the release of Ian Hunter’s last
proper album, YUIORTA (1989), a collaboration
with Mick Ronson. Life had not been at
its kindest to one of England's leading
songwriters. He had to stand silently
as his right-hand man in the music world,
and best friend in the real world, was
eaten away by the dreaded cancer. Mick
Ronson worked right up until the illness
claimed his life at the tragic age of
46 in April 1993.
For years Ian Hunter was in the wilderness
of music, not having to work as past royalties
allowed him to live a comfortable life,
and writers block settled into the Hunter
residence. Fortunately his lethargy was
shaken up by Norwegian superstar Casino
Steel, who himself had difficulties writing
songs for his new album. He called his
mentor to leave his abode in New York
and travel to the artic of Trondheim,
Norway. When Ian Hunter arrived he found
that Casino was not having trouble writing
songs, the fact was, he had no songs at
all, but a twelve day deadline to come
up with a complete album. With the help
of such friends as Honest John Plain,
Darrell Bath, and ex Sex Pistol Glen Matlock,
they did actually produce a good pub rock
party album, eventually titled Ian Hunter's
Dirty Laundry. It was released in Norway
in 1995 and slowly released internationally.
It did have the effect of waking the
sleeping talents of Ian Hunter. He finally
went back into the studio with the same
team that recorded Dirty Laundry. Hunter
felt comfortable in Norway's relaxed air
and brought a few old cohorts for company.
These were wonder bassist Pat Kilbride,
guitarist Robbie Alter, and for one track
long time friend and Foreigner drummer
The results give us one of Ian Hunter’s
most emotional albums. On many of the
songs Ian turns his pen to matters of
the heart, his parents, parenthood, youth,
his love of New York, the afterlife, and
derides the tabloid press and death, but
this can be a little painful at sometimes.
The opening song is a ballad, and to
be honest, the pace does not pick up much
throughout the album, but the first verse
sets the tone.
"Maybe You don't want me - I'm so
scared of losing you.
I never miss an Opportunity to miss an
Watch me screw up this one, too, It's
hard to talk about love.
I'm just leaving now - it's just
All I ever wanted - was you
Is that to much?"
A touching plea from the heart of Ian
Hunter's love for his beautiful wife Trudi,
but still showing his basic instinct of
The title track and 'Skeletons (In Your
Closet)’ are both throw away Stones
acoustic rockers that do give the album
some respite. '23A Swan Hill' gets its
title from the address that Hunter spent
his formative years living with his parents
in a small flat above the police station,
where Ian's father worked. But with three
other songs dedicated to friends departed,
and ‘Resurrection Mary’ about
a ghost who haunts the highways of Chicago,
there is not much room for any of Ian
Hunter’s famous rockers.
'Walk on Water' is a tribute to Guy Stevens
who had originally taken the fledgling
Mott the Hoople (the band Ian Hunter was
in from 1969 to 1974) under his wing when
they were first signed to Island records.
Ian describs a little flame, tormented
soul, lost in rock 'n' roll, that does
not come out alive.
'Now is the Time' is actually inspired
by Ian playing Wembley Stadium at the
Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, which
was also the last time Mick Ronson played
live before an audience, doing 'All the
Young Dudes' with Ian, and 'Heroes' with
David Bowie. But the masterpiece of the
album is Ian Hunter's tribute to the platinum
haired Spider from Hull, the guitarist's
guitarist, Mick Ronson, called 'Michael
Picasso'. Ian Hunter’s emotional
voice glides gently over a sparse arrangement
of his acoustic guitar and a simple string
quartet. A truly beautiful song for a
beautiful person. A great tribute to his
former partner, directly from the heart.
So, a satisfactory return to the fray.
However, it took another five years for
Hunter to return to his classic best with
'Rant' in 2002. It was also noticeable
that Ian had to use four guitarists over
the album to replace his departed friend.
by Mott The Dog
Re-chewed by Ella Crew