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Happy the man

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by eric atkinson, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hey guys i was listing to xm last night and heard a tune from a band called happy the man! Thought it seemed cool. Who are these people and any good cds to get? Arent they from the 70s or so?
  2. bad dog

    bad dog

    May 7, 2002
    Jim Thorpe, Pa.
    Happy the Man! Yeah they're a very cool band from the mid to late seventies and I believe a new version of the band is touring and recording again.

    If your looking to buy, I'd get the two original line-up releases,
    "Happy the Man" and "Crafty Hands" from '77 & '78, definitely at their original creative peak.

    They also have a website. http://www.happytheman.com

    Also check out Kit Watkins, the original keyboard player. Who has a solo career now.

  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Other to check out-
    National Health
    Henry Cow
    Hatfield & The North

    ...IIRC, some of the members of each floated in & out of each lineup.
  4. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Cool thanks! Never know what youre gonna here on xm radio! gotta love it!
  5. Wow, had no idea there was a Happy the Man thread on here.

    I have been the bassist since day one. Just wanted you to know the site at www.happytheman.com is still active, but is only about the reunion years from 1999 - 2005.

    There is a newer site that covers the band from it's humble origins in 1972-present times.

    It is here:


    Lots of music clips here too:


    My bass collection is here: www.innertainment.net


    ptg, Tbone76, One Drop and 1 other person like this.
  6. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    I agree with BassHappy...I didn't know there was a thread here on HTM. I am surprised it didn't get much notice because in my mind, Happy the Man music remains vital and "new" sounding even today. I love almost all progressive rock from the classic era but most of it has a certain sound that screams "1970's." Happy the Man sounds fresh even today. They were very innovative; NO ONE sounds like them. And they are AMERICAN!

    If you have never heard their stuff i suggest you check them out...
  7. Toronto Bassist

    Toronto Bassist

    Jan 9, 2008
  8. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, and Oblivion Sun is very good in my opinion, especially the last track which is the longest track on the CD.
  9. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    ...and I just noticed there is a second Oblivion Sun CD (that I just ordered).
  10. I got turned to Happy the Man through Ken Scott's bio. He talked about how he recorded them and the sound he got. He was quite surprised that they didn't make it as big as he thought they should. Great progressive band.
  11. I'm a bit embarrassed. I graduated high school in 1977, love early Genesis, Gentle Giant, etc., we completely missed Happy The Man.

    Thanks for the tip!
  12. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    Don't feel bad. Many folks missed them. They were big on the east coast but didn't get around (touring) to the rest of the country. But once you discover them you'll "get it."
  13. Wow thanks so much for resurrecting this thread and I really do appreciate all the kind words.

    if anyone is interested....there is a TB thread on producer Ken Scott and his recent book here:


  14. Indiedog


    Aug 23, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    I listened to the second album and third album last Sunday night as I hung out on the patio with my headphones and then covered the first album last night. Such innovative music!

    (And thanking me for my enthusiasm for HTM is like thanking a hungry man for eating a gourmet meal.)

    The Ken Scott book looks very interesting; what stories he must have.
  15. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    I am totally going to check this band out!

    How cool!
  16. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    Fantastic. You just got a new fan.
  17. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I'll be honest: When I first heard Happy The Man back in the late 1970s, I hated them! Despite me being a dyed-in-the-wool Prog-Rock and Fusion fan, I found their eponymous debut album to be cold, impersonal, robotic...I remember describing it to a friend as "like Gentle Giant but with even less soul."

    But in the ~35 years since, my tastes in music have run all over the place, embracing things from the most marginalized, esoteric avant-garde to unabashed Top-10 pop and everything in between. Plus I've just gotten older, which no doubt impacts one's tastes.

    And so I was pleasantly surprised when, about 6 or 8 weeks ago I stumbled across that same Happy The Man debut album on youtube and I gave it a listen...and I really enjoyed it!

    It might still take me a few more listens to divine the humanity in it...you know, those elements of personality that allow you to identify not just that (e.g.,) "that's a guitar" but that "that's Robert Fripp's guitar" or "that's Steve Howe's guitar" when listening. The Happy guys still strike me as a bit more anonymous, mostly because I suspect it's really hard to inject your personality when you're hanging on for dear life to a raging chart sprayed with 32nd notes! :)

    But the thing I'm really liking about that Happy The Man album is how subtly yet distinctly different it is from any other Prog-Rock that was happening at the time. It's almost like their geographic DNA (Virginia, right?) informs their music in a way that none of the British proggers display.
  18. Hello Bob and special thanks to Mellowinman for the kind words - WOW that is some avatar. YUM!

    Nice to hear that Bob has become a fan!

    Yes, we were very green when we went into A&M Studios with Ken Scott for #1. Never had recorded in a real studio before. One of Ken's trademarks is his demand for perfectionism. It was a little clinical to us too, being a "live" band for so many years - and being under a microscope to such an incredible degree. It was a bit unusual and took some adustment.

    Surprisingly to us, the record has survived quite well the "test of time." The band was used to playing "live" a lot at that point though, so we nailed the record in 1-3 takes on each song.

    Later in my career I had the privilege of working with Eddie Kramer, who produced tons of Hendrix and Zeppelin records. Eddie's approach was the polar opposite of Ken's - Eddie couldn't have cared less about perfection, but was all about capturing the emotion or "feel" in the music he recorded. If it didn't feel good, he wouldn't accept it - regardless of how perfect the notes were executed.

    Gave me quite a perspective about the recording process after seeing both extremes.

    As you may have noticed the rhythm section was polar opposite on the first two records as well. Michael Beck, who played on the first one, had over 200 instruments on stage, as he was from the Jamie Muir of King Crimson influence. Literally anything that made sound was his palette. Here is a photo behind the curtain at the Warner Theatre in D.C. on a co-bill with Renaissance:


    On the other hand, "Crafty Hands" featured Ron Riddle, who has spent time drumming for Blue Oyster Cult and Stu Hamm - and his drumming was much more power oriented, while Michael was more finesse. It makes for quite a contrast between the two records.

    Also, for those who have thought of me as being a prog-rockin one trick pony, my rock band Vision - produced by the legendary Eddie (Hendrix/Zeppelin) Kramer - the tracks are posted here for the first anywhere:


    The first eight tracks are with Eddie's production. Enjoy!

    Best to all,

    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  19. Hey Mellowinman

    Just realized you are from my home town of Fort Wayne. Thinking of visiting my sister over the next month or two and picking up a new bass build I am having shipped from California to a photographer friend there. Do you have a site where I can check in and see where you are gigging? Always looking for stuff to do and usually end up at Club Soda which can be a major bore. Have to visit all my buds at Sweetwater too and get me a Coney Island dog and a Powers burger, maybe even some garbage at Cindy's.

    I am not on Facebook so be kind.

  20. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    Our next gig is at Vinnie's in Decatur, on Saturday the fifteenth, and then we are off for awhile.

    Let me know when you are coming, though.