Mott The Hoople - Mott

Mott The Hoople – Mott

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Mott The Hoople demonstrate themselves as a band finally full of confidence in their own abilities.

Written by: Explorer

ARTIST: Mott The Hoople
YEAR: 1973
CD REISSUE: Refer Discogs Link

LINEUP: Ian Hunter – lead vocals, piano, guitar, Mick Ralphs – 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

Additional Musicians: Paul Buckmaster – electric cello on ‘Honaloochie Boogie’, Andy Mackay – saxophone on ‘All The Way From Memphis’ & ‘Honaloochie Boogie’, Graham Preskett – violin on ‘Violence’, Thunderthighs (Karen Friedman, Dari Lalou, Casey Synge) – backing vocals on ‘Hymn For The Dudes’

TRACK LISTING: 01 All The Way From Memphis * 02 Whizz Kid * 03 Hymn For The Dudes * 04 Honaloochie Boogie * 05 Violence * 06 Drivin’ Sister * 07 Ballad of Mott The Hoople (26th March 1972, Zurich) * 08 I’m A Cadillac / El Camino Dolo Roso * 09 I Wish I Was Your Mother



Mott The Hoople were a band along with the likes of David Bowie, Queen and numerous others that were to have a profound effect on me in the early 70’s, and still do to this day.

After 4 somewhat difficult albums for Island Records (paradoxically a large draw live, famously being the first ever band to get barred from the Royal Albert Hall to boot), they were effectively dead and buried mainly down to a lack of record sales.

These were the times when record sales really mattered, but they were saved by the man of the moment back then, David Bowie, who upon hearing they were about to split gave the band the immortal ‘All The Young Dudes’.

The resulting album of the same name, whilst an improvement on the previous offerings was still somewhat patchy, but did give the band that important breakthrough hit and also a renewed burst of energy.

Not wanting to be seen as Bowie’s stooges, they distanced themselves from the dame and delivered one of the 70’s defining albums. Ian Hunter took over the reins as their main man (see what I did there) and his song writing took a giant leap as a consequence.

‘Mott’ effectively captured their live energy perfectly whilst also displaying a new found maturity. Mott the Hoople was my first live experience, catching their now legendary ’73 tour (with Queen in tow as special guests) in support of said album.

Mott The Hoople since those heady days have been rightly cited as a major influence on a diverse range of artists, from Motley Crue, Def Leppard to The Clash and Morrissey.

The Songs

All the songs on ‘Mott’ demonstrate a band finally full of confidence in their own abilities. Whereas on previous albums, the songs and playing could be seen as somewhat unfocused, but not without its charms. This is not the case with ‘Mott’, everything is tighter yet still retaining the bands latent raw energy.

The songs are better focussed and there is a clearer vision, this I believe is down to Hunter really coming into his own as a songwriter. Hunter’s dominance in the band would ultimately lead to the departure of Mick Ralphs, who in turn went on to form Bad Company.

‘All The Way From Memphis’ kicks us off, and is a storming start, from the descending piano motif, to Andy Mackay’s wailing sax, a killer tune which is an autobiographical tale of Mott’s/Hunter’s time on tour in America. Incidentally, this is told in more depth in probably what is one of the greatest rock books of all time ‘Diary Of A Rock n Roll Star’, a must read for any rock fan, showing the inner workings of touring the USA in the early 70’s.

‘Whizz Kid’ is next with Ralphs playing a Moogatron to add a new texture to Mott’s sound, and with a killer chorus could quite easily have been a choice for a single at the time.

‘Hymn For Tthe Dudes’ is a beautiful ballad, something that Hunter has excelled in all his career, co-written with recently departed organist Verden Allen, this features Hunter on Rachmaninov piano and half spoken words, finishing with a glorious coda of the band ably assisted on backing vocals by Thunderthighs giving it all.

‘Honaloochie Boogie’, the first single off the album is a marvellous stomp, which screams 1973 at me even today, all glitter and swagger. ‘Violence’ finishes off (in old money) side one and is a malevolent, dark song, full of wonderful imagery before it all ends with a punch up sequence involving pretty much all the band.

‘Drivin’ Sister’ is again a semi autobiographical song, reminiscing on times gone by and with a wonderful lyric by Hunter. ‘The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (26th March 1972 Zurich)’ to give it its full title – is again a supreme ballad telling the tale of the band, and the trials and tribulations that being in a Rock n Roll band is all about.

Not wanting to be left out Mick Ralphs comes up with the surprise track of the album: ‘I’m A Cadillac/El Camino Dolo Roso’, the first part being a understated rocker with Ralphs handling lead vocals, before we get into a lovely, instrumental acoustic piece that shows that Ralphs had a lot more in his arsenal that just his killer riffs.

The album finishes with one of the best Mott The Hoople songs of all time ‘I Wish I Was Your Mother’ which is a gorgeous Mandolin lead song that was at one time lined up as a single, with Hunter’s vocals paying homage to one of his heroes Bob Dylan. A perfect way to finish a nigh on perfect album.

In Summary

Time has not diminished my love for this band and in particular this album, it sits very comfortably in my top 5 of all time.

Hunter is the supreme story teller, his songs so full of his inner workings with him not being afraid to show us his demons and shortcomings. He is one of the best ballad writers of all time (not that his rockers are bad!!), and he continues to write and perform today, even at the grand old age of 75!

In recent years the band has reformed for a series of successful gigs. I was lucky enough to catch them again back in 2009 at the Hammersmith Odeon (yes, I know it’s called something different today, but it will always be the Odeon to me) and they were supreme.

3000+ 50 year old blokes singing ‘Goodbye’ to the band as they left the stage to ‘Saturday Gigs’ is one of my most cherished moments at any gig I have been to. The album has throughout the years been reissued with bonus tracks but I still prefer it in its original form.

One final note, back in the 70’s when an album was a real work of art, the packaging was something to behold. Initial copies of ‘Mott’ in the UK (the USA had a different cover by the way) had a gatefold sleeve with an ‘Emperor’ image printed on a transparent plastic sheet.

My copy back in ’73 came without the ‘Emperor’ plastic insert, but in recent times I have been able to get hold of two copies complete with said insert, which has made me a very happy boy indeed, and long for the days gone by.

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