Manfred Mann Chapter Three Volume 1 LP (Polydor, 1969)
One day, about ten years ago, I am in the bookstore one day when a woman called. She say that her son had just died and she has some books to sell. I ask her if she could name some titles, she sets the phone down, grabs a few books, returns and recites, "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas," "Trout Fishing in America," "Been Down So Long..." I quickly figure out that the son now buried had to be in his late 40s or early 50s. With those kind of books there is a chance that he had records and maybe some good ones. I ask her if her son had any records that they were looking to sell. She say, yes, thousands. My heart jump.
I know, I know. Fucking vulture Soriano. But, hey, she called me. It isn't like I was hanging out at the boneyard, sliding up to grieving families, whispering "Was the deceased a record collector?" (Not a bad idea, though.) She needed to sell and I wanted to buy. So we set a date and when that day came I hop into my since departed, much missed Toyota truck and drive over. I knock on the door. She say meet her at the garage door. As the garage door wirrs up, I see about 20 moving boxes full of LPs. She tells me she had tried to yard sale them at a buck a pop and only sold ten. She adds that she has some inside the house, records that her neighbor said are worth money and would I look at them first? We go inside and I sort through the small stack of "collectibles," i.e. Jefferson Airplane and a couple beat up Beatles albums. In other words, nothing worth a shit. Back to the garage.
I start digging. About ten records into the first box and I find an original copy of Easter Everywhere by the 13th Floor Elevators. I fight hard not to shit. My mind is churning. Possibilities become attainable. Fantasies morph to reality. Nirvana awaits! This is the kind of record collection that every record geek has wet dreams about stumbling on. This is the payoff for the hundreds, nay thousands, of hours plowing through beat up records by Herb Albert, Pat Travers, and Styx. This heals the scarred finger tips of the serial record flipper and thaws the cynical freeze off a heart that has been pierced one to many times by that one funk jazz masterpiece that is supposed to be pimp/fly/dope/whatever beyond belief but is really just Seventies cheese with a polyester beat. Holding Easter Everywhere in my trembling hands I remind my self that she had tried to yard sell these for a buck a pop and failed! Oh God in Heaven, Allah, Zeus, and dear Hugo Ball, Thank you! Thank You! THANK YOU!
I go to the truck, get a box and start pulling records. Some of the records are your average okay records, things I can flip for five bucks each. Some are known gems like the skull-cover White Light/White Heat, both pressings of the Yardbirds' Roger the Engineer, and the first couple Pretty Things LPs in mono, stuff I had reissues or cassette copies of. There are things I never heard of before, like the Barry Goldberg Reunion, records I wound up give a spin and get rid of. And then there are records in these that are complete mysteries to me (Haspshash & the Coloured Coat, Savage Resurrection, the first Loading Zone LP, etc.) waiting for me to be blown away upon first play. Three hours of digging and I come up about 500 records. I was about to make an offer and she set the price at a grand, twice of which I would have paid if I had been at that dollar a pop yard sale, but what the hey? My bank account can handle it and these are the boom days of ebay so I know that I can easily turn over a hundred at 10 bucks each. I pay the lady and haul away my scores.
One month later: Of the records I picked up not knowing what to expect, the one I have the least expectations for is Manfred Mann Chapter Three's Volume One LP. I know the early Manfred Mann of Do Wah Diddy Diddy and the later Manfred Mann of Blinded by the Light and I hate them both. However but the cover of MMCT looks different enough to prompt me to give it a spin before I throw it into the ebay pile. I set the record the turntable and drop needle, expecting suckiness to come out of the speakers. Hmmm...here's an eerie organ doubled by a flute and then the bass slides in with a killer subdued bass line, a fuzzed organ and vocals which definitely don't have the Manfred Mann sheen. Pretty fucking cool stuff. Funky and creepy...uh, what's that? My my this horn blast is something else and the way the sax snakes out of that, oh shit this is great! I put the needle back at the beginning, turn up the bass, crank the volume, and sit down back. For a bit over forty-five minutes I am in bliss.
A month passes and Woodhouse and I are speeding up to Seattle to record A Frames II. Woodhouse lives across the haul and I pound on his door whenever I have a great record score. He opens the door with an annoyed "What." I say "You gotta hear this." He gets excited and makes the three step journey to my apartment and I blow his mind with something incredibly deep and emotional like Patty Water's first or totally idiotic but genius such as the Unholy Swill. But I've kept him in the dark about Manfred Mann Chapter Three, knowing it would sound great on a car stereo. We roar past Corning and I slipped a cassette of the record into the tape deck. Woodhouse undergoes the same jaw dropping mind fuck I went through and, in stutter, asks who it is. I make him guess. He has no idea. Manfred Mann. No shit? Yes shit. My god... We get to Seattle, party a bit and put the the tape on. Twenty feet high and it sounds even better. I am sure the record influenced what we put together that weekend.
Manfred Mann Chapter Three was a band between bands. Mike Hugg (who tossed the drums for vocals on this one) and Manfred had a little money in the band - thanks to their past hits and some commercials - and decided to do something they really wanted to do. They thought that they could bring jazz to rock & roll. What resulted is the perfect blend of free jazz, psychedelia, funk, and prog rock. They made two albums. This one was released worldwide. The second only in Europe. Both records flopped. Manfred Mann fans usually write off Chapter Three as some weird abomination. Ha! I know the truth and you will, too, after you give this a listen.
miller- yeah, the second one is just as good, though the impact isnt as great because, well, who the fuck expects Manfred Mann to sound like this. The second one is very very hard to find. Never released here. BTW the sleeve for the second one was one of the inspirations for the Babyhead comp sleeve.
CLiff Richard "Devil Woman"
ELO "Evil Woman"
Eagles "Witchy Woman"
Santana "Black Magic Woman"
A reaction against the Women's Lib movement or sumthin?