Manfred Mann: The Greatest Hits + More

Uh-huh, they were the Manfreds...

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Though best remembered for the Ready Steady Go! theme 5-4-3-2-1 and the impeccable pop classic Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Manfred Mann evolved into a far weightier outfit with a slew of Bob Dylan covers – With God On Our Side and a definitive If You Gotta Go, Go Now – and brilliantly arranged psychedelia indicating a combined talent that went far beyond 1960s R&B.

Heartthrob vocalist Paul Jones fronted the first incarnation of Manfred Mann, and there was consternation when he was replaced by Mike D’Abo in 1966. The transition was seamless with the groovy Semi-Detached, Suburban Mr. James being followed by the gorgeous Ha! Ha! Said The Clown, featuring Jack Bruce on bass guitar.

D’Abo took Manfred Mann into peculiar territory. The slightly sinister drug song My Name Is Jack and the darkly MOR Fox On The Run had exceptional production values and a sense adventure in keeping with the era. The Beatles’ pal Klaus Voormann entered the frame for Mighty Quinn, claimed by Dylan to be his favourite interpretation.

This solid compilation includes the Gallagher And Lyle tunes When I’m Dead And Gone and Malt And Barley Blues, performed as Manfreds’ offshoot McGuiness Flint; a brace of Paul Jones solo songs, and D’Abo’s much-loved Handbags And Gladrags. Great to hear ‘em all again.

Max Bell

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.