Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mott the Hoople – All the Way from Stockholm to Philadelphia – Live 71/72

This 2-CD set shows just what a difference a hit record can make! The first CD is pre-All the Young Dudes and the 2nd is post. While the first CD is hard-hitting, biting, energetic and sounds like they are pissed and gonna make the audience dig them whether they like it or not, the 2nd shows that they are on their way to being stars and have a real confidence. Funnily enough, the Philadelphia show was recorded on the tour that Ian writes about in Diary of a Rock’n’Roll Star, that I just ranted about. (I'll have to go back and see what he said about this show).

I’ve gone on & on about how great the band’s early albums are and this all-too-short set is a testament to their strengths. They do a terrific cover of Mountain’s “Long Red” (they were all fans of Leslie West and even considered having him join the group when Mountain broke up!), then, oddly, slow it down to a crawl for “The Original Mixed Up Kids” (a cool tune, but unusual for a 2nd number), blast back with “Walking With a Mountain”, give tribute to Sonny Bono with their hip take of “Laugh at Me”, and power through “Thunderbuck Ram” and “Keep a Knockin’”. Fantastic!

The 2nd CD concentrates almost entirely on tunes from their then-current hit album – from the opening one-two punch of “Jerkin’ Crocus” and “Sucker” which then slows down for “Hymn For the Dudes” (that would be on their follow up album, Mott). Mick Ralphs is featured on lead vocals on “Ready For Love” (with its cool vocal trade-off with Ian) and guitar on its “epilogue” “Afterlights”, which has a really nice, dynamic build at the end. “Sweet Jane” moves nicely and then Ian’s ballad “Sea Diver” which prefaces Brain Capers’ “Sweet Angeline”, which became a much harder song in a live setting. A song that was always a hard rocker is “One of the Boys” (Ralphs later re-wrote it for Bad Company’s breakthrough hit “Can’t Get Enough”) and this is fantastically rockin’ here! Another tune from Brian Capers, “Midnight Lady” closes the set nicely before the guys come back for their encore of “All the Young Dudes” (with Bowie singing backup) & “Honky Tonk Women” (to finish on their own).

This is simply excellent all around – nice contrasts in gigs, good sound, great tunes. Another essential for any MTH fans!