Man : Rare Man

Album Cover

A real mix of eras and line ups, and a mix of origins too. Some of these tracks have had official releases before, some have had unofficial escapes, but if you had heard every single track on this CD already then you are obviously a completist and will learn nothing from this brief review.

To begin, we have the Jones - Youatt - Ryan - Williams - Lewis line up. The first two tracks were on a 76 single, but surely it's not beyond Point's technological expertise to have joined the two halves together? I'm Dreaming later metamorphosed into Breaking Up Once Again.

The next phase is Jones - Leonard - Williams - Whaley except the last two are in effect Leonard solo workouts with various musicians.

All the other Man tracks are from the reformed line up of Jones - Leonard - Ace - Weathers, except for the final two tracks which Martin Ace takes the credit for (bravely, in my opinion), and are mentioned elsewhere on this site.

So much for the chronology. The Slow Motion era stuff is interesting in that it reflects the time and that album in that the band seem determined to break songs up into apparently unrelated chunks - a beginning riff, a different main song, and an unrelated ending. (If you aren't following, think about Bedtime Bone). TV Dinners and A Name and a Number are actually pretty good.

The Pugwash era stuff is essentially work done on the unreleased German album. It sounds clear to me that the band were being pushed, presumably by the producer, in a more light weight, poppy direction, and as the album never saw the light of day officially, we must assume the band weren't happy with this. The reggae of Last Birthday Party is inoffensive, Perfect Strangers sounds like Deke knocked it up in 10 minutes as a joke, but Young Free and Single and That's the Way are trite and very unrepresentative of what the band are all about. At least it's good to hear a studio version of Asylum. I might be over analysing, but could it be that The Twang Dynasty was deliberately a guitar heavy oriented album as a reaction?

All in all, it's pretty messy, but that's the point really, it brings together obscure stuff that has slipped down the back of the band's sofa and been forgotten about. The repeated tracks are partly padding, but it's fun playing spot the difference. You'd need to be very tolerant and uncritical to love everything here, but it's certainly a worthwhile release.

Released in 1999 on Point, PNTVP120CD

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