the critical success of Hunter's previous
solo album "All American Alien Boy",
1976, but commercial failure, Ian Hunter
decided it was time to get a proper band
to record the follow up album. But before
a band was put together and after a chance
meeting in a late night New York bar,
Ian Hunter had made a deal with famous
American producer Roy Thomas Baker ("Rolling
Stones", "The Cars", and
most famously for giving "Queen"
that smooth sound) to do his next album,
which was a good start. Miller Anderson
had recommended the services of bassist
Rob Rawlinson, who, after the break-up
of yet another line-up of "Chicken
Shack", was looking for a worthwhile
cause to ply his trade. Ian Hunter had
long admired the skills of "The Glitter
Band's talented but underused keyboard
player Peter Oxendale, so he was coerced
away by not only being given the keyboard
role, but that of musical director. Dennis
Elliot had been a long time friend of
Ian Hunter, so in a schedule break with
"Foreigner" he moonlighted on
the drum stool for the sessions only to
be replaced by the time the band went
on the road by one of the true wild men
of Rock 'n' Roll, Curly Smith. Finally
a new guitarist had to be found, and while
in America and looking for a Rock 'n'
Roll guitarist… why not go for the best?
Earl Slick, who had just finished sessions
with David Bowie on his 'Station to Station'
album, was brought in, if you like, as
the icing on the cake. With the band ready
and the songs written, the band went into
Le Studio Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada,
with the intention of laying down a classic
Heavy Rock Ian Hunter album as a re-action
to the light weight 'All American Alien
Three days after recording started the
house that Hunter had rented for his band's
entourage to stay in, caught fire, completely
gutting the building leaving all the occupants
escaping with their lives but little else,
including musical instruments (shades
of "Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water').
Both, producer Roy Thomas Baker and engineer
Gary Lyons, were hospitalized and were
still feeling the effects of their ordeal
during the recordings that followed. So
it is not surprising there is a bit of
a dramatic edge to all the songs.
The set opens with 'Golden Opportunity'
in barnstorming fashion commencing with
a lengthy instrumental section, which
takes various interesting twists and turns
allowing Slick to show off his guitar
playing was slick by name and slick by
nature, before settling into the main
tempo and pattern of the song. As the
guitars bring the song to a shattering
conclusion, Roy Thomas Baker shows why
he was in such demand as a producer. He
wonderfully goes seamlessly from one song
into another by going straight into the
Hunter lyrically acidic piece ' Shallow
Crystals', Ian Hunter's criticism, laid
firmly at the door of some unfortunate
in his past.
Next comes Hunter's Tour de Force. In
the title track one of the finest and
heaviest tracks ever laid down in the
studio, the opening creeps in with some
muted power chords and some sonic drumming
before the whole band comes crashing in
with Hunter ranting over the music.
"Charged by the light of some Mariners
Spitting out coals with triangular sparks,
Can't you hear the scream of the Overnight
Angels as they play.''
The song rocks along in fine style with
plenty of guitar pyrotechnics from Earl
Slick and studio wizardry from Roy Thomas
Baker as he switches the guitar and vocals
from one speaker to another. No wonder
the song was taken as the main theme to
the horror Movie 'Asphaltnacht' .
Immediately following this was the beautiful
'Broadway' Hunter's ode to all that is
good about the music scene in America.
After this the album's single comes rollicking
in, a nifty little song showcasing the
abilities of Peter Oxendale It was selected
as "Sounds" single of the week
back in those heady days of 1977. '( Miss)
Silver Dime' would also have made a fine
single apart from it's obvious storyline,
which would of made it impossible to get
any airtime on the Government controlled
'Wild 'n' Free' with its pace of a runaway
locomotive and its marked return to 'Brain
Capers' era "Mott the Hoople",
is the song that demonstrated to the emerging
New Wave of Punk Rock that their debt
to Ian Hunter and "Mott the Hoople"
was un-questionable, and they had a long
way to go to catch up with Hunter's biting,
cynical lyrics, and wild, raunchy Rockers.
'The Ballad of Little Star' is a loving
tribute to Native Americans. 'To Love
a Woman' closed the album in uncharacteristic
style for Hunter being a simple Pop/Soul
flavored love song , a very pleasing ending.
Columbia Records have just seen fit to
re-release 'Overnight Angels' and a fine
job of re-mastering they have done too,
giving the original recordings an extra
shine and clarity. Plus, tacked onto the
end as a bonus track we get the last ever
recording by the Overnight Angels, 'England
Rocks'. We all know what a little monster
that turned out to be, when it was changed
to 'Cleveland Rocks' and put on Ian Hunter's
following album "You're Never Alone
with a Schizophrenic". It was later
used as the theme song to 'The Drew Carey
Show', but here you get it in its original
brash short sharp shock version.
"One of Pattaya's leading Rock 'n'
Roll Bars once designed one of their famous
T-Shirts using the brilliant artwork by
David Oxtoby used for this album".
Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew