Well, take Bowie's old right-hand man, Mick Ronson, and pair him up with Mott the Hoople's front cat, Ian Hunter, and you have all the makings of a sure-fire gig. Then bulk up the band, a 7-piece all told, and make sure Tommy Mandel's on the keyboards (along with George Meyer—and that dual keyboard kick is sweeeeeet!) with Martin Briley on bass. What you really end up with is another incarnation of Mott, an event devoutly to be wished. If you happen to be one of those in possession of Hunter's Live / Welcome to the Club vinyl two-fer, this is the same band and the same tour, recorded a several months after that weeklong (!) stand at The Roxy in Hollywood, California. If you dug that set, you're going to dig this even more, 'cause the band had time to grow and acclimate (the Club thing tended to be a bit tepid here and there, after all).
Neither Mott nor Hunter achieved the same success once they separated, which is lamentable especially re: Hunter, who continued to turn out some great material. Was it the loss of Ariel Bender (Luther Grosvenor, ex-Spooky Tooth)? Perhaps, and Grosvenor didn't do much after that either, but Ronson shows why a solid lead guitar was crucial, taking Bender's part with aplomb. Early on, you get a good idea of it all in the second cut, Once Bitten, Twice Shy, starting out a tad slowly until the band keeps building into the song, making it churn and cook. Then Ronson grabs—a mandolin? a bouzouki? a bouzoukolin?— for I Wish I was your Mother, a mellower track that leads right back into the chugga chugga of Just Another Night.
Bastard comes in for a nice long workout, as does Cleveland Rocks, along with a roster of the coolest Mott stuff. If you're at one with the faithful who've always pined for more than the '74 single disc of the Broadway / Hammersmith gigs, this makes the perfect accompaniment…with visuals of course adding a hell of a lot. It's part of a series the Rockpalast people are issuing (incl. Roy Buchnan, UFO, John Cale, and others…even Epitaph, whose debut LP still ranks as one of the great obscure releases of the mid-70s), concerts that many have been hoping to God would eventually see the light of day. Well, that day is here, and you have plenty to dive into, with more on the way.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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