Saturday, 15 November 2014

Manfred Mann - "Cubist Town" 1968 Lost Album

June 1966 & Manfred Mann drummer, Mike Hugg turns up at I.B.S studios during sessions for Manfred Mann's latest long player "As Is". Another collection of singles, b-sides & fillers with inclusions provided for them from outside sources, a reoccurring concept that Mike Hugg was beginning to grow out of. 
Fast becoming the bands chief songwriter, Hugg was feeling inspired & was in no mood to record just "another LP". Under his arm on this day was the latest Beach Boys effort, Pet Sounds & that record was the new direction that he wanted to angle the Manfred's in now.
The band bought into his vision but, on this occasion Hugg didn't get his way. The group had almost wrapped up the recording of "As Is" and collectively had to concede that this time around they had missed the boat.
The band left with a plan. They would all go away, absorb Pet Sounds & write their very best songs for the next Mann album.



Mike D'Abo came back with "No better, No Worse" while Hugg himself feeling particularly creative penned the bulk of the stronger compositions, "Harry the One Man Band","It's So Easy Falling" & "Too Many People" among them. Lead guitarist Tom McGuinness returned with the psychedelic oddity "There is a Man" & "Cubist Town" a song which Hugg felt fit the new concept & mood so well that he suggested they name the album after it & work to that title.
"Cubist Town" was shaping up nicely & the band began recording at I.B.S studios in early 67. The band arranged the songs in track order & merged & mixed parts together which they felt would fit right. During the sessions manager Gerry Bron received a call from budding film director Peter Collinson. Collinson wanted to meet the band to discuss the possibility of writing material for the soundtrack to a new film he was making called "Up the Junction". Manny & Mike Hugg met with the director & although tempted & flattered by the proposition, couldn't tear themselves away from their latest project. It took Gerry Bron to talk them round & convince them to take up the offer.
Bron also managed to convince the band to submit some of the new songs intended for Cubist Town. So reluctantly "Sing Songs of Love", "Just for Me" & "Floating in a Dream" soon to be renamed "Up the Junction" were all put forward.



Momentum was being lost for the album Hugg was so desperate to make. He then heard that the zombies were following a similar path with their new project Odessey & Oracle. Hugg was gutted to hear this but again, was further inspired & determined to complete "Cubist Town".
With pressure from their label & manager to release something new, the results were never going to be as intended & the band ended up releasing the LP "Mighty Garvey". The new release included some of the new songs intended for Cubist, but also, again included novelty songs & fillers in "Big Betty", "Ha! Ha! Said the Clown", (a cut written by Tony Hazzard & released as a single the previous year) and D'Abo's "Happy Families". 
So "Cubist Town" was never released and instead the band were left with a back catalogue of semi-strong, patchy long players. 
Now though, the original "Cubist Town" has been realised & put together with the early mixes in the intended order & you can now hear what the band wanted you to hear in 1968.



Another story of a lost album that 'would' fascinate me, if only it were true! A bit of a sad hobby of mine. Making albums that 'could' have been. Photoshop-ing new cover art for me iTunes & coming up with a short make believe back story, just to make the lads laugh. When I told Pete I'd made Manfred Mann's very own, lost Oddesey & Oracle, he asked if I'd include the album & a back story for his Bite it Deep blog. I tried to steer away from the obvious favourites & main singles because it wouldn't be as interesting to make or listen to. That's a separate job for a "Best Of".
You never know, the story may not be too far from what actually happened. Either way, it's nice to imagine it did while listening to "Cubist Town"

joe wiltshire


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