Guide to British Music of the 1960s
CD Review: Manfred Mann - Mann Made Hits
Manfred Mann released a string of classic singles during the 1960s. The band had
two quite different sounds as they switched from Paul Jones on vocals to Mike D'Abo.
Mann Made Hits is a compilation of the hits and EP tracks from the first
half of their career featuring Paul Jones. The first two singles are not
included here and they did not trouble the chart compilers. However,
5-4-3-2-1 was picked as the theme tune for the weekly pop show Ready Steady
Go and this exposure helped the track to reach number 5. Hubble Bubble Toil &
Trouble followed the previous single into the charts. However, the band were
under pressure from HMV to record songs from proven hitmakers and so the
Greenwich/Barry composition Do Wah Diddy Diddy was chosen to be the next
single. This was a massive hit and it reached the top in the US.
The Shirelles' Sha La La and Maxine Brown's Come Tomorrow followed. The former makes fine use of Mann's organ playing and Mike Vickers' guitar. Manfred Mann were prolific with Bob Dylan songs. Two are included here and, of course, The Mighty Quinn came later. With God on Our Side is more of an anti-religious song about how many people are killed in the name of god. In the light of more recent events this may seem even more poignant today. If You Gotta Go, Go Now is another Dylan composition. The band had seen Dylan performing the track on television and agreed that it would be a good one for them to record. The track was kept off the top spot in the UK by Ken Dodd's Tears. If You Gotta Go, Go Now is the stand-out on this album with every member of the band standing out in the their own right alongside the Dylan lyrics.
The opening track Pretty Flamingo was a massive hit even though the band were not initially keen on it. Incidentally, this is the only Manfred Mann single that has Jack Bruce on bass. Bruce had joined the band for a brief period when Mike Vickers left the group and Tom McGuinness switched to guitar. Today it is a viewed as a piece of classic 1960s pop.
Like many other artists, Manfred Mann also released a number of EPs during the 1960s. From the third EP The One in the Middle is a track that Paul Jones wrote for the Yardbirds. This track adds an element of humour as Jones casts himself as "the one in the middle" gaining all the attention from girls where the "musicians" in the band are largely ignored especially by the females in the audience.
Although this album does illustrate the pop side of Manfred Mann that hit the charts and is more recognisable to most listeners, the band have included two tracks that showcase their jazz and blues roots. Spirit Feel is a very jazz-oriented track that features some amazing bass playing from Tom McGuinness. I'm Your Kingpin is a Mann-Jones blues composition that appeared on the b-side of Hubble Bubble Toil & Trouble.
This is a great piece of 1960s pop that also harks back to the band's roots. It shows just how good Manfred Mann were as musicians and the CD version really makes the individual instruments stand out.
LP Release: 9 September 1966 His Master Voice CLP 3559
Highest UK Chart Position: 11
CD Release: Umbrella Music UMB CD3
CD Release: 18 May 2018
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