Manfred Mann - keyboards, vocals
Colin Pattenden - bass
Mick Rogers - guitar, vocals
Chris Slade- drums
Manfred Mann is probably the only rock artist to completely reinvent himself four times, (using four completely different musical styles and band line-ups), and to score a #1 Billboard hit with each incarnation. This show features his fourth band, Manfred Mann's Earth Band and was recorded when they played in San Diego on this night in February 1974 as an opening act on a Uriah Heep tour. It is only four songs, but at 43 minutes, it is enough to show just how incredible the Earth Band was as musicians, writers, and arrangers on any given night.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band had already recorded four albums since they had formed only three years prior. Opening with the dynamic "Buddha" taken from the group's Get Your Rocks Off LP, they display incredible musicianship and versatility before launching into the first of two Bob Dylan covers, "Father Of Day, Father of Night." The group is warmed up and launches into an original, "Captain Bobby Stout," which borrows heavily from the Deep Purple school of jamming. They close with a 13-minute revised arrangement of another Dylan classic, "The Mighty Quinn." That song heavily incorporates the synthesizer, which Mann had been using since it was first introduced in 1968.
Mann, a South African-born jazz keyboardist who was never the lead vocalist in any of his bands, had been on the charts since 1964 with his first group, also simply called Manfred Mann. The original Manfred Mann was a British Invasion pop band that had been strongly influenced by US rhythm & blues. They scored a #1 hit with "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," and had other Top 20 hits with such songs as "Sha-La-La" and "Pretty Flamingo."
When that group ran its course (and lost its popular lead singer, Paul Jones), Mann broke up the band. He discovered the unreleased music of Bob Dylan that had surfaced in the bootleg album, The Basement Tapes, and returned using a completely revamped lineup in 1968 that released a chart-topping cover of Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn." This lineup would also have considerable success and featured future Cream bassist, Jack Bruce.
At the turn of the decade in 1969, Mann purchased one of the first Moog synthesizers and put together one of the earliest progressive rock/jazz ensembles entitled Manfred Mann's Chapter Three. In fact, it was the moog owned by Mann that Keith Emerson borrowed to record the now famous solo in the ELP classic, "Lucky Man" in 1970. Mann's Chapter Three never saw any large scale commercial success, but released two critically acclaimed albums. In 1971, Mann again bounced back with yet another new group: Manfred Mann's Earth Band. This quartet, which featured Mann, bassist Colin Pattenden, guitarist/vocalist Mick Rogers, and drummer Chris Slade (who would later play with Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers in The Firm), had a harder, more rock-oriented sound. In 1977, Mann would again see #1 with a brilliant remake of the Bruce Springsteen classic, "Blinded By The Light," utilizing his fourth lead singer to come along, Chris Thompson.
Today, Mann remains active as a film scorer, writer, arranger, and on occasion, performer, with a revamped version of the Earth Band, but he stopped having hits in the mid-1980s.