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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maximum Man
Around the time of the release of this fine album, I remember going into Virgin records little shop in Birmingham and browsing through the vinyls. I cam across the section labelled MAN. One of the shop assistants had hand written "the best band in the land" under the artist name. This intrigued me so I browsed the many albums which seemed to fill that section. Maximum...
Published on 18 May 2008 by Dale Michelsohn

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readers, I was there.....
I went down to the Roundhouse that long ago night, if I remember correctly Barry Melton (of Country Joe & the Fish) opened for Man with J Cippolina ( who was definitely a 'special guest' rather than a potential permanent member), I remember the live sound as being unbalanced , I could not hear Cippolina very well and assume that any overdubs that Micky Jones might have...
Published on 6 Feb 2010 by Mr. David M. Mc Michael


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maximum Man, 18 May 2008
By 
This review is from: Maximum Darkness ~ Remastered + bonus tracks (Audio CD)
Around the time of the release of this fine album, I remember going into Virgin records little shop in Birmingham and browsing through the vinyls. I cam across the section labelled MAN. One of the shop assistants had hand written "the best band in the land" under the artist name. This intrigued me so I browsed the many albums which seemed to fill that section. Maximum Darkness jumped out at me with the wonderful guitar cover and the title. I took a chance and bought it.
It's a mind blowing live album and is the pinnacle of Man's career as a live touring outfit which suited them better than in the studio. I saw Man perform 3 times over the years.
If you are not familiar with Man and want to chance it, then buy this cd. Maybe you will say' the best band in the land' too?
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great live Rock'n'Roll, 16 Jun 2000
By 
John Peter O'connor - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Maximum Darkness (Audio CD)
In the seventies, Man seemed to be on a mission to go through as many line ups as they released albums. While they didn't quite acieve that, this live album sees the unique combination of a set of established band members with a special appearance from the late John Cipollina best known as a member of "Quicksilver Messenger Service".
One interesting aspect of this was that Man went from being a band with two lead guitarists to being one with three. Still they managed this without total disintegration though this album does not really give a full impression of the live line up. It was subject to a lot more post concert studio work than most live albums.
The CD kicks off with a Deke Leonard number 7171-551 which, as is normal for his compositions, it is at the harder end of the spectrum of Man's music. I think that this is the highlight of the album, everthing is really tight and together. This is followed by a couple of non-Man songs which were introduced by Cipollina. The first, Codine is a powerful song anyway and the band do a particularly good job on their version. This is followed by "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" which is OK but sounds some way from the Man that I like.
The last two songs, "Many are Called, but Few Get up." and "Bananas" are well established in the Man live set. The version here of the first of these is not my favourite. It is not so well focussed as the one on the "Padget Rooms" CD. However, I really like the version of "Bananas" here.
All in all, I think that the 1999 party tour is a better live albun than this but it still has a lot of great songs.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Presentation; Radiant Music, 25 Aug 2008
By 
Steve Keen "therealus" (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Maximum Darkness ~ Remastered + bonus tracks (Audio CD)
As a studio band, I never considered Man to be anything out of the ordinary, and generally don't play their studio albums any more. As a live act, they were almost unsurpassed, certainly in the days I was getting to see them regularly.

Some of their gigs were legendary: some like Greasy Truckers and Padget Rooms have recently been reissued in their almost complete glory - even those who do not like digital reproduction will have to admit that it at least gives the ability to release entire two hour concertsworth of music where on vinyl it was only feasible to get about forty to eighty minutes out, if that.

Other legendary gigs are of the "You had to be there" variety; one, possibly apocryphal tale had the band handing round a joint on stage when suddenly the lights went on and the police and their dogs streamed into the hall, only to find that the object of their labours had mysteriously disappeared.

One I would definitely have loved to be at was the one at Chalk Farm, captured on this particular recording, in May 1975. This is partly because I had heard the stories of how Cipollina's contribution had been so bad that it had to be rerecorded by Micky Jones, so I would have liked to know for myself how true that was.

Despite the edits, for many years the original was my favourite Man album, rough, rambling and rocking, so when the reissues started I began to buy them up (well, the live ones anyway), all the time hoping that Maximum Darkness would come along soon.

Finally, here it is!

I'm guessing that most readers of this review will be familiar with the original recording, so to those I'd just advise no additional expectations of the first five tracks. How do you surpass perfection? For the rest of you, see comments above.

The additional tracks, C'mon and Romain, are taken from an earlier gig, performed in April 1975 in Berkeley, though still with Cipollina. The first of these is long at nearly 25 minutes, the sound of the instruments is somewhat soupy and the vocals sound like the singers were stood well back from the mics. Nevertheless, it's a great version, lively in the right places, spacey (a bit like Pink Floyd's Saucerful Of Secrets) in the others, but different in many ways from the version I'm most familiar with on Back Into The Future (no Gwalia Male Voice Choir, for starters). Romain is just five minutes, and unlike the version on the Padget Rooms CD there's no extended noodling at the end: it just sounds like they ran out of time and came to an almost abrupt end.

Verdict? Generally mixed feelings.

Disappointing that Esoteric were unable, unwilling or just didn't think of releasing the unimproved originals as a bonus CD. A shame the sound is so poor on C'mon and that Romain is so short. I'd have liked some additional liner notes to tell me who was playing keyboards on the Berkeley date. And just to be niggly and obsessive, why not put the songs on the CD in chronological order, so the bonus tracks come first?

But none of this detracts from the greatness of the original, and it's nice to have some additional live material, especially C'mon.

Scoring: Man 6; Esoteric -2, hence four stars.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Other Live Album, 17 Jan 2007
This review is from: Maximum Darkness (Audio CD)
At the time this was seen by many as the live Man album for those of us who were not quick enough to get Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth, which was a very limited edition LP that sold out very quickly. That album is now, thankfully, available of CD (ASIN: B000024VH5) and is the cooler of the two to have but this, I think is the better album and represents some of the best aspects of this ever changing band. There are excellent versions of 7171 551 and the version of Many Are Called... here is better

I do have very fond memories of both this and the Padget Rooms album as my brother had that album and I later got this one. It is a shame that this band is not more widely appreciated
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readers, I was there....., 6 Feb 2010
I went down to the Roundhouse that long ago night, if I remember correctly Barry Melton (of Country Joe & the Fish) opened for Man with J Cippolina ( who was definitely a 'special guest' rather than a potential permanent member), I remember the live sound as being unbalanced , I could not hear Cippolina very well and assume that any overdubs that Micky Jones might have applied were not because of Cippolina's inadequacy as a guitarist but because everyone else had their amps turned up higher. The gig continued long after the tube had stopped for the night and me and my mate tried hitched a lift back to Wembley in a Rolls Royce. I can't remember if I 'phoned in sick the next morning.
There are better Man albums than this and better Q. M. S. recordings available but as my interest relates to my personal history I bought it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars maximum darkness, 8 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Maximum Darkness ~ Remastered + bonus tracks (Audio CD)
a good live album from man. i still prefer "all's well that ends well" though.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only Good Memories, 14 Feb 2007
By 
M. Darke "darkem" (Oman, Middle East) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Maximum Darkness (Audio CD)
I saw Man at many places - Cardiff Castle in the rain, Strand Theatre, Universities shows, and several in between. In some ways the Roundhouse was always like a home and its a place of many great memories. Ian Dury was another - were they called Kendell and the High Rise?, Dr Feelgood. But Man were Welsh and sounded Californian, and made the Roundhouse their home too.

The album is like most live albums. Cherished by those who were there and the weaknesses amplified by those who were not. The unlucky ones that is....at least for this show
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