Man

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-improvs 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.

Man spawned two spinoff groups: Deke Leonard’s Iceberg and The Neutrons. In 1983, Jones and Leonard reformed Man.

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)


Background

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.


1969: Revelation

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 Alan Florence, a tech hand for Status Quo who also worked on the 1969 release Confusions About a Goldfish by South African expat John Kongos. Malcolm Eade, a participant in Schroeder’s Sounds Orchestral projects, is credited here with sound effects.

Revelation came in a single sleeve with a nude steam-room group pic (front) and a b&w photo collage (back). In the US, the album appeared on Philips with a blue silhouetted hand on the cover. Philips named the group Manpower on this release — and the accompanying US 7″ “Please Love Me (Erotica)” — to avoid confusion with an American band named Man that released an eponymous 1969 album on Columbia.

Pye paired “Sudden Life” and “Love” as a single. In France, “Erotica” was issued as “Lerotican.” During the first eight months of 1969, Man gigged the Welsh and English club circuit and made two stops in the Netherlands, where they appeared on Dutch TV.


Two Ozs of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle

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 Florence and fellow engineers Brian Humphries (The Kinks, Nirvana, Traffic) and Howard Barrow (Blonde On Blonde, Fleetwood Mac, Killing Floor). Leonard — who handled harp, piano, harpsichord, and percussion on this release in addition to guitar and vocals — left as sessions wrapped. Man replaced him with multi-instrumentalist Martin Ace, a prior bandmate of Leonard in Dream.

2 Ozs of Plastic sports a laminated, optical illusion gatefold cover (pantone and black stripes) with face-painted close-up pics of each member. The inner-spread is a causal b&w lawn photo of the group, overlaid with assorted live and vintage pics.

“Spunk Box” and “It Is As It Must Be,” along with the earlier “Sudden Life,” appear on Progressive Music, a 1969 German Mode Serie comp with cuts by Arcadium, Blonde On Blonde, Pesky Gee! (pre-Black Widow), Velvett Fogg, Writing On the Wall, and Woody Kern.

Man toured the UK during the second half of 1969 and rose their profile with dates at London’s Marquee Club supporting Renaissance (8/11/69), Taste (9/5/69), and Yes (12/26/69).


1970: Lineup Change

While under contract with Pye, Man cut three weekly demo sessions for Leeds music. Their boogie-rock arrangement of “Down the Dustpipe,” by Australian songwriter Carl Groszmann (Tin Tin), was adopted by Status Quo for a 1970 single.

2 Ozs of Plastic caught on in Germany, where Man opened for Chicago and padded their repertoire with lengthy, semi-improvised jams. This helped Man fill the 4–5-hour nightly slots that were typically demanded of live acts in Europe at the time. After a brief imprisonment in Belgium on drug charges, they returned to the UK, where Man fired its rhythm section. Leonard rejoined, Ace switched to bass, and the band hired a third Dream alumnus, drummer Terry Williams. (Drummer Jeff Jones joined Wild Turkey, a Jethro Tull spinoff that made the 1971/72 Chrysalis albums Battle Hymn and Turkey.)

The new lineup made its live debut in October 1970 in Hamburg. The night’s set was later released on the archival live CD To Live for to Die, which features an extended version of “Spunk Box” (13:39), the exclusive jams “Alchemist of the Mind” and “Scholar of Consciousness” (20:00), and the new Ace–Jones number “Would the Christians Wait Five Minutes” (10:19).

Man switched labels to Liberty, a division of United Artists, and recorded their third album during October 1970 at Olympic Studios, London.


1971: Man

Man released their self-titled third album in March 1971 on Liberty (UK, Italy, Germany). It features the recent Ace-Jones number, presented here with the elongated title “Would the Christians Wait Five Minutes? The Lions Are Having a Draw” (12:52). Leonard contributed “Daughter of the Fireplace” and collaborated with Ace on the rustic-tinged “Country Girl.” The album opens with the group-composed “Romain,” about a namesake Belgian police officer who allegedly roughed up Ace during an incident at a music festival. Side two is largely consumed by another group-credited jam, the 20:41 “Alchemist.”

Man was produced by Mel Baister, who also produced Pause for a Hoarse Horse, the 1971 debut by rustic rockers Home. The engineer, George Chkiantz, also worked on 1970–72 albums by Chicken Shack (Imagination Lady), Family (Bandstand), Hawkwind, High Tide (self titled), Led Zeppelin (IV), Quintessence, Slade, Soft Machine, Stone the Crows, and Ten Years After.

Man is housed in a gatefold sleeve with an illustration of a distressed, sinewy nude man on a beach (front) making an apparently hopeless getaway from a giant heat-wielding hand (back) as it melts bodies and coastal buildings into the sand. The inner-spread is a blue and white line drawing of a hirsute wise man (side view), mirrored gate-to-gate.

“Country Girl” appears on the 1971 German Liberty comp Electric Rock 71 (Idee 2000), a two-record set with cuts by Amon Düül II, Brinsley Schwarz, Can, Damnation of Adam Blessing, Groundhogs, Krokodil, Sugarloaf, and War. “Daughter of the Fireplace” 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 Kingsley “Bass Drum” Ward, one of Rockfield’s co-founders (along with brother Chris Ward) who worked with the recently disbanded Welsh power trio Love Sculpture. Ward also engineered 1971 Rockfield recordings by Shape of the Rain and Spring (self titled).

Chkiantz mixed Do You Like It Here Now at Olympic. For this recording, Man borrowed guitars from Dave Edmunds and Badfinger‘s Peter Ham; both are thanked in the album’s credits. The title is a Swansea courtesy phrase said by patron’s of newly successful pub owners. The back cover shows the title’s Welsh translation: Vew Ydd Pel et Nion Ary Byb Bobyn?


1972: Greasy Truckers Party; Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth

In January 1972, a road-worn Clive John quit Man to form his own band, Iowerth Pritchard and the Neutrons. The four-member Man lineup of Micky Jones, Deke Leonard, Martin Ace, and Terry Williams appeared on two live albums that year.

On February 13, Man partook in the Greasy Truckers concert at London’s Roundhouse. (The Greasy Truckers was a loose organization that arranged concert events and used the proceeds for charity.) The Roundhouse event was billed with four headliners (Brinsley Schwarz, Byzantium, Hawkwind, Man) and four minor acts (Black Death & Footmen, Lady June, Magic Michael, Mike Griggs).

The two-record document, Greasy Truckers Party, appeared on United Artists (UK only) on April 28, 1972. Man consume all of side one with a rendition of “Spunk Box” titled “Spunk Rock” (22:00). Side two starts with the Do You Like It Here Now opener “Angel Easy.” The remaining set consists of five Brinsley numbers (sides two and three) and two Hawkwind jams (side four). Due to a power cut, Byzantium were unable to perform.

UA printed 20,000 copies of the album, retailed at £1.50. The album quickly sold out and became a collector’s items. Proceeds went to the construction of a hostel in Notting Hill Gate. (In 1973, Greasy Truckers Live at Dingwalls Dance Hall — featuring Camel, Gong, Henry Cow, and the Global Village Trucking Company — appeared on Virgin-subsidiary Caroline.)

On April 8, Man taped a show at the Paget Rooms, Penarth, a seaside town in South Wales. That summer, Ace left and formed The Flying Aces, a musical combo with his wife Georgina. Shortly after, Man sacked Leonard, who formed Iceberg and made the 1973/74 UA albums Iceberg and Kamikaze, both featuring Ace.

Meanwhile, Clive John rejoined Man with two players from his unrecorded Neutrons: bassist Will Youatt and keyboardist Phil Ryan, formerly of Eyes of Blue and Pete Brown & Piblokto! This five-piece iteration of Man recorded its only studio album in September 1972 at Rockfield.

Also that September, the April 8 show from the prior four-piece lineup was issued by UA as Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth. Side one features extended renditions of a numbers from the past two studio albums: “Many Are Called But Few Get Up” (10:59) and “Daughter of the Fireplace” (7:59). An exclusive improvised jam, “H. Samuel (Jam)” (19:01), consumes side two.

UA pressed 8,000 copies of Padget Rooms, which only became more readily available in 2007 when it was issued on CD with three additional tracks (the full 4/8/72 set), which includes “Romain” (20.36) and the two numbers performed at the Roundhouse concert. This and Greasy Truckers were engineered by Vic Maile, who also worked with Heron, Prelude, Brinsley, and Hawkwind.


Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day

Man released their fifth studio album, Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day, in November 1972 on UA. Comprised of the September Rockfield sessions, it features two lengthy songs per side from the lineup of Jones, John, Ryan, Williams, and Youatt: “C’mon” (11:03), “Keep on Crinting” (8:18), “Bananas” (9:28), and “Life on the Road” (7:14).

Be Good to Yourself was co-produced by Man and Dave Edmunds, who plays steel guitar on “C’mon.” The four numbers were group-written, though Youatt is omitted from the writing credits due to a publishing dispute. The album was mixed by Roy Thomas Baker, who also engineered Byzantium and 1972 titles by Joan Armatrading, Keef Hartley Band, Nazareth, and Savoy Brown.

Be Good to Yourself sports a gatefold sleeve with live pics by Pierre Tubbs, a one-time psych musician (The Owl) who also did visuals for the Groundhogs’ concurrent release Hogwash. The gates unfold to a 2’x2′ cartoon map of Wales designed by one David Anstee. It presents the principality as an island, separated from Great Britain by board-wielding nationalists. The map, crowded with people and place-markers, shows the breeding grounds of assorted Welsh rock acts.

Despite his recent dismissal, Leonard hand-wrote the album’s inner-sleeve: a Man family-tree, which charts the band’s lineup changes and complex relations on the Welsh rock scene up through mid-1972.

Man performed “C’mon” and “Life on the Road” on their first of three Peel sessions, broadcast on September 12, 1972.


Christmas at the Patti

On December 19, Man hosted a Christmas party at the Patti Pavilion, Swansea. The six-hour event featured sets by Help Yourself, Flying Aces, Ducks Deluxe, and two acts regrouped for the occasion: The Jets (a mid-’60s Swansea beat group featuring Leonard, Ace, and Williams) and Plum Crazy (a psych-era Jets follow-through with Ace, Williams, and late-period Love Sculpture guitarist Mickey Gee). Edmunds joined in on the Man and Plum Crazy sets.

The evening’s sets appear on the June 1973 UA release Christmas at the Patti. It opens with the Flying Aces “Welcome to the Party,” their only appearance on record apart from Help Yourself’s long-vaulted Happy Days. The bulk of the album’s playing time goes to Help Yourself (24:00) and Man (11:30). Steel guitarist BJ Cole (Cochise) sat in on the Help Yourself numbers. Man’s set, comprised of “Life on the Road” and an improve titled “Shuffle,” was cut short at midnight by Swansea police. Christmas at the Patti was originally released as a 55-minute set of two 10″ records in a gatefold sleeve with b&w pics from the event.

After the tour for Be Good to Yourself, Clive John made his final exit. He made the 1975 album You Always Know Where You Stand With a Buzzard on UA and reunited with Youatt in the Welsh rock one-off Alkatraz, formed in 1976 by ex-Quicksand guitarist Jimmy Davies.


1973: Back Into the Future

In May 1973, the lineup of Micky Jones, Ryan, Williams, and Youatt commenced work on a new album. Four songs into the project, they added guitarist Alan “Tweke” Lewis, who played on the two Wild Turkey albums with Jeff Jones.

Man’s next release was the double-album Back Into the Future, released in September 1973 on UA. The first record is their sixth studio album, comprised of six group-written numbers by the post-John quartet, which recorded the four songs on side one: “A Night in Dad’s Bag,” “Just for You,” “Don’t Go Away,” and the title track. With Lewis, they recorded side two, comprised of two seven-minute numbers: “Ain’t Their Fight” and “Never Say Nups to Nepalese.”

Sides three and four constitute Man’s second live album, taken from a June 24, 1973, show at the Roundhouse. It features a short interpretation of the Welsh traditional “Sospan Fach” (performed with the Gwalia Male Choir), followed by an extended “C’mon” (19:02). Side four consists of the improvised medley “Jam Up Jelly Tight / Oh No Not Again (Spunk Rock ’73)” (21:04).

The studio sessions took place between May and July at Rockfield, Olympic, and London’s Chipping Norton Studios. Man self-produced the album with UA engineer Anton Matthews, who also worked with several associated acts (Help Yourself, Brinsley Schwarz, Iceberg) and engineered albums by Juicy Lucy, Zakarrias, and assorted post-Gun projects (Three Man Army, Graeme Edge Band, Baker Gurvitz Army).

Maile recorded the live half of Back Into the Future with the Pye Mobile Recording Unit, also used for 1973/74 live albums by Amon Düül II, Caravan, Hawkwind (Space Ritual), and Uriah Heep.

Back Into the Future sports a Victorian-themed gatefold photographed by Ruan O’Lochlainn, the pianist for pub-rockers Bees Make Honey who also captured album visuals for Andy Fraser, Jethro Tull (Benefit), Jericho, Rick Wakeman, Shawn Phillips, and The Stranglers (Black and White). Tubbs designed the inner-gates, which show a desolate, sepia-tinged image of the same train terminal.

Back Into the Future reached No. 23 on the UK Albums Chart despite a vinyl shortage due to the 1973 oil crisis. Man toured the album with Deke Leonard’s Iceberg.

That December, Ryan and Youatt left to reform The Neutrons, which made the 1974/75 UA albums Black Hole Star and Tales From the Blue Cocoons. (This Neutrons lacked Clive John but featured contributions from assorted Welsh talent, including onetime Eyes of Blue drummer John “Pugwash” Weathers, then in Gentle Giant.)

Leonard rejoined Man, which also welcomed two members of the recently disbanded Help Yourself: bassist Ken Whaley and keyboardist Malcolm Morley.


1974: Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics

Man reunited with Roy Thomas Baker for their seventh studio album, Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics, released in May 1974 on UA. Side one features four numbers in the 4–6-minute range, including “Taking the Easy Way Out Again,” “The Thunder and Lightning Kid,” and “Four Day Louise.” Side two contains a song suite comprised of two lengthy numbers — “Kerosene” (6:29) and “Scotch Corner” (9:03) — bookended by a grandiose “Intro/Exit” theme. All numbers are jointly credited to the five current members apart from “California Silks and Satins,” a Leonard–Morley co-write.

Sessions took place at Morgan and Trident Studios in February 1974. Thomas Baker produced Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics between his work on the second and third Queen albums, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack. Rhinos was engineered by Morgan’s Martin Levan (Strawbs, Murray Head, Heavy Metal Kids, Neil Ardley, Colosseum II, Turning Point) and Trident’s Peter Kelsey (Jonathan Kelly, Supercharge, Spiders From Mars, Mallard, City Boy, Cafe Jacques).

The cover of Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics features a soft-border group shot by rock photographer Keith Morris. It shows Man in a cluttered ’70s-style room with Leonard and Whaley seated lotus style on a Persian carpet with drinks and a game board (center); Jones and Williams (holding an issue of Penthouse) seated on a brown leather sofa (right); and Morley seated opposite looking sideways (left). Morris also did photography on Kamikaze as well as 1974 albums by Camel (Mirage), John Cale, Nutz, and Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers.

Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics reached No. 24 on the UK Albums Chart. During March–April 1974, Man promoted the album with their first visit to the states as part of Hawkwind’s 1999 Party tour. American session reedist Jim Horn joined Man on stage during their 3/12/74 show at LA’s Whisky a Go Go.

Their entire Whisky set is included as a bonus disc on a 2007 two-CD reissue of Rhinos. It features five numbers, including lengthy renditions of “Romain” (19:04) and “Bananas” (19:39), plus the exclusive “American Mother” (14:21) and Leonard’s Iceberg number “7171 551” (12:25). The one short track, “A Hard Way to Live” (another Iceberg cut), was also performed at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater (3/26/74, later released as The 1999 Party Tour). The Chicago performance of “A Hard Way” appears on the b-side of the UA 7″ of “Day and Night,” issued in October 1974 (UK, NZ, Europe).

One day before Man reentered the studio in July 1974, Morley jumped ship, later to surface behind Sean Tyla, Ian Gomm, Wreckless Eric, and Kirsty MacColl. Man recorded their eighth studio album as a quartet.


Slow Motion

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 Mountain Fjord Orchestra. Violinist Stuart Gordon (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 James Matthews (Anton’s brother) and singer David Hamilton-Smith, 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 7171 551 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 Led Zeppelin. Side two features lengthy renditions of “Many Are Called But Few Get Up” (13:40) and “Bananas” (11:20).

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.

Maximum Darkness reached No. 25 in the UK Albums Chart. Man did a summer European tour, including a French leg with Hawkwind, Gong, and Magma.

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” (Anton Matthews, Jeffrey ‘I’ve Said It Before’ Hooper) and “Car Toon” (Nigel Brooke-Harte). Caromay Dixon, a backing vocalist on the two Neutrons albums, sings on “Something Is Happening,” which also features Pete Brown on African talking drum. Brooke-Harte 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.


After Man

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.


Reunion

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.


Studio discography:

Live discography:

  • Live at the Padget Rooms Penarth (1972)
  • Back Into the Future (1973)
  • Maximum Darkness (1975)
  • All’s Well That Ends Well (1977)

Sources:

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