Amidst their pop/rock, blues, and folk-rock, Manfred Mann peppered their early recordings with jazzy instrumentals that faintly suggested a jazz-rock direction. Soul of Mann, never issued in the U.S., is a compilation of most of these early instrumental efforts, which originally appeared on various singles, EPs, and LPs between 1963 and 1966 (though one song, "L.S.D.," and is actually a blues-rocker with a Paul Jones vocal). Instrumentals were not the band's forte, but this collection is more interesting than you might think. No one would put Manfred Mann on the level of a jazz artist like Oscar Peterson, but these cuts are executed with a surprising amount of style and wit. And Mann and his men were nothing if not eclectic, producing downright strange instrumental takes on "Satisfaction," "I Got You Babe," and "My Generation." There are straighter (but still imaginative) versions of songs by the Yardbirds and Cannonball Adderley, as well as their own originals (the bluesy stomper "Mr. Anello" is a standout). Manfred Mann fans will find this worth picking up, especially given that several of the tracks never came out in the U.S., such as the aforementioned "Mr. Anello," and all of the pop covers they did for the 1966 EP Instrumental Asylum.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger