Manfred Mann Chapter Three – Volume Two (1970)

FrontCover1Second album from this band, and still delving further in experimentation – these things being relative, of course, but remember that these guys were pop writers just a year before this release. With an unchanged line-up and a strange artwork, this second albums takes off just where the previous had quit. The most logical step forward was the extension/lengthening of the tracks allowing for more instrumental interplay.

8-min opening track Lady Ace could’ve easily fitted on their previous album, with the difference that the brass section does get wilder than anything they had done on the first volume. Poor Sad Sue easily tops that with a free-jazz brass section solo before bringing things back to more conventional rock. Jump Before You with its African percussions and York improvising wildly on his bass, then the brass (first with a Moroccan feel) take over and a dissonant sax soloing away, is yet another perfect example of this unit still breaking new grounds. Good To Be Alive is more reminiscent of their debut album, but it is a creeper. The extended 16-min track Happy Being Me is full of great soloing (including Mann on piano) and some outstanding wind-works from Harold Becket and Nick Evans (of Keith Tippett fame)

SinglesLegend has it that a third album was recorded but the tapes lost, but one thing is certain, that record would’ve been another step towards nirvana. Instead the Chapter Three will break up and Manfred will take Hugg with him to found another superb group , the Earth Band which will make plenty of excellent records (but the first two albums were a clear step backwards) but in a rockier direction than here. (by Sean Trane)

Manfred Mann´s Chapter Three was one of his finest groups ! Jazz-Rock par exellence !

Manfred Mann Chapter ThreePersonnel:
Craig Collinge (drums)
Brian John Hugg (guitar, background vocals)
Mike Hugg (vocals, piano)
Bernie Living (saxophone)
Manfred Mann (organ)
Steve York (bass)
Dave Brooks (saxophone)
Sonny Corbett (trumpet)
David Coxhill (saxophone)
Andy McCulloch (drums on 05.)
Clive Stevens (saxophone)

01. Lady Ace (Hugg) 7.58
02. I Ain’t Laughing (Hugg) 2.36
03. Poor Sad Sue (Hugg) 5.54
04. Jump Before You Think Hugg) 4.52
05. It’s Good To Be Alive (Mann) 3.31
06. Happy Being Me (Hugg) 15.54
07. Virginia (Mann) 4.52
08. I Ain’t Laughing (single mono version) (Hugg) 2.32
09. Happy Being Me (single mono version) (Hugg) 4.01
10. Virginia (alternate version) (Mann) 3.32