Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Man - Welsh Connection (1976 uk, fine guitar prog space rock, 2013 double disc remaster)

The Welsh Connection was originally released on MCA Records back in 1976, and was the eleventh album from the Welsh psychedelic/progressive rock/hard rock act Man. The line-up for the album consisted of Terry Williams (vocals, drums), Phil Ryan (vocals, keyboards), John McKenzie (vocals, bass), Deke Leonard (vocals, guitar), and Micky Jones (vocals, guitar). Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red have remastered this fine album and included a sizzling live performance from the tour in support of The Welsh Connection, recorded at The Keystone in Berkeley, California.

Things kick off with the irresistible, melodic hard rocker "The Ride and the View", which leads into the driving "Out of Your Head" and the more pop laden "Love Can Find a Way". The band mixes in prog & jazz fusion on the alluring title track, as Jones and Leonard weave plenty of fluid, tasty solos around each other, supported nicely by Ryan's hypnotic keyboards. "Something is Happening" made some waves as a radio single, and you can totally see why with its dreamy instrumentation and melodic, floating vocal harmonies. Quirky prog not far removed from late period Gentle Giant can be heard on "Car Toon", and "Born With a Future" again layers in jazz, prog, and pop into an addicting brew. The bonus track "I'm a Love Taker" is a scorching, heavy blues rocker with some great guitar work, rhythms, and vocals. One of the strong points of this album, and Man in general, is the well rounded vocal attack. You get plenty of that here as all the members take part in the vocal layering on each song.

The second half of the first CD, and the entire second disc, is made up of the Keystone performance, and it's a real good one. For those familiar with Man, they are more known as a live band, and this is another stellar concert to add to their many official live albums. Live, the band takes on a much more aggressive, jamming nature, so the guitars are out in force on cuts like "7171 551", "C'Mon", "Romain", and the classic "Bananas", but also look for strong version of songs from The Welsh Connection as well, as the band played plenty of them at this show. There is also a wonderful performance of "Hard Way to Die" here, as Man go full on prog, with Ryan's sumptuous keyboards taking center stage. Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina, as was customary whenever Man came to California, sits in with the band on this live set.

As is always the case, Esoteric's remaster sounds splendid, and there is a booklet included containing loads of information on the album & bonus live show as well as exciting photographs. Very solid album, excellent reissue=TWO THUMBS UP! 
by Pete Pardo 
Disc 1
1. The Ride And The View (Deke Leonard) - 5:00
2. Out Of Your Head (Deke Leonard) - .4:04
3. Love Can Find A Way (John McKenzie) - 5:13
4. The Welsh Connection (Phil Ryan, Micky Jones) - 7:22 
5. Something Is Happening (Phil Ryan) - 6:19
6. Car Toon (Deke Leonard, Phil Ryan) - 5:58
7. Born With A Future (Micky Jones, Phil Ryan, Deke Leonard) - 6:57
8. I'm A Love Taker (B-Side Of Single) (Deke Leonard) - 2:58
9. Let The Good Times Roll  (Fleecie Moore, Sam Theard) - 2:42 
10.7171 551 (Deke Leonard) - 5:01
11.Hard Way To Die (Micky Jones, Deke Leonard, Ken Whaley, Terry Williams) - 6:37
12.The Welsh Connection (Phil Ryan, Micky Jones) - 8:01
13.Something Is Happening (Phil Ryan) - 6:58
Tracks 1 - 7 The Original Album
Bonus Tracks 8-13
Tracks 9-13 Live recordings from The Keystone, Berkeley, California, August 1976
Disc 2
1. The Ride And The View (Deke Leonard) - 5:42
2. Out Of Your Head (Deke Leonard) - 5:09
3. Born With A Future (Micky Jones, Phil Ryan, Deke Leonard) - 7:18 
4. C'mon (Micky Jones, Phil Ryan, Terry Williams, Clive John) - 17:22
5. Many Are Called, But Few Get Up  (Martin Ace, Clive John, Micky Jones, Deke Leonard, Terry Williams) - 11:32 
6. Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You (Anne Bredon, Erik Darling, Paul Bennett) - 5:32
7. A Hard Way To Live (Deke Leonard) -  3:16
8. Romain (Martin Ace, Clive John, Michael Jones, Deke Leonard, Terry Williams) - 6:02 
9. Bananas (Micky Jones, Phil Ryan, Terry Williams, Clive John) - 10:18
Live recordings from The Keystone, Berkeley, California, August 1976

*Micky Jones - Vocals, Guitar
*Deke Leonard - Vocals, Guitar
*Phil Ryan - Vocals, Keyboards
*John McKenzie - Vocals, Bass
*Terry Williams - Vocals, Drums
*John Cipollina - Guitar
*Nigel Brooke-Heart - Tape Operation, Vocal 
*Caromay Dixon - Vocal 
*Jeffrey Hooper - Vocal 
*Anton Matthews - Vocal 

1969  Man - Revelation (2009 remaster and expanded)
1969  Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (2009 remaster)
1971  Man - Man (2007 remaster with extra tracks)
Related Acts
19773  Help Yourself - Reaffirmation An Anthology (2014 Remaster)
1973  Help Yourself - 5 (2004 release)
1976-78  Tyla Gang - Pool Hall Punks / The Complete Recordings 
1967-68  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Lost Gold And Silver (double disc issue)
1968  Quicksilver Messenger Service (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails (2012 Audiophile remaster)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Shady Grove (2012 Audiophile remaster)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Castles In The Sand
1970  Q. M. S. - Just For Love  (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini Lp replica)  
1970  Q. M. S. - What About Me (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1971  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksliver (2012 Audiophile Vinyl replica)
1972  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Comin` Thru (2012 Audiopfile mini LP replica)  
1975  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Solid Silver
1973  Copperhead - Copperhead (2001 reissue)
1972  Terry Dolan - Terry Dolan (2016 remaster and expanded)