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3rd: Better Late​.​.​.​.

by Happy The Man

supported by
Carsten Pieper
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Carsten Pieper If you feel in the mood for some mid-to-late 70s Camel music this posthumously released Happy The Man album. Gentle symphonic prog with some Canterburian touches...
And, to make the comparison more striking, Kit Watkins took the album opener, Eye of the Storm, with him, when he joined (well, you knew it or have guessed it right now) Camel on "I Can See Your House From Here" ;-) Favorite track: Shadow Shaping.
Sven B. Schreiber (sbs)
Sven B. Schreiber (sbs) thumbnail
Sven B. Schreiber (sbs) "Happy The Man" was a unique aggregation of highly talented songwriters, who sadly didn't get the commercial success they deserved in the 70's. Their 3rd album, tentatively titled "Labyrinth" and intended to be released in 1979, was shelved and eventually released in 1983 by Kit Watkins as '3rd - "Better Late ..."'. Before that, some tracks written or co-written by Kit Watkins already surfaced elsewhere - e.g. "Eye Of The Storm" on Camel's "I Can See Your House From Here" (1979), and "Labyrinth" and "While Chrome Yellow Shine" on Kit Watkins' first solo album "Labyrinth" (1980). This 1990 re-release by Cuneiform includes two additional Stanley Whitaker tracks - "Who's In Charge Here?", and "Such A Warm Breeze". Favorite track: While Chrome Yellow Shine.
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The Falcon 06:18
Footwork 04:23
Labyrinth 07:35


For me personally, Happy The Man was the greatest symphonic rock band that the US ever produced. Their greatness lay in their excellent musicianship and their willingness to really 'push the envelope' both in terms of their writing and performances of their rich sound.

They came out of rural Virginia and moved to Washington D.C. where they exploded on the scene and where they quickly signed to Arista and released two classic albums, eventually breaking up at the very end of the 70's.

3rd/Better Late... is a reissue of their 3rd and last lp, adding two songs that were recorded at the sessions but have never before been released!

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"3rd: Better Late... came out 11 years after these demo recordings were made, hence the second part of the album's title. As for the first part, these home sessions were conducted to put Happy the Man's third LP into pre-production.

In the meantime, punk and disco discouraged record labels to pursue their contracts with progressive rock bands and Arista Records dropped the group. If the tapes are crude at times (some hiss, some distortion), sound quality is maintained at a respectable level. This is not the band's best material, but then again, it might have evolved before reaching the final stage -- a piece or two might even have been dropped. Still, it makes a worthy follow-up to Crafty Hands.

The writing remains complex, polyphonic, counterpuntal. There is a bit more fusion than before. Tracks like "The Falcon," "Who's in Charge Here?," and "Shadow Shaping" (the latter very Gentle Giant-esque) are genuine Happy the Man. New drummer Coco Roussel (also featured on the Cuneiform release Live) brings more subtle percussion work, while Kit Watkins and Stanley Whitaker play better than ever....this is strong Happy the Man material, even though newcomers should begin with the band's two original albums." – Francois Couture / AllMusic Guide


released January 1, 1990

Coco Roussel - drums, percussion
Rick Kennell - electric bass
Kit Watkins - keyboards, flute
Stanley Whitaker - electric and acoustic guitars, vocals
Frank Wyatt - electric piano, alto sax, flute

This is the final demo tape made by Happy The Man. It was recorded in February, 1979 at the band house in Reston, VA, using a Teac 3340 4-track tape deck. Basic tracks were recorded live by all members. Flute, sax vocals and some solos were overdubbed.


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Cuneiform Records Washington, D.C.

Cuneiform Records is an independent record label releasing adventurous, boundary-bursting music by artists from around the world.

Founded in 1984.
Based in Washington D.C.

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