but that don’t make him no hero…

Things I discovered today:

This is veratrum virile aiton or the green false hellebore. It’s a highly toxic plant that was used by some native tribes in the area as a way of choosing their next leader. All of the candidates would eat the root and the last to vomit was the new leader. It’s growing in the woods.

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It seems that this is as good a way of choosing a leader as any, as it requires you to be able to stomach the unstomachable for the longest. This seems to be a necessary attribute for the successful robber baron, president or PM.

The other thing I learned was that working from home is not as easy as I always thought it would be, add a pandemic on top and it gets harder. It’s hard work all those conference calls and video meetings. I almost wish that this had hit before 2005 and the advent of the smart phone so we could have had the excuse just to curl up and let the whole thing ride out. I also realized that I do not have a notebook here.

We seem to have hit some normalcy in all this, somehow. Or it is becoming normal to be engaged in the abnormal. I am not sure which is more concerning.

Into all this mayhem Rhyll’s finest The Alarm threw themselves at my subconscious and then my conscious mind as I fished out Electric Folklore. I could go on about the U2 like pomp and circumstance and earnestness, however Mike Peters may have one of the biggest and best smiles in all of Rock History. Big chords big singalong choruses, it’s all you really need at these times when an uplifting tune can make the day better. Also Spirit of 76 sone of the best songs about meeting your mates on Matthew Street ever written is on side 2.

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Another thing I earned today, while playing with the toy animals is that we have more toy Rhinoceroses than any other plastic toy animal. This is fascinating and as I sat listening to The Alarm it occurred to me that the beautiful valleys of Wales and Rhinoceroses can only lead to one thing.

Namely, rhinos winos and lunatics by the great lost dual guitar heroes of Man. Deke is back and Micky Jones sounds happy again.

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There really is nothing in this world better than the groove that Man can achieve when IMG_3124.JPGthey are in the zone and much of this album is in that zone. Probably helped along by the sustenance pictured on the cover. Side 2. particularly hits a groove, electric pianos, harmonies and guitars, what more can a groover ask for.

This is the year they took off on the 1999 Party Tour with Hawkwind. As a teenager Man, Hawkwind and Gong were the holy trinity of music, this may still be true in some ways.

Thanks to Lynda who may have messed up the sleeve but she really managed to look after the vinyl itself. This is not something that is common with Man albums found in the wild as they appear to have been something of a party going record.

Lynda was also somewhat out of focus it seems, I did my best but the chemicals got the better of me. All I cans say is bless you Lynda for not letting the partygoers roll things on the actual album, only the sleeve. I almost never bought this the sleeve is so dodgy but I really like this album so it was worth the risk.

I like to eat bananas ’cause they got no bones…

The mythology of rock’n’roll seldom recognizes the importance of the Welsh to the art form. Not only did the Welsh provide the world with the important parts of Stonehenge and because of this  a lifetime of free festivals and back to the stones moments, they also gave us Bill Graham’s favorite band that was not the Grateful Dead or some other band from San francisco.

Sometime in the dim and distant 70’s a Welsh band played the Filmore and so impressed the diminutive music mogul he paid them a bonus, an unheard of thing, and introduced them to John Cippolina, the guitar maestro from Quicksilver Messenger Service. Immediately a connection was born around volume, guitars and jamming, and drugs of course there was drugs.

This heady brew led to one of the great live albums in Maximum Darkness which is a jam packed joy of guitaring and singing about bananas, guitars and drugs. Three guitars, bass and drums all turned to 11 and rocking out for that true West Coast meets South Wales sound. It’s also got one of the best record sleeves ever.

For years the rumor circulated that Cippolina’s guitar had been overdubbed by Mickey Jones but none other than the great Deke Leonard has reassured us that everything that sounds like Cippolina is Cippolina and that’s all I or anyone else should need.

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Come on boy do something…

The best double guitar band from Wales bar none, Man. The best San Francisco Band from Wales as well, the most confusing band from Wales with a family jungle, not tree.

Be Good To Yourself At Least Twice A Day hails from the time of extravagant album sleeves and contains no tracks less than 7 minutes and chugs along in an amiable West Coast way. The band never decide if they are progressive, blues or straight up rock which only adds to the confused charm. This is what happens if the band eat too many bananas and then Crint their way through the night.

I have no idea now what this album is about and never have in the thirty years plus I have been listening to it. since the fateful day it was handed to me by a grinning Galvin. Who said with a knowing smile, “figure this out Man.” According to the sleeve western civilization was begin in Wales which is actually an island to the west of England.

All of this makes complete sense when listening to the album. Almost as clearly as the first time I listened to it. Falling somewhere between the Grateful Dead and Hawkwind they have been part of my musical soundtrack for a long time and are always rewarding.

They do also have one of the all time greatest album covers that folds out origami style to a map of Wales with the Man version of Welsh history. Sometimes you have to wonder how the youth of today get by without this type of thing.

Man plowed  a strange furrow with Hawkwind and Gong and Brinsley Schwartz throughout the seventies, this album was produced along with Dave Edmunds and has no Deke Leonard on slide but has always been my favourite simply because the tracks stretch out without ever becoming boring or noodley.

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You just can’t get that fun with a CD or mp3 download. You have to think that Hipgnosis or Roger Dean, Barney Bubbles et al. would never have survived if they had begum life in age of the CD . Anyway the album is a thing of beauty and I am really glad I stopped off at Every Day music on the way home from the beach even if the staff are a little annoying and sneered at my other purchases. The outer sleeve is a little worn but the amazing fold out is awesome.