Various Artists - 'The Secret Sessions' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 31, 2012    
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A little treasure trove to get lost in for a while.

It`s always exciting for fans of an artist when a bunch of lost recordings are discovered in a dusty box in the vaults of a record company and ‘The Secret Sessions’ is one such collection.

Back in the late `70`s Mountain`s Corky Laing set out to create a new band and at the suggestion of his label linked up with Mott the Hoople`s Ian Hunter. After the initial writing sessions, the duo put the word out for recruits with Mick Ronson and Felix Pappalardi jumping aboard to form a sort of Mott:Mountain supergroup. During those recording sessions the likes of Leslie West (Mountain), Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers) and Eric Clapton popped by and added their own inimitable contributions to these historic sessions.

Now over 30 years later, the fruits of this collaboration have been rediscovered with a collection of eight songs from those sessions together with a couple of bonus Corky Laing songs and a video track of ‘The Outsider’ to play on your computer. It all sounds very interesting especially to fans of those musicians involved but is it any good or is it more of a rag tag set of demos made by a bunch of friends over the course of a few days?

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‘Easy Money’ with Ian Hunter`s vocals and the pumping piano backing is pure prime time Mott the Hoople and with its soaring, hook laden chorus could have graced any album in Motts heyday. ‘Silent Movie’, with Laing taking lead vocals, is even better with its sleazy riff and glorious honky tonk piano rounded off with a rasping John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful) harp. Leslie West pops up on ‘The Best Thing’ and ‘The Outsider’, providing some impressive and instantly distinctive guitar work to a couple of solid `70`s Hard Rock songs while none other than Todd Rundgren provides some effective backing vocals. ‘I Hate Dancin`’ has an altogether Funkier, almost New Wave feel to it which on first listen seems out of place on the record but proves to be the real grower on the album after repeated listens.

The less said about the woeful cover of ‘Just When I Needed You Most’ the better and ‘Lowdown Freedom’ sounds a touch like a filler to these ears but ‘On My Way To Georgia’ is a glorious slab of hard driving Southern Rock featuring Eric Clapton and Dickey Betts although this did show up on Laing`s 1977 solo album ‘Makin’ It On The Street’ along with album closer ‘Growin’ Old With Rock `n` Roll’.

‘The Secret Sessions’ is almost like opening a Blue Peter time capsule where the style and vibe of the music has remained untouched by the passage of time. Sure, there`s a couple of tracks that remained in the vaults for a reason, but for Mountain and Mott the Hoople fans in particular this may just be a little treasure trove to get lost in for a while.

Mick Burgess

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