TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 March 2013
Can`t believe I`m only the second here to review this magisterial compilation. Oh well, here goes.
Mott released seven studio LPs and a live one, before packing it in by the end of 1974. Four of those were made before a certain Mr Bowie gave them All the Young Dudes (they`d turned down Suffragette City - can`t blame them, myself) to record as their next single. The rest is, as they say, history, if a brief one.
Over twenty tracks and 78 minutes, this excellent collection - along with superb booklet, with lots of photos and some of the best-written sleeve-notes I`ve ever read in such a context, courtesy of one Campbell Devine - gives the listener reasons enough to hear what the fuss was about, and why so many in and out of the business loved Mott and, in some cases, were inspired and influenced by them.
There`s a wonderful sense of controlled shambles about the Hoople, but under all the pretence of long-haired chaos this was a band who cared what they played and sang, and songs like All the Way From Memphis, Roll Away the Stone, Honaloochie Boogie, the lushly elegiac yet (at the time) absurdly overlooked Saturday Gigs, and of course the ecstatic, immortal All the Young Dudes - well, they`re all here in their majesty, plus many more great songs, such as minor hit Foxy Foxy, one of their finest tracks, as well as the gorgeous ballad Waterlow and the brilliant Sea Diver.
And so many more...
Mott the Hoople were a very English outfit - rather in the way The Band or Little Feat were quintessentially North American - with little of the trans-Atlantic swagger and glitz of the Stones, or the self-conscious artiness of Roxy Music. You can hear it in Ian Hunter`s voice, in their lyrics, and in the pre-punk `home-made` feel of much of their music. They were, in short, a national treasure we prized too casually, and hearing them at their peak on these mostly marvellous songs brings back an era when a band like Mott - fiercely individual, with fire in their bellies and something to say - could take the stage for all too brief a time, and rock the world on its axis!
I can`t help thinking that this is what rock is all about. This is, all in all, one of the best compilations I`ve ever heard, beautifully presented, with loving care, which is no more than this great band deserves.
Do you remember the Saturday gigs?
We do, we do...