Man was a Welsh jam-rock band that released twelve albums between 1969 and 1977. On Pye, they made the 1969 psych-rock albums Revelation and 2 Ozs of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle. A revised lineup signed to United Artists for the 1971 albums Man and Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In? They specialized in extended, semi-improves by the time of 1972’s Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day and the 1973 half-live double-album Back Into the Future.
Singer–guitarist Micky Jones was the one constant member. Fellow singer–guitarist Deke Leonard joined and left Man twice before settling in for the 1974 albums Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics and Slow Motion. After their 1975 live release Maximum Darkness, they moved to MCA for their 1976 album Welsh-Connection. They disbanded that December, bowing out with the posthumous live release All’s Well That Ends Well.
Members: Micky Jones (vocals, guitar, 1968-2005), Deke Leonard (vocals, guitar, 1968-72, 1973-76, 1983-2004), Clive John (keyboards, 1968-72, 1972-73), Ray Williams (bass, 1968-69), Terry Williams (drums, 1969-76, 1986-97), Jeff Jones (drums, 1968-69), Martin Ace (bass, guitar, 1969-72, 1975-76, 1983-present), Phil Ryan (keyboards, guitar, 1972-73, 1975-76, 1998-2000), Will Youatt (bass, 1972-73), Tweke Lewis (guitar, keyboards, 1973), Ken Whaley (bass, 1974-75), Malcolm Morley (keyboards, guitar, 1974), John McKenzie (guitar, 1975-76)
Man evolved from harmony–beatsters The Bystanders, formed in 1962 Merthyr Tydfil. The founding instrumental core comprised guitarist–singer Micky Jones, drummer Jeff Jones (no relation), bassist Ray Williams, and keyboardist–singer Clive John. Their original frontman, Gerry Braden, was replaced early by Vic Oakley. (Braden later found fame as comedian Owen Money.) They gigged the Welsh club circuit for six years and issued eight singles between 1965 and 1968, starting with “That’s the End” (b/w “This Time”) on one-press Pylot Records.
In 1966/67, The Bystanders issued five singles on Piccadilly, including “98.6” (made famous by American singer Keith) and the psych-tinged “Pattern People” and “Royal Blue Sunshine Day.” Most of these sides were produced by Sounds Orchestral co-founder John Schroeder, who also produced singles for Glass Menagerie, Scrugg, and the (pre-Status Quo) Spectres. Two further Bystanders singles appeared on Pye in 1968: the Ronnie Scott / Marty Wilde-penned “When Jezamine Goes” (b/w “Cave of Clear Light”) — the a-side covered as “Jezamine” that year by The Casuals — and “This World Is My World” (b/w “Painting the Time”).
In November 1968, Oakley cleared way for singer–guitarist Deke Leonard, recently of unsigned psychsters Dream. Earlier, Leonard headed Welsh beatsters The Corncrackers and replaced Oakley a first time in local rivals The Blackjacks. With this move, The Bystanders became Man and signed to Pye Records. They premiered live as Man with December 2–4 shows at the Langland Hotel in Swansea.
Man debuted with the album Revelation, released in January 1969 on Pye. Leonard composed the side openers “And in the Beginning…..” and “Blind Man,” plus “Love” and the album-closer “The Future Hides Its Face.” Jones contributed “Puella! Puella! (Woman! Woman!),” “And Castles Rise in Children’s Eyes,” and “Don’t Just Stand There (Come in Out of the Rain).” Clive co-wrote songs with Leonard (“Sudden Life”) and Williams (“Empty Room”). Side one wraps with the group-written “Erotica,” a psych jam with female orgasmic moans.
Sessions took place at Langland Hotel, Swansea, and Pye Studios, London, during December 1968 with Schroeder and engineer John Kongos. , a tech hand for Status Quo who also worked on the 1969 release Confusions About a Goldfish by South African expat
Man released their second album, 2 Ozs of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle, in September 1969 on Pye-subsidiary Dawn (UK, Israel) and Pye itself (New Zealand). Side one contains two lengthy numbers: the Micky–Leonard “Prelude–The Storm” (12:18) and the John–Williams “It Is As It Must Be” (8:27). John co-wrote “Spunk Box” with Mick Jones, who collaborated with Leonard on two further numbers: “My Name Is Jesus Smith” and “Brother Arnold’s Red and White Striped Tent.” Leonard himself wrote the interlude “Parchment and Candles,” which features one ‘Plug’ on drums.
Schroeder produced the album at Pye Studios with and fellow engineers
Can, Damnation of Adam Blessing, Groundhogs, Krokodil, Sugarloaf, and War. appears on the UA two-record comp All Good Clean Fun (UK, NL, NZ) along with select acts from the German comp, plus Cochise, Colin Scot, Gypsy, Help Yourself, and If. ,
In July 1971, Man played five straight nights in Switzerland. On September 22, they played the Oldfield Tavern in Greenford, England, with support from Gravy Train. Meanwhile, Clive John sat in on rustic-rockers Home for their debut album Pause for a Hoarse Horse, released that August on CBS.
Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?
Man released their fourth album, Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?, in November 1971 on United Artists. It features three group-written songs per side, including “All Good Clean Fun,” “Manillo,” and the lengthy side two bookends “Many Are Called but Few Get Up” and “Love Your Life.”
Sessions took place during September 1971 at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales. Man self-produced the album with engineer
“C’mon” (11:03), “Keep on Crinting” (8:18), “Bananas” (9:28), and “Life on the Road” (7:14).
Byzantium and 1972 titles by Joan Armatrading, Keef Hartley Band, Nazareth, and Savoy Brown.was co-produced by Man and Dave Edmunds, who plays steel guitar on “C’mon.” The four numbers were group-written, though is omitted from the writing credits due to a publishing dispute. The album was mixed by Roy Thomas Baker, who also engineered
Kirsty MacColl. Man recorded their eighth studio album as a quartet.
Man released their second album of 1974, Slow Motion, five months after Rhinos in October. It’s their eighth studio album, their ninth album overall (in the span of five years and nine months), and their tenth LP (since Back Into the Future was a double-album). Slow Motion features eight originals credited to Jones, Leonard, Whaley, and Williams, including “Rainbow Eyes,” “Bedtime Bone,” “Grasshopper,” “Hard Way to Die,” and “One More Chance.”
Man co-produced Slow Motion with Anton Matthews at Rockfield during July–September 1974. “Grasshopper” features strings by the . Violinist (Shortwaveband, The Korgis) plays on “Rainbow Eyes.” Saxophonist Chris Mercer (Keef Hartley, Locomotive, Nektar, Gonzalez) appears on “Rock and Roll You Out.” Additional guests include harpist (Anton’s brother) and singer , who engineered the album.
Slow Motion features cover art by illustrator Rick Griffin (Cold Blood, Linn County, The Section). It shows a shirtless subject holding a fish; oily water splashing everywhere. Later reissues reveal the subject as MAD magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman, whose face was cut from the original cover at the demand of Warner Communications, the magazine’s owner. Despite this, Slow Motion presents the Man nameplate in a font reminiscent of the MAD logo. Griffin also did cover visuals for the two Neutrons albums.
Man toured the UK and Europe between May and October 1974. That summer, they played the Buxton Festival at Booth Farm near Buxton, Derbyshire. Along with Lindisfarne and Mott the Hoople, Man co-headlined day one of the July 5–6 event, which also featured sets by Faces, Humble Pie, Horslips, Streetwalkers, Strider, Trapeze, and Wally. Several acts slated to appear (Badger, Captain Beefheart, Greenslade, JSD Band, New York Dolls) were no-shows.
1975: Maximum Darkness
On January 10, 1975, Man performed two songs (“Day and Night,” “Many Are Called but Few Get Up”) for a segment of the BBC music program The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Man played Massey Hall, Toronto, on February 25, and were billed for a US tour with REO Speedwagon, but this collapsed. A second planned stateside jaunt with REO and Blue Öyster Cult also folded when Micky Jones caught pneumonia. An exasperated Whaley quit Man and returned to the UK. Martin Ace flew out to serve as their stand-in bassist.
Man’s US shows were limited to California, where they played April two-night stands at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, and The Keystone, Berkeley. Promoter Bill Graham liked their act and invited them for a second two-night Winterland engagement, which they honored with American guitarist John Cipollina, formerly of Quicksilver Messenger Service and Copperhead.
The lineup of Jones, Leonard, Williams, and Ace flew back to the UK with Cipollina in tow for a string of May 1975 dates in Scotland and Northern England. They played three straight nights (24–26) at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm.
In September 1975, the Roundhouse show from the 26th was released by UA as Maximum Darkness, a 50-minute set comprised of five songs. It was their third live album and their second to be readily available (after the second record of Back Into the Future.) Side one features Led Zeppelin. Side two features lengthy renditions of “Many Are Called But Few Get Up” (13:40) and “Bananas” (11:20). and covers of Buffy St. Marie (“Codine”) and the standard “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” written by folk singer Anne Bredon and popularized by
Rumors spread that Cipollina was out-of-tune at the Roundhouse show, forcing Jones to wipe and overdub guitar parts for commercial release. In truth, this only happened on “Bananas,” which UA issued as a two-part single.
Later in 1975, Ace cleared out for bassist John McKenzie (Global Village Trucking Co) and Phil Ryan rejoined on keyboards.
Man left United Artists and signed a three-album deal with MCA. In December, they entered Olympic Studios to work on their first album under the contract.
1976: Welsh Connection
Man released Welsh-Connection in March 1976 on MCA. It was their ninth studio album and their eleventh overall. Leonard wrote the opener, “The Ride and the View,” and co-wrote “Car Toon” with Ryan, who contributed “Something is Happening” and co-wrote the title track with Jones. All three joint-wrote the closing track, “Born with a Future.” McKenzie submitted one number, “Love Can Find a Way.” All tracks are in the 5–7-minute range apart from Leonard’s warbly “Out of Your Head.”
Man recorded and self-produced the album over the winter months with engineer Doug Bennett, who also worked on 1975/76 albums by A Band Called “O”, Armageddon, Dr. Feelgood, and Moonrider. Welsh-Connection features guest vocalists on “Out of Your Head” ( , ) and “Car Toon” ( ). Caromay Dixon, a backing vocalist on the two Neutrons albums, sings on “Something Is Happening,” which also features Pete Brown on African talking drum. is also credited as tape operator and “Fairweather Taxidermist.”
American artist Joe Petagno illustrated the Welsh-Connection cover: a profile of the five members (reflected on lighted columns) pointing guns at the viewer. Three bullet holes mark their shots. Between the columns, panels of cracked glass reflect desolate, foggy winter trees.
MCA issued “Out of Your Head” as a single, backed with Leonard’s non-album “(I’m a) Love-Taker.” Welsh-Connection reached No. 40 on the UK Albums Chart.
Final Months, All’s Well That Ends Well
Man played four French gigs in February 1976, followed by dates across the UK through mid-April. Two months later, they did another European sprint with back-to-back appearances at the June 6 Sunrise Festival (Messegelände, Offenburg, with Bob Marley and Van Der Graaf Generator) and the June 7 Philipshalle Festival (Düsseldorf, with Procol Harum). Both events also featured sets by The Kinks, War, and Wishbone Ash.
In late July, Man commenced ten straight shows in California, where tensions arose. During a September tour of Finland, Ryan and McKenzie announced their intentions to leave the band. With the deflection of band manager Barrie Marshall, Man decided to call it a day.
Man played their final shows in December 1976 with a three-night stand at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm (10–12), followed by shows at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, Harrogate’s Royal Hall, and a final show on the 16th at the Fulcrum Theatre in Slough.
Despite the band being contracted for two more albums, MCA called it good with All’s Well That Ends Well, a live album taken from the final Roundhouse shows. It features seven tracks, including the recent “The Ride and the View,” “Born with a Future,” and “The Welsh Connection,” plus “Hard Way to Live” and the Louis Jordan blues classic “Let the Good Times Roll.” The album wraps with uncharacteristically short versions of “Spunk Rock” (8:31) and “Romain” (4:58).
MCA released All’s Well That Ends Well in November 1977, eleven months after Man’s final shows. The album, which only appeared in the UK and Germany, is housed in a gatefold sleeve with a hand-written Man Family Tree on the inner-gates. The tree charts their thirteen different lineups between Revelation and the 1976 tour.
Deke Leonard sang backing vocals on “Y Me? (The Last Stroll),” the title track of the 1980 fourth album by American West Coast rocker Walter Egan. In 1981, Leonard made his third solo album, Before Your Very Eyes, on UA with producer Martin Rushent (The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, Generation X, 999, Altered Images, The Human League). He then teamed with Ducks Deluxe alumni in The Force, which issued a self-titled album in 1982 on small-press Zilch. Williams and Ace appear on one track.
Terry Williams partook in the ad hoc studio group The Fabulous Mutations along with Stranglers bassist JJ Burnel and Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson. They backed French punk singer Celia Gollin on “You Better Believe Me,” her second of two 1977 a-sides on UA. Williams joined Rockpile and played on 1977–82 solo albums by bandmates Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe, as well as contemporary titles by Rockpile-associate Mickey Jupp and Lowe’s then-wife, American country singer Carlene Carter.
Williams reteamed with Ace on Tenement Steps, the 1980 third album by The Motors. In 1982, Williams replaced drummer Pick Withers in Dire Straits. He played on their 1983 EP ExtendeDancEPlay, their 1984 live double-album Alchemy, and the 1985–86 tour behind their fifth studio album Brothers In Arms. However, he was deputized on the album by jazz drummer Omar Hakim.
In 1983, Micky Jones reassembled Man with Leonard, Ace, and John “Pugwash” Weathers. They cut an album in Germany but had a fallout with producer Klaus Schulze. Two songs surfaced on the 1984 single “What a Night,” a Leonard number backed with Jones’ “Last Birthday Party,” released only in Germany on Rock On Records. The reformed group’s only album release from this period was Friday 13th, taken from a June 1983 show at the Marquee and comprised of old material. In 1992, Man released The Twang Dynasty, their tenth studio album (eleventh recorded) on Voiceprint.
Jones died in March 2010 from a brain tumor at age 63.
- Revelation (1969)
- 2 Ozs of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle (1969)
- Man (1971)
- Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In? (1971)
- Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day (1972)
- Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics (1974)
- Slow Motion (1974)
- Welsh-Connection (1976)
- Live at the Padget Rooms Penarth (1972)
- Back Into the Future (1973)
- Maximum Darkness (1975)
- All’s Well That Ends Well (1977)
- Discogs: Man
- The Marquee Club: 1969
- Concerts Wiki: Man
- Welsh Albums (page 2)
- 45cat: Man
- 45worlds: Man
- John Peel Wiki: Man
- UK Rock Festivals: Buxton ’74
George-Edwards were an American art-pop duo from Detroit that self-pressed the album 38:38 in 197...
Hot was an American soul-pop vocal trio from Los Angeles. Members: Gwen Owens, Cathy Carson, Ju...
The Damned is an English punk-rock/psych band from London that released two albums on Stiff Record...
Serge Locat (born Dec. 22, 1950) is a Québécois keyboardist and composer who played in the band Ha...
The Glass House was an American soul group from Detroit. Members: Scherrie Payne (vocals), Larr...