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3.0 out of 5 stars Check into the Moth Poet Hotel at your own risk, 18 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Moth Poet Hotel [Tribute] (Audio CD)
In this tribute-obsessed culture we're part of, one of the most glaring omissions is the absolute dearth of Mott the Hoople tribute albums. Sure, plenty have covered Mott tunes but a unified collection of those renditions is either nonexistent or extremely hard to find. In the extremely hard to find category is this album on Columbia Records Japan performed by Japanese artists (mostly). Former Mott keyboardist Morgan Fisher has resided in Japan for over three decades and commandeered this mixed bag.

For starters an assemblage of the various artists from MOTH POET HOTEL perform 'All the Young Dudes' the one song that virtually all artists involved wanted. In a gesture of diplomacy Fisher convinced them all to come together for a "We Are the World" type treatment. Musically it is spot on, however, vocally it is laughable to these Western ears. I would have preferred they sang it in their native tongue as some artists opted to do for their individual tracks. 'Rock and Roll Queen' by Easy Walkers is, again, instrumentally superb but also an improvement vocally. The Yellow Monkey are a legitimate Japanese rock band who remind me of SLIDER-era T-Rex. They offer up a splendid take on 'Honaloochie Boogie' illustrating that a Japanese band can do justice to an English piece by performing in their own language rather than forcing (and risk butchering the English) a language they may not be comfortable with.

Heat Wave takes liberties with 'Ballad of Mott' by injecting violin, melodion (by Fisher), tin whistle and smallpipes and again supports my supposition that when in doubt, it's preferable to sing in Japanese. The highlight for me is Brian May's scorching version of 'All the Way From Memphis' aided by drummer Cozy Powell. Fisher has numerous distant ties with May which probably explains this unlikely inclusion here. 'I Wish I Was Your Mother' by Kazufumi Miyazawa is much too long and slow for my tastes. It simply doesn't end!

The High-Lows tastefully add a pop-leaning touch to the 50's flavored 'Golden Age of Rock and Roll.' The best example of a Japanese artist singing in English is provided by The Privates on 'Death May Be Your Santa Claus' as they combine hard rock with heavy programming and distorted vocals. The Privates along with Brian May and Yellow Monkey contribute my three favorite track to this compilation. When observing that an artist named Psychodelicious was to perform the Ian Hunter ballad 'Trudi's Song' my expectations were admittedly low. He/they acquit themselves nicely on this epic seven minute atmospheric piece.

The finale is a track called 'Moth Poet Hotel' written and sung by Morgan Fisher and backed by his MPH backing band. This is a biographical number not unlike those many written by songsmith Ian Hunter particularly on Mott the Hoople's MOTT album. Fisher's vocal delivery reminds me of equal parts Lou Reed, David Bowie and Hunter. A fitting coda to this unique and elusive album.
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