Live in London 1975

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Although Man first made their name with a live album, 1972's Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth, the posthumous Live in London 1975 doesn't capture the group at their peak. Lead guitarist Deke Leonard, the group's secret weapon, was in the process of leaving the group, and he solos all over songs like the extended workout "7171 551" with a palpable lack of interest, thrilling few but the most die-hard guitar nerds. There are a few good tunes -- the closing "The Brazilian Cucumber Meets Deke's New Nose" is an Ivor Cutler-like surreal shaggy-dog story set to music that sounds like a jam between early Pink Floyd and Hatfield and the North, and it's a goofy delight -- but too much of the album is devoted to listless vamps like the pallid boogie "Life on the Road." However, as always, drummer Terry Williams plays his heart out, and on a couple of tracks, most notably the rocking and concise "Breaking Up Once Again," the group builds up a good pub-rocking head of steam. Live in London 1975 is strictly for diehards, though many of those probably already have at least one of the several bootleg versions of this album.

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