Chants Would Be A Fine Thing – Geoff Mann: The Definitive Edition

Buy the CD: £12.00


Recorded: 1981-84

Disc 1

  1. One Of The Green Things
  2. Confusion Rains
  3. Big Men
  4. Somewhere Here
  5. Hope Hospital
  6. Theospeak
  7. I Don't Believe You
  8. Easter Bunnies Do The Salford Hustle (pt IX)
  9. Hello
  10. One Of The Green Things 2023 – Clive Mitten
  11. Easter Bunnies 2023 – Clive Mitten

Disc 2

  1. Somewhere Here (demo)
  2. Big Men (demo)
  3. One Of The Green Things (demo)
  4. Hello (demo)
  5. Slow One (live in Duchy Street)
  6. Big Men (live in Duchy Street)
  7. For More Than A Day (live in Duchy Street)
  8. Piccadilly Square (live in Duchy Street)
  9. Somewhere Here (live in Duchy Street)
  10. Twiddling (live in Duchy Street)
  11. Te Dium (live at the Marquee)
  12. Confusion Rains (live at the Marquee)
  13. Story Of Carol (live at the Marquee)
  14. Big Men (live at the Marquee)
  15. One Of The Green Things (live at the Marquee)

Please note this is a PRE-ORDER as the album will not be shipping until mid-January 2024

We are delighted to announce the forthcoming ‘Definitive Edition’ release of Chants Would Be A Fine Thing, by Geoff Mann.

This is the first album Geoff released after leaving Twelfth Night, which alongside his biting social commentary, introduced his ‘wobbly’ guitar style. This was inspired by Rev and Clive’s use of echo units and became Geoff’s trademark sound. As Geoff himself said about the album; “there are elements of soft core wobble and hard core wobble, and there are moments of real hard core wobble for wobble fans.’’

Chants Would Be A Fine Thing is a very personal and uncompromisingly experimental album, and listeners should not expect any similarity to his work singing with Twelfth Night.

To complement the original nine track album, the second disc will contain a mixture of demos, live versions, and cover versions to complete this ’Definitive Edition’. Geoff’s original artwork and design is being updated by Spencer Rowbotham, and the booklet will contain all of Geoff’s powerful lyrics, various photos, as well as some of Geoff’s distinctive drawings.

Here are some extracts taken from His Love – Geoff’s biography, courtesy of Andrew Wild and publishers, SonicBond.

Geoff’s first solo album Chants Would Be A Fine Thing was recorded soon after he left Twelfth Night in Twilight Sound Studios in Salford, near his family home. Geoff plays the majority of instruments on the album, although some guitar parts are provided by Dave Mortimer who later joined Geoff in The Bond.

The opening track ‘One Of The Green Things’ comprises simply of multiply overdubbed vocals reciting the track’s title. (In conversation with Geoff at the time of release, Geoff mentioned that it was about not taking things at face value or from a superficial first impression. Racism in particular was a target as everyone is a mixture of different nationalities – Mark Hughes).

Confusion Rains’ layers vocal tracks over a bleak drum machine pattern – wordless chanting forms the chord structures and several sets of vocals move across the stereo spectrum, while ‘Big Men’, a track from Geoff’s God Stars days, introduces Geoff’s wobbly guitar. A simple, repeated often discordant guitar pattern underpins the vocal.

Somewhere Here’  is initially more reflective, with thoughtful social comment, but builds to an angry conclusion with hammering drums and multiple vocal tracks. ‘Hope Hospital‘ channels Joy Division and Peter Gabriel, with a simple guitar line, programmed drums and a forthright if distant lead vocal. Jane Mann adds backing vocals.

There is more experimentation on side two, which opens with ‘Theospeak’, a repeated two-line poem with sound effects. The female voice is Geoff’s sister-in-law Shelagh Day. ‘I Don’t Believe You’ comprises just drum machine and multiple vocals and is one of Geoff’s most overtly religious songs.

The nineteen-minute ‘Easter Bunnies Do The Salford Hustle (Pt. IX)’ is another older song first written and performed a few years earlier. The track moves through various themes with uncompromising repetitive guitar and sometimes impenetrable vocals, although wife Jane’s mandolin and violin and some bluesy lead guitar from Dave Mortimer add some beautiful contrast. Some listeners will be drawn in by the song’s grandeur; to others it might well be simply dull. In typically contrary fashion, the album ends with ‘Hello’, another collage of sounds effects and voices.

I had some of the songs around for quite some time,’ Geoff told Afterglow’s Russell Morgan in 1984. ‘‘Easter Bunnies’; the epic, is quite heavy lyrically. I’m painting a picture of the despair I feel in Western society, a deep emptiness. For want of any other description it is the spiritual despair, spiritual lacking. ‘The ones I wrote since leaving Twelfth Night are ‘Hope Hospital’, ‘Confusion Rains’ and ‘I Don’t Believe You’. The rest were written before or during the Twelfth Night era. It was almost like a statement of freedom, in a way.’