George Starostin's Reviews




Laura Kettner <> (30.05.2002)

First you'll have to forgive me for being an unabashed MTH fan... MAD SHADOWS is worth a listen-- some pure BS, one pretty (if unintelligalbe) Ralphs vocal, and some very nice depressing stuff. The only annoying thing is the squeaky drum pedal, which you can probably blame producer Guy Stevens for not noticing.

The BACKSLIDING FEARLESSLY compilation is basically the best of the early stuff, including some non-album releases.

After MOTT, (on 'All the Way From Memphis' the line goes: 'Mick lost his guitar' which is a true story. Oh, and pay attention to the mandolin in 'I Wish I Was Your Mother'), Ralphs left, they brought in Luther Grosvenor aka Ariel Bender from Spooky Tooth, who wasn't very creative, so THE HOOPLE is keyboard-driven, but returns to the band's proto-punk roots.

After THE HOOPLE, Grosvenor left, and Mick Ronson (David Bowie's guitarist) came in-- they toured some with Ronson and put out a single. When Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson both left MTH to work together, they put out some very good, lyrically mature, well-produced, mainly Ronson-arranged albums.

Ian's solo debut album, self-titled, 1975: 'Once Bitten Twice Shy' is just a classic piece of true rock n roll, and has been covered by tons of others. 'The Truth the Whole Truth and Nuthin but the Truth' was written simly to show off Ronson's guitar playing. Note the scream at then end of the bridge around four and a half minutes. 'I Get So Excited' is just fun. 'Boy' is a nine minute ballad which you'll probably hate. Pay attention to the lyrics, it's a jab at Bowie. Although the 'na na na' bit in the middle is the sexiest unintentionally sexy thing I've ever heard! You'll think the spoken 'Shades Off' is pretentious. In retrospect, Ian thinks so, too. Overall, the album's pretty timeless.

Second album, ALL AMERICAN ALIEN BOY, ?: Most people dislike it. Ronson didn't feature in it, so it's more keyboard driven. It's title track is political, as is the beautiful 'Letter to Brittania from the Union Jack'. If you want nightmares for a week, listen to 'Rape' in a house alone at night. 'God (Take One)' is Ian purposefully imitating Dylan, because he got fed up with the comparisons, even when he'd developed his own style. The song's damn funny, though.

OVERNIGHT ANGELS, 1977: Still no Ronson. Oh gods, this album sucks. '(Miss) Silver Dime' has a nice chorus, but it's probably Ian's third (fourth?) song about a prostitute. The lyrics are very subtly obscene.

YOU'RE NEVER ALONE WITH A SCHIZOPHRENIC, 1979: Finally Ronson's back!!!Ian's best album. No collection of rock music is complete without it. 'Just Another Night' 'Wild East' and 'Cleveland Rocks' are classics. 'Bastard' has a lush instrumentation-- it's also about his wife. (I never said he didn't have problems!) Overall, you know it's 70's when you hear it, but it doesn't sound dated.

SHORT BACK N SIDES, 1981: Ronson's not there for most of it. Produced by Mick Jones of the Clash, which almost makes up for it. 'Central Park n West' and 'Theatre of the Absurd' are good rock, the latter a little reggae influenced. 'Noises' is pretty annoying the first ten times you hear it. 'Rain' is gorgeous. Listen to the lyrics. 'Gun Control' is a jab at the NRA in America, and fun to sing along to. The slower songs sound somewhat forced, or over-rehearsed.

ALL OF THE GOOD ONES ARE TAKEN, ?: Ronson's only on one track, 'Death n Glory Boys'. Overall, the album tries to be both political and pop. It feels dated.

Y.U.I. ORTA, 1989: Absolutely impossible to find, but one of the best things Hunter and Ronson have ever done. 'The Loner' 'Women's Intuition' 'Pain' and 'How Much More Can I Take' are top-of-the-line rock songs.

DIRTY LAUNDRY, ?: This is the first musical endeavor of Ian's after Ronson died. Terrible.

ARTFUL DODGER, 1996: Impossible to find outside of Norway. No Ronson, obviously, so very keyboard and drum driven. There's damn good guitar work in there, if you listen for it. 'Now is the Time' 'Something to Believe In' 'Walk on Water' '23A Swan Hill' and 'Open My Eyes' are top of the line rock. The slower ones tend to drag on, but when I'm depressed, I like it. Ian's voice is getting rougher, so please try to ignore the obvious Dylan comparison.

RANT, 2000: A sequel to ALL AMERICAN ALIEN BOY. You'll hate it. It is overall too slow and drags a bit, but 'Soap n Water' and 'Good Samaritan' are actually pretty rockin' when heard live.

I agree when you say that the people who are diehard MTH fans feel spoken to on an emotional level, but personally, I love Ian's accent. And before you wonder, yes, I am a Dylan fan, too. I rank Ian above Dylan for one reason: even though he's older than Dylan (by a few years! True!), he's infinitely cuter. ;-)

And I like your page and the effort that went into it. Sorry for bombarding you with this, but I felt a need to come to MTH and Ian's defense! In my experience, the rule has always been that the people who actually know about MTH turn into fans very quickly.

PS: 'Waterlow' on WILDLIFE is about Ian's kids being affected by their parent's divorce. Makes more sense now, doesn't it?


No reader comments yet.


<> (27.06.2002)

i think u were a bit harsh on this album i thought "whiskey women" was brilliant i thought "angel of 8th avenue" was brilliant "wrong side of the river" fair enouph i wernet to keen on that "waterlow" i thought was a top song "lay down" wernt brilliant "must be love" i thought was quality just nice pleasent plod along and "mixed up kid" was another excellent song and "keep a knocking" was good as u already sed


Bobo Bonobo® <> (08.11.2002)

Brain Capers is the finest of the pre-Bowie Mott the Hoople Albums. It is worth buying for the song "The Moon Upstairs" alone. As a young Rock'n Roller, the words, "But I swear to you, before we're though, you're gonna feel our every blow. We ain't bleeding you, we're feeding you, but you're too fucking slow." really spoke to me and my buddies.

'Death May Be Your Santa Claus' is another goody.

Alan Melroy <> (17.05.2003)

I must have a very boring life, as I am spending a Friday night in Santa Fe, New Mexico, looking at as many web sites as possible that include Mott The Hoople. The sad thing about MTH is that they were not an easy band to like, at least at first. In fact, the first time I heard them, my reaction was "who in the h%#l are these guys?" However, like your first cigarette, taste of beer or whiskey, or first sexual encounter, which may have left a terrible taste in your mouth, Mott the Hoople came to be something that you would crave, like an addiction. Brain Capers was a culmination of the frustration of about 3 years of going nowhere commercially. "Santa Claus" and "Moon Upstairs" were songs, that maybe not achieving anthem status, at least revealed that there were others out there going through the same pains that you were in. Maybe Brain Capers is the motif of the dysfunctional. If it is, let all of its fans celebrate!


Richard C. Dickison <> (11.08.99)

Here it is a crowning example of a true 70's GEM!!! Sure it really was allot of Bowie, Sure they really never topped this one. I love this, it's got more balls than the Stones were mustering, Zappa, Bowie had shown the way and it was Shock Rock. Or was it Glam Slam? I don't know, but it strutted it's way thru till it got picked up again by....should I say it, by AC/DC remember that little Black In Black album think about the sound.

Oh yes, it all comes from some where folks. Now take a really hard look at Marilyn Manson who's last album is almost a direct ancestor of this movement and tell me these guy's did'nt do it better. Sorry George, I had to say some names that I know made you twitch but people forget why they should go back and listen to some of these classics.

Glenn Wiener <> (01.09.99)

Its nice that you dedicate some space to this fine band. David Bowie really helped these guys get some well deserved notice and its good that this recording had some success. It has some high sexual overtones so don't play it front of those under 17. But for us adults its definitely worthwhile.

Simon Hearn <> (11.09.99)

Hi there. My comment on this is quite short. I just that with this album we have another example of Bowie's massive influence. Like Lou Reed (Transformer) and lulu ('man who sold the world') he worked his magic once again. Bowie is a four star artist and deserves his entire catalogue reviewed.

Lloyd Peppard <> (27.06.2003)

Yeah, this isn't a superb album, and I'm definately not inclined to go out and track down all Mott the Hoople's other albums, but it's decent, though... I don't know. I suppose a small but not insignificant part of me wishes Bowie had kept 'All the Young Dudes' for himself. It would have just sounded more convincing, you know? I heard him do it live and it was great. But I do like the version on here, even though I laugh every time. But it is equal parts laughter and warm sympathy. So and So doesn't speak because he dresses like a queen but he can kick like a mule, it's a real mean team... Or something. I'm not motivated enough to look that one up to transcribe it perfectly, but I love that line; it really sounds tragic to me, this guy fighting for his satin n' tat. I love it, though. The Bowie lyrics are so perfectly orchestrated... This song and 'Rock and Roll Suicide' really amaze me with their agendas. I mean, I guy in a feather boa reaching out to you saying, "You're wonderful! Give me your hands!"? Ian Hunter saying, "You there. In the glasses. I want you."? This is classic stuff. It's so gay, from guys who weren't actually gay but using the image for fame and money (though bisexuality at least was a bit more believable coming from Bowie).

Anyway, I don't have much to say except that I really enjoy 'Ready for Love', though it doesn't seem to fit the album. I really feel as though I'd heard it before, but I have no idea where I would have done so... Was it covered by someone, or something? And yes, I don't really enjoy the cover of 'Sweet Jane' too much. Bottom line is that no one should cover that song. It's just a Velvet Underground song. Period. Even when it's just Lou doing it live it's not as good. A song that classic doesn't need to be covered. 'Momma's Little Jewel', though... yow!


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

Another gem by this under-appreciated band. Truthfully the 'Violence' piece gets a little on my nerves with the screeching violin, but otherwise the mix over rockers and ballads works very well with 'All The Way From Memphis' and 'Honaloochie Boogie' being two standout pieces.

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