CD Review Directory Mott the Dog's CD Collection

Mott the Dog's review on....

Review: 126
Date: 2 May 03

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Ian Hunter - Vocals, guitar and keyboards
Robbie Altar - Guitars
Tommy (Maddog) Mandell - Keyboards
Mark Clark - Bass
Hilly Michaels - Drums

Tracks Listing:
All of the good ones are taken (Fast version)
Every step of the way
Fun
Speechless
Death 'n' Glory Boys
That girl is Rock 'n' Roll
Somethin's goin' on
Captain Void 'n' the video jets
Seeing Double
All of the good ones are taken (Slow version)

 


This album has got class written all over. Recorded in 1983, two years after his previous album "Short Back and Sides", it smacks of an artist at the top of his powers, who has already been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and was allowing the rest to try and catch up. That is not to say that every effort was not put into this collection, in fact, all the tracks were written by Ian Hunter with the exception of the two written with long time mates Mark Clarke and Hilly Michaels. In similar vein to Hunter's more thoughtful work like "All American Alien Boy", Ian made lyrical assaults on several controversial topics including US television, government nuclear policy, and the recent Falklands war.

Although Hunter's usual partner in crime, Mick Ronson, was at the time off, involved in other projects. (However, he did contribute to one track, 'Death and Glory Boys', some absolutely shattering lead guitar.) Hunter has always had the luxury that most of his best mates also happened to be some of the leading lights in Rock 'n' Roll. So the main band was made up of Mark Clarke (ex-Rainbow, Greenslade, Tempest, to name but a few) on bass; Hilly Michaels (ex- Little Feat) on drums; long time sideman Tommy (Maddog) Mandel on keyboards; and filling in Mick Ronson's mighty plectrum work, Robbie Altar. When you add to this some astounding, saxophone work by the mighty Clarence Clemmons from the E Street Band, you are left with a very fine pedigree stamped on the recordings.

The album opens with the first of two versions of the title track, a fast and slow version were recorded to open and close the album. The faster one being used as a single by record label Columbia to promote the album in the States. 'Every Step of the Way' follows, which is a lovely smutty dumb love song. Next song is 'Fun' and it is self explanatory. It was later covered by the Monkees on their" Pool it" album. 'Speechless' was the first of two songs on the album about the absurdity of television.

"Every time I watch you
Gotta switch you off
You surely can't be serious
Every time I see you
I just can't believe
You go below ridicules"

'Speechless' was also covered this time by "Status Quo" on their 1986 LP 'In the Army Now'. 'Death 'n' Glory' was inspired by the Falklands War, but could be about the futility of any war, where the young are called out to fight and die for reasons that they don't really understand.

'That Girl is Rock 'n' Roll' is pretty self-explanatory and is the good time sister song to Hunter's earlier hit 'Once Bitten Twice Shy'. It would make a good soundtrack to any night down Pattaya Walking street. 'Something's going on' was of far more substantial matter, dealing with the uncertainties of nuclear war and the power that a small minority of people have over the majority of us. Television comes under the microscope once more in 'Captain Void 'n' the Video Jets ', only this time in a comical manner, perhaps implying that the writer himself was spending a little too much time in front of the Google box instead of the Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle.

The album draws to a close in mellow fashion with 'Seeing Double', a song of desperations living out your life in these modern times, and then the closing version of the title track, with some of the best work Clarence Clemmons has ever laid down, and yes, I include anything he has done with Springsteen .

Anyway, how can anyone possibly dislike an album, when half way through the song 'Fun' Hunter implores his audience with "I wanna party - Get down - Boogie". What more do you want?

It is about time the record company got hold of the master tapes from 1983, re-mastered them, and added a few of the extra tracks that were recorded at the time, with new liner notes and not the ones taken from the vinyl edition, which are now so unreadable small without a magnifying glass, especially as there is Ian Hunter's poem in tribute to Guy Stevens on the inside sleeve in its original hand written form.

But that does not detract from the marvelous music provided on this timeless collection of Rock 'n' Roll.

 

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew

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


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