MOTT THE HOOPLE Mad Shadows (Angel Air SJPCD158) (2003)
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
"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!