Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Manfreds

March 4th 2017

Dunfermline Carnegie Hall

Rather more than a toe dipped into Tribute Band-land with this one: The Manfreds touring without Manfred Mann.  A bit like The Dave Clark Five without Dave Clark, one could argue, I suppose. 

But there are three original band members here – including the all-important front-man – even if the other two are, somewhat confusingly, no longer playing their original instruments.  Bassist Tom McGuiness now performs on lead guitar, whilst Mike Hugg who played keys this evening, was Manfred Mann's (the band's) original drummer.  But, Musical Versatility, is invariably a good thing.  And we did get former Family drummer Rob Townsend thrown in for good measure.

Paul Jones, as may be expected from a 75 -year old, no longer has that unique rasp to his voice he brought to the likes of the original recording of Sha La La, but his vocals were generally on fine form this evening.  And he can still blow the old harmonica like a good 'un.

Rather more remarkably, he is a chap who does not look as if he has aged a day since Cliff Richard succeeded in converting him to christianity back in the early 1980s.  Perhaps there is something to these fairy stories after all.

Paul Jones

Marcus Cliffe

The Manfreds - Dunfermline 2017

The Manfreds - Dunfermline 2017

I was initially not too enamored with proceedings, I have to say, as rather lacklustre renditions of a smattering of Sixties hits, of varying magnitude, were interspersed amongst more contemporary stuff as Jones, (light-hardheartedly) attempted to punt recent CD releases from an open suitcase in front of him.  Even the aforementioned bounce-fest Sha La La appeared to plod a touch.

Things were not helped though, by my being sat next to The Smelliest Man in Fife, who insisted on providing a running commentary on various band member's performances to his (presumably long-suffering) pal.  I moved seats at the break

The second-half of the show, however, was much better – a real delight in fact.  It opened with Jones blowing a lengthy harmonica solo, which morphed into a full band version of the old Georgie Fame hit Yeh, Yeh.  But it was the impressive Smokestack Lightning / Put it Where You Want it section which, I felt, truly reflected where these guys respective musical hearts currently lie.

And I could not help but feel they were being compelled to churn out the old hits which (with the notable exception of When I'm Dead and Gone, disappointed), in order to entice folks in off the street to hear what the band really want to play.

John Hardy was another highlight of the second half – this an ole American folk song, had appeared as an early Manfred Mann b side, which I recalled from my parents' 60s singles collection.  

The band, we learned, only played this one at the request of some chap in the front row who was celebrating both his 45th wedding anniversary and 67th birthday – alone, as his Wife, for unspecified reasons, was unable to attend.

Which just struck me as quite a wonderful thing for Mr Jones and his buddies to do.

Would anyone like to buy a Souvenir Tour Programme?

The Manfreds - Dunfermline 2017

Rob Townsend


The Manfreds - Dunfermline 2017

Set list

Watermelon Man
Just Like a Woman
Malt and Barley Blues
Mary Ann
Pretty Flamingo
Electric piano / bass clarinet instrumental
Oh No, Not My Baby
Brother, Where Are You?
That's The Blues
Sha La La
Yeh, Yeh
People Get Ready
John Hardy
Smokestack Lightning
Put It Where You Want It
Come Tomorrow
When I'm Dead and Gone
The Mighty Quinn
Do Wah Diddy

If You Gotta Go (Go Now)

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