Retro Music Review, July 08
Often cited as the granddaddy of glam, Mott The Hoople frontman Ian Hunter brought a unique sensibility to the early ’70s music scene. With all the grace of a ballerina swinging a sledge hammer, Hunter pounded out rock and roll songs of crude elegance and glorious excess. Nobody wrote about the trials and tribulations of being a rock star quite like Hunter. “All The Way To Memphis” and “Saturday Gigs” were classic tales of life in a band, presented in an appropriately grandiose manner. These two tunes and 33 others comprise this brilliant new collection, celebrating a time when hair was long and platform boots were all the rage. Mott the Hoople’s sound was a nearly operatic blend of rhythm and blues and musical histrionics, a formula that was later adopted by many groups, including, of course, Queen. But where Queen’s image was somewhat upper class, Mott’s was delightfully low. The boys in Mott came across as football hooligans with a taste for poetry. The weirdly tender “I Wish I Was Your Mother” found Hunter expressing his softer side in a somewhat creepy way. The upfront brutality of “Violence” blended teenage angst with squealing strings, resulting in a powerful, if obvious, musical pun. Given the number of fantastic original songs that came out of the Mott years, including “Whizz Kid,” “Honaloochie Boogie,” “Drivin’ Sister,” and countless others, it is a bit ironic that the band’s signature tune was actually a cover. The David Bowie penned ”All The Young Dudes” came to define the relationship between Mott and its audience, also serving as an anthem for the glitter rock movement. The marriage of Bowie’s words with Hunter’s delivery was a perfect one, given that both artists were deeply in love with the glory and the grandeur of basic, gut level, utterly magnificent rock and roll.