The 1970-’71 recording sessions for Mott the Hoople’s fourth album (their last for Atlantic) were famously fraught with mad shenanigans spearheaded by producer Guy Stevens (Traffic, The Clash), and lots of booze was consumed. And it sounds like it too—in the best, most rock ’n’ roll way possible. That The New York Dolls later rewrote “Death May Be Your Santa Clause” for “Personality Crisis” says lots about the rumblings here, but, as singer and main songwriter Ian Hunter once said, this album’s as “schizoid as ever: half fast and half slow.” Indeed, “Your Own Backyard” and the Mick Ralphs–voiced “Darkness and Darkness” are as sweet as Mott can be, while “Sweet Angeline” is classic Mott lipstick-tracing Jerry Lee Lewis’ trail into Memphis—replete with percussive piano. You can actually hear Hunter grinning throughout. The rock ’n’ roll finally careens headlong on “The Wheel of the Quivering” (an apt Jack Kerouac nod). It’s the sound of a band crashing and burning, like a speed jive, until David Bowie came along.
Death May Be Your Santa Claus
Your Own Backyard
The Moon Upstairs
The Wheel of the Quivering Meat Conception
8 SONGS, 38 MINUTES
℗ 2005 ATLANTIC RECORDING CORP. MANUFACTURED & MARKETED BY WARNER STRATEGIC MARKETING.