Down 'n' Outz

My Regeneration

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Let there be no doubt of Joe Elliott’s deep love of Mott the Hoople. Who else would -- or could -- craft an album-length salute to the music the group made after Ian Hunter left, rounding up highlights from Hunter’s solo albums and the much-disparaged records by Mott and the British Lions? Better still, who else could make a record good enough to suggest that those neglected LPs were unfairly maligned? That’s exactly what he’s down with My Regeneration, the album he’s made with his Down 'n' Outz, a band he formed with the London Quireboys with the purpose of opening for the reunited Mott the Hoople in 2009 at the Hammersmith Apollo (which Elliott insists on calling the Hammersmith Odeon in his liner notes to My Regeneration). Elliott came up with the inspired idea of playing the post-Mott songs, figuring that if he was in the audience that’s exactly what he’d be excited to hear. The set went across like gangbusters so they decided to carry on the fun by cutting a full album, which also turns out to be a roaring good time. There are a pair of familiar tunes here -- the Vanda & Young classic “Good Times,” which Mott cut in 1976, and Hunter’s “England Rocks” -- but for the most part Elliott excavated songs ignored by even many Mott diehards, finding unheralded classics from the pens of Pete Overend Watts and Morgan Fisher, along with several sterling selections from Hunter. The selection is first-rate but what makes My Regeneration such a blast is the untrammeled enthusiasm of Down 'n' Outz. These guys don’t add any frills to these songs -- if anything, they strip them away; the Mott songs aren’t nearly as overstuffed as those on Shouting and Pointing -- they just barrel through these songs as if there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing, and if you have any measure of love for Mott the Hoople, you’ll be hard-pressed not to have a good time.

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