Man/Iceberg: BBC Radio One Live In Concert

Album Cover

Something of an oddity for a CD release in that it features two bands rather than the more usual one; though considering the Man band's history, there has been more than enough interbreeding that we shouldn't be surprised. Recorded on the Up For The Day tour of 1972, (except the final track, more of that later) Iceberg here features, Leonard, of course, plus usual suspect Martin Ace with Dave Charles on drums and Brian Breeze on guitar.

Razorblade & Rattlesnake opened the Iceberg album and opens the set too. There couldn't have been a better choice. It's upfront, sharp and crisp, a very faithful rendition to the original. The vocal sounds a bit distant, but it's the razor sharp (pun intended) guitar playing that this track is really all about. 7171-551 is similar in that respect. It's wonderful to hear Deke playing live with a guitarist other than Micky Jones, and Brian Breeze is no technical slouch - his style is very fluid and complementary, with perhaps a bluesier edge than MJ or DL. Like the first track it doesn't vary too much from the original and is a real wahwah fest.

A Hard Way To Live is a simple slab of hectic rock'n'roll, taken at a frenetic pace; the sound on this one is exceptional. The final Iceberg track is the longest with more jamming than the preceding tracks. You could conclude from this that Deke was less interested in the longer undisciplined jamming that Man were making such a feature at the time; for me, that improvising aspect just doesn't sound like as good a fit in the Iceberg context.

The first two Man tracks here feature the Ryan - Lewis - Youatt combination, and as already hinted at, the style is veering towards the improvisational; C'mon here starts off sounding like the spacerock Hawkwind were doing so well at the time; it moves on and heavily features in the slower sections some sympathetic organ from Phil Ryan; but as on Bananas, some of the synthesizer hasn't dated at all well. This is probably unfair, judging it years later, but so be it. Bananas does have a sharper guitar sound to it though.

The final track is a different lineup from the previous year - back to when Ace and Leonard made up the four piece. Romain might sound routine and run of the mill these days, but back then it was still a newish song, and it gets a treatment which suggests it was still fresh to the band, and includes some jamming towards the end.

Overall, this really is an excellent release, as far as I'm concerned, worth it for the Iceberg material alone. I've seen Iceberg at Welsh Conventions, and no doubt Brian Breeze is a hugely accomplished musician in his own right. The song oriented pieces make a fine contrast to the less well structured music Man were playing at the time.

Finally - excellent sleeve notes from Michael Heatley, but that sleeve... somebody somewhere suffered a severe attack of bad taste. According to the sleeve, design is apparently by Mental Block. That says it all.

Originally issued in November 1993.

Available on Windsong WINCD045

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