George Starostin's Reviews



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sakal <> (11.06.2006)

A lot of good comment on this site but sometimes the point is missed. Never more than with Manfred Mann. I know why. First, your critiques are built square on the idea that rock ought to be "dangerous". The bad news - a record cannot be dangerous. Thrilling yes. Weird, scary. But not dangerous. And then "sleazy" - get a life, I say, excuse me.

The second point: Paul Jones' voice. He is slightly trained. He does not sound dangerous. He became a Christian, which proves you are not wrong. Still he was considered Jagger's main competition at the time. And you care too much about voices, as too much about sleaze and danger. So you have missed something great.

But really - if you want to know about "danger", ask my mum. Jagger - she thought he was a nice boy acting hard. 54321 by the Manfreds - now THAT was far out, that was primitive, loud, tribal, incomprehensible. That's how it was.

And get wise - first Manfreds were the best instrumentalists in pop - bar none. Second, they had maybe the heaviest sound - mostly due to their overdubs, as all the members doubled.

Get back and listen to "Without You". Listen to the stuttering organ solo and inventive blues changes on "Whatcha gonna do", and the magnificent piano solo on "Kingpin" - now THERE'S chops!

Pick up the Mingus and Adderley approaches to blues. Learn what is a "vibraphone" for a start. Re-evaluate, for you has screwed up.

And less of the teenage American language. It is not big it is not clever. Fact is, in Britain, this music was not a "Britpop invasion".

Thanks for your interesting site.

[Special author note: let's get this straight on a few points, please. First, I have no idea what exactly is meant here under 'teenage American language' and why, if any of it is used, it should be considered insulting in the context of the review of a British band.

Second, the phrase "best instrumentalists in pop" is one of the reasons why Manfred Mann are pretty much worthless to me. Best instrumentalists in jazz, in blues, in heavy metal perhaps, fine, but in pop, it's not the chops that matter, it's the songwriting; and at their pop best, MM were indeed pretty good songwriters but the chops did not matter much in those compositions. Third, once I have picked up the Mingus and Adderley approach to the blues, I will be listening to Mingus and Adderley, not Manfred Mann by all means. Fourth, whoever considered Paul Jones Jagger's main competition "at the time" must have been a very strange person - he could as well consider Charles de Gaulle Jagger's main competition, as the two occupy completely different niches. And it's not quite clear how it is possible to miss something great by not caring too much about "voices". And fifth, I care about sleaze and danger where I have the right to expect sleaze and danger; I certainly do not care about sleaze and danger when listening to Procol Harum, but Manfred Mann are not Procol Harum - at least we can agree upon that. But thanks for the comments anyway.]


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