“Mott’ was Mott the Hoople’s seminal album, released just after they had cut the safety belt from David Bowie’s writing and arranging. The year was 1973 and it was to be a year of success and upheaval for the band.
Opening with “All The Way From Memphis”, this is a rock ‘n’ roll chronicle of the fraught and fragmented journey to Memphis that culminated in Mott the Hoople’s triumphant end of tour gig and their subsequent assault on Elvis Presley’s Gracelands mansion. (For more details of this please read Ian Hunter’s “Diary of a Rock ‘N’ Roll star”). When this dog first heard the opening line of “Memphis” …”Forgot my six string razor and hit the sky”… it taught him a whole new way to growl.
Next up is “Whizz Kid”, with Ian Hunter’s reflections on a certain persistent groupie, a lovely slab of Glam Rock.
The pivotal song on ‘Mott’ is “Hymn For The Dudes”, with Ian Hunter directing his lyrics at his young and enthusiastic audience, whilst warning his contemporaries about the pedestal they were setting themselves upon:
“Correct your heads, for there’s a new song rising
High above the waves
Go write your time, go sing it on the street
Go tell the world, but you go brave
You ain’t the nazz….
You’re just a buzz….
Some kinda temporary…..”
Eleven months after the release of “All The Young Dudes”, which was written by David Bowie, Mott the Hoople unleashed “Honaloochie Boogie”. This was a smash hit and a perfect piece of writing that was to establish Ian Hunter’s pop credentials.
Hunter showed that he was capable of astonishing flashes of percipience and with “Violence” he brilliantly foretold the underground mood and coming of the Punk generation. This song culminates with some insane violin and a fight scene in a blazing fadeout.
“Drivin’ Sister”, with its hard, raunchy riffs and lyrics due to Mott the Hoople’s fascination with fast cars, was the perfect opener for their live set at the time.
“The Ballad of Mott the Hoople” referred to the time when the band temporarily split in disillusionment, before their triumphant return after linking up with David Bowie.
“I’m A Cadillac / El Camino Dolo Roso” is Mick Ralph’s final contribution to Mott the Hoople as a songwriter. It is a wonderful piece of music that comes in two pieces, with Ralph revealing some of the wonderful guitar playing he was capable of and which he would go on to show in Bad Company in the coming months after leaving Mott.
The album concludes with “I Wish I Was Your Mother”, which is a heavily Dylan-flavoured piece addressing the matter of strong jealousy. It remains, along with “All The Way from Memphis” as a permanent fixture in the Ian Hunter set-list to this day and it brings the album to a fitting close.
With the release of this fine offering Mott the Hoople were to become one of the biggest bands in the world. “Mott” went top 10 in the U.K. and top 40 in the U.S. Notably, however, it was voted ‘Album of the Year’ in U.S. magazines Rolling Stone and Creem.
True fact: Surprisingly, this album and band were not named after Mott the Dog but Wilard Manus’s excellent 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 – manic violin
The Lovely Thunderthighs – backing vocals
All The Way From Memphis
Hymn For The Dudes
Ballad of Mott the Hoople
I’m a Cadillac/ El Camino Dolo Roso
I Wish I Was Your Mother