Search This Blog

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mott the Hoople Part 1

Arguably my favorite of all bands, one of a handful anyway.... once did a "rarities" post on them, this
time I am going to give them the "XTC/Hendrix" treatment and throw ya pretty much everything I got.

The wonderful 1969 debut album proudly wears its influences, namely Dylan and the Rolling Stones, covering material as diverse as The Kink "You Really Got Me" (done as an overpowering instrumental), Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me", and Doug Sahm's "At the Crossroads".....all of which are fantastic interpretations, and the original material "Rock N Roll Queen" and in particular they Dylan-esque "Backsliding Fearlessly" sparkles as well......the classic lineup was guitarist Mick Ralphs, drummer, Dale Griffin, bassist Overend Watts, keyboardist Verden Allen, and, most notably, vocalist/pianist/resident genius Ian Hunter. The album is brilliant and not nearly appreciated enough.

The follow-up, "Mad Shadows" is something of a letdown, although it does include a good one in "Walkin' With a Mountain", and a great one, one of the heaviest rockin tracks of the era, "Thunderbuck Ram".......likely one wishing to dabble could find these on one of the comps I am going  unleash the next few days, the album is for fans........

Speaking of.....album #3 "Wildlife", is in a word, awful......partially acoustic and hardly rocking in the least, it contains the respectable "Angel of Eighth Avenue" and NOTHING else of merit......if ever a band looked as if its run were over, this was it.......I was/am a huge fan of the group and rate this disc as  1/2*, being charitable.

The comeback, part , was "Brain Capers" a flatout
tremendous maturation and honestly one of the best and hardest rocking albums of the mid-70's......not only do you get titles such as "The Wheel of Quivering Meat Conception", and of course "Death May Be Your Santa Claus", but great numbers such as "Darkness Darkness", "The Journey", "Sweet Angeline", and one of the greatest hard-rock songs of them ALL, "The Moon Upstairs" of the first songs to use the word "fuck" in a non-shocking context ("We ain't bleeding you, we're feeding you, but you're too fucking SLOW!" (another great lyric: "For those of you who always laugh, let this be your epitaph", among others, this is one GREAT song on one spectacular hard rock album. NOT to be missed under any circumstances.

Then along came Bowie......Bowie saw something he liked in them, and with his input, they became leaders of the glam rock scene......Bowie got them Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane", also a favorite song of mine which works perfectly in this context, and gave them the wondrous "All the Young Dudes", which features' Hunter's spoken bit near the end which seemed to give the band credibility in the gay community ("Hey you up in the glasses......I want you".......a tremendous song and an anthem for a movement/era, the album also includes other gems, "Jerkin' Crocus", "One of the Boys", "Sucker" of the finest albums of the 1970's.......(note: I once read that the band preferred Bowie's "Drive In Saturday" to "All the Young Dudes".......I hear  version exists SOMEWHERE, not sure, but wouldn't THAT be amazing, and it might have changed musical history for better/worse.)

However, not even the best Mott the Hoople album of the 1970's, because these guys their stride with the classic "Mott".....nearly every track here is a wonder......leading off with the classic "All the Way From Memphis" ("It's a mighty long way down rock n roll, and your name gets hot so your heart grows cold") (some lame ass hair band covered it in the late 80's or so, chnging the lyric "Some spade" to "some guy" or something, Good Lord).........."Whizz Kid" is a fine one, "Hymn for the Dudes" is majestic ("you ain't the're just a buzz......some kinda TEMPORARY")......."Honaloochie Boogie" shoulda been a hit single, "Violence" is a sort of overlooked "semi-classic", "Drivin' Sister" is a great track with some excellent drumming (also referencing Mott's all but unknown "Half Moon Bay".......the autobiographical "Ballad of Mott the Hoople" is quite insightful as Hunter lays out his soul as well as those of hi mates in just a few lines, and finally, the Dylanesque "I Wish I Was Your Mother" ........THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ALBUMS, NOT JUST OF THE 1970's, NOT JUST HARD-GLAM ALBUMS, THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ALBUMS EVER PRODUCED......I give out only 5 star ratings, this is one of those albums I think deserves more........

Well, all good things come to an end.......Allen and Ralphs left (Ralphs to form Bad Company), the
bad took on Morgan Fischer and Ariel Bender to replace them for "The Hoople" (these guys did NOT lose a lot of sleep on album titles).......not a horrible album, but after the past two, what could we realistically expect.....It contains one really great one "Marionette" ("I ain't one yet!"), "Crash Street Kids", "Born Late '58", and a few more are passable.......this is though the end of the road for stdio work.....Hunter departed, and the leftovers issued "Drive On" and "Pointing and Shouting" which I don't have and wouldn't post if I did, they are simply awful......we do have a vinyl rip of a decent live (commercially available) album, it features the Bender/Fischer lineup, really does rock hard, in particular "Sweet Angeline"........there was a 30-year double disc reissue which we'll get to eventually, with some of the other live stuff.....what were doing today is 1) getting the basic discography out of the way, and 2) establishing my love for the band. LOTS and LOTS of live stuff, comps, demos, Hunter solo stuff, etc, yet to come, probably most of the week.......I love this band, always did, and if you have anything to contribute that you think I may be lacking, PLEASE, now is the time.......

Remember I used to title my posts "The Best _________ Post Ever"?  I stopped doing that because someone from another blog (who never did like me or my blog anyway) took offense to it and didn't understand the sarcasm/self deprecating humor.......point being, if you can find a BETTER Mott the Hoople post than you will see here the next 3-4 days, I'll eat Drew Barrymore's undergarments.

Be well, LOTTS of MOTT to come this week, I am excited, if you are a fan, I hope you are too..... tomorrow: LOTTS of COMPS crammed with rare stuff!

"Some spade said rock n rollers, yer all the same.... man, that's yer instrument, I felt.... SO ASHAMED!"

MOTT THE HOOPLE-01 You Really Got Me/02 At the Crossroads/03 Laugh at Me/04 Backsliding Fearlessly/05 Rock and Roll Queen/06 Rabbit Foot and Toby Time/07 Half Moon Bay/08 Wrath and Wroll

MAD SHADOWS-01 Thuderbuck Ram/02 No Wheels to Ride/03 You Are One Of Us/04 Walkin' With a Mountain/05 I Can Feel/06 Threads of Iron/07 When My Mind's Gone

WILDLIFE-01 Original Mixed Up Kid/02 Angel of Eighth Avenue/03 Wrong Side of the River/04 Waterlow/05 Lay Down/06 It Must Be Love/07 Whiskey Woman/08 Home Is Where I Want To Be/09 Keep a Knockin'

BRAIN CAPERS-01 Death May Be Your Santa Claus/02 Your Own Backyard/03 Darkness
Darkness/04 The Journey/05 Sweet Angeline/06 Second Love/07 The Moon Upstairs/08 The Wheel of Quivering Meat Conception

ALL THE YOUNG DUDES-01 Sweet Jane/02 Momma's Little Jewel/03 All the Young Dudes/04 Sucker/05 Jerkin Crocus/06 One of the Boys/07 Soft Ground/08 Ready For Love/After Lights/09 Sea Diver

MOTT-01 All the Way From Memphis/02 Whizz Kid/03 Hymn For the Dudes/04 Honaloochie Boogie/05 Violence/06 Drivin' Sister/07 Ballad of Mott the Hoople/08 I Wish I Was Your Mother

THE HOOPLE-01 The Golden age of Rock N Roll/02 Marionette/03 Alice/04 Crash Street Kids/05 Born Late 58/06 Trudi's Song/07 Pearl and Roy (England)/08 Through the Looking Glass/09 Roll Away the Stone

LIVE-01 All the Way From Memphis/02 Sucker/03 Rest In Peace/04 All the Young Dudes/05 Walkin' With a Mountain/06 Sweet Angeline/07 Rose/08 Medley: Jerkin' Crocus/One of the Boys/Rock N Roll Queen/Get Back/Whole Lotta Shakin/Violence


  1. Wow, what a cool, cool bunch of stuff! Mott is one of my favorites. That said, I must have been 14 or so when Wildlife came out. I got it from a Columbia Records 14 albums for 1.99. I got it with a bunch of lame ass schlock like 4 Way Street, James Taylor Mud Slide Sludge so, as you could well imagine Wildlife stood out. I already had the first album and loved it, by the way, so I was aware that this one was quite different. Angel is a great tune but Home is great as is Whiskey Women. I'm only commenting here to highlight the similarities between Generation X's second album "Valley of the Dolls". Think about the Ballad of Kenny Silvers next to the Original Mixed Up Kid. There are many other parallels too but I won't prattle on about them. The Gen-X album probably rocks a little harder but there is a consistency of overall feel between the two albums that is palpable. I should research and see if they have the same engineers or producers. Whatever I think the boys in Gen-X listened to it quite a bit. Great post, great blog. Thanks for all the hard work. I know it IS a lot of work and a bit of a thankless task. All the Way to Memphis, bro.

  2. Your assessment of the band is dead on! I couldn't have said it better. Mott was one of those bands I somehow stumbled upon and loved and bought all their albums, but no one else I knew had even heard of them!! I look forward to the next few days. Many thanks.


  3. BRAIN








  4. Excellent...Thanks, Scott!

  5. SAVAGELY AWESOME!!! Mighty bold and zesty, Mister Scott! Mott was an incredible fucking band that deserved WAY more props than they ever got----a good chunk of the racket that commenced around '76-'77 can trace its beginnings to these cats (a fact)! Thank you for all the goodies---hell, thanks for the ENTIRE BLOG (diverse and kickass ALL THE TIME)! Later!

  6. I'll second that motion! I love this band and always felt that they were incredibly overlooked and underrated. Too bad Mick Ralphs couldn't play nice and stay in a better situation, but then we'd have never had the Bender solo on Golden Age of Rock and Roll. 'Mott" is forever!

  7. Like what you had to say... self-deprecating humor and lambasts from left and right, I liked the 2nd LP quite a bit. With 'You Are One of Us' and 'When My Mind's Gone', I really think Ian let us know how much of his previous life was gone and how much rock n' roll/touring was changing his personal life. Mike Scott of Waterboys' fame is a fan of Ian's and said he loved the LP as well. Thank you for taking the time out to rant and roll, lament and cajole us fellow music travelers.

  8. Live and wildlife links have expired

  9. Pedant's corner...Honaloochie Baby WAS a hit... Got to no.12 June '73.