Thompson, Chris: Jukebox – The Ultimate Collection
Anyone familiar with '70s progressive rock knows Chris Thompson was the vocalist for Manfred Mann's Earth Band on a terrific run of albums starting with Nightingales & Bombers (1975) and ending with Chance (1980). Besides his involvement with MMEB Thompson has a considerable body of work that he has built up over the years. Now we have Jukebox – The Ultimate Collection, celebrating Thompson's forty years in the industry.
Thompson has always had one of my favourite voices in rock. If you are new to Thompson this would be a good collection to pick up as there is a lot of music here.
The first disc features classic Manfred material (with a caveat to Bob Dylan) like live versions of "Father of Day", originally released on Solar Fire which predates Chris Thompson's arrival and "You Angel You". The former is excellent, particularly the vocals and organ, but I do miss Manfred's keyboard presence on the latter which has been replaced with guitar. The guitar solo is fine but just not as vibrant as the keyboards on the original track. Other notables include "Million Dollar Wonder Hit", a mid tempo pop rock tune with references to Queen and/or City Boy, the searing blues of "Whole Lot To Give", and a poignant version of Springsteen's "For You" with lovely piano from Mark Taylor.
One of favourites is the Thompson original "Cold Wind Blowing Across My Heart", originally performed with his late '70s band Night. The piano melody is absolutely gorgeous.
Highlights on the second disc include a rousing live version of "The Mighty Quinn", the moody rock of "Runner" with its excellent guitar work, a beautifully poignant rendition of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and the Mike Heron penned "Don't Kill It Carol" featuring searing background guitar and a fine keyboard solo.
"Blinded by the Light" is more upbeat than the version on The Roaring Silence and while I like the original better, it is always nice to hear a different take, especially of a song that we have all heard thousands of times on classic rock radio.
One of the prettiest tracks Manfred Mann's Earth Band ever did was "Questions" and the live version here is just as poignant with Thompson's emotive guitar work.
Overall, I really enjoyed this set from Mr. Thompson. It's not a perfect compilation (is there such a thing) and at times on the live versions his voice is strained hitting some of the notes but that's okay. This is the real deal, no auto tune here and that's the way it should be. The man still has one of the most iconic voices in rock and, oh yeah, he also plays some pretty mean guitar.
An Esoteric Recordings release.
1. Dark Side
2. Love And Loneliness
3. Father Of Day (live)
4. Hot Summer Night (live)
5. Million Dollar Wonder Hit
6. Cold Wind Blowing Across My Heart
7. Spirits In The Night (live)
8. Whole Lot To Give
9. For You
10. One Man Mission
11. Martha's Madman (live)
12. Beat Of Love
13. You Angel You (live)
14. A Shift In The Wind
15. Eddie Wants To Rock
16. Dream Away Little Girl
17. Don't Stop
18. The Fire
1. The Mighty Quinn (live)
2. The Challenge
3. Runner (live)
4. Redemption Song
5. Land Of The Long White Cloud
. Blinded By The Light
8. Heart Of The Fire
9. Don't Kill It Carol (live)
10. If You Remember Me
11. Millie Christine
12. You're The Voice
13. Davy's On The Road Again (live)
14. Questions (live)
15. Zu Luben
16. Thunderchild (acoustic version)
17. What World
18. We Are The Strong
Added: July 25th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
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