You're just a rock and roll queen, you know what I mean....
Released November 1969
Recorded at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London
Running time 39:01
Mott The Hoople’s debut album, in 1969, three years before their Bowie-inspired renaissance, was a competent, but somewhat patchy affair. A great cover, by the way, but utterly irrelevant.
Because it is Mott The Hoople, however, who we all went on to know and love so well, it somehow seems as if the album is better than it actually is.
Producer Guy Stevens wanted the band to sound, apparently, "like Bob Dylan singing with The Rolling Stones". He sort of achieved that, examples being the Dylanesque "At Crossroads" (although it was a Doug Sahm cover, not a Hunter original) and the riffy, Stonesy "Rock 'n' Roll Queen". Indeed, Mott were never far from being labelled as "Dylan influenced", because singer/composer Ian Hunter definitely was, and it came across in many of is songs. They also liked a riff or two, so a lot of Stones comparisons would subsequently be made.
1. You Really Got Me
3. Laugh at Me
4. Backsliding Fearlessly
5. Rock and Roll Queen
6. Rabbit Foot And Toby Time
7. Half Moon Bay
8. Wrath And Wroll
10. Find Your Way
On to the album. Nicely remastered, it kicks off with a storming semi-instrumental cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”, that almost sounds like a studio jam, then the afore-mentioned Dylanesque “At The Crossroads” (as I said, Dylan was one of Ian Hunter’s perennial influences, in delivery as well as songwriting). Hunter's vocal is a little down in the mix, and it sounds a tiny bit under-confident as he had only just joined the group. The bass line and organ are impressive as well. It ends with some jamming style piano and drums as Hunter's vocals get more animated.
A cover of Sonny Bono’s “Laugh At Me” is not bad at all, with an improvised ending similar to the previous track, neither is the most obvious single, the upbeat, riffy “Rock 'n' Roll Queen”. The old seventies-style vaguely sexist lyrics are present in Mick Ralphs' "listen woman..." address on this one.
Hunter's first songwriting contribution is the shamelessly Dylanesque "Backsliding Fearlessly" from the old "side one" and it is a good one, but you can't help but get the impression that this album saw the band go into the studio, play, and say "ok that'll do" in a "just happy to be there", rough and ready sort of fashion. I don't think they really thought this album through. It has the feeling of a studio jam pervading the whole thing.
"Rabbit Foot And Toby Time" is a vibrant instrumental jam that precedes “Half Moon Bay”, which is a bit introspective, despite a huge, grandiose, promising intro as the quality dips a little on the old “side two”. The track is far too long and doesn't real get anywhere, being far too ponderous. The album ends with more instrumental jamming in "Wrath And Wroll".