Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Alive in America

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Manfred Mann's Earth Band's Alive in America was recorded in Boston to be syndicated for American radio. The tour followed the band's two albums, Nightingales & Bombers and the hugely successful The Roaring Silence. Mick Rogers had departed as the band's lead vocalist by this point, and was replaced by Chris Thompson, who had played on the latter album. Thompson is not as strong as a singer, but he does the job and the group is in fine form here. The quality of the sound itself leaves a bit to be desired but this is a wonderful historical document with Mann, guitarists Thompson and Dave Flett, bassist Colin Pattenden (who left the group shortly after), and drummer extraordinaire Chris Slade, who is as wild as Keith Moon if not quite as precise. The material is top-notch too: both "Spirit in the Night," and "Blinded by the Light" are here, as are reads of Bob Dylan's "Father of Day, Father of Night," and of course, "The Mighty Quinn." Also in this is mix is a rare track of the Earth Band performing Robbie Robertson's "Davy's on the Road Again." The three originals here -- "On the Road to Babylon," "Time Is Right," and "Captain Bobby Stout" -- are not throwaways by any stretch, but they are not quite the caliber of the covers. This entire set is fine and deserves a hearing or three.

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