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Thread: FEATURED CD : Happy the Man: Happy the Man

  1. #26
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunchentootz View Post
    I respect people have their likes and dislikes - but not interesting? I find that a head scratcher to be honest. Shrug
    Indeed. I scratch my head all the time reading about what kind of stuff people love here (and other places of course too!).
    My progressive music site: https://pienemmatpurot.com/

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Kcrimso View Post
    Indeed. I scratch my head all the time reading about what kind of stuff people love here (and other places of course too!).
    I hear that. haha. Cheers.
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  3. #28
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    Bought this LP when it came out, just based on the cover, the funny song titles and instrumentation. Upgraded to the CD in the 90's, have been looking for a used copy of "Crafty Hands".

  4. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    The album is very good, but they were SO MUCH BETTER than the album shows
    I have to say that luckily someone caught them on a rather cheap recording device and you yourself made their 'live' greatness available and apparent through the live CD release. I've always kept awing at the sheer dynamic intensity of something like "Ibby It Is" from the latter release; the ending of that tune is simply jolly ecstatic, and somewhat showing as to how much more powerful an impression they must have been in a concert experience. I still enjoy the hell out of their studio releases, but the contrast is still a bit telling nonetheless. The Muffins were likely somewhat better at transferring such energy to studio tape - I don't know.

    As for the s/t Htm, I got it on vinyl along with Aqsak Maboul's Bandits and Material's Memory Serves from legendary secondhand store Råkk&Rålls here in Oslo in May 1995 while visiting Oslo to give a gig with my then-band at the Chateau Neuf "Monthly Friday Prog Night" venue programme, courtesy of Tarkus Magazine. Coming from Bergen (Norway's second largest city), we packed all our equipment together and travelled the 8-hour trip over the Hardangervidden mountain plateau to perform our ghastly abstract "so-called prog" to the then-burgeoning "progsters" of the "third generation" Scandinavian "knights of prog", having exactly 23 of them in the audience and indeed meeting Jacob Holm-Lupo (a.o.) for the very first time on occasion.

    Good or even great times, and what seems like an eternity backwards today.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Kcrimso View Post
    I have never really warmed to this one. It is not bad but on the other hand I don't find it very interesting either.
    I remember one of the old Prog guides called them a "grow-on-you group" which I think was accurate. When I first heard the album I thought the slow tunes were too New Age and the fast ones a bit like children's movie soundtrack music, but I got to be a fan after a few listens.

  6. #31
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    I remember one of the old Prog guides called them a "grow-on-you group" which I think was accurate. When I first heard the album I thought the slow tunes were too New Age and the fast ones a bit like children's movie soundtrack music, but I got to be a fan after a few listens.
    Well I have lived with two Happy The Man albums no about twenty years but not growing up just yet. Maybe some time!

    Oh, I just remembered I also have Muse Awakens reunion album. It is not very good..
    My progressive music site: https://pienemmatpurot.com/

  7. #32
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    I remember vividly buying this album on vinyl at Peaches Records and Tapes when it was first released! I knew absolutely nothing about it, but the song titles made me think it may be progressive rock, so I took the chance. Boy am I glad I did!!! As others have said, they are my favorite American prog group ever! Two funny stories about them: I was the manager of another record store in Atlanta at the time called Oz Records & Tapes. Once I heard this album, I ordered 50 copies for OUR store. We had the top selling albums line up on our yellow brick road….about 50. I decided to put THIS on the “road” on a Friday night and played the entire album while the store was crowded. We sold 25 copies that night!!!! I was blown away! Second story: they actually came to Atlanta in support of Crafty Hands. They’re were to play at the Agora Ballroom, a fantastic place to see live bands at the time. It was right across the street from the Fox Theater. We’ll, due to extremely poor ticket sales, I was told by my Arista that the concert had been cancelled hours before it was to start because of this. Well, we decided to go anyway…..the concert had NOT been cancelled! I and about 40 others saw an INCREDIBLE concert! The band was amazing! One of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen many hundreds!
    So much music....so little time....

  8. #33
    ^^Thanks for sharing. Cool stories. It's always amazing to hear what one record store can do for bands and artists just by playing an album over and over again. Even today. The man who ownes the store I visit from 1976 (PopEye in Hengelo, The Netherlands) has the same stories. Especially LP's and CD's from certain international Southern Rock-, Progressive Rock- and Americana-groups are being sold 50 to 100 of times that way.

  9. #34
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    I bought this a few years ago knowing nothing about it except that the band shared its name with a Genesis B-side, which I sort of thought was a tribute but of course turned out to be a coincidence. It's not a hall-of-fame album for me but it's an interesting listen on the occasions I dig it out. I'd agree with the commenter who said that, at first blush, the slow songs felt a bit new-age, but that feeling has passed. It's nice having things like this which I enjoy but don't know inside & out and can still be surprised by.

    I did eventually get a couple of their other albums and for whatever reason Death's Crown has always stuck with me the most. Something haunts me about the melodies and mood in spite (or maybe because) of the murky recording.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    I saw the lineup on this album about 10-15 times and they were always really just terrific. The first time I saw them (at a WGTB fundraiser), when I had heard that there was this great band from Harrisonburg, Va that had moved to DC, but that’s ALL I knew, was jaw-dropping amazing.

    After they signed with Arista, they no longer played shows at movie theaters and etc, and graduated to larger clubs like the Cellar Door. Since I was underage, I never saw them again until they reformed in the very late 90s/early 00s.

    The album is very good, but they were SO MUCH BETTER than the album shows….What Mike Beck did when they played was hugely diminished on the album.
    I saw them twice during this same era.. both times at a small hall on JMU campus. Beck was with them first time I saw them for sure.. could be Coco had joined them by the second show. Stanley introduced songs that ended up on Crafty Hands though it had not been released at that point. Something to the effect of "just so you know we haven't been lazy since our last visit to Harrisonburg we've written a few new songs we'd like to perform tonight".. Somewhere I have ticket stubs from both shows.. This album is firmly in my top five favorites for sure. Sugarmegs has tons of their shows posted for anyone who's never heard this "era" of the band.. Scroll down thru to find Happy the Man http://tela.sugarmegs.org/alpha/h.html

  11. #36
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    When I saw the Cellar Door show on July 1 '78 I thought that was Coco's first show with the band.
    I gave the shirt off my back for that show. Kit wore it for the show. Did get it back, all sweaty.
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  12. #37
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    When I saw the Cellar Door show on July 1 '78 I thought that was Coco's first show with the band.
    I gave the shirt off my back for that show. Kit wore it for the show. Did get it back, all sweaty.
    That's pretty cool that you were at that show, Mark! I'm playing the live album now, haven't listened to it in AGES! I wish I'd seen HtM at least once. At least I saw Oblivion Sun at NEARfest, that's as close as I got, and that was a great show.
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  13. #38
    Member Piskie's Avatar
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    Just bought this album and Crafty Hands. Really enjoying them. Wish I'd kept my hair long in 77 and stayed a boring old fart.
    'I would advise stilts for the quagmires"

  14. #39
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    The Prog Corner

  15. #40
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    ^ Nice hat.

  16. #41
    Brilliant album! As was "Crafty Hands".

    Great musicianship, brilliant melodies, sense of humor, haunting at times.

    "Better Late..." and "The Muse Awakens" are also quite good, if one thinks about them as EP's, and skips the mediocre songs.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  17. #42
    The self titled and Crafty Hands are outstanding. Better Late has "Eye Of The Storm" and "On The Edge Of This Thought" which are both hauntingly melodic. I don't see it as New Age territory..but more like instrumental Progressive ballads.

    Happy The Man were fine writers. Death's Crown felt bizzare and whimsical. They had a distinctive characteristic to their sound. They had good chemistry...but they also had an overall sound that seemed to have personality. It would have been interesting to see them rehearse.

  18. #43
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    I agree with the comments that this band grows on you. I think I started with the wrong album with HTM. I got Better Late first, and while I loved some of the instrumentals, the vocals put me right off. Hence it took my a long time to appreciate this band. But the debut is fine music. I love the delicate passages with the keyboard lines weaving in and out of the music. Great dynamics, rarely bombastic, always interesting. But they did not need the vocals and well i do skip those.

  19. #44
    Member Piskie's Avatar
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    The first two albums have very quickly become firm favourites with me. Pretty tunes, c!ever playing. Very enjoyable.

  20. #45
    Coco Roussel's Reaching Beyond, featuring Kit Watkins, has the HTM-vibe all over it:


    Source: Coco's youtubechannel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8-...xC8Dftj_xyRynQ

    And of course, if you go further, In Time, made by Watkins and Roussel, is also very enjoyable.

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