Man: All’s Well That Ends Well (Esoteric)

man all's well

One of the more interesting trends of the 1970s was the development of the “farewell residency,” when bands would end their run with a series of shows, which would result in the the release of a final concert album. Thus was the case for Welsh-based Man, a band that had specialized in an enjoyable blend of psychedelic rock, blues, and jazz-rock. After years of being on the road and steadily releasing albums, the band split after a disastrous US tour, but agreed to record a series of show at London’s Roundhouse, in December of 1976. Esoteric’s reissue of the posthumous release expands the original 1977 release with two discs’ worth of live recordings from the band’s nights at the Roundhouse.

Man was a live band, first and foremost, and by the time of their split, they were master craftsmen. It’s easy to hear why they were tagged as progressive rock, even if they weren’t exactly that; “The Ride and The View” sounds a lot like Pink Floyd hit “Have A Cigar,” even if Man’s song (taken from their hit album The Welsh Connection) contains none of Floyd’s cynicism. But they were more about the boogie-rock, too; it’s hard not to stand still when you get hit with the funky grooves of “Hard Way to Live” and “Romain,” and how can one resist the bluesy jamming on their classic number “7171 551,” which is a must-hear for fans of early 1970s Eric Clapton and Allman Brothers.

Though their breakup would come to an end in the early 1980s,  it’s easy to see that Man clearly had the right idea to go out on top, guns a-blazin’, and at the peak of their powers. All’s Well That Ends Well is great live document of one of the more underrated live acts of the era.

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