Mott the Hoople

Concert Anthology

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This collection of live recordings of the mighty Mott the Hoople during their peak period (1971 through 1974) sure looks good -- the memorable front cover design has been stamped with silver foil on black leatherette stock, with the discs carried inside a gatefold digipack case -- but once you open the thing up you realize something's wrong. First of all, there are absolutely no liner notes identifying when or where these tracks were recorded, or even who wrote which song. And it gets worse when you put the discs in the player. The fidelity varies wildly throughout the two discs, ranging from good 1970s radio broadcast to bootleg-level audience recordings, and the fact that most of this material has already been released is announced in a remarkable and unsubtle manner. At the end of the first track, "Thunderbuck Ram," Ian Hunter announces that the next song will be a cover of Little Richard's "Keep a' Knockin'." After a moment of silence, the next song starts -- only it happens to be "The Original Mixed Up Kid." When that tune ends, Mick Ralphs calls the next number, "Walking with a Mountain." And then, you get another second of silence and a cover of Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me." This goes on and on throughout the two discs, and suggests this was set mastered by programming a CD player to play selected cuts from Angel Air's series of posthumous Mott live discs, with no one bothering to clip off the intros for the next song that tagged each track. This being Mott the Hoople, there are plenty of great songs here and some crackling performances, but the haphazard sequence, pretty but insubstantial packaging, less-than-ideal recording quality, and simply lazy remastering puts a stake through the heart of this collection; if you're looking for some quality live recordings of this great band, you're far better off with the expanded 30th anniversary edition of Mott the Hoople Live.

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