Mott The Hoople

Men­tal Train (The Island Years 1969-1971)

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff - david Quantick

From a band that had two lives, a col­lec­tion drawn from their fist and most ex­cit­ing one.

There were ef­fec­tively two Mott The Hooples: the one that had a hit with All The Young Dudes and en­joyed a kind of glam-rock chart suc­cess in the mid-70s, and an ear­lier one that never made it yet recorded some great, al­most-lost rock al­bums as the 60s be­came the 70s. It’s that first Mott The Hoople who made the records in this new box set: their four al­bums for Island Records, along with a rar­i­ties set and a live disc, from a time in the band’s ca­reer that has never been prop­erly an­thol­o­gised; eighty-nine tracks, six discs, a wealth of new ma­te­rial in­clud­ing BBC ses­sions, stu­dio out-takes and live shows, and, as if that wasn’t enough, ex­cel­lent, in­sight­ful notes from for­mer Mott fan club boss Kris Needs.

Be­fore David Bowie threw them a new ca­reer in 1972, Mott’s guid­ing light was, in part, Guy Stevens, the ex­tra­or­di­nary half-mad, half-ge­nius pro­ducer who turned Mott’s chaotic, thrash­ing sound into thun­der­ous but in­ti­mate rock’n’roll (he later pulled a sim­i­lar trick with The Clash), but also them­selves.

Al­most from the start they were a self-aware (if never ironic) band, who un­der­stood more than most that the band and the au­di­ence were the same (‘We were the dudes and the dudes were we,’ Ian Hunter later sang). Their records some­times sounded as though there was some­thing miss­ing – and that some­thing was the au­di­ence. Mott live were a pul­pit for Ian Hunter, a com­mu­nal ex­pe­ri­ence and the very def­i­ni­tion of post-60s rock’n’roll. Their big­gest rock­ers – Rock’n’Roll Queen, Walk­ing With A Moun­tain, Thun­der­buck Ram, even the nutso Death May Be Your Santa Claus – were in­debted to both Dy­lan and the Rolling Stones, but had a swag­ger and at­ti­tude all of their own.

This col­lec­tion takes in every as­pect of the first Mott, from beau­ti­ful bal­lads like Water­low to the coun­try-rock side­bar of Whisky Women, throw­ing in some early takes on the fu­ture (a ten­ta­tive One Of The Boys, a far from ten­ta­tive Black Scor­poio (Momma’s Lit­tle Jewel), and shows just why this band were so great. When the later Mott sang about Mott The Hoople on The Bal­lad Of Mott The Hoople and Satur­day Gigs, this was the band they were singing about.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.