Thirty-four tracks stretching from '60s pop to prog-rock pretension

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Manfred Mann – The Evolution Of Manfred Mann

Back in the heady days of the British beat boom, South African keyboard player Manfred Mann and the band that shared his name were responsible for some classic three-minute singles of enduring appeal (“Do Wha Diddy Diddy”, “5-4-3-2-1”, “Pretty Flamingo”).

Mann then became an early Dylan apostle, covering more of the great man’s catalogue than perhaps anyone with the exception of The Byrds (“If You Gotta Go, Go Now”, “The Mighty Quinn”, “Just Like A Woman”). This all makes the first disc of this double album pretty indispensable.

By disc two, both singers, Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo, have gone and the ’60s pop band has given way to the tedious ’70s prog-rock stylings of the Earth Band. Mann remained an astute judge of a cover version (the Earthband had a big hit in 1975 with Springsteen’s “Blinded By The Light”) But by then it was mostly all over.