Rock and Roll Queen

Before Mott the Hoople joined the glam-rock hit parade with 1972’s ”All the Young Dudes,” the English quintet had staked out its own strange corner of rock & roll. The band’s 1969 debut, Mott the Hoople — a bracing mixture of Ian Hunter’s self-consciously Dylanized vocals, Mick Ralphs’ power guitar, and Verden Allen’s churning organ swirls — contains such reckless but successful undertakings as a thuggish instrumental cover of the Kinks’ ”You Really Got Me,” a majestic examination of Sonny Bono’s inane ”Laugh at Me,” and the stately 11-minute ”Half Moon Bay.” Amid the enveloping psychedelia and overt Dylan knockoffs, the groupie love song ”Rock and Roll Queen” showcases future Bad Company star Ralphs at his most searingly cogent. All of Mott’s fascinating pre-”Dudes” albums — the first, Mad Shadows, Wildlife, Brain Capers — are now available on CD, and all are recommended. But the spectacular compilation of the material from these albums, Rock and Roll Queen, is the best place to start. Mott the Hoople: A Rock and Roll Queen: A+

Rock and Roll Queen
  • Music