This is the first Mott the Hoople record I’ve actually gotten around to listening to enough to review. I tried another one – I don’t remember which – but it didn’t make the cut. I could have dropped this one for similar reasons, I think, but I didn’t for whatever reason.
As others have noted, David Bowie is all over this record. But it’s a curious Bowie influence, as they seem to have been inspired by Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period, but at his most commercial and accessible only, so most of the artiness of Bowie is gone, stripped away. And given that the artiness is the appeal of Bowie in the first place (for me anyway), that’s a weird experience.
The other thing is that, though Hunter often sounds vaguely like Bowie when he sings, he’s not remotely as good a songwriter as Bowie is.
So this basically sounds like imitation Bowie to me, and a relatively poor imitation at that. The performances are all solid – these are fine musicians – but I’d rather listen to the genuine article than a band that loved Ziggy Stardust and parts of Aladdin Sane but though the problem with those albums was that they were too ambitious and too diverse, respectively.
Frankly, listening to this one makes me think I really should have given that other album of theirs more of a listen, because at least it wasn’t flagrant Bowie worship.
All songs written by Ian Hunter, except where indicated
- “All the Way from Memphis” – 4:55
- “Whizz Kid” – 3:05
- “Hymn for the Dudes” (Verden Allen, Hunter) – 5:15
- “Honaloochie Boogie” – 2:35
- “Violence” (Hunter, Mick Ralphs) – 4:37
- “Drivin’ Sister” (Hunter, Ralphs) – 4:42
- “Ballad of Mott the Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)” (Hunter, Dale “Buffin” Griffin, Peter Watts, Ralphs, Allen) – 5:40
- “I’m a Cadillac / El Camino Dolo Roso” (Ralphs) – 7:40
- “I Wish I Was Your Mother” – 4:41
- Ian Hunter – lead vocals, piano, guitar, arrangements
- Mick Ralphs – lead guitar, backing vocals, organ, moogotron, mandolins, tambourine, lead vocals on “I’m a Cadillac / El Camino Dolo Roso”
- Pete “Overend” Watts – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Dale “Buffin” Griffin – drums, vocals, percussion, backing vocals
- Paul Buckmaster – electric cello on “Honaloochie Boogie”
- Morgan Fisher – piano, synthesizer, backing vocals on “Drivin’ Sister” (live)
- Mick Hince – bells on “I Wish I Was Your Mother”
- Andy Mackay – tenor saxophone on “All The Way from Memphis” and “Honaloochie Boogie”
- Graham Preskett – “insane” violin on “Violence”
- Thunderthighs (Karen Friedman, Dari Lalou, Casey Synge) – backing vocals on “Hymn for the Dudes”