Man : All's Well That Ends Well

Album Cover

This was the album which was meant to mark the end of the Man band; in fact, all it did was mark the end of the Man band for the seventies. A live album recorded at the Roundhouse in North London, it included an insert which featured a sepia tinged photo montage of band members past and contemporary, and a mini family tree. Produced at the same time was a TV documentary which is dealt with elsewhere, but worth a look for the inclusion of part of the montage. During interviews in the video, band members don't shy away from the conflicts, and all the aggression is at least channeled into the music contained on this album.

Things kick off with a sparky version of the classic Let the Good Times Roll, and with the following The Welsh Connection, it's clear what internal contradictions there must have been - it's more of an adult oriented, melodic, almost progressive type of song, driven mainly by Phil Ryan's wash of keyboards, and Terry's quasi-jazz drumming. Absolutely nothing wrong with it (except perhaps for an unnecessary synth solo), but it hinted that the band were taking turns at featuring their favoured styles of the time, which clashed as much as harmonized.

The Ride and the View was still closer to its original atmospheric version than the brutal rocker featured in the nineties, but is perfectly delivered. Hard Way to Live, one of Iceberg's staples, is vigourous, short and sweet, just as it should be, though the keyboards do sound slightly superfluous to my ears.

The final three tracks were on the second side of the original vinyl. Born With a Future is the third of the tracks culled from the Welsh Connection album, and probably shows Man at their best from this era. A real mixture of rock, soulful vocals from Micky, typically incisive guitar from Deke, sympathetic keyboards, and a furious rhythm section - Terry precise as ever, and John McKenzie playing some awesome bass. After that, Spunk Rock and Romain sound oddly out of place in this context; good, but not great.

Not the best Man live album by any means, it was partly produced as a momento for history, partly as a contractual requirement for MCA. Scarcely an essential purchase, but interesting even so in helping to shed some light on why the band split up in the first place.

Originally issued in November 1977.

Available on Point, PNTVP103CD

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