Manfred Mann’s Earth Band is the eponymous debut studio album by English rock band Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, released in January 1972 by Philips Records (and Polydor Records inthe USA). The album spent six weeks on the US Billboard 200 charts, peaking number 138 on 18 March 1972.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was first released in January 1972 by Polydor Records in the United States, where it sold modestly and received positive reviews from critics. Henry Edwards of High Fidelity said the Earth Band had proved themselves greatly superior to other acts in the “British Blues Invasion of the Seventies” by displaying a dedication to the music rather than flaunting their individual abilities. He also applauded bandleader Manfred Mann’s performances of “Part Time Man” and “I’m Up and I’m Leaving”, writing that they possessed “that haunting, urgent quality that has always marked Mann not only as a quality rocker but also as a musician with serious intentions and the ability to realize them”. Ramparts magazine called the album a respite from the “excessively abstracted psychedelic/hard rock” of the time, as well as an exceptional-sounding record that would prove to be “a landmark in the assimilation of new technology into rock without yielding to any impulse to make it a gimmick”. The record was less successful with critics and consumers in the United Kingdom, where it was released one month later on 18 February by Philips Records.
At the end of 1972, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was named the third best album of the year in Robert Christgau’s column for Newsday. The music critic applauded Mann’s innovative synthesizer parts and both the “original and borrowed” lyrics, while calling the album “one of those future-rock records that will probably spawn no heirs, even by the group that made it”. Christgau later ranked it number 17 on a decade-end list for The Village Voice, and described it as “an extraordinary cult record” that achieved rock’s dichotomous “art-commerce” synthesis, something he said Mann had espoused since the early years of his music career.
The single “Living Without You” spent seven weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching No. 69 on 8 April 1972. (by wikipedia)
Most folks know Manfred Mann from his ’60s hits, but too few have ever heard the brilliant Manfred Mann’s Earth Band album. Exploring arty and progressive directions, the Earth Band was a wholly different group from Mann’s earlier lineup. Unlike the heavier art rock groups that would follow (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes), the Earth Band never became burdened by its own seriousness. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band combines hypnotic instrumentals (“Tribute”), exhilarating original songs (“Captain Bobby Stout”), and three definitive covers all laden with hooks worthy of “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.” Mann mines Dylan’s basement tapes again for “Please Mrs. Henry” (see “Quinn the Eskimo” and “Get Your Rocks Off” on other releases). An obscure Dr. John song, “Jump Sturdy” nearly jumps off the record. The synthesizer solo “Sloth” segues into the album’s centerpiece, “Living Without You.” With its thumping bassline and “So hard” chorus, this might be the best version of a Randy Newman song ever recorded. Closing the album, the Mann himself takes vocal turns on “Part Time Man” and “Up & Leaving,” quiet acoustic tales that contrast with the complex instrumentals of the rest of the record. On whole, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band is a completely satisfying album and one of the most underrated of the ’70s. (J.P. Ollio)
Manfred Mann (organ, synthesizer, vocals)
Colin Pattenden (bass)
Mick Rogers (guitar, vocals)
Chris Slade (drums)
01. California Coastline (Meskell/Martin) 2.50
02. Captain Bobby Stout (Tietgen) 7.00
03. Sloth (Mann/Rogers) 1.29
04. Living Without You (Newman) 3.39
05. Tribute (Mann) 5.38
06. Please Mrs Henry (Dylan) 4.37
07. Jump Sturdy (Creaux) 4.54
08. Prayer (Mann) 5.44
09. Part Time Man (Sadler/Mann) 3.06
10. I’m Up And I’m Leaving (Mann/Sadler) 3.08
And here´s a great live version from “Mighty Queen”, recorded in Sydney/Australia in 1972 … nearly 20 minutes !