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Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson - Yui Orta

Review: 120
Date: 21 Mar 03


Rating: 5 Stars

Ian Hunter - Vocals
Mick Ronson - Guitars
Tommy Mandel - Keyboards
Mick Curry - Drums
Pat Kilbride - Bass

Tracks Listing:
American music
The Loner
Women's Intuition
Tell it like it is
Livin' in a heart
Big Time
Beg a little love
Following in your footsteps
Sons 'n' lovers
How much more can I take
Sweet Dreamer


Every time that Hunter and Ronson got together to make an albumís worth of material there was always a lot of magic in the air. Unfortunately this only happened three times. Once for Ian Hunter's first solo album in 1975, then four years later in 1979 with the fabulous "Your never alone with a Schizophrenic". It was not for another eight years that the two of them finally got back together. The recording process was only undertaken after the Band had been on the road with a set that included nearly all the material to be recorded for "YUI ORTA" (the title being a play on the old Three Stooges catchphrase). So if there is a live feeling to this album it is hardly surprising. With Producer Bernard Edwards at the controls, the whole album was recorded over a seven week period at the Power station in New York City.

Hunter's songwriting throughout is nothing short of superb, but the overall feeling of greatness that is put across cannot be laid entirely at the songwriters feet. The rest of the band is so tight they make identical twins look like strangers. Micky Curry plays them drums as though they are a lead instrument, instead of a time keeping device. Pat Kilbride really comes of age here as one of Rocks leading Bassists, keeping the groove of the album going in one continuous whoosh. The great Tommy (Mad Dog) Mandel handles the keyboards, and is best served whilst bash out the rhythms on piano, which always suited Hunter's songs the best anyway. Here Mandel can be heard at the height of his powers before he was later submerged in the Bryan Adams Band. Then, of course, on every instrument with six strings there was Mick Ronson. (In many peopleís opinion Bowie has done nothing of real merit since he parted company with his main collaborator when he split up The Spiders from Mars.) Whether playing some quiet tasteful licks behind Hunterís ballads 'Livin in a Heart', where Hunter sings of the regrets he harbors for the breakup of his first marriage and the regret and guilt that he feels, or the straight ahead party time Rock 'n' Roll of 'Big Time', every note is perfect, making each song come alive.

Add to this some of the finest songs to come from the pen of Ian Hunter, during his long and illustrious career, you have here an album worthy of the tag 'Milestone in Rock 'ní Roll. Nowhere will you find a finer rapid fire salvo of opening tracks than 'American Music' with it's references to British radio, which only played Rock 'n' Roll music very occasionally in the late fifties and early sixties, and completely at random so you had to listen to an awful lot of dross whilst hoping for a bit of Jerry Lee Lewis. Follow this with 'The Loner' (one of Hunterís favorite songs) and then the hard rock of 'Women's Intuition', a song of vengeance concerning the theme of injured love, and you are left breathless by track four. And believe me, there is a lot more to come including this Dogís favorite ever Hunter song, the gut wrenching 'Beg a Little Love', plus the albumís closing song, a guitar instrumental of the Don Gibson song 'Sweet DreamerĒ, which was originally a hit for Dolly Parton, but in the hands of Mick Ronson it becomes a thing of rare beauty.

With Hunterís redoubtable songwriting skills and idiosyncratic vocals and the snap, crackle, pop, and flash of Ronson's guitar playing, this album is a timely reminder of the talents of two of rockís mavericks, whose influence is still recognized by many of todayís young Buckaroos.
I will leave you now with some of the lyrics to 'Beg a Little Love'

"Life takes a little piece of you away
Everyday of your life
You learn to get wise, you learn to compromise -
You learn to criticize yourself
I guess we all grow up 'cos one day everything -
Seems further from the truth
And you try find yourself - in this endless youth
You try find yourself - and you
Beg a little love
When my mind had gone
When both of my minds had gone
When all of my minds had gone".


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


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