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Mott The Hoople - Family Anthology - 2 CD Set

Review No: 284
Added 7th July 2006

Quite what Angel Air are trying to achieve with this rather shoddy collection I am not sure. Amongst the thirty two tracks up for your appraisal are eight tracks from Mott the Hoople themselves. Two of which are previously unreleased and have laid in the vaults of Island Records since 1969 and 1970 respectively. The reason they were not released at the time is because they were not considered to be good enough then to put out to the record buying public. Well let me assure you that nothing has changed in the ensuing years to change the value of these recordings: ‘Can You Sing The Song That I Sing’ is appalling, ‘The Chosen Road’ is worse.

Then we have two songs from Mott The Hoople’s concert at the Tower Theatre, Philadelphia in 1972. These are recorded from a hand held microphone in the audience and are therefore of low quality. The fact that it is supposed to be a historic gig due to the fact that David Bowie, then at the height of his Ziggy Stardust era fame, joins the band on stage for a rendition of ‘All The Young Dudes’ makes no difference to your listening enjoyment at all. In fact “All The Young Dudes’, probably Mott The Hoople’s best known song (although a long way from being their best song), is so badly taped as to be almost unrecognizable.

Two other live recordings are delivered up from Mott The Hoople’s tour of the United States of America at the Santa Monica Auditorium in 1974, and the band are firing on all six, but lead vocalist Ian Hunter is suffering from laryngitis (you can almost hear him asking for the Strepsils after ‘The Golden age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll’), Due to the band’s popularity an extra show had been added in the evening so Ian Hunter had to push his voice through two shows, rendering him almost silent, the second show ending at roughly 2.30 a.m. A prior arrangement had been made to record this show for American radio but perhaps not a good idea to put it out as something for the public to judge Mott The Hoople as a live band, especially if Angel Air want to sell any more of their Mott The Hoople back catalogue.

The two gleaming exceptions to this are the two songs recorded in Stockholm in 1971 for a BBC Radio One in concert. The heart rendering version of Mott The Hoople’s cover of Sonny Bono’s ‘Laugh at Me’ is caught in all its glory, and wisely the record company have decided to open proceeding’s with ‘Walkin’ With A Mountain’. This is nearly seven minutes of Mott the Hoople at their most outrageous rock ‘n’ roll best, starting out with some great Chuck Berry riffs at breakneck speed, and just getting faster, until Ian Hunter brings the band back down to earth with a ripping journey through Stones land with verses of ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ done Mott style, before the band roar back in with Mick Ralph’s ripping solos out of his axe that make the air bleed. Rock ‘n’ roll at its very best. But from the Mott the Hoople quota, two out of eight is not good enough.

Out of the other twenty four tracks supposedly from the Mott The Hoople family, there are not many pearls among the swine. The one absolute gem is a new version of the Mott The Hoople classic ‘Roll Away The Stone’ by the Ariel Bender Band, recorded specially for this collection, although if they had heard the rest first they might not have bothered. Mott’s original version of this was amazing, but this just wipes the floor with it. Ariel Bender’s guitar has been pushed all the way to the front, grabbing you by the throat and not letting go. Vocalist Marc Eden snarls the lyrics at you like they were supposed to be in the first place, whilst the rest of the band rip into the song with glee.

The Ariel Bender Band will be releasing their debut album in the very near future and this version of ‘Roll Away The Stone’ will be on it. So If I was you I would wait for that. I will keep you posted through Mott The Dog.


Walkin’ With A Mountain: Mott The Hoople
One More Chance To Run: The British Lions
She’s Real Gone: Overend Watts*
Can’t Get Enough (Demo): Mick Ralphs
I Ain’t Got You: Les Norman and The Buddies*
She Does It (live): Mott
Morning Dew: The Rats
Barefootin’: Doc Thomas Group
St Tropez: Verden Allen*
The Lady Is A Tramp: Dale Griffin aka Cruddy Drekko*
Something Else: Robert Fisher And The Silence*
Momma’s Little Jewel: Phil Hendriks*
Can You Sing The Song That I Sing: Mott The Hoople*
All The Way From Memphis: Mott The Hoople
Roll Away The Stone: The Ariel Bender Band
American Music: Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson
Disc Two
All The Young Dudes: Mott The Hoople
Wild In The Streets: British Lions
Leave Me Be: Ray Majors
Laugh At Me: Mott The Hoople
Born Late 58: Mott
Let’s Rat: The Paper Bags
Strong Heart: John Fiddler
That’s Life: Mick Ralphs
Telephone Blues: The Rats
Just Can’t Go To Sleep: Doc Thomas Group
Good Morning: Jon Best and The Shakedown Sound*
Sweet Angeline: Mott The Hoople
The Chosen Road: Mott The Hoople*
Hideaway: Bad Company
Golden Age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Mott The Hoople
Son’s and Lovers: Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson
* Denotes previously unreleased

There is also a very good cover of the Freddie King instrumental ‘Hideaway’ by Bad Company featuring Mick Ralphs. This is very good, but there is a much better version of this song with Mick Ralphs from when he toured with the Ian Hunter Band in 2003 on the bootleg album ‘A Night At The Opera’.

The final positive thing about this collection is that either CD finishes with a track from the only album ever released under the joint Hunter: Ronson banner ‘YUIORTA’ (Say each letter out loud and you will get the joke on an old Three Stooges joke). If the album gets people to go out and buy this wonderful album then at least something good will come of it.

So of the twelve tracks so far mentioned we have six that are worthy of your attention. Let me assure you there is nothing else here that does not make you want to reach over to push the fast forward button. Most of it is laughable.

Mick Ralphs has put forward for inclusion the demo for Bad Company’s breakthrough hit single ‘Can’t Get Enough’. All I can say to Mick Ralphs is you were very lucky to have Paul Rogers to sing the song, a good rhythm section in Boz Burrell and Simon Kirke, plus a good production team, as the demo is hideous, and why would we want to listen to it anyway when the finished product is available?

Neither of Mick Ralphs other two solo efforts included here are much cop either. There are several Plod Rock tracks from Mott The Hoople spin off bands like Mott and The British Lions. Well if you want to hear what a band sounds like after they have lost their lead guitarist, lead singer, and sole songwriter, here is your chance. The newly recorded tracks from original Mott The Hoople keyboard player Verden Allen, and bass player Overend Watts, have I hope got to be them having a laugh. The various recordings of pre-Mott The Hoople bands are embarrassing in every way; how some of the other people have got to put songs on this album I have no idea nor do I want to know. But the biscuit for the absurd must be a version of ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’ recorded by Mott The Hoople’s drummer. He even forgets the words. Not even his best friend is going to go rushing out to spend his hard earned money on that.

A Family Tree Album for Mott the Hoople could have been a good idea. Concentrating perhaps on some of the lesser known tracks from the band, and then perhaps tracks from bands Motts were in before or afterwards such as Widowmaker, Spooky Tooth, Bad Company, Verden Allen’s solo career, Morgan, and some of the great stuff by Mick Ronson.

If you want to know what all the fuss Mott The Hoople was about, try the albums ‘Mad Shadows’, ‘Mott’ or ‘The Hoople’. For the live beast you can do no better than the new 30th Anniversary edition of ‘Mott The Hoople Live’, which gives you two concerts of the band at the height of their powers, one from 1973 and the other from 1974. This Family Anthology with one or two exceptions should be avoided at all costs.

Mott the Dog resides at Jameson's the Irish Pub