracks, over four hours long -- means it's for serious listeners, but that doesn't mean that it's only for the already converted, as this, more than hits compilations, really illustrates how different Manfred Mann were from their peers: jazzier and stylish, not as gritty or hard -- the cover photo illustrates just how odd they were in the company of the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers et. al, five guys who looked more like ex- (and not so ex-) beatniks and jazz musicians (and one who could pass for an accountant), more than pop stars. But they pulled off the masquerade musically and generated enough hits to keep countless best-of compilations in circulation for decades. Here's the chance to hear the rest of their work, in phenomenal sound, and all annotated by bassist/guitarist Tom McGuinness, no less (supported by a full sessionography and discography).
Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966

That Manfred Mann were a different band than the rest is immediately evident from the first track here, "Why Should We Not," a slinky minor-key instrumental that plays like Ellington's "Caravan" with a blues harp. Throughout their EMI recordings, Manfred Mann alternated between these jazzy numbers and rave-ups that sounded like a cleaned-up Yardbirds. Manfred Mann's organ could be reminiscent of the Zombies, but they never were as pop as the Zombies -- they were a hardcore rhythm & blues outfit, grooving like an Animals with no sense of menace. This isn't a detraction, it's a distinction, as that sense of jazzy, swinging sophistication separates them from the rest of the British Invasion. Indeed, it's hard to think of another band of their era whose biggest hit -- of course, a cover of the girl group classic "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," a single that remained omnipresent for decades -- was so misleading, not giving a real hint of what the band was all about. Certainly, their first album, 1964's The Five Faces of Manfred Mann, was a better representation of their jazz and R&B sensibility, but their jazz nature is easier to discern on this set, assembled as it is in session order and ending in 1966. All of this is not to say that Manfred Mann didn't cut pop singles in an attempt to follow up "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" -- there are other poppier covers of girl group tunes, plus an early cover of Dylan's "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" in 1965, and they finally had another big hit in both sides of the Atlantic with 1966's "Pretty Flamingo" -- and there are enough relatively hidden pop nuggets like the wonderful "Tired of Trying, Bored with Lying, Scared of Dying" to make this well worth digging through for British Invasion pop fanatics. But the enduring impression here is of an exceptionally skilled, versatile R&B combo, one whose nimble touch is easier to appreciate and love when heard in bulk as it is in this set, their gift becoming more apparent the more music is heard.
Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966

Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966

Manfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966



Bern  Elliot and The Fenmen  - The Beat YearsThe Zombies - The Singles Collection - A's & B's (1964-1969)The Zombies - Early Days Gerry And The Pacemakers ‎– Gerry In California (45 RPM,Live 1965)Eric Burdon And The Animals - Roadrunners! (1966 - 1968) The Creation ‎– Action PaintingThe In-Sect ‎– Introducing The In-Sect Direct From London (1965)VA - Underground '60s British InvasionThe Zombies - The Singles As & BsManfred Mann - Down the Road Apiece: Their EMI Recordings 1963-1966

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