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Greatest Hits
Mott The Hoople

Columbia 34368
Released: 1976

Mott the Hoople/Greatest Hits suffers a bit because this band, whose "Tales of the Near Great" stories made them sentimental favorites, produced only two albums of real worth after they moved from Atlantic to Columbia. One sees the breakdown of the group following the departure of guitarist Mick Ralphs in the terribly ill-fitting and annoying lead guitar work of Ariel Bender. Still, such gems as "All the Way from Memphis," along with a different take of "Roll Away the Stone" and two previously unheard cuts, "Foxy Foxy" and "Saturday Gigs," give this absorbing group a belated last testament.

- Billy Altman, Rolling Stone, 1-13-77.

Bonus Reviews!

Now reorganized with new key personnel, Mott recalls its most successful period with writer/singer Ian Hunter on this collection. With David Bowie's song and production on "All The Young Dudes," the group came to stand for glitter rock. But its sound only took on glitter after mastering the elements of basic rock excitement. Best cuts: "All The Young Dudes," "All The Way From Memphis," "Roll Away The Stone."

- Billboard, 1976.

Hits my ass. Never heard "Foxy Foxy" on the radio, and never want to. But the other new one, "Saturday Gigs," recapitulates quite movingly a banal theme this collection fleshes out with real wallop: a band and its fans. Four songs is too much overlap with 1973's Mott, but this is the essence of Mott the Hoople as a group, which always needed Ian Hunter and always did more than back him up. A-

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

Mott is a bit of an anomaly. They began their existence as a hard rock band, but with the addition of Ian Hunter as lead singer and principal writer, they took on a Dylanesque coloration. However, it was their affiliation with David Bowie during his early-Seventies glitter period that provided them with "All the Young Dudes," a song that catapulted them to brief fame. Consummate borrowers from their better- and lesser-known rock brethren, Mott melded disparate elements into a dynamic, often humorous, sound that combined the bombast of early heavy metal with Seventies glitter, and just about everything else you or they could think of. In retrospect, Mott was a more potent band than originally perceived. Greatest Hits is a reasonable sampler, but is inferior to both All the Young Dudes and Mott. As an overview, thirty-eight minutes isn't long enough; too much quality material is omitted, such as "Ready For Love," "Sea Diver," and "Sweet Jane." What remains is generally first-rate, it's just too bad that Columbia didn't take advantage of the other half of the CD's capacity and provide a disc that is a fairer sample of this fun band's erratic but rocking career. Given the diversity of original material, the compact disc's sound is remarkably consistent and generally acceptable. However, it does suffer from compression, some mudiness, and rather closed imaging. B

- Bill Shapiro, Rock & Roll Review: A Guide to Good Rock on CD, 1991.

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