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Archive for the ‘Ian Hunter’ Category

Variety Is The Spice: Varese Serves Up Ian Hunter, Ray Price

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Ian Hunter - All AmericanUpon his departure from Mott the Hoople, frontman Ian Hunter wasted little time in establishing a solo career. His first, eponymous solo album in 1975 yielded the single that made Hunter’s name as a solo artist, the original version of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” Recorded at George Martin’s AIR Studios, “Once Bitten” boasted Hunter’s old cohort Mick Ronson as arranger, guitarist and co-producer, and the track made it all the way to No. 14 on the U.K. chart. (Great White’s 1989 cover version belatedly earned Hunter a hit in the U.S. when it reached the Top 5.) Though “Once Bitten” was Hunter’s only hit U.K. single as a solo artist, his fellow musicians were taking notice. Hunter’s star-filled next album, 1976’s All American Alien Boy, has recently been reissued by Varese Sarabande’s Varese Vintage imprint in a newly-remastered edition which also adds six previously-issued bonus tracks including the unique single version of the title track.  (Thanks to all who entered our recent contest to win this fantastic title!)

Recorded at New York’s Electric Lady Studios, All American Alien Boy saw Hunter joined by jazz greats David Sanborn and Jaco Pastorius, as well as Mothers of Invention drummer Aynsley Dunbar, Blood Sweat and Tears’ Lew Soloff and Dave Bargeron, and even Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen! Messrs. Mercury, Taylor and May can be heard, along with Sanborn, on “You Nearly Did Me In.” (An early version of the song sans guests, “Weary Anger,” is another of the bonus cuts here.) Though Mick Ronson didn’t appear on the album, Chris Stainton was brought onboard as a creative foil for Hunter, and supplied the evocative organ work on the Side Two opener, “Rape.” Aynsley Dunbar’s drums shine on “Apathy 83,” and though jazz great Jaco Pastorius brought his signature bass to the whole album, he also stepped up on lead guitar for “God (Take 1).” Soloff and Bargeron, of the Blood Sweat and Tears horn section, brought their powerful brass to the epic title track.

To quote from that band, however, what goes up must come down. Despite the strength of its material and the impeccable musicianship, Hunter’s sophomore effort failed to match the success of its predecessor. In the U.S., the Columbia Records release only reached No. 177 on the Top LPs chart, a far cry from the No. 50 scored by Ian Hunter. Varese Vintage’s reissue restores the original American cover artwork for All American Alien Boy, and also boasts a Columbia replica logo on the CD itself. This reissue happily retains the six bonus tracks released for the album’s thirtieth anniversary edition in 2006. Full lyrics and credits are provided in the new booklet along with liner notes from Larry R. Watts. Steve Massie has remastered the LP.

After the jump: more on Ian Hunter, plus the news on a collection of rarities from Ray Price! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 12, 2014 at 09:50

WE HAVE OUR WINNERS! The New Reissue of Ian Hunter’s “All American Alien Boy” From Varese Sarabande!

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Written by Joe Marchese

October 29, 2014 at 10:44

Cleveland (Still) Rocks: Ian Hunter “Complete Singles Collection 1975-83” Released By 7Ts

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What do Great White, The Presidents of the United States of America and Barry Manilow have in common?  Why, Ian Hunter, of course.  The former Mott the Hoople frontman provided those three with enduring songs, respectively, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” “Cleveland Rocks” and “Ships.”  The career of the singer and songwriter is being celebrated by Cherry Red’s 7Ts label with the release of Ian Hunter’s Singles Collection 1975-83.  This 2-CD set compiles all 29 sides released by Hunter as a solo artist during that period, including two stints on CBS and one on Chrysalis Records.

Though Mott the Hoople’s biggest hit came from David Bowie’s glam anthem “All the Young Dudes” (No. 3 U.K., 1972), Hunter was a prolific songwriter himself.  Flush with the success of a hit single, both Hunter and the band, previously on the verge of a break-up, were revitalized.  Mott rode the glam rock train with further hits like “Honaloochie Boogie” and “All the Way from Memphis,” and scored successful albums, as well.  But all wasn’t well within the Mott camp.  Despite having just brought guitarist and frequent Bowie collaborator Mick Ronson into the band in 1974, Hunter soon departed.  By the year’s end, he had departed Mott, citing nervous exhaustion.  Ronson followed suit.  But despite calling it quits with a successful band, Ian Hunter wasn’t done with making music.

The Singles Collection kicks off with the 1975 single that made Hunter’s name as a solo artist, the original version of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.”  Recorded at George Martin’s AIR Studios, it was taken from his eponymous solo debut.  Hunter was joined by Ronson as arranger, guitarist and co-producer for the track which made it to No. 14 on the U.K. chart.  (Great White’s 1989 cover version went all the way to the Top 5 in America.)  Phil Hendriks’ detailed, track-by-track liner notes for The Singles Collection point out that “Once Bitten” was Hunter’s only hit U.K. single as a solo artist, but clearly, fellow musicians were taking notice.  His next album, All American Alien Boy, saw him joined by jazz greats David Sanborn and Jaco Pastorius, as well as drummer Aynsley Dunbar and even the members of Queen!  Queen can be heard on “You Nearly Did Me In.”  (For fans of that album, the single version of its title track might come as a surprise, as it was a wholly unique recording.)

Cover versions of Hunter’s songs also began to proliferate, a trend which would continue as the decades passed.  “Who Do You Love” received a recording by The Pointer Sisters.  1979’s “Cleveland Rocks” was recorded by The Presidents of the United States of America in 1997 and got a second lease on life when the song was selected as the theme song to television’s long-running The Drew Carey Show.  And Barry Manilow brought the tender, haunting ballad “Ships” into the American Top 10; Hunter has credited Manilow with adding the key changes that transformed the song into a bit of a power ballad.  (The Singles Collection also includes the original version of “Cleveland Rocks,” recorded as “England Rocks,” in 1977.)

What does Meat Loaf have to do with Ian Hunter?  What tracks will you find on The Singles Collection?  How can you order?  You’ll find answers to all of those questions, and more, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 27, 2012 at 09:54