Mott The Hoople | All The Young Dudes (50th Anniversary Edition) – Reissue Review

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The story goes that Mott The Hoople, after releasing four albums, were ready throw in the towel when David Bowie came along with a song and a desire to help elevate the group. The result was All The Young Dudes, produced by Bowie, who also wrote the title track, which became the group’s biggest single. Some 50 years later, All The Young Dudes remains the definitive Mott The Hoople album that seamlessly weaves together rock, glam, and even hints of proto-punk, creating a sonic tapestry that defies easy categorization.

All The Young Dudes, released in 1972, is getting its due from Madfish with a limited edition five-disc (two LPs, two CDs, and 12” single) deluxe box set that includes rare tracks and previously unreleased. The original nine-track album is remastered, sounding as pristine and vital as ever. Lifting off with a cover of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” it’s difficult to gauge where things go next, but as the rest of the record unfolds, it’s easy to understand why Bowie, Queen and Def Leppard have a such a love and affinity for the band.

“All the Young Dudes” is easily the most identifiable song on the album. Its anthemic chorus and defiant lyrics captured the zeitgeist of the early 70s, an era marked by social upheaval and a search for identity. The opening riff, dripping with Mick Ralphs’ distinctive guitar work, immediately announces a departure,  signaling a rebirth. Once you’re in for the long haul, it’s hard to resist the groove of “Momma’s Little Jewel” or the insular muscle and sultry sax that drives “Sucker.”

Singer Ian Hunter and his distinctive cockney-laced vocals provide the angst and urgency the group needed to excel. He effectively brings all those strengths to each song, wile simultaneously showcasing Mott The Hoople’s newfound energy and creative vigor. “Momma’s Little Jewel” exudes swagger, while “Jerkin’ Crocus” and “Soft Ground” pivot around the band’s instrumental prowess and penchant for crafting infectious hooks. “One Of The Boys” puts the burden on Hunter, who angles around the cutting edges and takes charge without pushing his luck.

Mick Ralphs takes the lead and vocal on “Ready For Love / After The Lights,” which he would later recut with Bad Company. “Sea Diver” closes the album with a sense of introspection, a departure from the bombastic energy that precedes it. The lyrics hint at vulnerability and the cyclical nature of life, adding depth to an album often associated with its anthemic qualities.

All The Young Dudes marked a turning point not only for Mott The Hoople but also for glam rock as a whole. It revitalized the band’s career, propelling them to newfound fame and influencing a generation of musicians who would go on to shape the evolving landscape of rock music. The album’s impact reverberated far beyond its initial release, solidifying its status as a classic that continues, all these years later, to resonate with listeners across the decades.

~ Calvin Sulkenfiar

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