A new record company and another new line up. The March 1976 release of Welsh Connection saw the return of Phil Ryan on keyboards, with John McKenzie replacing the departing Martin Ace on bass. Writing and rehearsals (including auditioning the new bass player) took place at The Grange in Headley Down, Hampshire during November and December 1975 and the album was recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes during December, January and February. As usual the band only sprang into life once the deadline was upon them.
Deke Leonard explains; “Three days before the deadline expired, we got down to work. Two days before, we were quietly confident. On the last day, we realised we were in the shit. We phoned Barry and said we, er, wouldn’t make the deadline.
“How many songs do you need?” he asked.
“Seven or eight” we said.
“And how many have you got?”
“Er, two-and-a-half. Ish.”
“Well, it’s alright,” he said, with a whiff of superiority. “I’ve already booked you in for another ten days, I did it about three weeks ago.”
Well that we said must have been the problem. We knew in our water it wasn’t a bona fide deadline – it never really felt like one……The next day, faced with a real deadline, we panicked.”
The new line up resulted in yet another radical change to the group’s sound. The combination of McKenzie, a more than usually lyrical bassist, and Ryan, whose performances are always cultured, worked very well. Together they turned out a pretty funky blend, especially when Phil got warmed up on the title track. As Deke commented later; “Phil is a bit of a funky player, while Micky and I don’t have a funky bone in our bodies. John tended to play with Phil.” McKenzie himself remembers most of the songs as being ready before he auditioned; “Pretty much people had their material written. Obviously arrangements were changed but it was pretty much nailed already.”
Although critical reaction was generally good, an occasionally less positive note was struck. It was felt in some quarters that perhaps too many of Man’s rough edges had been smoothed off. Charles Shaar Murray, writing in the New Musical Express weighed in with the headline; “Man cracks four songs in under twenty minutes barrier”. Johnny Walker made “Out Of Your Head” his record of the week, and things were looking decidedly commercial. The band split up before another studio album could be recorded.
Micky Jones (vocals, guitar)
Deke Leonard (vocals, guitar)
John McKenzie (vocals, bass)
Phil Ryan (vocals, keyboards)
Terry Williams (vocals, drums)
Nigel Brooke-Heart (background vocals on 06.)
Pete Brown (african talking drums on 04. + 05.)
Caromay Dixon (background vocals on 05.)
Jeffrey Hooper (background vocals on 02.)
Anton Matthews (background vocals on 02.)
01. The Ride And The View (Leonard) 5.01
02. Out Of Your Head (Leonard) 4.04
03. Love Can Find A Way (McKenzie) 5.13
04. The Welsh Connection (Ryan/Jones) 7.18
05. Something Is Happening (Ryan) 6.21
06. Car Toon (Leonard/Ryan) 6.01
07. Born With A Future (Jones/Leonard/Ryan) 7.07
08. (I’m A) Love-Taker (B-side “Out of Your Head” single) (Leonard) 2.47