7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Finally - a proper remaster from Esoteric Records,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Welsh Connection (Audio CD)
The Welsh Connection re-introduced Phil Ryan to the line-up (here writing, singing and playing keyboards) and new bass player John McKenzie, who brought a new technical facility to the role. This last studio album of the 1970s often divides fans, with its added ingredients of smooth jazz-rock and a little pop to the usual Manband mix. Bookends The Ride and the View and Born With A Future are the best known tracks but there is plenty of strong material and great performances here, only slightly let down by McKenzie's rather weak Love Can Find A Way.
The remastering is a huge improvement on the appalling 1997 Eagle Records version, which sounded as if it had been mastered from a dodgy vinyl copy. Instruments and vocals sound well-balanced with no distortion on my Mission speakers - the volume just needed a little cranking beyond the usual level to reveal the subtle power behind the intricate production. Now you can hear the late Micky Jones take the Manband out on a real high with his best vocal performance ever on Born With A Future.
The 1976 concert performance included here (from Berkeley Keystone) is stupendous. The Manband were always a world class live act and this outing was no exception. In front of a rather excitable audience, the band play for their lives and the 5 live versions of material from Welsh Connection demonstrate a degree of energy and confidence that could have served them well in the future, had they not decided to break up shortly afterwards. John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service joins the band for the last 4 numbers and makes a probably more significant contribution than on his previous outing with the Manband a year earlier. Although presented in mono, the sound quality is very good with all contributions audible at all times. Terry Williams, in particular, shines on drums.
For this double package, Esoteric have restored the original artwork, the always-essential original Deke Leonard sleevenotes, a new essay by Michael Heatley and B-side I'm A Love Taker. Definitive is probably the word.
Apparently, the 1976 Roundhouse performance, originally released partially as Alls Well That Ends Well, is next up for release. Can't wait!