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(Angel Air SJPCD158) (2003)

Mott The Hoople

Having to make a review for a band who's first album was recorded five years before I was born is a very difficult task. The recordings of Mott the Hoople's second album "Mad Shadows" began in November 1969 and finished seven months later in April 1970, mainly because of their heavy live schedule. After the release of their first album the band was touring constantly. Their live performances helped them build a reputation of a very dynamic band. Their record label at the time (Island Records) decided that the band should try to capture their live energy on tape, so the album was recorded totally live - mistakes and all. The band was recording during the night, sometimes right after gigs.

I honestly don't know how many bands nowadays would be able to cope with all the difficulties that not only Mott the Hoople, but most of the bands at the time had. The result is very good, even though I know that many of the members of the band would disagree with me.

Procol Harum, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones are considered to be the main influences of the band, and you can definitely trace those influences throughout this nine track album. The opening track of the album is "Thunderbuck Ram". After a short melodic guitar intro...The riff that made me play this song again and again and again!!! Now I understand why Island Records was in favour of a live recording. "No Wheels To Ride" is a very emotional song based on acoustic guitars and great piano melodies.

"You are One of Us" and "Walking With A Mountain" will remind you a lot of the Rolling Stones. The Stones were also recording at the same studio with Mott the Hoople and it is rumoured that Keith Richards and Mick Jagger jammed with the band in their spare time. The band's musical range also enters the fields of Gospel with "I Can Feel", a really interesting song. "Threads of Iron" is my second favourite song, probably the heaviest of the album. The last song of the original recordings is "When My Mind's Gone". What a way to finish an album, but trust me - you don't want to listen to this song when you are in a bad mood.

The CD also contains two extra songs, the southern rock based "It Would Be A Pleasure" and another Rolling Stone influenced song called "How Long?" I am really happy that I had the ability to listen to this album. Mott the Hoople is one of the bands who deserve all the respect they can get, and they have definitely gained mine!

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Review by John Stefanis

Buy this CD

© 2003 All rights reserved.

Walkin' With A Mountain
© 2003 Angel Air Records. All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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