Alongside Christmas at the Patti, Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth ranks among the all-time greatest Man concert recordings, the sound of the band at the peak of its game in 1972. The recording's genesis lay in Man's contributions to the Greasy Truckers benefit album, recorded and released a little earlier in the year. Though Man was granted little more than one side of vinyl, the marathon (22-minute) version of "Spunk Rock" that ensued has since been described by Deke Leonard as one of the best things the band ever released -- and that despite the vinyl version fading in some ten minutes into the actual performance! For this latest release, there would be no such shortcomings. With a raw sound that seems to spill straight out of the amps, just three songs devour the album, including a remarkable rendition of the so evocative "Daughter of the Fireplace" and a positively yowling take on "Many Are Called, But Few Are Raised," a live staple that had long since outgrown its studio incarnation. "H Samuel," titled for a once-thriving chain of British jewelry stores, completes the set with further dynamic improvisation, leaving the album hovering closer to the brink of a massive stoner rock-jazz fusion hybrid than any other Man album ever dared to go. One needed to move astonishingly quickly to hear this remarkable treasure, however. As with the Greasy Truckers and Christmas at the Patti albums, Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth was a budget-priced limited edition of just 8,000 copies and, though it entered the mid-priced LP chart at number one, the album then disappeared completely seven days later. It would be another three decades before it returned to the stores.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson