Band members Related acts
- Martin Ace -- bass (replaced Ray Williams) (1969-)
- Clive John -- vocals, guitar, keybaords
- Jeff Jones -- drums, percussion
- Micky Jones -- vocals, lead guitar
- Deke Leonard -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Malcolm Morley -- keyboards (-75)
- Ken Whaley (aka Ken Whalley) -- bass
- Ray Williams -- bass
- Terry Williams -- drums (replaced Jeff Jones (1969-)
- Dire Straits (Terry Williams)
- Ducks Deluxe (Ken Whalley)
- Eyes of Blue (Phil Ryan and Ray Williams)
- Help Yourself (Malcolm Morley and Ken Whalley)
- Deke Leonard (solo efforts)
- The Motors (Terry Williams)
- Rockpile (Terry Williams)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Rhinos,Winos + Lunatics
Company: United Artists
Country/State: Swamsea, Wales
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: gatefold sleeve
GEMM catalog ID: 5429
Judging by the reviews I've seen, if you're a Man fan, 1974's "Rhinos, Winos + Lunatics" stands as a prime entry in the band's extensive recording catalog. On the other hand, if you're not a hardcore fan, this set may do less for you.
Winos + Lunatics" track listing:
I have a very complete story in original liner notes and Michael Heatley's commentary for the CD reissue. All I can add it that this is my favorite album. I got into Help Yourself about the same time as Man and was very excited at the prospect of Morley and Whaley joining the band and bringing back Deke. I only saw Man once during the 1999 Space Party tour with Hawkwind and this is the version of the Man band I saw. Some of their best songwriting, great production, and that triple guitar break in the middle of Scotch Corner. This is heaven.
Man have always been a prolific band, but 1974 was an exceptional year even for them. In addition to their usual prodigious touring schedule which continues into the Nineties, they recorded and released not one but two stuido albums; you're holding the first in your hand now. It was their second consecutive success in the album charts after 1973's 'Back Into The Future' but the band that recorded it was a radically different one.
Ever-present guitarist/vocalist Mickey Jones and drummer Terry Williams had been rejoined by former Man mainman Deke Leonard who brought with him two members of his solo band, Iceberg -- keyboardist/vocalist Malcolm Morley and bassist Ken Whaley. Both had earlier been members of Help Yourself, United Artists lablemates who had acquired a cult following without actually breaking through commercially. 'Rhinos Winso and Lunatics' was to be Man's bid to make that all-important leap to sales success -- and the engagement of studio hotshot Roy Thomas Baker, who'd already produced Queen's first two albums, was a clear statement of intent.
For Micky Jones, 'Not having ever worked with Ken and Malcolm before it was a totally new thing for me. Fortunately, it worked out to be one of my favourite Man albums.'
He recalls it being label boss Andrew Lauder's idea to get a name producer. Notoriously stubborn to outside attempts at direction, Man had been odds-on to clash with their newly acquired mentor, but differences of opinion, Jones recalls, were 'just the usual ones, not a lot. For me, it went remarkably smoothly'. Guitar partner Deke Leonard concurs. 'I think Baker did a really good job, we're not the easiest band in the world to produce but I thought he was great. He was quite a buoyant character, nothing we said seemed to get to him.'
The album, Leonard continues, 'was written recorded and mixed in three weeks. We went down to Clearwell Castle to rehearse it and learned all the songs in a week. Charles Shaar Murray came down to do an interview for New Musical Express. Then we went straight into Morgan Studios with Roy Baker, recorded it in a week and mixed it in the third week.'
For Ken Whaley, 'Rhinos' was 'all very exciting. It felt like we were really on the verge of "big time". I'd only done two albums then, and had never really enjoyed it. But this was very encouraging and constructive. I was very impressed, too, with Deke and Micky's professionalism: their ability to do complex, multi-layered guitar overdubs amazed me.'
The opening track 'Taking The Easy Way Out' added 'Again' since a totally different ballad appeared on Leonard's 'Kamikaze' album. It was also a single though relectantly, he insists. 'We never liked releasing singles, whether that was for good or ill. UA suggested it, we grudgingly agreed and they grudgingly released it!' Though unsucessful on 45, the song has a place in folklore as being 'the song John Lennon liked the best: when (San Francisco DJ) Phil Charles played him a couple of Man tracks, that was the one that Lennon liked. I was quite chuffed about that.' Lennon was even mooted as producer of Man's next album, but despite a devious lobbying campaign nothing came of it.
The band liked 'Thunder and Lightning Kid' enough to choose it for their 'best of collection, 'Perfect Timing'. It owes much of its funky feel to Morley (who sings it) swopping instruments and picking up the guitar. 'It was fun to play,' agrees keyboardist Leonard. 'It had a great groove. Micky does a great solo and the end, with that drum fill Terry does with Micky, is one of those little moments that send a shiver down my spine.'
All tracks on 'Rhinos' were credited to the band, except for one: 'California Silks and Satins' written by Morley and Leonard 'one Christmas in Barnes' while staying with Help Yourself manager (and future Hope & Anchor landlord) John Eichler. 'We wrote it sitting round the table. When we got down to rehearsals Malcolm and I played it, and everybody seemed to like it.' Terry Williams' bells seem somehow appropriately seasonal.
'Four Day Louise' is a song the 'Rhinos On The Road' tour programme suggested 'we'll probably play for the next twenty nine years' -- needless to say, they didn't, although some superb versions were played before it fell from the live set. In studio for, it brought the first side to a close. Side Two, in those days of vinyl albums, consissted of a short instrumental intro, an outro and two much longer pieces -- very much closer to the traditional Man mould.
'Kerosene' is Micky Jones' favourite track, and another that made the 'best of'. In fact, he liked it so much he palyed it in the early days of his solo career after Man split at the end of 1976, and it featured in the band's repertoire on their re-formation seven years later. Perhaps more than any other single song, it justifies Micky's verdict that 'With this album we were heading toward American AOR, though that's a horrible thing to say.' A touch of Queen in those layered harmonies, perhaps, Mr Baker -- and Freddie would surely have loved singing about 'a whore who would open the door' . . .
The album's climactic closer, 'Scotch Corner' was broadcast before release as a Radio 1 session under the provisional title 'God Gave Us Turtles'. It's a powerful tale of rejection, though Deke insists 'not a true story as such' -- and, perhaps more ambitiously than any other 'Rhinos' track, fused Man's past reputation for instrumental blowing with harmonies and hooks.
'Like anything, you can start basing it on something and the song takes you in its own direction. We were in Scotch Corner (motorway services) driving back from Scotland, and we stopped for toast. A guy came in who had one of those collars that seem to be ten sizes too big and one of those scrawny necks poking out of the top. He was about 70 or 80 I suppose, getting on a bit, and he just looked like a turtle.
Thereafter Hollywood takes over. 'When you're searching for that lyric you'll use absolutely anything. You go in a room and you knock up songs and you come out with stuff you didn't have when you went it.
'There was that film with Frank Sinatra, Shirley Maclaine and Dean Martin (Some Came Running, 1958) which ends with Maclaine being shot in a fairground. They're like gamblers, and the last scene she dies in front of Sinatra to save his life when somebody's trying to shoot him. I wound some sort of description of her into it.' So when you hear yourself singing along to 'Her lips are scarlet . . .', you now know who you're going on about!
So much for the music -- but as with every Man album since time began, the title and the cover had stories of their own to tell. The gatefold featured an African family regarding a poster of 'Man Live at the Mombassa Hippodrome'. Micky finally made it to Kenya 14 years later backing Asian rock'n'roll revivalist Peter Singh. . . . but this was strictly a set up. 'Pierre Tubbs, the designer, knew a fashion photographer who was going out to do a shoot; he came up with the idea and gave the guy some posters. The guy was in Mombassa, stuck them up on that shed and took some photos of them.'
As for the sleeve proper, it wasn't one of the band's communal homesteads as most fans fondly believed, but somewhere in south London. 'The guy had mad a papier maché rhino which was in a shed,' reveals Micky Jones. 'I don't know how Pierre got to know about it but we all ended up there with this rhino: it was too big to get out! We decided to take everything that we owned, any little mementos that we treasured, and that was it. We filled the shed up and sat around.' These details may be difficult to pick out on a CD-sized picture, but they include Nektar and Iceberg posters, Bo Diddley, Quicksilver and Elvis albums, a stand-up cutout of WG Grace, a model sailing ship, a jar of Horlicks, a hookah and a rubber plant.
Turn the sleeve over and you don't need to be Poirot to conclude that murder most foul has been committed. 'There was a pistol and I was playing with it. Some wag, it may or may not have been me, said "Let's put a bit of ketchup on Micky's forehead and have him lying on the floor . . ."' Deke Leonard, guilty as charged!
A sixth Man appears with his back to the camera: that's John Eichler. 'Keith Morris, the sleeve photographer, wanted some large object in the mddle of the bottom area of the thing and he used John . . . he was quite the man for the job. I quite like the fact that John's on an album cover,' Deke concludes 'because we always mention him anyway . . .'
The title 'Rhinos Winos And Lunatics' came from the Leonard pen, 'the first title I suggested. I wrote 'em all down -- it happens every album -- and it was at the top of the list. We went through pages of suggestions and came back to that.'
The album was promoted not only in Britain but the States, spiritual home of Man music. 'The first time in America was the usual eye-opener,' recalls Deke. 'We got smashed, we got laid, we got into trouble: the usual stuff. I've no idea how the album sold there, but we had a favourable reaction from everyone: "Wooh! Where do you guys come from -- Denmark?"'
On their return home, the band found themselves one member down when Malcolm Morley defected, suitcase in hand. According to Ken Whaley, 'It was a major change in that the band became harder and more rock'n'roll, I guess, and I think we missed his melodic input -- I did, anyway -- and keyboard textures.'
They returned to the studio, and the result was 'Slow Motion' effectively the twin of 'Rhinos' and now available again on BGOCD209.
Dedicated and digitally equipped Man fans can pick up the continuing story there. But if this remains the only Man CD you ever purchase than you can consider yourself in good company: it came second on the Welsh Connection fanzine's readers pool. With some thirty original albums including bootlegs and radio sessions to choose from, there are clearly plenty of lunatics abroad -- congratulations for joining them!
This is probably my favourite Man album from the seventies. It marked the return to the band of Deke Leonard, who brought with him Ken Whaley (bass) and Malcolm Morley (guitar, keyboards, vocals) from Help Yourself, who had also been working on his solo projects. Also unusual was the use of a producer, Roy Thomas Baker, who had previously had no experience of the band. Baker has since been best known for his production work with Queen, and also worked with Bebop Deluxe on Futurama. As you'd expect then, the album has quite a clean, precise, high tech sound which you would not normally associate with the Manband, but it certainly works.
These are really only six actual songs on the album, plus two throw-away instrumentals, Intro and Exit, which were the bookends to side two on the original vinyl.
Taking the Easy Way Out Again and Four Day Louise are both rousing guitar driven pieces which stomp along quite merrily, with Deke taking one vocal and Micky the other. The Thunder and Lightening Kid takes as its theme the return of Jesus Christ, and is a lazy drawl of a song, well sung by and perfectly suited to Morley, and also features some perfectly simple electric piano from Deke. California Silks and Satins is, as you'd expect from the title, very sixties mellow, accoustic West Coast.
Kerosene and Scotch Corner are the two longest tracks, and are more typically Man, giving them the opportunity to express themselves instrumentally, though not at too great a length - maybe the controlling hand of the producer at work ? They both succeed, and neither outstays its welcome, as perhaps some earlier Man songs may have done.
I suspect this was an attempt at more mainstream commercial success, though without the band having to compromise on their musical ideals, and as far as I remember, had a modicum of chart success without pushing them into the big time; it also gave them the opportunity to do some extensive touring in the States.
It is a great shame, but perhaps no surprise, that this line up lasted for only this album; after the American tour, Morley left. There was no personal animosity, but it is easy to speculate that there was too much songwriting talent fighting for limited space. Still, this version of Man has certainly left behind one great album
An excellent set of material energized by the return of the pleasingly abrasive vocals of Deke Leonard; it charted nearly as well as Back Into the Future, and its tighter composition means that in many ways it's held up better over the years. The second half may be the band's artistic high point — bookended by the pomp-wah instrumentals, "Intro" and "Exit," it contains the unusually sultry "Kerosene" and the epic "Scotch Corner," which builds up from rattling snare and picked guitar verses to beautiful choruses of harmonized vocals.
By the time of Man's seventh album, the musical chairs were in full gear, with prodigal guitarist Roger "Deke" Leonard returning to join co-founder Micky Jones and drummer Terry Williams in the Man band. Deke also brought two members of his solo project Iceberg with him ... incidentally keyboardist Malcolm Morley and bassist Ken Whaley had earlier been part of cult band Help Yourself ... and this must have changed the band's sound. I'd heard a lot of good things about this album beforehand, but the fact is, that after giving it many, many chances I've come to the inescapable conclusion that it's a fairly ordinary boogie-rock album.
That's right ... whether it's totally forgettable like the opener Taking The Easy Way Out Again or shows a little bit of character like The Thunder And Lightning Kid and the epic concluding ramble Scotch Corner, this record rarely moves away from plodding boogie rock jams with too strong a Southern rock influence for my taste. The languid California Silks And Satins boasts some nice acoustic guitar work and the brief keyboard-led outro Exit may both a nice change of pace but the general impression I get is of an unceasingly bland, middle of the road pop/rock album that betrays its lofty reputation. If you want to hear this sort of thing done well, check out Boston's first album.
Possibly the only reason I've still got this record is Kerosene, which actually has some nice synth and electric piano from Morley that breaks the monotony, but it's really a case of too little, too late for me. In fact, while many hardcore Manfans will recommend this record, I'm going to direct you to the Jones quote on the liner notes of my copy of the album "With this album we were heading towards American AOR, though that's a horrible thing to say."
It isn't that great a thing to hear either! ... 32% on the MPV scaleFor many fans of Man, this album will always be the band's peak. It certainly was their most professional sounding album yet, due to the involvement of one of rock's best producers, Roy Thomas Baker. He seems to have tidied up some of Man's loose ends and there is a more conscious attempt to catch the mainstream's attention. It certainly worked, as this album almost made the Top 20 in the UK. However, die hard Man fans still love this album as they are firing on all cylinders instrumentally- their fiery instrumental workouts work extremely well in these songs.
As is par for the course in Man, there were line-up changes for this album- Deke Leonard returned after a quite successful solo career (I believe even John Lennon admired the albums Deke made), plus Malcolm Morley and Ken Whaley from Welsh cult band, Help Yourself.
'Taking The Easy Way Out (Again)' is more akin to Steve Miller than prog, but is an excellent song nonetheless, with some terrific guitar work to kickstart the track, and some vocal harmonies that reveal the presence of Roy Baker on production duties. There is some superb guitar trade offs in the mid section that show the band to be one of the finest guitar bands of all in the 70s.
'Thunder and Lightning Kid', has a country rock flavour, with some bluesy guitar riffery and a down-home vocal from Malcolm Morley, but a superb mid section should appeal to prog fans, with some great trade duelling between the keyboards and guitars, and a satisfying climax with some neat guitar work.
'California Silks and Satins' is a lovely ballad, featuring their finest harmonies ever heard on record. The acoustic guitars are very evocative, and the melody has about it a bittersweet feel. This reminds me slightly of the lovely 'Don't Go Away' on their previous effort, and I think it did pretty well as a single when released at the time.
'Four Day Louise' is a more typical Man number, with an intricate twin guitar motif riff that runs throughout the song and makes for an enjoyable listen. There is some really neat wah wah work on this track too, and it has a great West Coast flavour that their classic 'Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day' album had in spades.
'Intro' is a very interesting track, despite its short length. Some wah wah guitar mingles with evocative keyboard work and excellent percussion by Terry Williams (later to join Dire Straits..).
'Kerosene' is a real stand out, with shimmering synths and guitar work, plus vocals that hold the attention throughout. However, the jewel in the crown of this classic track is the instrumental workout, that's a true goosebumps moment as the guitars melange with the synthesiser wonderfully and makes for a terrific listening experience.
'Scotch Corner' I always thought sounded akin to 'Freebird' by Lynyrd Skynyrd, yet they came out in the same year so I doubt very much there was any influence on either side. Still, this is another favourite track, with some of Man's finest songwriting and choruses with top harmonies, but again the extended instrumental workouts allow the band to really let loose. They get quite intricate, trying out some neat time signatures with their typically intoxicating guitar duels.
'Exit', like 'Intro', has the eerie guitar/synth motif, yet this time has a spiralling climax with some very trippy guitars that wind down until an abrupt cut.
A truly great album that for me remains a pinnacle of a very underrated band's career. It set the template for every subsequent Man album, particularly their next two 'Slow Motion' and 'The Welsh Connection'. However, their subsequent works weren't quite as excellent as this one. The producer, Roy Thomas Baker, would shoot to fame as the mastermind behind Queen's best work and the early albums of Steve Perry era Journey, and lately The Darkness' latest (and excellent) album. This was the closest Man ever got to mainstream success, however.
For their seventh studio album, Man once again revised their line up with a former member returning, new members arriving, and others leaving. This perhaps contributes to the lack of identity on this 1974 release. While Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker was brought in to tighten up that side of things, the album was written and recorded with indecent haste, driven on by an absurdly tight deadline.
The dominant felling is of country or west coast; certainly far more American than Welsh. Three of the tracks on side one are loud, abrasive affairs with frankly average singing. “The thunder and lightning kid” features some Caravan keyboard sounds, while “Four day Louise” belts out a straight rock number with a repetitive guitar hook. The exception is “California silks and satins”, a rare soft CSN influenced harmony piece.
The second side consists of just two long tracks, book ended by a brief “Intro” and “Exit”. “Kerosene” has echoes of fellow countrymen BUDGIE, particularly in the high vocals. The track features some fine keyboards and wah wah guitar in a pleasantly laid back arrangement. The CSN vocal harmonies here sound rather out of place but are kept short, the track being dominated by the extended instrumental sections.
“Scotch corner”, named after a road junction in North East England, is the longest track on the album. The country guitar rhythm of the opening section is reminiscent of Harry NILSSON, the track sounding similar to the work of HOME from a few years earlier. Lead guitar features heavily on this driving but ultimately unexciting number, the sound at times becoming rather muddled and unfocused.
While “Rhinos..” is not the sort of album which is ever going to win any top album awards (outside the band’s own environment anyway), it is an enjoyable diversion. It represents the band well in terms of content, containing as it does largely second division songs which are adequately performed. There’s little hint of prog though, the band remaining well within their comfort zone.
Incidentally, the papier-mâché Rhino featured in the sleeve picture was imprisoned in the equipment room where the photo was taken, apparently having been built too big to fit through the door.
Opening with two country-rock tinged tunes with good commercial appeal and some catchy choruses, and continuing with a mellow ballad with some good vocal harmonies, it isn't until the fourth track we get to hear remnants of the style the band is best know for though. Still, these opening numbers are good, and the psychedelic-laden slightly dreamy tracks that follow are equally interesting - with some excellent psychedelic guitarwork underscored by keyboard textures in compositions with long, instrumental passages for tripping out or daydreaming.
The sound is retro, and the album is clearly a product of it's time; but he basic songs are good - making them memorable and interesting tunes even more than 30 years later.
Following the Seth Man's excellent reviews of two early Hawkwind albums,
I felt the time was ripe to rescue fellow Greasy Trucker's Partygoers Man
from the dustbin of retro history. The orthodox critical line on Man
nowadays, if they are even mentioned at all, is that they "fitted
firmly into the progressive rock mould" (see Record Collector's A-Z of
British psychedelia). However, as "Rhinos..." amply demonstrates,
to bracket them alongside the over-educated likes of Caravan or Hatfield and
the North does them a gross injustice, as they actually had far more in
common with West Coast acid rockers like Quicksilver or the Grateful Dead.
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Slow Motion
Company: United Artists
Country/State: Swamsea, Wales
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: original inner sleeve
GEMM catalog ID: 5204
Co-produced by the band and Anton Mathews, 1975's "Slow Motion" has always been one of those Man albums I'm wishy washy about. The good news was the departure of keyboardist Malcolm Morley also seemed to have left the band with a tighter and leaner sound. The band also didn't seem to be trying as hard as on earlier releases. Whatever the explanation, this time around their unique hybrid of West Coast rock and UK pub rock actually clicked on tracks like 'Hard Way To Die' (which sounded like something by Terry Thomas and Charlie) and 'Day and Night'. Those positive factors were offset by the fact roughly half of the songs were completely forgettable. Tracks like ''One More Change, 'Rock and Roll You Out' and 'Rainbow Eyes' were little more than throwaways. Ironically, in spite of the classic Mad magazine inspired Rick Griffin sleeve the album sported some of the year's most depressing and downbeat lyrics - 'Grasshopper' and 'You Don't Like Us'. Elsewhere, side two's 'Bedtime Bone' opened with a weird slice of fusion-rock. Weird, but fascinating. The change in direction certainly didn't appeal to all of their fans, but it was enough to get the quartet to finally embark on a US tour, though it did little for sales.
Motion" track listing:
1.) Hard Way To Die (Terry Williams - Ken Whaley - Mickey Jones - Deke Leonard) - 5:37
2.) Grasshopper (Terry Williams - Ken Whaley - Mickey Jones - Deke Leonard)- 5:11
3.) Rock and Roll You Out (Terry Williams - Ken Whaley - Mickey Jones - Deke Leonard) - 4:32
4.) You Don't Like Us (Terry Williams - Ken Whaley - Mickey Jones - Deke Leonard) - 4:35
2.) One More Chance (Terry Williams - Ken Whaley - Mickey Jones - Deke Leonard) - 4:46
3.) Rainbow Eyes (Terry Williams - Ken Whaley - Mickey Jones - Deke Leonard) - 6:07
4.) Day and Night (Terry Williams - Ken Whaley - Mickey Jones - Deke Leonard) - 4:02
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