A Crying Shame...

Guys (and femmes),

I'm upset. I'm miffed. I feel terrible. There's a great injustice happening right now, at corporate headquarters of music companies who wouldn't know good music if it bit them on the butt.

Anyone here heard of Manfred Mann's Earth Band? Yeah, they're a British prog-rock band that really started in the 60s with such hits as "The Mighty Quinn" and "Do-Wah-Diddy," but who changed their name (still keeping the name of the famous keyboardist who assembled the group) and attitude in the 1970s. They're probably best-known for their cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded By the Light," which, yeah, it becomes apparent after listening to the original, they reshuffled, streamlined and butchered to death, brilliantly and all at once. "The Roaring Silence," the album from whence "Blinded" came, was the pinnacle of the band's U.S. success, and they've been all-but-forgotten on these shores. Little does everyone know that Manfred and his band have released more and more albums. I certainly didn't even know until I chanced upon their then-new release, "Soft Vengeance," whilst vacationing in Germany in 1996.

It's really fantastic music, with good lyrics, snazzy synthesizers, and the brilliant voice of Chris Thompson, who's been with the band since the 70s. And it's a crying shame that these guys haven't had a record contract over in the States since, yes, nearly 20 years ago. And seeing as there's no great movement to get their music a wider degree of proliferation in these parts, it'll probably remain Britain's best-kept secret until the band drifts apart.

I just bought Manfred Mann's Earth Band's latest album, "2006," off a retailer on eBay, and am waiting for it to come in. Not only that, I've got 14 of their albums coming on seven CDs, including the redundant "Roaring Silence," which I already have. If anyone reading this would like the extra album, then just reply here or e-mail me privately and it is yours.

Anyone else have any "best band nobody's heard" stories to tell? I promise not to laugh--hard.


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