“Mott” was Mott the Hoople’s flagship album, released just after they cut the seatbelt off of David Bowie’s writing and arranging. The year was 1973 and it was to be a year of success and upheaval for the group.
Opening with “All The Way From Memphis”, this is a rock’n’roll chronicle of the busy and fragmented journey to Memphis that culminated with Mott the Hoople’s triumphant end-of-tour concert and their subsequent assault on Elvis Presley’s Gracelands Mansion. (For more on this, please read Ian Hunter’s “Diary of a Rock’n’roll Star). When this dog first heard the opening line for “Memphis” … “I forgot my six-string razor and touched the sky”… It taught him a whole new way to growl.
Next comes “Whizz Kid”, with Ian Hunter’s thoughts on some lingering groupie, a pretty slab of Glam Rock.
The central song of ‘Mott’ is “Hymn For The Dudes”, with Ian Hunter directing his lyrics to his young and enthusiastic audience, while warning his contemporaries of the pedestal they have set themselves on:
“Correct your heads, cause there’s a new song coming up
High above the waves
Go write your time, go sing it in the street
Go tell the world, but you go brave
You are not the nazz….
You are just a buzz….
A bit temporary… .. ”
Eleven months after the release of “All The Young Dudes”, written by David Bowie, Mott the Hoople unleashed “Honaloochie Boogie”. It was a smash hit and perfect writing that was to establish Ian Hunter’s pop credentials.
Hunter has shown himself capable of amazing flashes of insight and with “Violence” he brilliantly predicted the underground vibe and the advent of the Punk generation. This song culminates with an insane violin and a fight scene in a blazing fade.
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“Drivin ‘Sister”, with its harsh, scorching riffs and lyrics due to Mott the Hoople’s fascination with fast cars, was the perfect opening for their live set at the time.
“The Ballad of Mott the Hoople” referred to when the group temporarily broke up in disillusionment, before their triumphant return after teaming up with David Bowie.
“I’m A Cadillac / El Camino Dolo Roso” is Mick Ralph’s latest contribution to Mott the Hoople as a songwriter. It’s a wonderful piece of music that comes in two tracks, Ralph revealing some of the wonderful guitar playing he was capable of and would continue to show off in Bad Company for the next several months after leaving Mott.
The album ends with “I Wish I Was Your Mother”, a strongly scented track à la Dylan addressing the issue of strong jealousy. He remains, with “All The Way from Memphis”, a permanent part of Ian Hunter’s set-list to this day and he puts an end to the album.
With the release of this great offer, Mott the Hoople would become one of the biggest groups in the world. “Mott” entered the top 10 in the UK and the top 40 in the US. However, it was voted “Album of the Year” in American magazines. Rolling stone and Cream.
Real fact: Surprisingly, this album and this band was not named after Mott the Dog but the excellent Wilard Manus novel “Mott the Hoople”.
Mott the Hoople on this album:
Ian Hunter – vocals / piano / guitar
Mick Ralphs – guitar / organ / vocals
Overend Walls – bass
Buffin – drums
Andy Mackay – saxophone
Paul Buckmaster – electric cello
Graham Preskitt – maniacal violin
The Lovely Thunderthighs – backing vocals
List of tracks:
All the way from Memphis
Anthem for Guys
Ballad of Mott the Hoople
I’m a Cadillac / El Camino Dolo Roso
I would like to be your mother