The Manfreds Maximum R&B
Special Guests: P.P. Arnold / Zoot Money
The Concert Hall, Poole Lighthouse
Friday 2nd December 2016 19.30
Paul Jones – vocal, harmonica
Mike d’Abo- vocal, keyboards
Tom McGuiness – guitars, mandolin, vocals
Mike Hugg – keyboards, drums
Rob Townsend – drums
Marcus Cliffe – bass guitar, vocals
Simon Currie – saxophones, flute, vocal
P.P. Arnold – vocals
Zoot Money – keyboards, vocal
Showtime: 3 hours (including 20 minute interval)
SET LIST (lead vocals and soloists noted)
The One In The Middle – Paul Jones
Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James – Mike d’Abo
Sha La La – Paul Jones
My Name Is Jack (John Simon) – Mike d’Abo
Piano intro – Mike Hugg
Oh, No, Not My Baby – Paul Jones
Angel of The Morning (Chip Taylor) – P.P. Armold
The First Cut Is The Deepest (Cat Stevens) – P.P. Arnold
It Takes Two (Mickey Stevenson, hit for Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston)- P.P. Arnold & Zoot Money
It Never Rains But It Pours (Zoot Money, Colin Allen for Jimmy Witherspoon)- Zoot Money
Big Time Operator – Zoot Money
5-4-3-2-1 – Paul Jones
Fox On The Run (Tony Hazzard)- Mike d’Abo
Put It Where You Want It (The Crusaders) – Paul Jones / Simon Currie / (Fox Rap) – Mike d’Abo
Smokestack Lightning (Howlin’ Wolf) – Paul Jones
Handbags & Gladrags (Mike d’Abo– hit for Chris Farlowe, Rod Stewart) – Mike d’Abo
Pretty Flamingo – Paul Jones
Bright Side of The Road (Van Morrison) – Mike d’Abo & P.P. Arnold
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye (John D. Loudermilk) – Paul Jones & P.P. Arnold
Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke) – Zoot Money, P.P. Arnold, Mike d’Abo
It Should Have Been Me (Ray Charles) – Zoot Money
Ha Ha Said The Clown (Tony Hazzard) – Mike d’Abo
Piano solo piece – Mike Hugg
Come Tomorrow – Paul Jones
Build Me Up Buttercup (Mike d’Abo- hit for The Foundations) – Mike d’Abo
When I’m Dead & Gone (McGuiness – Flint) – Tom McGuinness
Drum Duet – Mike Hugg & Rob Townsend
The Mighty Quinn (Bob Dylan) – Mike d’Abo
Do Wah Diddy Diddy – Paul Jones
Harmonica solo, into White Christmas / Do Wah Diddy Diddy – Paul Jones
Lean On Me (Bill Withers) – Paul Jones, Mike d’Abo, P.P. Arnold, Zoot Money
If You Gotta Go, Go Now (Bob Dylan) – Paul Jones, Mike d’Abo, P.P. Arnold, Zoot Money
I saw The Manfreds in April this year, just ten miles away at the Regent Centre in Christchurch. The Manfreds is the basic line up, while The Manfreds Maximum R&B adds Mike D’Abo (from Chapter II) and guests.
The combination is magic for me … I did the Toppermost articles on Manfred Mann, P.P. Arnold and Zoot Money quite separately over the years. I would have gone to see any one of the three. ‘But you saw The Manfreds in April!’ said my wife. Yes, well in 1963 I saw Zoot Money every week, with much the same set and I never got tired of it. Manfred Mann has also marked significant musical moments for me, from the dark downstairs Disques A Go Go club in Bournemouth, to their Southern TV series demonstrating what R&B was. I laboured long and hard trying to work out the bass part to Watermelon Man as a teenager. Then Pretty Flamingo was my 1966 girlfriend’s favourite song, and it must have been one of Mike d’Abo’s very first gigs with the band at Hull University in January 1967 where I met my girlfriend of the next four years. I’m told that they thought it was such a poor gig that they refunded part of their fee (a first time and last time any band ever volunteered this, I was also told), but in my memory it shines as a fabulous set. Between Manfred Mann, and then Coulson, Dean, McGuiness, Flint’s Lo & Behold album they turned in my favourite covers of Bob Dylan songs. Everything about the band has good vibes for me.
I also wanted to see the expanded band again. It’s remarkable that the two lead vocalists are up there working so cheerfully together. As recounted in The Toppermost article, HMV (EMI) put all their money on Paul Jones when he left the band for his solo career, and abandoned the rest. They signed with Fontana instead, found Mike d’Abo from Band of Angels and sailed on blithely with even more hits. My main question was how many of my Toppermost tens was I going to hear. Mike d’Abo opens up their later “Chapter II” repertoire (though Paul Jones always does Mighty Quinn on the 6-piece shows). Of course Mike d’Abo would have had to sing the Paul Jones earlier hits onstage in the late 60s. Now they divide it pretty strictly by original lead vocal. I thought both Paul Jones and Tom McGuinness were admirably self-effacing in this expanded show.
It’s a value for money show. The Manfreds, yet another “heritage artist” (see also Paul Simon recently) shows up all those younger bands with their 80 minute contractual obligation sets, by playing for 2 hours 40 minutes plus a 20 minute interval. It was the final date on the Autumn 2016 tour.
A minor surprise was no mention of local hero Zoot Money’s Bournemouth origins. He was in my older sister’s class at primary school, though we Bournemouth lads were afraid to venture far into Poole in the 60s. Odd, Poole is now more salubrious by far in the evenings. In fact while Manfred Mann (working from the Portsmouth area) were playing the sweaty Disques A Go Go in Bournemouth, Zoot Money was headlining at the far larger and more prestigious Pavilion Ballroom, with its sea views.
They certainly know how to bookend the show, with The One In The Middle recast for the current band, and with a lot of humour, then If You Gotta Go is a natural final song to send the audience into the night.
The interesting new element was projection on a large screen behind them throughout. In some bits it was abstract, others like pink flamingos for Pretty Flamingo were illustrative, as were water droplets for Mike Hugg’s sublime piano solo piece. Most unusual, and even mildly disconcerting was old black and white TV footage of them performing the same songs which they were singing now. Sometimes it almost synched, at others it was video footage from the era, like a very good Mighty Quinn promo clip I had never seen before, or P.P. Arnold singing on the German Beat Club (which I’ve seen on YouTube). I did wonder how it feels singing in front of your nearly fifty year younger self on a large screen. In Paul Jones’ case it reinforces his uncanny lack of ageing. I enjoyed seeing the “Manfred” jackets on Do Wah Diddy Diddy. I had one myself at the time, always worn with a polo neck sweater. The swinging London clips were fun.
After The One In The Middle, an EP title track, they switched to Mike d’Abo for Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James (UK #2) … the real strong example of having 1960s Mike d’Abo footage playing right behind Mike d’Abo 2016.
Click. Straight to Paul Jones for lead vocal on Sha La la (UK #3).
My Name Is Jack (UK #8) is the bizarre John Simon track from the You Are What You Eat OST. The projected video is even more bizarre. From the Toppermost article:
Albert Grossman, manager of both Bob Dylan and The Band, liked Manfred Mann so much (they were earning him money) they were invited to see a preview of the Peter Yarrow film You Are What You Eat. McGuinness recalls: We were invited by Albert Grossman to see a screening of the Peter Yarrow film, You Are What You Eat. Which we thought was awful – definitely a period piece. But at the end we said there is one good song. That song was John Simon’s idiosyncratic My Name Is Jack.
On the TV mimed version they look a bit too flowery poppy in Dave Dee mode, but that is the song, and the lyrics are flower power anyway … the Greta Garbo Home for Wayward Boys and Girls was the nickname of the seedy San Francisco hotel where parts of the movie were filmed.
Last time around in April, Paul Jones said that Oh, No Not My Baby was the only one where they broke the rules of making songs recognisable in comparison to the original.Mike Hugg led in with a jazzy solo piano pice, then the song itself was jazzier than the Manfred Mann 1960s recording, or the Maxine Brown original version.
P.P. Arnold (as ever) was my favourite part of the show … in a pink dress in part one and a cream dress in part two. I recalled how Zoot Money always mocked Tony Blackburn (his 1963 support act) for wearing a blue sequin jacket in one set and a gold one in the other. All I can say is the costume changes both looked far better on P.P. Arnold. She did the expected two first, Angel of The Morning and The First Cut Is The Deepest, both great songs, and in both cases she did the definitive versions. Simon Currie played a sax solo direct to P.P. Arnold in First Cut Is The Deepest. As in 2003, she totally eclipses the versions by Sheryl Crow, Rod Stewart and Keith Hampshire.
Angel Of The Morning is a Chip Taylor song. Evie Sands recorded the first version for Cameo-Parkway, only to find the company collapsing around her before it got airplay. Billie Davis covered that version in the UK. Then Merilee Rush picked up on it and got an American hit, before P.P. Arnold did the fourth and greatest version. It was also on her album Kafunta.
P.P. Arnold has a new album as Band of Sisters in preparation. I would have loved to hear more recent songs, like Different Drum or Beautiful Song, but it was not to be.
Beautiful Song: P.P. Arnold, autographed copy from forthcoming “Issues” CD.
P.P. Arnold introduced Zoot Money who duetted with her on Marvin Gaye / Kim Weston’s great It Takes Two. When Zoot was playing keys (mainly with an organ sound), Mike d’Abo stayed on keys too, but Mike Hugg moved to a snare drum and we had a twin drummer sound with Rob Townsend. Mike Hugg played drums and vibes in the original line up.
Zoot continued with It Never Rains But It Pours, written with Big Roll Band drummer Colin Allen for Jimmy Witherspoon. He bemoaned the fact that the Manfreds were playing their non-stop hits through the tour while he had had only the one.
Big Time Operator was that hit, which came next (UK #25, August 1966). He said it was an ode for Donald Trump. In both cases, I’d have liked to bring his vocal mic up a tad. The lyrics are worth it.
A rapid 5-4-3-2-1 switched us back to The Manfreds.
Fox On The Run was introduced by d’Abo as “1967”, an error also on the live double album Live-Four-Three-Two-One, though it’s corrected there. It was December 1968. From Toppermost:
According to Mike D’Abo, it’s Manfred’s favourite record of all their recordings. Tom McGuinness says of Fox On The Run: We changed it around quite a lot. We couldn’t make it work without shifting keys. The Band’s “The Weight” was an especially big influence on us. The “like a fox, like a fox … on the run” lines were meant to sound like “take a load off Fanny – and put the load right on me”. It was written by Tony Hazzard, who had also written Ha! Ha! Said The Clown for them.
The video clip had them running around in 1968, leaping about with a taxidermy fox, as one did in those days. On stage, we had that interesting Paul Jones on harmonica / Simon Currie on sax blend which somehow sounds like a large horn section. They were quoting Put It Where You Want It while Mike d’Abo did what I can only describe as a Fox On The Run Rap.
The first half ended with a full force spectacular version of Smokestack Lightning, a Paul Jones harmonica and Tom McGuinness guitar showcase (with a plug for his Radio Two show). The Howlin’ Wolf song opened their first LP. and I remember them demonstrating it on Southern TV … and then trying to play it. Very good indeed.
After the interval, Handbags and Gladrags started and ran halfway with just Mike d’Abo singing and accompanying himself on beautifully played keyboard, with Paul Jones playing harmonica next to him. The band arrived halfway. Everyone knows it from The Office opening titles … and The Stereophonics, Rod Stewart and Chris Farlowe versions. D’Abo wrote it, and one of Manfred Mann’s biggest errors was in failing to record it for themselves at the time.
Pretty Flamingo (UK #1) is obvious as the first strums of Tom McGuinness’s switch from Stratocaster to acoustic guitar takes place. Toppermost again:
The sound of 1966 for me. A UK #1 too, though less successful elsewhere. It summed up the “pre-1967” growing mood. With The Rolling Stones Paint It Black at the same time, there were John The Baptist hints of the Summer of Love in the song. Her hair glows like the sun and her eyes can light the sky were taken as innocent, though a year later it would have been psych. It came from mainstream commercial songwriter Mark Barkan (so it was innocent), and allegedly it was intended for The Drifters. This was recorded in the era when Jack Bruce was bass guitarist, so is his biggest British single hit.
Van Morrison’s Bright Side of The Road is on the new Manfreds CD, done here as a Mike d’Abo / P.P. Arnold duet. I’m prejudiced having seen Van do it many times. I thought it lacked the indefinable bounce of Van’s band, tough P.P. Arnold’s vocal was very welcome.
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye, a John D. Loudermilk composition was a more successful duet, this time with Paul Jones and P.P. Arnold. It was once a countrified classic with that “country got soul” crossover. Artists as diverse as Andy Williams, The Casinos, Bettye Swan, Glenn Campbell, 5th Dimension and recently Joss Stone have done it. I’d have guessed the Joss Stone from 2012 was the current inspiration. Beautifully taken by both.I had been hoping for It’s Gonna Work Out Fine, as done by Ike & Tina Turner, then covered by Manfred Mann as the duet (as in 2003) but different and unexpected is good.
Zoot Money returned for Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home , regaling us with the account of how he did it as a B side to “Good”, and The Animals picked up on it, did it as an A side and registered a 1965 UK #7 hit with it. Bastards, he added. Then Zoot was a member of Eric Burdon & The New Animals a couple of years later. Zoot, P.P. Arnold and Mike d’Abo took verses on it.
It Should Have Been Me gave us more anecdotes, with references to Big Roll Band guitarist Andy Somers. I’m sure Zoot has expanded the lyrics. Toppermost again:
It Should’ve Been Me sums up Zoot’s career in its title. It really should have been him. This was the point when he should have done as well as Messrs Fame and Price … this one was the title track of the studio album, and it’s one he still does nowadays. The original was Ray Charles’ first chart hit on Atlantic Records. Like Big Time Operator, it’s a semi-comic complaint: It should’ve been me with those real fine chicks! He was doing it back in 1963 too.
The Book of Life … I’ve Read it: Zoot Money, 2016 CD
Ha Ha Said The Clown (UK #4) was another opportunity to catch old video footage. Always a nice song.
It led into Mike Hugg’s Piano Solo piece. Everyone except Rob Townsemd left the stage, and the quality of the innovation reminded me of Garth Hudson. Beautiful piano sound with unusual places to visit in the melody.
Come Tomorrow (UK #4) was always Paul Jones (successful) attempt to match the likes of The Walker Brothers at the time. While it’s no a song I would choose, it really shows how he can still hits the notes. Simon Currie’s soprano sax solo in this was especially memorable.
Build Me Up Buttercup was written by Mike d’Abo for The Foundations (UK #2, late 1968). To be frank, I loathe the tune, mainly because once I hear it I can’t get it out of my head for three days. It’s beyond annoyingly catchy, though I guess that was always the point of it. He sings it well, they singalong with gusto … but if only I could get it out of my ears tonight.
I think we had all been wondering when Tom McGuinness’s post-Manfred Mann career would get an airing. They saved When I’m Dead & Gone till late and put it in this prominent slot … justifiably because it was a bigger hit than either P.P. or Zoot ever racked up … UK #2. We knew it was coming as soon as Tom picked up his mandolin.
The Drum Duet has Rob Townsend on he full kit, Mike Hugg on snare and shared bass tom-tom (he moved into second drummer role when Zoot was onstage too). As one who doesn’t like drum solos, I enjoyed their interplay very much.
The Mighty Quinn (UK #1) is a major singalong, returned to Mike d’Abo. I have to say Paul Jones was self-effacing throughout, staying in the background others sang. See Toppermost for more on how they got this basement song.
Do Wah Diddy Diddy (UK #1) is their REALLY big singalong. See how those number one hits are rolling into this set. It’s a cover of The Exciters, but made UK #1. There’s something about the wide, comfortable and spacious Poole Lighthouse Concert Hall that seems to mute singsongs compared to those smaller more intimate community theatres in Christchurch and Wimborne. I’m sure the audience was as enthusiastic, but the hall is too large to “raise the rafters” with audience participation, so it felt cooler. The band left the stage, and Paul Jones segued into a driving harmonica solo, which morphed into White Christmas (on harmonica) with the audience joining in. Then it was into an incredibly rapid solo harmonica demonstration and back into the original Do Wah Diddy Diddy,
The encores, Bill Withers’ Lean On Me and Bob Dylan’s If You Gotta Go featured all four vocalists. That was kind of expected on a soulful Lean On Me, but a particular delight was P.P. Arnold and Zoot Money taking verses on If You Gotta Go. We failed to get Marcus Cliffe’s bass solo piece tonight, but we did get his excellent bass guitar intro to Lean On Me.
Instant standing ovation.
OVERALL SOUND QUALITY
The Concert Hall at Poole is set up for symphony concerts. It’s large and airy, or cavernous, and doesn’t lend itself well to rock bands nor singsongs (in spite of Paul Jones’ sterling efforts) as well as The Regent, Christchurch or The Tivoli, Wimborne. The sound on isolated solo examples was excellent … Paul Jones’ harmonica, Mike Hugg’s solo piano. Mik d’Abo’s keyboard at the start of Handbags & Gladrags, Zoot Money’s Korg keyboard set to Hammond sound, Simon Currie’s saxes every time, Tom McGuinness’s guitar solos, the drum duet, Marcus Cliffe’s bass run into Lean On Me. BUT when everyone was playing, you couldn’t distinguish instruments with any clarity. It happens in this symphony hall. I’ve heard stellar classical and jazz here, but the acoustic may be too live for amplified rock. They were way clearer than Van Morrison with Linda Gail Lewis, or than Bellowhead, but on the blend, sound was not premier league. very good, but never at Paul Simon / Leonard Cohen levels.
RELATED REVIEWS ON THIS BLOG:
- The Manfreds – 2016 Regent, Christchurch
- The Manfreds 2011 Tivoli Wimborne
- The Manfreds, P.P. Arnold 2003 Bournemouth Pavilion
- Zoot Money Poole Lighthouse 2005
- Sandy Denny Tribute with P.P. Arnold Basingstoke
- Dave Kelly, Maggie Bell, BBQ (with Zoot Money) Tivoli Wimborne
SEE ALSO MY LONGER GENERAL ARTICLES ON MANFRED MANN, P.P. ARNOLD & ZOOT MONEY (with “Top Ten” selections), which may repeat some points