This album, sees Ian Hunter soaking up all things America, very much like David Bowie’s ‘Young Americans’ opus, and like Bowie takes a more soulful, even jazzy route to convey his feelings.
Written by: Explorer
ARTIST: Ian Hunter
ALBUM: All American Alien Boy
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Ian Hunter – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano on ‘All American Alien Boy’, backing vocals * Chris Stainton – piano, organ, mellotron, bass guitar on ‘Restless Youth’ * Jaco Pastorius – bass guitar all tracks, guitar on track ‘God (Take I)’ *Aynsley Dunbar – drums * Jerry Weems – lead guitar * David Sanborn – saxophone * Dominic Cortese – accordion * Cornell Dupree – guitar on ‘Letter to Britannia From the Union Jack’ * Don Alias – congas * Arnie Lawrence – clarinet * Dave Bargeron – trombone * Lewis Soloff – trumpet * Freddie Mercury – backing vocals on ‘You Nearly Did Me In’ * Brian May – backing vocals on ‘You Nearly Did Me In’ * Roger Taylor – backing vocals on ‘You Nearly Did Me In’ * Bob Segarini, Ann E. Sutton, Gail Kantor, Erin Dickins – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Letter From Britannia From The Union Jack * 02 All American Alien Boy * 03 Irene Wilde * 04 Restless Youth * 05 Rape * 06 You Nearly Did Me In * 07 Apathy 83 * 08 God (Take 1)
30th ANNIVERSARY BONUS TRACKS: 01 To Rule Britannia From Union Jack* 02 All American Alien Boy (Single Version)* 03 Irene Wilde (Take 1) * 04 Weary Anger* 05 Apathy* 06 (God) Advise To A Friend
This is Ian Hunter’s second solo album after leaving the legendary Mott The Hoople in early 1975. His debut solo release spawned the ubiquitous ‘One Bitten, Twice Shy’, later covered by Great White, and was widely considered a commercial and critical success. With this release, Hunter didn’t work with Mick Ronson due to management difficulties, so he employed the cream of American session men to help out with; it has to be said spectacular results.
This album, sees Hunter soaking up all things America, very much like David Bowie‘s ‘Young Americans’ opus, and like Bowie takes a more soulful, even jazzy route to convey his feelings. ‘Letter To Britannia From the Union Jack’ sees Hunter in a reflective mood, and is a quite beautiful, languid number. The title track is a sprawling seven minute epic which is a far cry from his Mott The Hoople days with its funky bass lines, cultured saxophone and soulful female backing voices.
‘Irene Wilde’ is the most beautiful, very personal ballad, taking issue with unrequited love, but on tracks like this it demonstrates that Hunter is one of THE greatest songwriters. ‘Restless Youth’ is the polar opposite of the previous track and is the nearest the album gets to rocking out. ‘Rape’ is another of Hunter’s thoughtful, yet disturbing lyrical tales, and sees him channeling his inner Dylan.
‘You Nearly Did Me In’ is the most interesting track on show here as it features 3/4 of Queen on backing vocals. The story is that Queen (who had toured with Mott the Hoople back in ’73-’74) just happened to be visiting the studio at the right time, and is again a soulful yet very powerful number.
‘Apathy 83’, if I recall correctly came about after Hunter met Bob Dylan backstage at Madison Square Garden after a Rolling Stones gig. Dylan asked Hunter what he thought of the Stones concert. ‘Insipid’, said Hunter. Bob Dylan replied, ‘Yeah, apathy for the devil’, this is a song that has become one of Hunter’s best political statements as he rants against corruption in high places.
The final track ‘God (Take 1)’, once again sees Hunter taking on Dylan at his own game looking at organised religion and is a wonderful way of ending what is one of my favourite Hunter solo albums.
Not a commercial success, but well-received critically, Hunter at the time of its release said it was probably a little too different for his fan base but nevertheless sees one of Rock’s true greats spreading his wings, exploring difficult lyrical themes as well as his musical palette. Still active to this very day at the ripe old age of 81, Ian Hunter is a true statesman of rock music and as a musician-human being has influenced me since discovering his music back in 1971.
Irene Wilde (Live 2004)
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