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The Roaring Silence - Manfred Mann's Earth Band

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Genre: Rock - Pop Rock / Artist: Manfred Mann's Earth Band / Import / Audio CD released 2004-05-18 at Friday Music

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      17.08.2001 21:12
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      Manfred Mann’s Earth Band The Roaring Silence (1976) The first thing to tug at my memory banks, as I take this particular CD out of its case and place it in my Walkman, is the lyrics. This has always been one of my all time favourite CDs but it’s been simply ages since I’ve played it - something, which with hindsight I regret. That’s because, I have come to believe, I owe it to myself to make the most of what, although I say it myself, is an amazingly beautiful music collection. As I was saying earlier, before my mind started to wonder (again) - the lyrics that go to make up the songs on this CD must rate as some of the finest going (or coming back for that mater ;) As I peruse this fine album, for both your delectation and my own, I will endeavour to include just a few of these beautiful words - so that you might recall those oh-so-wonderful times you had when you first heard them - or - if it’s your ‘first time’ - so that you may better understand what I’m talking about. ;-) Let us proceed with the first track on the CD: BLINDED BY THE LIGHT Most of you will know that the one and only, “The Boss” - Bruce Springsteen, wrote this track. However, back in ‘76 I was no more aware of that fact than I am presently aware of who is Robbie’s co-writer on fabulous songs such as ‘Angel’. Back then, in the not so dim but quite distant past, few if any mentions were ever made of who wrote or who produced particular songs; unlike now when the producer and the song-writer have been known to get at least a little of the credit for a hit song. All I know is, at the time, the words were right up there with the best in the business - and the melody –ahhh, - the melody - was one of the greatest pieces of music I had ever heard. It belted along, in much same way as I used to in those days - all very &#
      8220;nothing’s-gonna-stop-me-now” type of attitude. “In your face” might be how they would be described today. The song has a virtual ‘machine-gun’ of lyrics and driving beat, which, in those days, had me, totally enthralled and even now can get this Glasgow Girl’s feet a’tappin. At that time I did not know who “Manfred Mann’s Earth Band” were exactly, but on hearing this ‘single’ (oh boy, does that ‘date me) I made it my business to find out! Blinded by the Light must have been my first Chris Thompson ‘experience’ and, to put it mildly, it is a total ‘trip’ especially when heard through a set of quality headphones. SINGING THE DOLPHIN THROUGH So - I bought the album. I hadn’t done that before - bought an album - or an LP as they were then called - after only hearing the one track. OK, so, in the ‘Record shop’ across from my place of work, you could still stand in a ‘booth’ and listen to the first couple of tracks - but to simply go in and buy an album - without a ‘first listen’ was unheard of - for me at least. I put it on as soon as I got home and ... Not only was the first track a cracker - the second was Oh-h-h-h-h-h So-o-o-o beautiful. The melody of this track is enhanced with what I can only call “Whale Music” - I’m not sure if it is ‘real’ Dolphin song or if it was specially ‘produced’ for the album, I only know they were (and are) some of the most moving, beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard. The opening lyrics are sung in a voice almost breaking with emotion – “Farewell Plymouth, your morning cold and grey Is painting shadows on my thoughts…” The feelings this song evokes are quite wonderful. I don’t remember if this is the song that fi
      rst helped me become ‘environmentally aware’ but I’m sure its influence should be given at least some of the credit. Simplistic, maybe – but quite beautiful - definitely. “Joseph, the mud gives way to coral somewhere And the hours of light they last and last We'll see no more hostile flag there From craft unknown, we will have grown free from sighing” Singing the dolphin through, Singing the dolphin through, Singing the dolphin through Still waters” I used to think that Chris was singing that the “… mud gives way to Cairo” – as in Egypt … who’s a daft Glasgow Girl? QUESTIONS In words which are too many to put in to this small opinion - but too beautiful to omit - this song too has the ability to move me, - and if you care to give it a listen - I predict - to move you too. The words tell of a person’s first faltering attempts to look inside themselves and – in a sweet but poignant fashion – They also tell of what was found ‘in there’. The track begins with beautifully muted keyboards, to which a piano is added to great effect. This blend of instruments leads in to Chris Thompson’s clear and exquisite vocals. Heaven! … … … … “In a dream it would seem I went to those who close the open door Turning the key I sat and spoke to those inside of me” Only now, at the ‘tender’ age of fifty-four, do I begin to understand the true depth of meaning these words hold. “They answered my questions with questions And pointed me into the night” These days, I think of my wonderful college tutors - whom it could be said - did just that... (answered my questions with questions) and I am so very grateful that they did. “They reached to my centre of re
      ason And pulled on the touchstone that's there The shock of that light had me reeling And I fell into the depths of despair...” That is what can happen in those circumstances - and that is what did happen -to me ... As Shaw, Kennedy and Nelson Mandela have said - each in their own way - It’s not what we are not capable of achieving that ‘frightens’ we humans - Oh no, no, no – It is what we ARE capable of... “They answered my questions with questions And set me to stand on the brink Where the sun and the moon were as brothers And all that was left was to think” Speaking from the position of only recently achieved my HNC in the Social Sciences, I now know this song says so much more than I realised, all those years ago. “They answered my questions with questions And pointed me into the night The power that bore me had left me alone To figure out which way was right” I think you’ll agree, if you have been where I am right now - those words say it all. THE ROAD TO BABYLON This is yet another quite beautiful song, but as I have not recovered from the emotional ‘trip’ of the previous track - I will take few moments at this point to ‘recover’ – and you might want to get yourself a cup of tea (or something stronger) while I take a little time to pull myself together … This track begins with what I can only describe as a choir of ‘heavenly voices’. and leads into a rather ‘other worldly’ sound, again, with Chris Thompson at his husky emotive best. As the track moves towards its conclusion, there is an amazing instrumental that will have you reaching for those ‘air guitars’ … Oh yes, yes, yes …. It’s wild … It’s mellow –wonderfully mellow … Road to Babylon co
      mes to a ‘dead stop’ – but listening pleasure is only ‘withheld’ for a moment and then … An interesting range of ‘timpany’ introduces the next track and you’ll find it almost impossible to ‘hear the join’(it’s the ‘dead stop’ referred to earlier) as feint, tinkling bells lead into the Band getting involved in what can only be described as a ‘duel’ – a duel to see which instrument’s owner can ‘out-master’ the other. This is a V different track, all mad keyboards and flying guitars – you’ll love it. STARBIRD “Rising from the ashes, your light'll show us the way Starbird, you can fly me, take me everywhere you go.” These few words demonstrate the essence of this track. ‘Almost a Gregorian chant’, is the nearest way I can think of to describe this strange but fascinating intro. Then there are drums and a bass guitar, leading into yet another stunner of a track. You can hear the theme of “rising from the ashes” running all the way through … It will get through to you – it will! Again, the track comes from Messrs Mann and Slade, with the ‘Slade’ referred to here being Manfred and the Earth Band’s drummer, Chris Slade. WAITER, THERE'S A YAWN IN MY EAR Manfred Mann is the person responsible for this (slightly strange – but rather wonderful) instrumental. Don’t let the title put you off as this could be seen as giving the listener the distilled essence of what Mr Manfred Mann is all about. It’s really quite wonderful. Although recorded, live Manfred saw the need to have the odd piece of studio work dubbed in afterwards. Mmmm - I think it works just fine, Manfred. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I hope I haven’t neglected the musicianship on th
      is excellent album in favour of my own preferences (that of Chris Thompson - his voice is one of my all-time favourites - and the lyrics - which I’ve found mean even more to me now than they did back in 1976). There is little more to be said other than the quality of the album stems in no small part from its overall brilliance - not simply from the unbeatable vocals and excellent lyrics. If you can lay your hands on a copy of this album, then please - do yourself a favour - give it a listen. It just might just change your life. GG ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Musicians: Chris Hamlet Thompson: Vocals/guitar Dave Flett: Lead guitar Colin Pattenden: Bass Chris Slade: Drums/percussion/backing vocals Manfred Mann: Keyboards/vocals Backing vocals: The Chanter Sisters, Mick Rogers and Suzanne Lynch

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Blinded By The Light
      2 Singing The Dolphin Through
      3 Wait There's A Yawn In My Ear
      4 Road To Babylon
      5 This Side Of Paradise
      6 Starbird
      7 Questions
      8 Spirits In The Night - Manfred Mann & Chris Thompson
      9 Blinded By The Light