Tag Archives: Mutt Lange

New Album! Joe Elliott’s Down ‘n’ Outz

Joe Elliott is a Mott The Hoople fan. A big fan.

Goes without saying, I guess, since the Def Leppard frontman has worn that on his sleeve his whole career. It’s refreshing to see a rocker who has attained the level of global success that he has still be a rock fan at heart. Elliott grew up loving Mott The Hoople and still does.

Elliott has often put his money where his mouth (and heart) is with his support of Ian Hunter and Mott; he was a driving force in organizing the memorial tribute for Mick Ronson and has always touted the music of his favorite band in interviews. So when Mott The Hoople reunited to make their historic stand at the Hammersmith they called Joe in for support, and he assembled a group of like-minded Mott devotees to perform some songs off the family tree that Mott fans probably never thought they’d get to hear from a stage ever again. The success of that gig led to what I can happily say is one of 2010’s best surprises.

I’ve never been a huge Def Leppard fan but have enjoyed some of their work; the overproduction by Mutt Lange usually tempered any enthusiasm I had for the songs themselves. That’s probably why I enjoyed their covers album Yeah! more than their own material; even though that was a bit bombastic I was halfway there before cracking the shrink-wrap because I was already into the songs. On My Regeneration, it’s inverted; I was familiar with the players but not all the tunes, as I never paid much attention to Widowmaker and British Lions after Mott imploded.

I think the wisest move here was using members of The Quireboys in the backing band, and I hope this project brings much attention to them as well. As a lifelong Faces fan, discovering the Quireboys back in the 90s was a godsend (they were The London Quireboys then), since they wallowed in the same loose menagerie of blues, glam and rock that makes my hair stand on end. If there are torch-bearers for the post-Faces era, surely The Quireboys and The Diamond Dogs are at the front of the pack.

So with Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin, Keith Weir, Ronnie Garrity and Phil Martin in tow, Joe lit into a litany of post-Mott cuts, some of which (“Who Do You Love”, “By Tonight”) might be better than the originals. His voice sounds spectacular, but it’s Weir’s tinkling piano and Griffin’s guitar tone that might share MVP honors here as the predominantly hard-rocking album reinvents these twelve tracks with pristine clarity and crisp power:


A ten track version of this album was included with a recent issue of Classic Rock Magazine, but if you missed it, My Regeneration is available on CD with twelve MTH family cuts (plus a thirteenth track, a puzzling oddity from Elliott and producer Ronan McHugh). And yes, it’s subtitled “Volume 1”!

Listen to clips here.

In  the liner notes, Elliott says “we did this for all the right reasons; for the love of the music and to celebrate the fact that from the ashes of the then defunct MTH came some amazing music, much of it criminally ignored for far too long…” I know that it’s intrigued me enough that I’m going to pull out my post-Hunter Mott records and find out what I missed with Widowmaker and British Lions. I’ve already got Ian’s career locked and loaded.

I want to have a pint of beer with Joe Elliott – and I’m buying!


Filed under Music, Reviews

Blast From The Past: City Boy

Talk about your unknown classics? Try this one!

Talk about your unknown classics? Try this one!

City Boy is on that list of bands that woulda/shoulda/coulda been way bigger than they were, but for some reason only touched the high bar for a brief period of time. They combined impeccable vocals and vocal harmony with inventive arrangements and first-rate musicianship, and reaped the benefit of having multiple songwriters in the band. Their one bonafide hit single, “”, was from their fourth album Book Early, and while it was stuffed with great tunes it didn’t hold favor over time. Their next two albums sailed under the wavelength of everyone except their fans and remain underrated albums to this day.

Young Men Gone West, their third release, was probably the album that floated closest to a commercial pop sound; I’m still stunned that there weren’t multiple hits jumping off the record. It’s a loosely threaded concept album about a bad journey baja way, written with an enormous sense of humor.

City Boy was unusual for the time in that Steve Broughton and Lol Mason both sang lead vocals, although Broughton also played guitar. It wasn’t odd to see them trading lead and background vocals simply as dual front men, and the arrangements dabbled in jazz, soul and even prog as well as pop and rock. The high falsetto harmonies and intricate vocal parts brought them comparisons to Queen, Supertramp and 10cc, recent post-mortem comments cite Jellyfish and Def Leppard, among others. Compliments all. Multi-instrumentalist Max Thomas also pitched in with songwriting and vocals and producer Mutt Lange worked his magic. City Boy indeed forged these elements into something of their own.

“She’s Got Style” and “I’ve Been Spun” (the latter contains several brilliant turns of phrase) are short sharp pop songs, while the rockers among us cue up “Dear Jean” and “Bad For Business” ; both boast monster guitar work from Mike Slamer. (The former makes me pull out the air guitar to this day.) The rest blend a parade of sounds so that song-to-song it sounds fresh, various tempos and styles evenly distributed in perfect array.

After four albums on Mercury they moved to Atlantic for two more, then finally to Vertigo for the last one, It’s Personal. By then the band was a quartet and most fans (read: me) were unaware it existed until it was too late. And another great one bit the dust. The first six albums are commercially available, reissued by Reniassance Records; the seventh only if you hunt and peck on Al Gore’s Internet if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Young Men Gone West” is available alone or as part of a 2-fer with Book Early, although the 2-fer is out of print and expensive on the used market. But if you don’t know the band, don’t stop here ! You will be richly rewarded by checking out their vastly underrated catalogue.

city boy patch

City Boy wiki.

City Boy homepage. Lyrics, clips, bio, etc. thanks to a great fan.

Wolfgang’s Vault members can stream a live show here.

And no, don’t confuse them with this guy.

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Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews