Mick Ronson

Hard Life

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Here is one more in the shamefully scrappy sequence of "new" Mick Ronson albums uncovered in the decade following his death, not one of which adds anything more to his memory than another disc to play once, then file -- except Hard Life doesn't even merit that consideration, as it eschews the archive in favor of compiling ten tracks from past collections just in case you missed them. The performances themselves are fair enough. Live takes on "White Light White Heat," "Sweet Dreamer," and "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" date from Ronson's 1989 reunion with Ian Hunter, and remind listeners just how underrated the latter days of that partnership were. Other tracks are drawn from solo Ronson sessions in the mid-'70s and early '80s (including the so-called Indian Summer soundtrack), and are each pleasant enough without ever touching the heights that Ronson's fans expected of him -- and to which he himself aspired. No, what galls is the insistence that this material somehow represents an aspect of Ronson's career that deserves, even demands, to be heard. It really doesn't, as he himself admitted. After all, there's a reason why this stuff was never released at the time....

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