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Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy The Man - Happy The Man (1977 us, spectacular progressive experimental space rock, japan remaster)

Though it met with little commercial success, Happy the Man's 1977 debut quickly became a cult sensation with fans of prog rock. It's easy to see why: their sound combines a number of diverse influences in a distinctive manner, and their music is as complex and meticulously arranged as any prog album one cares to mention. 

Unlike some popular prog acts, Happy the Man does not allow one instrument to take center stage or allow relentless soloing to dominate the songs. Instead, the focus is on complex interplay between the group's players: compositions like "Knee Bitten Nymphs In Limbo" and "Stumpy Meets the Firecracker in Stencil Forest" are built on the kind of mathematically complex yet playful instrumental interplay that is normally associated with Frank Zappa's most complex work. Elsewhere, the group slows down the instrumental pyrotechnics to show off a grasp of melody; the best example is "Starborne," which starts off with moody washes of Tangerine Dream-style synthesizer and builds to a dramatic, almost orchestral fanfare. 

The one real downside of the album is the inclusion of two vocal-oriented songs that don't jell with the rest of the album because the group is obviously not comfortable dealing with conventional song structures. These selections also suffer from pretentious lyrics; for example, "On Time as a Helix of Precious Laughs" tries to philosophize about the meaning of life but gets bogged down in artsy, obscure imagery. 

In the end, Happy the Man doesn't quite live up to its legendary reputation but remains a solid prog outing that will find favor with those who enjoy art rock at its most complex and ambitious. Collector's note: One Way Records' 1999 reissue of Happy the Man was remixed for the compact disc format by the group's keyboardist, Kit Watkins. 
by Donald A. Guarisco

1. Starborne (Kit Watkins) - 4:22
2. Stumpy Meets The Firecracker In Stencil Forest (Stanley Whitaker) - 4:16
3. Upon The Rainbow (Befrost) (Watkins, Frank Wyatt) - 4:42
4. Mr. Mirror's Reflections On Dreams (Watkins) - 8:54
5. Carousel (Wyatt) - 4:06
6. Knee Bitten Nymphs In Limbo (Whitaker) - 5:22
7. On Time As A Helix Of Precious Laughs (Wyatt) - 5:22
8. Hidden Moods (Watkins) - 3:41
9. New York Dream's Suite (Wyatt) - 8:32

Happy The Man
*Mike Beck - Percussion
*Rick Kennell - Electric Bass
*Stanley Whitaker - Six, Twelve String Guitars, Lead Vocals
*Frank Wyatt - Saxophone, Flute, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
*Kit Watkins - Mini Moog, Acoustic Piano, Rhodes Piano, Arp String Ensemble, Hammond B3, Hohner Clavinet, Flute, Marimba

Free Text


  1. Hello, and thank you for reviewing this album as well as some other HTM stuff! I really enjoyed them in the 1970's and though my vinyl's long gone I remember them fondly.

  2. Μἀριε καλησπἐρα, θα ἠθελα να αναφἐρω ενημερωτικἀ ὀτι η ηχητικἠ ανἀλυση των τραγουδιὠν που υπἀρχουν μἐσα στο αρχεἰο εἰναι στα 24bit κἀτι που για μἐνα προσωπικἀ μου κἀνει τη ζωἠ δὐσκολη γιατἰ δεν ἐχω που να το ακοὐσω. Μἠπως γἰνεται μελλοντικἀ να κἀνεις διαθἐσιμη και μιἀ 16bit εκδοχἠ? Οπως και ναχει πἀντως σε ευχαριστὠ πολὐ......Αγγελος.

  3. Γεια σου Άγγελε,
    το θέμα είναι ότι δεν είναι δικά μου τα ριπς, αλλά παρόλα αυτά
    δεν καταλαβαίνω γιατί δεν παίζουν,
    έχεις παλαιού τύπου λογισμικό?
    προσωπικά σε winmap τ' ακούω, τεσπα, αν δυσκολεύεσαι θα κοιτάξω να τα μεταφέρω σε 16μπιτο.
    Τα λέμε.

  4. Γειἀ σου και πἀλι Μἀριε, ευχαριστὠ για την απἀντηση και τὠρα επι της ουσἰας....το λογισμικὀ μου εἰναι windows 7 και το πρὀβλημα μου εἰναι ὀτι δεν μπορὠ να κἀψω τα αρχεἰα σε Cd. Ως γνωστὀ ὀλα τα προγρἀμματα εγγραφἠς αναλὐουν σε Standard Redbook (16bit, 44,1Khz) πρὠτα και μετἀ δημιουργοὐν το δισκἀκι. Βἐβαια εφὀσον τα ριπς δεν εἰναι δικἀ σου δυστυχὠς δεν γἰνεται τἰποτα. Μην προσπαθἠσεις να κἀνεις μὀνος σου downsampling (φιλικἠ συμβουλἠ)στο ἠδη υπἀρχων αρχεἰο γιατἰ απλἀ θα καταστραφεἰ. Ψἀχνοντας και ερευνὠντας βρἠκα ακριβὠς το ἰδιο Cd ριπαρισμἐνο σε απλἠ εκδοχἠ. Αν το θἐλεις για σἐνα ἠ για το blog πες μου πὠς να στο στεἰλω. Καλὀ απὀγευμα...Αγγελος.

  5. Thanks so much. Does anyone have the PW to this great post?