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Mott the Hoople | Greatest Hits Live | review | rock | Lollipop
Mott the Hoople
Greatest Hits Live (Purple Pyramid)
by Craig Regala
A whole show from Bowie's intro to crowd participation cover of the Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman." Plus bonus track (their words), Sonny Bono's "Laugh At Me." The recording's kinda rough and obviously wasn't done with the forethought of release. So what? It sounds like a good boot and probably was. In the official rock critic history/mythology, Mott The Hoople is a transference point between Dylan and the Clash. Mind you, this is because the official rock critic history has no place for heavy and hard that is devoid of overtly topical lefty politics. Remember, if elbows are to be thrown, you want to be the one directing where they go or else the pure release of that energy may break your nose. So, to the generation that made up the first wave of "rock critics," the "rebellion" of '50s rock'n'roll was synched up with social and political concerns to give us '60s "rock" that "mattered." Everything afterwards had to fit the political/religious ramifications of that mistake.
But Mott were a rock band none-the-less, and had more in common with Thin Lizzy, The James Gang, and Grand Funk Railroad than merely being a pissant connection between folkie rock and punkie rock; those propagandizing buddies who sold out rock's musical/rhythmic strength to like, fight the power and stuff, for like, a better world where, like, you didn't have to work hard, and, like, three years of an English degree were, like, as rewarded as an Electrical Engineering MBA... for moral reasons, and other solipsistic slop disguised as societal beneficence. As an actual rock band, when singer Ian Hunter didn't murder any potential forward motion, what with the Dylanizing and piano ballads, they got down in there and did manage to heave ho! a bit. A couple of their best were written by Mr. Reed and Mr. Bowie, but they had a few of their own, and two pair of 'em turn up here: "Jerkin' Crocus," "Ready For Love/Afterlights" (yup, later to become a hit for the guy from Mott who wrote it and retooled it for Bad Company), "Sweet Angeline," and "One of the Boys."
Their most ass-cracking whack ever, "Death May be your Santa Claus," (later covered by the Dead Boys) isn't here. Nor is their second, "Thunderbuck Ram." Both are as worthy of true classic rock status as any Who or Steppenwolf track. So,this could be their "Greatest Hits Live" ('cause they only had one), but surely isn't their best collection of tunes. Much like the bands mentioned above, this stuff often bogs down into slo-mo sodden soulfulness that The Band (#1 overrated unit ever) trotted out continually. They avoided blues rock, which was a good idea unless you make LPs as good as Free's Tons of Sobs, Free, or Fire and Water. Yeah, Mott's Greatest Hits Live is really for the fans; the general listenership would be better served by finding Columbia's live release from 1974 or a second-hand copy of the Sony box titled All The Young Dudes. Also, a few dollars spent on used LPs is a good deal as long as those LPs are named Brain Capers or Mad Shadows, Mott, the Hoople, or All the Young Dudes.
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