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Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day
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  • The only Man album recorded without Deke Leonard is something of a curiosity, a view of the band without the frontman who wrote most of their material. As might be expected, the vocals on this album are less accomplished and further back in the mix, but that is actually an asset in this case. Lacking their lead singer, Man proceeded to assemble their best instrumental set ever, and then to add sparing vocals more for texture than communication. The group interplay here is remarkable, with musical themes and ideas tossed from instrument to instrument with considerable creativity. The side with "C'mon" and "Keep on Crinting" is one long and intricate jam, and unlike most progressive marathons from the period, one doesn't wish for it to end even a second earlier than it does. The first cut on the next side, "Bananas," became a concert favorite for obvious reasons: it consists of four lines of silly poetry followed by nine minutes of inspired playing, then a repetition of the four lines of poetry. Tracks like that might almost be taken as a sneer at the idea that this band needed a singer at all, though the relationship with Deke Leonard was obviously cordial. After all, he contributed a "family jungle" of the band to the liner notes and was back for their next album. [Note: Fans of album art will cherish the LP version of this release, which featured an origami cover that folds out into a two-foot square map of Wales with humorous illustrations. Original releases in good shape are collector's items.] ~ Richard Foss
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