Backsliding Fearlessly: The Early Years

by: Mott the Hoople

A compilation of 16 songs from their first four albums, covering their strongest material from the records predating their All the Young Dudes breakthrough. This shows the band casting about, sometimes wildly, for an identity. The earliest tunes (including a cover of Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me") are perhaps the most blatantly worshipful imitations of Dylan's Blonde on Blonde period ever attempted. Subsequent efforts found them getting into boogie and hard rock, with a few Stones riffs copped here and there. The gut-stomping "Death May Be Your Santa Claus" is a highlight, and Ian Hunter's piano-based ballad "When My Mind's Gone" hints at the more complex psychological territory he'd explore during Mott's prime. This isn't bad and is often interesting, even if it isn't very similar to Mott's best work...Weirdest cut: a cover of Melanie's "Lay Down." But where is their instrumental version of "You Really Got Me"? ~ Richie Unterberger

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