I didn’t really care for this self-titled Man LP. A little too rambling, even for me. As I recall one of the sides was little more than a 20 or 25 minute freeform jam of some description.
(Pauses to research album online….)
Yes, the track was called “The Alchemist” and took up the whole of Side 2. Here’s 10 minutes of it via a somewhat pointless You Tube video, for you to judge for yourself. (Warning: It does take over 4 minutes to “get going”)
The only two tracks it really had going for it were “Romain” – which became a live Man favourite – and Deke Leonard’s drum-driven “Daughter of the Fireplace” non-clunker chunker.
Still, a quid for a duffer wasn’t too bad was it?
Well, apart from the fact that it now goes for £40 to collectors. *sigh*
The Golden Hour record label was a budget offshoot of the Pye label, and – at least as I remember it – tended to concentrate on novelty compilations by has-been singers or TV actors trying to be crooners.
Man had been signed to the Dawn record label – also a subsidiary of Pye – in 1968 to what now seems like a ludicrously unfair deal where the band would receive a mere 0.75% royalty rate on the sales of their recordings.
Needless to say, this probably didn’t constructively persuade the band to conjure up their ‘best’ material.
“Golden Hour of Man” is no more than a shoddy repackaging of the group’s first two albums; the whole of “Revelation” plus all but three cuts from “2 oz of Plastic with a Hole in the Middle”
As if to highlight just how little Pye Records thought of – or knew about- Man, the label actually managed to miss off the strongest cut from “2 oz…” the badly named but impressive “Spunk Box”
There’s little on this album for me to recommend otherwise. Man’s glory years were certainly from 1970 onwards, when they were signed to United Artists. Once again, I probably bought this album based entirely on the price, misguidedly believing that it would provide me with the same listening pleasure as the band’s other releases which I was enjoying.
I wonder how long it would take me before I cottoned on to the fact that, most times, it’s on a budget label for a reason?!
“Borrowed Live Man. Man on Old Grey Stoker’s Vest – smart!”
“Live Man” must refer to the “Live at Padget Rooms, Penarth” album, a three track concert recording which, in retrospect, has been described by some as the sound of Man at their musical peak.
Not by me though. The album never stuck with me over the years, mainly because the entire second side – an extensive jazz-rock 20+ minute jam called “H.Samuel” – never sat that comfortably with me. It seemed just too…. well, random and unstructured.
If I’d listened to the album again 6 or 7 years later it may have made more sense as I suspect “the drugs would have worked”, if you get my drift? But to this chemically-bereft teenager it sounded a bit of a bloomin’ mess.
It’s a shame I never bought the album rather than just tape it. Not only was it was budget-priced but it was issued in a very strictly limited edition of just 8000 copies. An eBay success story could well have been in my future?!
I have threatened to write at some length about The Old Grey Whistle Test (for that is what I mean when I say Old Grey Stoker’s Vest) before without having actually done so. Perhaps now is the time?!…
OGWT was perhaps THE most influential music TV show of the seventies in Britain. It was certainly the only ‘serious’ music show to feature acts from outside the mainstream or Top 30 chart arenas.
As the commentary on Volume 1of the OGWT DVD series confirms, the shows early performances were filmed in what was, essentially, a corridor at the BBC TV Centre. The space measured just 30 x 20 feet, there was rarely an audience (other than the crew), and everything was usually filmed by union cameramen with no experience of musical acts. The combination of all these things usually resulted in under-rehearsed and quite raw performances, most of which have become classic TV ephemera in their own right. (See above)
In addition to live (a few mimed) performances, the presenters would also hold small uninhibited interviews with a few acts, as well as playing album tracks with an accompanying ‘weird/trippy’ cartoon video.
OGWT’s most celebrated and legendary presenter was the laid back Bob Harris whose broadcasting style is to speak extremely lightly, resulting in many viewers having to turn up their TV’s volume whenever he was on. He was eventually monikered “Whispering Bob” and was often parodied and impersonated in many comedy skits.
Here he is interviewing (a strangely reserved) Keith Moon about The Who’s drummer’s (thankfully, only) solo album “Two Sides of the Moon”.
Recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, Bob (under the auspices of his own “Whispering Bob Broadcasting Company”) remains heavily involved in the music business and still produces and presents one-off specials for BBC Radio including the recent “Maple Leaf Revolution” (about Canadian music) and “The Sandy Denny Story”
Bob (quietly) presented OGWT from 1972 until 1978, which pretty much represent my seminal years in music, so I owe him – and the programme – a lot for what came later in my life. Thank you Bob!
The show’s theme tune was a harmonica-driven track called “Stone Fox Chase” by Nashville band Area Code 615 whose only other claim to fame is that several members backed up Bob Dylan on his albums “Blonde on Blonde” and “Nashville Skyline”.
If you’re wondering about the show’s name, it’s weird that the derivation has little to do with the music played by Bob & Co. It’s a vintage ‘Tin Pan Alley‘ phrase from the 40’s. When a label got its first pressing of a record they would play it to the building’s elderly doormen (who were known as “greys”). If the doormen could subsequently whistle the tune after just one listen, the song was said to have passed…yep, you’ve guessed it… “the old grey whistle test”
I doubt this evening’s Man performance had much to whistle along with?!
I have already seen Man this year, back on July 3rd.
However, this time the support act was none other than ex-Man front…erm..man Deke Leonard with his Iceberg.
Given that I had probably played “Iceberg” to death in the previous week or so, (see previous diary entry) what’s the betting that my “FANTASTIC!” review related more to Deke Leonard’s support slot than Man’s headlining performance?!!
I am a fifty-something ex-pat Brit transplanted into America’s Mid-West. When I finally got around to unpacking all the boxes I shipped across the Atlantic, I found the “schoolboy diaries” I dutifully wrote in during the 1970’s.
I decided, as a fun endeavour, to document, share and comment upon many of the diary entries.
Posts will be in chronological order starting in 1972 and will gently travel from my 14-year old insecure geeky phase through to my involvement in the UK ‘punk movement’ at the end of the decade.
I hope other people find the project to be entertaining