Manfred Mann

As Is - Fontana 1966

Tracks: 1. Trouble and Tea / 2. Now and Then Thing / 3. Each Other's Comapny / 4. Box Office Draw / 5. Dealer, Dealer / 6. Morning After the Party / 7. Another Kind of Music / 8. As Long as I Have Lovin' / 9. Autumn Leaves / 10. Superstitious Guy / 11. You're My Girl / 12. Just Like a Woman

Comments:

Manfred Mann's first album with Mike dābo in front is something of a mixed bag - you're never quite sure what direction they aiming at. It actually seems that one of the songs touches upon this dilemma - "Another Kind of Music" describes a person who enjoys his pop-success but at the same time wants to be a classical musician. In the same way it well-known that Manfred Mann and drummer Mike Hugg enjoyed playing jazz-music and that they never really took pop-music that seriously.

Nevertheless there are great examples of British 1960's pop at it's very best. Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" secured the band immediate success in the charts - not really a surprise, since it's a great song and arranged a lot like their last single with Paul Jones, "Pretty Flamingo" Mike d`Abo's "Box Office Draw" is also outstanding, with obviously hit-single qualities - great lyrics too.

DÁbo also wrote the fine opener "Trouble and Tea" - great vocals and a new variation over Beatle` "Day Tripper" theme. Unfortunately dĀbo's third contribution to the album doesn't work as well. His bluesy "As Long as I Have Loving" would have suited a voice like Steve Winwood's much better.

Mike Hugg is the most dominant song-writer on the album, and his songwiting shows a great variety here. From the almost sirupy poppy ( Each Other's Company ), though music hall ( Morning After the Party ), psychedelia ( Superstitious Guy - quite charming this one ) and the more experimental Manfred Mann collaborations "Dealer Dealer" and "As Long as I Have Loving"

Guitarist Tom McGuinness contributes the sentimental "Now and Then Thing" which has a quite nice melody but the lyrics and the arrangement may be hard to stand for some.

The mainstream jazz instrumental is quite nice on its own rights but it seems out of place on a pop-rock album that already is in need of a clear direction.

All this may give an impression that I don't like this album, which is not at all the case. Songs like "Box Office Draw", "Just Like a Woman" and "Trouble and Tea" are great favourites - and also Hugg's "Each Other's Company" and "Superstitious Guy" help make the album worthwhile.


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