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Ian Hunter
You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic

Review: 066
Date: 11 Mar 02

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Ian Hunter - Vocals, Guitar and Keyboard
Mick Ronson - Guitar
Roy Bittan - Piano
Gary Tallent - Bass
Max Weinberg - Drums
John Cale - Piano on Bastard

Tracks Listing:
1. Just Another Night
2. Wild East
3. Cleveland Rocks
4. Ships
5. When The Daylight Comes
6. Life After Death
7. Standing In My Light
8. Bastard
9. The Outsider

 


Slip this wonderfully newly remastered version of Ian Hunter’s Classic album from 1979 into your player and out bursts Dam-Dah-Ram-Dam, then drums followed by guitar with keyboards, and there you are in the middle of the Schizophrenic world of Ian Hunter. The nine songs featured on this collection used to comprise five on side A and four on side B in the days of good old vinyl. The Schizophrenic title wasn’t meant to be wholly serious (it was actually taken from graffiti on a New York toilet wall), however, listening to the record it soon became clear that musically it was split. Side one featured five relatively commercial songs, and side two four longer more heavy introverted pieces that dwelt on past influences on Ian’s life and showed the darker side of his character.

After the fire and spat of opener “Just Another Night” comes swaggering to a halt, it immediately merges into the bump and groove of “Wild East”, a mildly energetic and melodic piece with a sax-based riff concerning the crazed east side of New York City. It had an undoubted Springsteen and Dylan flavour, which is not highly surprising as joining Hunter in the studio were 3 of Springsteen’s E-street band in Ray Bitten (Piano), Gary Tallent (Bass) and Max Weinberg (Drums) alongside guitar ace Mick Ronson who had just come off Dylan’s Rolling Thunder tour.

Next up is Ian Hunter’s anthem to Cleveland, “Cleveland Rocks” (now used as the theme tune for the Drew Carey show). It opens with a spoken section from the infamous Alan Freed before Ronson fires the whole thing off with some guitar pyrotenics, now a staple of all Ian Hunter’s concerts.

Hunter included a touching hymn-like ballad, “Ships”, concerning his relationship with his father. “Ships” was subsequently covered by Barry Mannilow and charted as a hit single, probably earning more money in royalties for Ian Hunter then he’d ever made before. Funny old world this Rock ‘n’ Roll, ain’t it.

Closing side one was Mick Ronson’s favorite track “When The Daylight Comes”, a light and simple song that Ian encouraged Mick to sing duel lead vocals on.

Side two opens with “Life After Death”, which allowed Ian to explore metaphysical issues with an all out belting rocker. “Standing In My Light” shifts moods and dynamics in gospel fashion. It builds up slowly and compellingly in terms of musical anger as Ian gives a stately account of a new beginning in his life.

“Bastard” is a powerful piece of macho-funk with a throbbing beat and percussion that recalls the Rolling Stones Black & Blue era. Built on a relentless grinding slow burn the track concerns some poor unfortunate who crossed Ian and incurred his wrath.

“The Outsider” closes the record in dramatic fashion, employing arresting drum and vocal echoes, topped with more scorching Ronson lead guitar.

With three months of pre-production the record produced by Mick & Ian, engineered by the notorious Bob Clearmountain, took only one week to record, a further three weeks to mix, and then went straight into the Billboard top forty and became Ian Hunter’s most successful solo project to this day.

Overall the album was a hard hitting surging rock record with superb studio sound.

 

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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