Once Bitten Twice Shy
Ian Hunter has to rank mighty high on rock's all-time "most underrated" list. As front man for Mott the Hoople, he lent a tough, street-smart edge to the otherwise fey world of glam-rock, all the while retaining a certain arch distance. That combination of elements likewise figures into this two-disc retrospective of his solo career, which is cleverly divided by mood, with one disc of rockers and one of ballads. More than most of his peers, Hunter has a great facility with the latter, as evidenced by tear-in-your-beer tracks like "You Nearly Did Me In" and the anthemic "Letter to Brittania from the Union Jack." The hard-edged rockers disc concentrates on slightly better known material -- including the classic "Cleveland Rocks," which has gained a second wind through its use on The Drew Carey Show -- but also tosses in a handful of surprises. Among those are a live version of "All the Young Dudes," on which Hunter is joined by Def Leppard, and the first CD release of the strutting "All American Alien Boy." Glam aficionados will be particularly intrigued by "Coldwater High," a missing-in-action track from the final Mott sessions that's joined by a newly recorded vocal track. The 39-song set is rife with oddities and outtakes -- and completely permeated by the raw spirit of rock 'n' roll.