Review: The Pat McManus Band – Full Service Resumed

Review: The Pat McManus Band – Full Service Resumed

The Store For Music (October 6th 2021)

Reviewer: Chris O’Connor

My first encounter with the music of Pat McManus was forty years ago now, when he and his siblings John and Tommy (RIP) were but a stripling band called The Mama’s Boys, who were fresh out of County Fermanagh in Eire, and they supported Hawkwind at the Birmingham Odeon, and they blew me away with their fire and passion. Two years later and I’d catch them several times supporting Thin Lizzy on their final tour, and again at the Reading Festival and at Knebworth ’85, where on both occasions, they went down an absolute storm. I’ve loved Pat both as a guitarist and as a fiddle player ever since, avidly snapping up his albums with Celtu, Indian, and The Government, and ever since as a solo artist too.

I will be honest, I have begun to lose track with this output, as Pat is a truly prolific artist, but I think he is up to his mid-teens when it comes to solo outings. His rhythm section is the pairing of Marty McDermmott on bass guitars and backing vocals, and drummer Paul Faloon. Paul has been with Pat on and off for many years, while Marty has been with him for a decade now. Pat (of course) is also lead vocalist and as well as playing dazzling guitars and fiddles, also plays the bazouki to boot.

Full Service Resumed’ is a wonderful release, full of variety and tempo’s, truly offering something for everyone. The centre of the music (of course) comes from Pat’s sublime guitar playing, his fluid leadwork has always been amazing, he produces fabulous riffs and rhythms that drive the songs with effortless ease. An instant favourite with me is the elegant and wistful ‘His Soul Remains With Me’ which really is quite beautiful.

There are fourteen choice cuts on this album, now normally with so many songs, you would think it would start to feel over long, but here that is simply not the case. In actual fact, the album genuinely flies past – a sure sign that you are listening to a quality release. From the opening bars of ‘Doomsday’ its jam packed with top notch songs. Pat’s whisky gravel vocals suit the music perfectly, listen to the pulsing ZZ Top-esque ‘Long haul Trucker’, and you’ll immediately appreciate what I mean.

Jump Start My Heart’ is another personal favourite, with its elegant Stevie Ray Vaughan groove, Pat’s fretwork is an absolute delight. ‘Honey Trap’ has an almost ‘70’s Status Quo thing going on, which is very cool by the way, while ‘Stone Cold Sober’ evokes memories of Gary Moore at his most languid – which is high praise indeed. ‘Too Little Of You Too Love’ continues the mellow mood, with a sweet guitar lead, and a wistful vocal … truly great stuff. I could go on and on, suffice to say ‘Full Service Resumed’ is a fabulous album, and I cannot commend it to you highly enough!