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Man: The Welsh Connection (remastered)

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!

Track Listing
CD 1
1) The Ride and the View
2) Out of Your Head
3) Love Can Find a Way
4) The Welsh Connection
5) Something is Happening
6) Car Toon
7) Born With a Future
8) I'm a Love Taker (bonus track, B-side of single)
Live at the Keystone, Berkeley, California, August 1976)
9) Let the Good Times Roll
10) 7171 551
11) Hard Way to Die
12) The Welsh Connection
13) Something is Happening

CD 2
1) The Ride and the View
2) Out of Your Head
3) Born With a Future
4) C'Mon
5) Many Are Called, But Few Get Up
6) Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
7) A Hard Way to Live
8) Romain
9) Bananas

Added: April 16th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Esoteric Recordings
Hits: 2161
Language: english

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