Mott The Hoople

ARTICLE ABOUT Mott The Hoople and Black Sabbath FROM New Musical Express, April 10, 1976

This is one of those “double” reviews of albums that I`m personally not very fond of. But here you have it. Two albums reviewed for the price of one or something… Personally I find the Sabbath one a great collection of tracks even today, but Mr. Murray wouldn`t agree with me. Enjoy!

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You too can have a legend like mine

Takes only two minutes a day – in your own home!

Mott The Hoople: Greatest Hits (CBS);
Black Sabbath: We Sold Our Soul For Rock `N` Roll (Nems).

By Charles Shaar Murray

A cornucopia of aspects: Compilations seen as examples of the Gentle Art Of Putting Compilation Albums Together, compilations as someone`s idea of the best and most important aspects of the artist in question, compilations as distillations of the essence of the artist and thereby lynch-pins for discussion of the artist`s Galactic Importance, Social Significance, Role in the economic exploitation of the rock-sensitive sections of the populace and occasionally New Jersey.
The Mott album was put together by the current incarnation of the band with the assistance of Stan Tippins, tour manager and close associate of the band since Year Dot.
It covers the CBS years: i.e. from “Dudes” (1972) to “Saturday Gigs” (late `74); the period from the entry of David Bowie to the departure of Ian Hunter.
It contains all the hit singles – that`s “All The Young Dudes”, “Honaloochie Boogie”, “All The Way From Memphis”, “Roll Away The Stone” and “The Golden Age of Rock And Roll” – the last two singles, which didn`t catch public interest too tough (“Foxy Foxy” and “Saturday Gigs”), and a clutch of album tracks: Pete Watts` big moment “Born Late `58” and Ian Hunter`s two melodramatic chest-beating keynote speeches “Hymn For The Dudes” and “Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (March 26, 1972, Zurich).”

Which is fair enough, obviously. “Born Late `58” is no cultural triumph, but it provides continuity with the current Hunterless Mott (who, after all, compiled the album). “Hymn” and “Ballad” are both crucial tracks, but the inclusion of both at the expense of equally crucial (and far more dynamic) pieces like “Sucker” and “Violence” balances the album far too heavily towards the portentious end.
“Saturday Gigs”, whatever its merits/demerits in its original incarnation as a single – the overly self-centred autobiography-of-Mott latter verses blow it for the far more universal opening verses – was just tailormade to be the last track on a Mott The Hoople bestof.
Still, those are individual quibbles with an individual view of the music of what was certainly one of the best and most important British bands of the first half of the `70s – and while we`re on individual quibbles, I still think “Honaloochie Boogie” sucks – and it should go without saying that anyone who wasn`t Hoople-conscious at the time owes it to his/her rock and roll soul to get this album.
On a trivia level, however, it would appear from the packaging that various old wounds dating from the Mott/Hunter/Ronson hara-kari of a year or so back are still more than a little septic.
The cover photo has Hunter – undeniably the group`s Heavy Duty Figure during its hey-day – unobtrusively stashed away behind Morgan Fisher, while Pete Watts in all his glory holds sway front`n centre.

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On the back liner spread and the photo insert, there ain`t one single pic of Mick Ronson – who for better or for worse was a member of Mott The Hoople for a while, even though none of the present Motters have any cause to remember him with any affection – and the unfortunate Ronno is simply listed as having played guitar on “Saturday Gigs”, just as, say, Andy Mackay is listed as having played saxophone on “Boogie” and “Memphis.”
He`s also conspicious by his absence from any mention in CBS`s PR chief David Sandison`s liner note.
It may seem petty to go into all this, but it was a lot pettier for Tippins, Watts, Fisher, Griffin et al to turn Ministry Of Truth and attempt to re-write history like this.
Ronno was in Mott – no matter for how short a time and no matter how unhappily – so give the dude his due, boys. An album of this nature is supposed to be a picture of what went down, not a means of avenging old grievances. Be British about it, f`Chrissakes.
The Sabs` album, on the other hand, is beset by no such problems. For one thing, they`ve had the same line-up all along, so there`s no danger of the album being turned into a battlefield by warring factions. For another, they`ve only ever had one hit, so there`s no need to worry about conflicting identities as a singles band vs. album/concert band.

What it is – fanfare please, maestro – is A Monument To The Work Of A Great Group.
Wisely enough, it concentrates on the band`s early material; working on the principle that the Sabs` current young audience will be more likely to have, say, the last three albums as opposed to the first few. Therefore, the first two albums, “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid” are re-presented virtually in toto, and its various successors are represented proportionately on a sliding scale (i.e. the more recent, the less tracks).
Mind you, it don`t make that much difference because apart from the reactionary intrusion of strings, pianos, synthesisers and other softening/broadening devices introduced to vary the monolithic belabouring of guitar, bass and drums, it all has remarkable internal consistency (when I was a snob – i.e. before I Saw The Light – I would`ve said that it all sounds the same). “We Sold Our Soul For Rock `n` Roll” – I think I`ve seen that slogan somewhere before, like on NME tube-card ads – is wall-to-wall pneumatic-drill riffing in wide-screen Skullarama, heavy as two short planks and monomaniacally psychotic/obsessive rock and roll.
I`m proud to say I love every beautiful braindamaged crushingly obvious moment of it. Cross my heart and hope to…
YaaaaaAAAAaaaaxhgghhhhhhhhhh….

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Woody Herman, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay, Man, Roy Wood, 50`s Rock and Roll, Boxer, Al Jarreau, Bill Wyman, The Bothy Band, Mike Dorane, Billy Connolly, Fats Domino, Led Zeppelin.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

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ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 25, 1975

Ian Hunter is one of those people that have been a very important figure in the history of rock, without ever being a “Superstar”. He has written a bunch of great songs and have a lot of fans among rock musicians. I think Joe Elliott of Def Leppard even wants to BE Ian Hunter.

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Ian Hunter is not as rich as we said he was

Midnite socio-economic revelations in N.Y.

By Richard & Lisa Robinson

As it happened, I was at the Kool & The Gang/Sly concert at Radio City Music Hall when Ian Hunter called.
So what happened? (I know you`re on the edge of your seat). The fellow-journalist and man who lives with me, Richard Robinson, (whose favourite rock artist is Noel Coward) saw the telephone light blinking as he was taking a nap, and -thorough pro that he is – he conducted the following conversation with Mr. Hunter by means of a tape hook-up.
This is how it went:
Is the record that you and Mick Ronson are currently making an extension of what you`ve both been doing with Mott?
Hunter: “It`s very difficult to talk about it…it`s just what`s coming out. It`s my writing and Mick`s arranging.
Are you happy with it?
I`m knocked out.

What about performing? We`ve heard that you will be doing solo dates…
Well, we`ll do it – we`ll be working in England in March and we`ll be working…maybe May, I think in the States. We`ve got a group, all unknowns. It didn`t take too long to get them together, we knew them vaguely. One was a former Rat (Ronson`s old Hull Group), another one was a jazz-influenced drummer, a really nice piano player…you know, like that.
Me and Mick wanted to use complete unknowns because they`re really keen, and they get a good chance, you know? They`re all working on the album. You know – when you put this together you have to take a lot of things into consideration: what the guy`s situation is, what his chick situation is, all those things – if he`s easygoing, if there`s no big problems with him… These are all very keen, very loyal.
Is there a big difference between the sound of this album and the things you`ve done before with Mott?
No, this album won`t be a ridiculous change from what I`ve done in the past. I wrote most of the stuff for Mott anyway, and this is my album. So it`ll be about seventy per cent the same. I mean, you can`t change overnight. To do that I`d have to lay off for about a year – which I didn`t want to do. It`s not going to be like an immediate new direction, that would be frantic, to do it for the sake of doing it. So you`ll find a bit of Mott, and a bit of Mick and a bit of me, know what I mean…

Are you enjoying working with Mick?
Well I knew what I could give him, and I knew what he could give me, and that`s exactly how it`s working. I can`t say more than that, because it`s a delicate sort of relationship – but we`re doing well, and it`s getting stronger all the time.
I mean, I really don`t want to say too much…because I don`t know how long it`ll go on. But I`ll tell you, we don`t get to sleep at night after the sessions, we`ve been so excited about what`s going on. I don`t know if it`s a great album or not, but we`re just sort of excited…(laughs).
What`s your reaction to the media reaction about the Mott split?
As a matter of fact the NME said something about a sum of money – which was rubbish. I could have sued over that actually. When I left Mott I hadn`t a clue as to what was going to happen, and I didn`t particularly care. You know, it`s just that when a thing`s over, it`s over. As a matter of fact there was a lot of pressure brought on me the other way around. I knew that I was going to be all right because as long as I can write songs I`ll be all right. But I didn`t leave Mott the Hoople for money. Columbia Records didn`t even know I`d left. And it happened weeks before the press knew about it anyway. It really upset me that they would print I left Mott for money…I`d never think of that.

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Do you think that Mott was one of the last great rock and roll bands of a certain era and that you`re headed towards something else?
Well, I`m too close to that to want to get into it. I really have no comment on the Mott situation because I`ve not been out of it that long. I know I had no alternative – I had to go, it was written all over me mind and all over me brain and all over me body, and I could no more have continued to play for them than…fly. It was finished, a real physical, mental…whole thing.
It was really upsetting to read that I`d left them for large sums of money…that was like a crock. I mean, I have been offered substantial amounts of money since then, but I`m not going to discuss figures, It wasn`t anything like the figure that was quoted – and it wasn`t at that time. I mean the record company didn`t know anything about it, it`s just rubbish.
And there was something also, that I argued with Buff over the live album, and that was pure conjecture. We don`t want anybody to feel upset – because it just happened that way. It was perfectly genuine, these things just happen.

Your music has occasionally been a bit pessimistic – about what rock and roll is, or has been, or will be. Do you still often feel that you`d just like to go to the mountain sometimes…you know, just get away from it? You know, just come back on your own terms…
No, not at all. I think I just got a bit confused there…I think I got into a stale situation. Now I`m breathing fresh air.
Are you doing anything else? Any relaxing…a little billiards? Darts?
I never relax. Mick and I just rented a little cheap studio before we went into the studio…you know, to try out a bass player and such. And I ain`t the easiest guy in the world to get on with and neither is Mick, despite what we might seem on the surface. So all this time has been spent breaking down walls as…well, things like that. I think it will all happen pretty quick – the album and the tour and all. What Mick`s doing is holding his album back, so we can go out together and push our albums at the same time, and try to keep it as equal as possible. What`s happening now is really interesting in relation to what will happen six or seven months away.
For Mick`s next album, I`m determined that he`ll have good songs – he`s a bit erratic with his songs, they tend to go here, there, and everywhere. And I can play a role for him, in much the same way he`s arranger and co-producer for me. He does so much for me.
But it`s all music, it`s got nothing to do with moves or how wonderful we look in lipstick, and all that. I can write songs and he can play them, and he`s good at arranging, and we both know a bit about production, and it`s coming along that way. But we need time.

It will be interesting to see what it sounds like a year from now…
Well, if we`re still together, yea, it will be. You know, – it`s frightening sometimes. There are songs we can`t put together yet…but with Mott, there were four lousy albums before it started happening. Not lousy, but four formative, learning albums. And here me and Mick are supposed to do it in three months flat.
Do you think that this is the best situation you could be in? If you had a choice would you still pick this?
Well I could have done without the hassle, but I`ve gone through it all now, and we`re at the other side. It wasn`t particularly easy for me and Mick to get together, but it gets more solid all the time and since we`ve stuck it out for this long, it also gets easier all the time.
Are we going to have Volume Two of your diary?
Don`t think so…
Maybe for private circulation…
Well, I don`t know about that…

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Dylan, Eric Burdon, Barclay James Harvest, Suzi Quatro, Billy Preston, Roy Wood, Nils Lofgren, Tommy Steele, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Little Beaver, John Coltrane, The Soft Machine.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Mott The Hoople FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, SEPTEMBER 16, 1972

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

Here is Ian Hunter guiding us through what we today consider a real classic album! Enjoy!

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What`s Mott?

By Julie Webb

When the news was first released that David Bowie had written and produced the single “All The Young Dudes” for Mott The Hoople, reactions were mixed.
Some people were knocked out with the whole concept, while devout Mott fans wondered whether they had “sold out”. Did Mott really need Bowie? the latter faction reasoned. The simple answer (and the correct one) is yes.
Without Bowie there would be no Mott THe Hoople today. Without his help their very fine new album would perhaps not have reached such a high standard. And over and above everything else, Bowie has given Mott a new confidence in themselves and injected a new enthusiasm into their music.

Lead singer Ian Hunter was delighted with the new album when I met him at their new record company CBS – where it was blaring away on the turntable. (“It should be played loud,” says Hunter.)
“You can`t compare it to our other albums – this one is how Mott should have sounded all along. David likes a very perfect album and this one is so much cleaner and clearer – after the mugginess on previous albums.
“In the past we just didn`t know how to record. I think we could have done this album a year ago if we`d had the right producer.”

Hunter talked to me about each track…starting with “Sweet Jane”, the Lou Reed composition – and other than Bowie`s “Dudes”, the only track not written by the band.
“About the same time as `Dudes`, Bowie played us a riff and we leapt on, wanting to know what it was. It turned out to be “Sweet Jane”.
“Mommas Little Jewel”: “Overend wrote this with me while we were still at Island. We recorded it then but it was too fast – it`s one of David`s best tracks. He really has got the knack of knowing what to do – just a little thing makes all the difference.
“All The Young Dudes”: “There`s a jerk in the tape here just before it starts – I like a jerk, it`s cute, makes you think.”
“Sucker”: “I don`t think anyone has noticed Mick Ralphs. I know certain people who play guitar notice him, but if people can`t relate to the guitar solo on `Sucker` then there`s something wrong. It`s funny, with guitarists, the emphasis often seems to be on speed – but character is important and I think Mick`s guitar playing is very individual.”
“Jerkin` Crocus”: This is about a lady who is good at pulling. The title was taken from a girl Overend knew. It was written fairly recently – just before we went into the studio to do the album.”
“One Of The Boys”: “David liked this a lot. We did it at the time of the `Dudes` session, and towards the end of the second day we knew `Dudes` would be the A side. It was written just before the Circus tour. Again, Mick had a riff – and usually that`s how it works. We got the phone effect at Trident – there`s a bit I like where the track dies away and you hear it come out of the phone reciever.”
“Soft Ground”: Verden had this in mind for three or four months. And when something`s in his mind it totally absorbs him. He lives it. It came out at rehearsals – just before the album.”
“Ready For Love”/”After Lights”: “Although on the album they are two songs, it`s really just one song. Mick wrote it, and there are two hook lines. You think it`s all over – and then it goes into the next hook line.”
“Sea Diver”: “Writing songs is almost a perversion. Most writers can go six months and not get a song. They panic – and then suddenly they start again. That`s what this song is about.”

Album and single aside, the best thing Bowie did for the band was to keep them together. Hunter explains:
“We were looking for material, and David sent us a demo of `Suffragette City`.
“Anyway, we split up in Switzerland. So Overend phoned David to thank him for sending the demo and told him the news. David went quite mad on the phone about it, and Overend rang me and said Bowie thought the group was great and shouldn`t split.
“At that time we`d all heard David`s “Hunky Dory” and dug it, but didn`t want to form again because we were so pissed off. Pissed off with being told we`d be put on half wages…and they were taking our lights away.
“Anyway, three hours later Bowie rang Overend again and in that three hours he`d written `All The Young Dudes`. He`d said to Overend, `if you want to split, then split – but please do this number first.”

It was after a gig at Guildford that Mott came under the management of Tony DeFries, and Bowie offered his help with the album.
“CBS were at the gig and Tony said he wanted to manage us. And David said `if you want me to write a song, or produce you then I will! He didn`t want us as an extension of his personality. He wanted people to understand he was helping and not taking over. He even wanted us to have co-producer credits on this album.
“When it came to making the album David had some numbers and so did we. We played him ours and he said they were okay – he liked the stuff we`d written. The basic arrangements were done by the band then David set about embellishing it. He`s been a great assett just when we needed it.”

For all the help Bowie has given the band, the most refreshing thing is, as Hunter says, the fact that the band are exactly the same as they always were.
I asked Hunter if having Bowie as a producer would be a permanent thing – or if this album was a one shot idea.
“Nothing is ever permanent in the music business, but as far as we`re concerned the relationship with David is amazing, and he wants to carry on. He genuinely digs the band – he needn`t have had us, after all the band was over.”

Hunter denies any allegations that Mott are now portraying a camp image.
“The last thing we want to be called is camp,” he says, and certainly looking at him swigging back a glass of scotch, a mop of curly hair flopping around his shoulders, he looks anything but camp.
“There`s only one person who can do that well and that is David. And he`s not a fairy. It`s just that what he does on stage he can do infinitely better than anyone else. We ain`t fairies – not one guy in the band is. And we figure we`ve got to lay back a bit on stage so that our audience will lay back on looking and start listening.”

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As a bonus – here is the review of their then new album, also in this same number of the NME:

Mott-Bowie compromise

Mott The Hoople: “All The Young Dudes” (CBS)

There`s the story that David Bowie saved Mott from winding up completely when the band were at an all-time low. And it could be true, because he penned their “All The Young Dudes” single – easily one of their best numbers ever – and their status and success have increased immeasurably since.
But, Bowie`s guidance brought an obvious danger: the band could fall into an abyss of emulation and be criticised for cashing in on the Bowie – Reed – Underground syndrome. After all, aren`t Roxy showing just a few of those roots?
Therefore this album is important for the group, as on it their own talents will be judged.
And thankfully, Mott have NOT been manipulated and stylised by producer Bowie in such a way to exclude personal flair and inventiveness. Yet neither do they show themselves to have a totally individual style.
The latter fact is quite surprising, because most of the material – apart from the title track and Lou Reed`s “Sweet Jane” – is their own. Yet for the first four numbers there is a resemblance to the Underground – in the chords, and in Mick Ralph`s guitar style; simple but chunky. With Ian Hunter`s vocal phrasing reminiscent of Reed, and Yule.
Then there`s “Jerkin` Crocus” (which sounds so much like the Stones` “Brown Sugar”) and “One Of The Boys”, which both have a Stonish quality. This again is down to Ralphs and his gritty tone, and exaggerated by that Stax drum style from Buffin.
“Soft Ground” – with Verdan Allen`s vocals mixed well back – seems to be closer to their own style and sound, and the song is well put together with a twanging clock-like timing.
With “Ready For Love/After Lights” there`s a comparison to Free in the structure and style, down to Ralph`s vocals – which are excellent. But this number is not exactly straight rock, because of the time signatures and vocal melody.
There can be no denying this is much like a group`s “first” album. Though it is more professional and interesting from both the musical and production point of view.
“One Of The Boys”, quite a beaty, driving number, starts with a phone being dialled, then halfway through a phone bell rings, is answered, and the music comes through like you had your ear to the earpiece. A cute gimmick, which doesn`t make the music more original – but more appealing. Mott`s problem has always seemed to be communicating on record. Now they have done that. And as far as musicianship goes there is little to criticise.
The guitar is used tastefully, with grunting and soothing tones. The organ acts as an effective foil, and the drums and bass keep all the movement there.
It`s a good album, probably their best. But from the pointers here, it`ll take them a while to formulate a style. Aside from the comparisons, Mott still play good music. No more so than on the emotion packed last track “Sea Diver”.
– Tony Stewart

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One of the many great festivals you could go to in the 70s.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Slade, Alice Cooper, Valerie Simpson, The Faces, Muddy Waters, David Cassidy, Quintessence, Renaissance, Edgar Winter, Leo Sayer.

The NME this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
  2. The offer should be around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.