Artist – Album: Mott the Hoople – Mott
Released: 20th July 1973
Sounds Like: Ziggy Stardust + T-Rex x New York Dolls = Mott the Hoople
Well, I’ve got to admit; I didn’t exactly have high hopes for this one. Maybe it’s the clunky band name (it has the “the” in the middle of it rather than the front, that’s just not the done thing!), maybe it’s the horrendously seventies album cover with a two tone pink (pink?!) background and tiny images of the band, slipped in as if they weren’t sure whether to include them at all so they did it and hoped no one would notice. Most likely it’s because the only song I knew by them was the admittedly classic ‘All the Young Dudes’, which, though brilliant, was donated to them by David Bowie and therefore suggests that they couldn’t even write their own hits. I’m happy to report though that my doubts were way off the mark – this album is great fun.
The central theme of the album is the disillusionment that is brought about by success in the cutthroat world of music, but the album is shot through with wit and good ol’ rock and roll to such an extent that these misgivings don’t weigh it down. Whilst the beautiful, mournful ‘Ballad of Mott the Hoople’ recounts the tale of the band’s near break up and the misleadingly up-tempo ‘All the Way from Memphis’ adorns the story of how they set off on the road without their guitars with insights into his utter exhaustion with the whole business (“you look like a star, but you’re still on the dole”), proceedings are lightened up by the delightfully anarchic ‘Violence’ – as lead singer Ian Hunter yelps the title he his attacked by a barrage of violins – and the straight faced dance rock of ‘Honaloochie Boogie’.
Unfortunately, as great as the album was, the sense of disenchantment couldn’t be dispelled and not long after this record Mott the Hoople disbanded. Maybe that’s the real reason I didn’t try them as seriously as I should’ve – they didn’t have enough time to forge a lasting legacy beyond their one, Bowie-penned megahit. Whatever, I know now that this is a fantastic album.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
1. All the Way from Memphis – 4:55
2. Whizz Kid – 3:05
3. Hymn for the Dudes – 5:15
4. Honaloochie Boogie – 2:35
5. Violence – 4:37
6. Drivin’ Sister – 4:42
7. Ballad of Mott the Hoople – 5:40
8. I’m a Cadillac/El Camino Dolo Roso – 7:40
9. I Wish I Was Your Mother – 4:41
Listen to ‘All the Way from Memphis’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvarPF5zlUA