Sunday Music – You Angel You

Posted on Sun 04/05/2015 by


Today’s music video is You Angel You and the song is performed here by the English group Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by Manfred Mann

It’s funny how you get hold of an album because you like the band or the artist, and then find you like one or more of the songs on that album more than the one released by the band as the Single. That’s something which has happened to me more times than I can remember, and has happened with virtually every album I have in my large collection.

Such is the case again with the song I have featured today You Angel You. The song is performed here by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, but was written by Bob Dylan in 1974 and released on his Planet Waves album, Bob’s 14th Studio album. Manfred Mann recorded this song for his 1979 album Angel Station.

Manfred_Mann's_Earth_Band_Angel_StationI was already a huge fan of Manfred Mann, both from his early days in the mid and late 60’s with his band Manfred Mann when they had a string of hits during that time, euphemistically referred to as The British Invasion. He had a string of 15 Top Ten hits at that time, including four Number One hits in the UK, as well as a number of those songs becoming hits here in Australia.

I went to one of their concerts in Newcastle Australia, in my concert going days, and it would rank as one of the best concerts I attended. It came as a surprise really, because I got hold of the tickets for the concert in the understanding that this was the band I had known during those days in the mid and late 60’s. However, this was Manfred’s new band, and I recall that they only played one or two of those earlier songs. All the music was new, and while I was expecting the old band, I found that I actually liked this new music better than those earlier custom Pop songs.

The band was on stage for more than two hours, a rarity at the time, and their live music was absolutely perfect. Manfred Mann’s skill as an arranger and orchestrator blended the numerous instruments of the band into some beautiful music, even while categorised as rock, it was easy to listen to. Manfred was one of the earliest keyboard players in a band to be surrounded by an array of different keyboards, set up in three sides around him, and even though visible, he was almost hidden behind those tables of keyboards. What also impressed me at that concert was the size of the huge mixing table which was an integral part of the band’s on stage performance, that mixing table placed mid theatre. I had never seen something of this size, and the guy operating that table was as much part of the band as those who were on the stage. I was lucky to be seated almost alongside the mixing table, and the operator worked as hard as the band on stage.

I have a collection of 6 of their vinyl albums from that 1970’s period with this new band. They had a huge Number One hit with Bruce Springsteen’s Blinded By The Light, and also a second big hit with Springsteen’s Spirit In The Night, which was so popular it was actually included on two of their studio albums. Popular at all their live concerts and also on one of those studio albums was the original Mighty Quinn from Manfred’s earlier band, and this live version was a longer and more driving version of this song.

One of their most underrated albums would have to be the album this featured song for today is taken from, Angel Station when Manfred would have to have been at the very peak of his craft as an arranger. The album includes songs that were beautifully performed, and crafted. This album Angel Station, although critically acclaimed did not sell as well as earlier albums, a great pity, because this would have to be one of the best albums to come out of the late 1970’s.

Manfred was a classically trained pianist, studying music at University. He relocated from South Africa to the UK in 1971. With drummer Mike Hugg, he formed the Mann Hugg Blues Brothers, later shortening it to just Manfred Mann, and I guess that original name was as unfashionable in 1962 as it would be now. Manfred used a variety of keyboards and experimented with organs as well as synthesisers and the MiniMoog, and he quite successfully blended Jazz oriented music into rock music. That original band was huge in the UK from 1964 until 1969 and then, as sometimes happens with bands, they slowly splintered.

Manfred went on to form Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in 1971. Manfred was including electronics more and more into his music, and used numerous keyboards and effects, placing them effectively into the music of his new band. Throughout the 70’s they were quite prolific, and toured extensively.

In this clip for today, Manfred is seen at the start of the song surrounded by his keyboards.

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