Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Bread - Manna (1971)

Let your love go....


Released March 1971

It is popularly thought that Bread were a slow, acoustic-based band that delivered slushy romantic songs. Sure, they did a few of those, but it is often forgotten that they could actually rock quite hard. Their brand of country-ish rock packed a harder punch than their notable contemporaries CSN, CSNY, The Byrds and America. There was a fair amount of solid riffing, and muscular drums around on many of their tracks. In my opinion, Bread have always been a bit unfairly maligned and pigeonholed. This is largely an upbeat album of quite strident country-influenced, typically early seventies rock. It is quality easy listening rock.


1. Let Your Love Go
2. Take Comfort
3. Too Much Love
4. If
5. Be Kind To Me
6. He's A Good Lad
7. She Was My Lady
8. Live In Your Love
9. What A Change
10. I Say Again
11. Come Again
12. Truckin'                                                

"Let Your Love Go" is an upfront, rocking number to begin with, while "Take Comfort" starts with some solid guitar riffing and thumping drums. It moves into a dreamy, hippy-ish slow part in the middle, before returning to the buzzy guitar. Like much of their material at the time, there are vague proggy aspects to it. "Too Much Love" is a laid-back country-ish rocker with a delicious bass line and a distinct Beatles influence in places.

"If" is the archetypal Bread track that many know them for - a gentle melody, a sensitive lyric and David Gates' melodic, almost angelic voice soaring high above it. Rhythmic rock is back for the next one, however, with the appealing, bluesy groove of "Be Kind To Me". "He's A Good Lad" is a very CSNY-esque plaintive number. "She Was My Lady" rocks gently, tunefully and captivatingly. It features some excellent guitar soloing. Unfortunately it ends too soon. "Live In Your Love" is a McCartney-esque rock ballad that just reminds me of Wings.

"What A Change" has those airy, sweet uplifting CSNY harmonies once more. "I Say Again" is another one in that style too. The Ringo Starr-influenced drums and their interplay with the bass is lovely. "Come Again" continues the sensitive, thoughtful balladry. It has some beautiful piano and strings in its backing, underpinned by some subtle electric guitar. Just at the tempo had slowed down a bit we end the album with the roadhouse rollicking of "Truckin'", as Bread go all Doobie Brothers/early Eagles.

This is a beautifully even-tempered warm wind of an album that cannot help but relax you while lifting your spirits at the same time.


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