Today we’ll talk about four perfect albums, recorded by one unique and humble guitarist, songwriter and sound creator, that is sometimes overlooked in ‘best of’ guitarists list.
The name of this guy is Phil Manzanera, also known as “Roxy Music’s guitarist Phil Manzanrea”.
Manzanera recorded his solo debut in 1975 and named it Diamond Head. Some of the finest names in British rock of the era played in that album, including one Robert Wyatt who also sings a song in the album – Frontera (was recorded again by Wyatt for his 1975 Ruth Is Stranger Then Richard).
Phil Manzanera – East Of Echo (From Diamond Head)
Since Phil is a serious guy, he only took the best of the best of the material he had, and recorded it for Diamond Head. However, some music was left outside the album and he had to do something with.
So he gathered his old, pre-Roxy band Quiet Sun, booked a studio for three weeks, and recorded new and old material.
In the band, aside to Manzanera himself, played one of my all time fav bass players Bill MacCormick (also played in Matching Mole), Dave Jarrettt (keyboards) and Charles Hayword on drums (later on This Heat).
They Recorded one album, Mainstream, a beautiful rock-jazz-exp-prog. The year was 1975.
Quiet Sun – Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-stick Kitchen Utensil
Meanwhile, the band’s lineup had undergone some changes, and Brian Eno came with his synths to add some electronics. Hayward left the drummer position and Simon Phillips was brought it. They also changes their name to 801 and the new band was formed.
They booked three shows, the last of which, was recorded and was later released as one of the finest albums of the seventies and a live classic – 801 Live.
Now this album always finds itself in the must-have lists of magazines and books about ‘1000 records you must hear before you die’. Brilliant prog-rock album (more rock and exp then prog actually). This album was released in 1976.
801 Continued their journey and started working on a new album, Listen Now, and it’s the last chapter in that series of perfect albums by Manzanera and his groups.
Listen Now was a different ball game all together. They abandoned the prog (like everyone in late seventies. maybe except for ELP) and put a lot of effort in their sound, as individuals and as a group. The format was proper songs, with less experimentation, with a somewhat apocalyptic theme in the lyrics.
The combination of 70’s rock, jazz and even some Latin, great production and performance – created a monster and my fav album of all four.
801 – Law And Order
801 – Flight 19
I seriously recommend you to check these four albums out, especially if you only know 801 Live and never took the time to look for Manzanera’s other releases around that album.
Also, recommended for those who afraid of the word ‘prog’.