Uh huh, It was the Manfreds….
Listen/Download – Manfred Mann – Watch Your Step
I hope everything is swinging light in your corner of the world.
The tune I bring you this week is something I was shocked to find in what one might term a ‘local’ dig.
I’ve been a Manfred Mann fan for a long time, since my man Mr Luther hit me up with an early ‘Best Of’ that pretty much blew my mind back in the garage/mod days.
Sure I was hip to all of the hits, but as soon as I heard stuff like ‘5-4-3-2-1’, ‘The One In the Middle’ and ‘Cock-a-Hoop’ I was all “Where has this groovy stuff been all my life?” b/w “Where can I get me some?”.
Naturally, I don’t think I ever need to hear ‘The Mighty Quinn’ again, under any circumstances, even if I should host a cocktail party and Mike Hugg and Bob Dylan both showed up, however, that early exposure to the Manfred’s made me a devotee, particularly where it comes to the voice of one Paul Jones.
Jones has since that day been one of my very favorite singers of the R&Beat era, and the Manfreds one of the great, underrated (not unpopular) bands of their time.
You can’t really expect a world exposed to ‘Pretty Flamingo’ to know that Manfred Mann had serious R&B and jazz chops (which never really got a lot of play over here), but you can’t sit by and leave the situation unremedied either, especially if you have yourself a blog, which I do, so here we go.
The aforementioned find was a UK OG of the Manfreds 1965 ‘Mann Made’ album which was a very solid display of their range (and on odd thing to turn up in a cardboard box in Asbury Park, NJ).
In addition to very groovy, very jazzy instros like ‘Abominable Snowmann’ and ‘Bare Hugg’, you get solid R&Beat like their ‘You Don’t Love Me’ re-write ‘LSD’, and today’s selection, their storming cover of Bobby Parker’s mighty ‘Watch Your Step’.
The OG is a big, big, BIG favorite of mine, but Jones and company acquit themselves very nicely indeed. You get that soulful, bluesy flavor of Jones’s voice running riot over a tasty backing, including some swinging organ by the Mann himself.
It is very solid indeed, and ought to warm things up until I return next week.