Manfred Mann were the longest lasted of the British R&B outfits from the early sixties through to the 1973. There were a number pf different changes of personnel and their style evolved over the decade or so from blue-eyed R&B through to the hippie era Earthband.
All 4 sets are collated from BBC archives of live (studio) recordings and interviews.

In the early days they were known for freaking out on stage – young, immature yobbos was an early description – but musically they were top quality.
Manfred Mann himself is a top quality keyboard player and he was backed up in the early days by Tom McGuiness, Mike Vickers, Mike Hugg and lead vocalist Paul Jones, all of whom went on to other bands and careers in the music business.
The Mike D’Abo years (Vol 2) featured Klaus Voorman in place of Mike Vickers and a slightly ‘poppier’ sound with wider harmonies but also drove a little deeper into the Blues with covers of some Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf covers included alongside self penned material like ‘Semi Detached Suburban Mr James’.

By the time of the 4th volume here they had evolved into bandana wearing, long-haired hippies and featured Mick Rogers on guitar & vocals alongside Colin Pattenden on bass and Chris Slade on drums. The sound was heavier, more guitar oriented and fitted the times well especially as Manfred himself was beginning to play synths and more keyboards.

These 4 sets stand as a fine example of the development of a band and the changes in listeners tastes come over as well. On the first two sets much of the material is taken from Top Of The Pops and from Brian Matthews shows and features some unbelievably twee interviews with different band members – hearing Mike D’Abo’s cut glass voice is a hoot in itself. By the time of the 4th set we are in the realms of a John Peel Special with the band steaming away, plenty of solos and Pell himself introducing the tracks to real audience applause.

There is a ton of good material in these 4 sets, some previously unreleased and a wonderful example of just why Manfred Mann lasted at the top as long as they did.

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