|Studio album by Manfred Mann|
|Released||28 June 1968|
|Manfred Mann chronology|
|Rolling Stone||(moderate) |
Mighty Garvey! is an album released in 1968 by Manfred Mann. It was the second and last recorded by the band (not including compilations and the soundtrack album to the film Up The Junction) after the change of direction and personnel of the previous As Is. It continued a transition away from jazz and blues and towards self-composed art-pop. Despite including two UK 'Top 5' hit singles (Bob Dylan's "Mighty Quinn" and Tony Hazzard's "Ha! Ha! Said The Clown"), the album did not chart and the band split up the year after.
The group's continued pop success with material by established songwriters such as Dylan and Hazzard made its handlers averse to the risk of releasing self-written singles, a state of affairs that had prevailed ever since the success of "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", even though the group's first hits had been self-composed, at least one example of drummer Mike Hugg's new-found productivity had been seen as potentially chart-worthy and singer Mike d'Abo was able to provide other artists with hits such as "Build Me Up Buttercup" and "Handbags and Gladrags". The resultant pop image did not encourage album sales to "serious" listeners, particularly when trends were turning from baroque pop to hard rock. So, like contemporary releases by The Kinks and The Zombies, Mighty Garvey became a record esteemed more in retrospect than at the time. It was later re-issued in 2003, with bonus tracks.
The group's commercial compromises also led to "self-knocking", and its recordings developed an ironic distance that on Mighty Garvey sometimes invites comparison with The Kinks, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, Frank Zappa or The Bonzo Dog Band. Even on Hugg's intricate and sentimental "Harry the One Man Band" the vocal track finally dissolves into schoolboy mirth and silly noises. The three different versions of d'Abo's song "Happy Families", credited as; (Track 1) Performed by Eddie 'Fingers' Garvey, (Track 6) Performed by Ed Garvey and The Trio and (Track 14) Performed by Edwin O'Garvey and His Showband, are outright parodies of "the pompous big rock band style, the sleazy lounge jazz style, and then the semi-drunk family entertainment "country-shape Christmas" style" that appropriate and poke fun at the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band concept ("Edwin Garvey" being an invented character introduced on the similarly flippant flip side of "Mighty Quinn").
These three parodies and two hit singles take up over a third of a relatively short L.P. and of the remainder, d'Abo's "Country Dancing" and "The Vicar's Daughter" are likewise somewhat arch, besides strengthening an impression of "chameleonism" and lack of sincere direction. "Big Betty" is also non-original, a treatment of Huddie Ledbetter's song "Black Betty" in a manner reminiscent of The Spencer Davis Group's hits, providing the only real point of contact with the band's rhythm and blues past. Yet this still leaves a core of worthwhile, intelligent and melodic songs, also by Hugg and d'Abo apart from "Cubist Town", written by guitarist Tom McGuinness in a one-off collaboration. The group made full use of the new possibilities of multi-tracking, overlaying complex and inventive textures of flutes, keyboards and vibraphones, while the group's backing vocals, originally limited to a tribal unison, began to take on an almost Pet Sounds complexity.
- Side one
- "Happy Families" – 2:18 (Mike D'Abo)
- "No Better, No Worse" – 3:02 (D'Abo)
- "Every Day Another Hair Turns Grey" – 2:54 (Mike Hugg)
- "Country Dancing" – 2:53 (D'Abo)
- "It's So Easy Falling" – 3:20 (Hugg)
- "Happy Families" – 2:09 (D'Abo)
- "Mighty Quinn" – 2:52 (Bob Dylan)
- Side two
- "Big Betty" – 3:06 (Huddie Ledbetter)
- "The Vicar's Daughter" – 2:18 (D'Abo)
- "Each and Every Day" – 2:47 (Hugg)
- "Cubist Town" – 3:21 (Tom McGuinness)
- "Ha! Ha! Said the Clown" – 2:27 (Tony Hazzard)
- "Harry the One-Man Band" – 3:11 (Hugg)
- "Happy Families" – 2:16 (D'Abo)
- Mike Hugg – drums and percussion
- Manfred Mann – keyboards, backing vocals
- Mike d'Abo – lead vocals
- Klaus Voormann – bass, woodwind
- Tom McGuinness – guitar, backing vocals
- Pomeroy, James (July 5, 1968). "The Mighty Quinn". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- Sleeve notes, What a Mann!, Fontana Records compilation, Fontana SFL 13003. Released 28 June 1968
- See, for example, the critical review at http://starling.rinet.ru/music/mann.htm
- "As Is (Manfred Mann) - Resources on RateItAll". Rateitall.com. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- Sleeve note, As Is, Fontana TL/STL 5377. Released 21 October 1966
- "Manfred Mann". Starling.rinet.ru. Retrieved 2012-03-01.