Mott The Hoople/Ian Hunter 2xCD set reviewed by Steve Miller
Jan 16, 2009, 05:25
MOTT THE HOOPLE/IAN HUNTER Old Records Never Die: The Mott The Hoople/Ian Hunter Anthology 2xCD
What never occurred to me is that Ian Hunter's self-titled solo album released in 1975 was essentially an extension of what the next Mott the Hoople LP would have been. Listening to three cuts included here for the first time in years—enough years to build up a thirst for more Hoople—assures that the material was still flowing when the band called it quits earlier that year. “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and “Who Do You Love” were logical choices, smart to go with Ronson's frenetic leads and the chunky stroll of traditional Hoople.
Old Records is one more installment of the Hoople/Hunter legacy, one that is jammed with great moments and surprisingly few bad ones. The 2-disc collection is divided into Hoople and Hunter, with the latter being far more illuminating than the former. Along with the aforementioned cuts from that first solo LP, Hunter's songwriting ability on just about everything is stellar, far better than I ever realized. “Just Another Night” sounds as fresh as anything out there today and the thundering “Women's Intuition,” a Hunter/Ronson collaboration from 1990, is an underrated gem.
Hunter joins stalwarts like Hugh Cornwell and the late Joe Strummer as middle-aged guys who led influential rock outfits before moving into the sadly diminished craft of post-heyday songwriting. All three of them show smooth circles of wisdom and patience in both the structure and lyrics of their songs, utilizing studio smarts to pull intensity from places other than volume.
As you get to the end of disc 2 here, you realize that the material is tempered; no more outbursts like “Walkin' With a Mountain” or “Crash Street Kids.” Those bases have been aptly covered on disc 1 and would sound forced at this point.Â
Old Records could have served better as a one disc Hunter collection, as there is hardly enough room on one disc to cover the best of Mott the Hoople. For that, you need the 1993 collection The Ballad of Mott: A Retrospective (Columbia). Listen to disc 2 here and either of the Ballad discs while reading Hunter's Diary of a Rock â€˜n' Roll Star, a book that chronicles the band's 1972 U.S. tour. Then consider your education complete. [Shout Factory]