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Mott the Hoople

Mott the Hoople

℗ 1969 Island Records ILPS 9108

℗ 1970 Atlantic Records SD 8258

Mott the Hoople  1969  Mott the Hoople

Enough works on Mott the Hoople's eponymous debut album, and enough is so imaginatively freewheeling, that it's easier to think of the record as a bit more successful than it actually is. After all, their combination of Stonesy swagger, Kinksian crunch, and Dylanesque cynicism is one of the great blueprints for hard rock, and its potential is apparent the moment their monumental instrumental "You Really Got Me" kicks off the record. This is followed by two covers, Doug Sahm's "At the Crossroads" and Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me," that demonstrate their musicality more than their depth, since all three of these songs sound like they derive from the same vantage point. Then, to cap it off, Ian Hunter turns in "Backsliding Fearlessly" and Mick Ralphs gives Mott their first anthem with the pile-driving "Rock and Roll Queen." Up to this point, the album is wildly imaginative and invigorating, and that's enough to make this a fine debut, even if it falls off the tracks during the second side. The first side and those two originals reveal a band whose rowdy power is matched by sly humor, clever twists, and fierce intelligence all qualities they built a career on, and this blueprint still stands the test of time. Stephen Thomas Erlewine.

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