Wednesday, 29 June 2016

"From The Knees Of My Heart: The Chrysalis Years 1978-1981" by IAN HUNTER (2012 EMI/Chrysalis 4CD Peter Mew Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Standing In My Light…"

Looking at the playing times below on this incredible haul through Ian Hunter’s stay at Chrysalis Records (with guests like Mick Ronson, Todd Rundgren and Roger Powell of Utopia, Mick Jones and Topper Headon of The Clash with Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band) there’s a lot to get through - so here are the big-rimmed glasses…

UK released 22 October 2012 - "From The Knees Of My Heart: The Chrysalis Years 1978-1981" by IAN HUNTER on EMI/Chrysalis 5099923270121 (Barcode (5099923270121) is a 4CD set of remasters and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (77:06 minutes):
1. Just Another Night
2. Wild East
3. Cleveland Rocks
4. Ships
5. When The Daylight Comes
6. Life After Death
7. Standin' In My Light
8. Bastard
9. The Outsider
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic" - released April 1979 in the UK and USA on Chrysalis CHR 1214. Produced by MICK RONSON and IAN HUNTER – it peaked at No. 49 in the UK and No. 35 in the USA on the LP charts.

BONUS TRACKS ("Schizophrenic" Outtakes):
10. Don't Let Go (Demo Version)
11. The Other Side Of Life (Outtake)
12. Ships (Early Version) - was a download only track
13. When The Daylight Comes (Early Version)
14. Just Another Night (Version No. 3)
15. The Outsider (Early Version)
16. Alibi
Tracks 10 and 11 first appeared on the 2009 on the '30th Anniversary Special Edition' 2CD reissue of "You're Never Alone..."
Tracks 14, 15 and 16 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 2 (79:37 minutes):
1. FBI
2. Once Bitten Twice Shy
3. Angeline
4. Laugh At Me
5. All The Way From Memphis
6. I Wish I Was Your Mother
7. Irene Wilde
8. Just Another Night
9. Cleveland Rocks
10. Standin’ In My Light
11. Bastard
12. Walkin' With A Mountain/Rock And Roll Queen
13. All The Young Dudes
14. Slaughter On 10th Avenue
Tracks 1 to 14 are the 2LP live set "Ian Hunter Live/Welcome To The Club" - released April 1980 in the UK on Chrysalis CJT 6 and in the USA on Chrysalis CHR2 1269. Produced by MICK RONSON and IAN HUNTER – it peaked at No. 61 in the UK and No. 69 in the USA LP charts.
NOTES: see also Tracks 11, 13 and 14 on Disc 4 with regards to the "Welcome To The Club" live double.

15. One Of The Boys
16. The Golden Age Of Rock 'n' Roll
NOTES: Tracks 15 and 16 were BONUS TRACKS on the 1994 CD reissue

Disc 3 (77:09 minutes):
1. Central Park 'N' West
2. Lisa Likes Rock 'n' Roll
3. I Need Your Love
4. Old Records Never Die
5. Noises
6. Rain [Side 2]
7. Gun Control
8. Theatre Of The Absurd
9. Leave Me Alone
10. Keep On Burning
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album “Short Back N' Sides” - released August 1981 in the UK and USA on Chrysalis CHR 1326. Produced by MICK JONES (of The Clash) and IAN HUNTER – it peaked at No. 79 in the UK and No. 62 in the USA on the LP charts.

11. Na Na Na
12. I Believe In You
13. Listen To The Eight Track
14. You Stepped Into My Dreams
15. Venus In The Bathtub
16. Detroit (Take 1)
17. China (Rough Mix with Ronson Vocal)
NOTES: Tracks 11 to 15 were BONUS TRACKS on the 1994 CD reissue
Tracks 16 and 17 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 4 (78:13 minutes):
1. Once Bitten Twice Shy (Live)
2. Gun Control (Live)
3. Central Park 'N' West (Live)
4. Medley: All The Way From Memphis/Honky Tonk Women (Live)
5. I Need Your Love (Live)
6. Noises (Live)
7. Just Another Night (Live)
8. Cleveland Rocks (Live)
9. Irene Wilde (Live)
10. Medley: All The Young Dudes (includes excerpts from Honaloochie Boogie, Roll Away The Stone and Ships)
Tracks 1 to 10 are "Ian Hunter Rocks" recorded live at Dr. Pepper Festival, New York in September 1981. It was originally released on Video in 1983 and is presented here for the first time as PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED on CD

11. Sons And Daughters (Live)
12. We Gotta Get Out Of Here (Alternate Version)
13. Silver Needles (Live)
14. Man O' War (Live)
NOTES: Tracks 11, 13 and 14 are from the original "Welcome To The Club" Live Set
Track 12 is a rare version from the 1980 2LP retrospective "Shades Of Ian Hunter" (included on the 1988 American CD reissue)

The 16-page booklet is info packed with liner notes by CAMPBELL DEVINE - track-by-track comments from Ian Hunter himself and recording details/musician credits for each set. There are some live photos, 7” picture sleeves from varying areas, small shots of the album covers. It’s hardly knicker-wetting – typical of these sets (what they could get away with). But as ever the big news is with the sound.

The remasters have been carried by long-time Abbey Road associate and engineer PETER MEW who has handled hundreds of these reissues – and his touch here is typically superb. The tracks rock with real power – but when they need to be subtle and sensitive (like the beautiful piano Demo of "Don't Let Go") – he allows them to breathe without over-trebling everything.

"Schizophrenic" has to be a fan-favourite for many – "Ships", "Just Another Night" and "Cleveland Rocks" were all lifted as singles – all of them with a joyful old-time Rock 'n' Roll. "Life After Death" has always weirded me out with its echoed eerie vocal and "Bastard" is a blindingly good bit of riffage that turns up in his live set even now. But my poison is the stunning yet ever so slightly bitter ballad "Standin' In My Light" - an epic synth driven piece that impresses bit time. The "You're Never Alone..." LP ends on the six-minute piano-ballad "The Outsider" - a confessional about life, music and all points in between - our Ian sounding world-weary and near breaking as he sings "...looking for water...there's sweat everywhere...I ain't tasted coffee for days..." And Mick Ronson tears up the guitar in the final minutes while Roy Bittan of Springsteen’s E-Street Band plinks away on the old Joanna...

The two live sets feature a fantastic mix of Mott and Solo stuff with the Mott Medley on the "Ian Hunter Rocks" video only set rocking like a monster. Fantastic stuff… Still rocking but relevant – Hunter joined forces with Mick Jones and Topper Headon of The Clash (roping in Ellen Foley and Todd Rundgren and Roger Powell of Utopia too) for the hugely enjoyable "Short Back N' Sides" LP. His lament for Lennon (an old hero blown away) on "Old Records Never Die" always moved me more than a hundred other tributes. "Noises" could be Bowie and was a brilliant departure for him.

But away from the rockers the track that sent me the most was the Side 2 opener “Rain” which is magical – a warbling rhythm courtesy of The Clash anchors touching reminiscing lyrics about his lost mates in Northampton back in the 60ts. I bought the album off the shelves when I was visiting New York and I played it into the floor. Still gets me after over 30 years. "Gun Control" may as well be a Clash outtake (and in 2016 – 36 years after the event – is more bloodily relevant than ever) and the sheer pop of “Leave Me Alone” is kind of cool and shocking at one and the same time. But it ends on a typically huge Hunter ballad that lingers and won’t leave – "Keep On Burning".

I’m kind of shocked at how good the Bonus Tracks are – especially the new stuff. Mick Ronson and Weinberg fans won’t believe their luck with 'Version 3' of "Just Another Night" rocking like a proper monster - Ronson adding that magic guitar touch and Max whacking those drums like only he can. Although it’s easy to see why the all-over-the-place "Alibi" was left off everything. “Detroit” on Disc 3 is a bit of a mess too - but "China" with Ronson on Lead Vocals is lovely and will thrill fans. And the beautiful piano outtake “Don’t Let Go” is in my mind better than some of the tracks that were eventually picked for “You’re Never Alone...” – mournful, real and uncluttered too.

I’ve reviewed 2 of the Robin Trower sets, Ten Years After and Barclay James Harvest in these superb EMI anthologies. This is right up there with the best of them. As Alan Freed would say (sampled by Hunter on "Cleveland Rocks") - King of the Moondoggers!

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