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Ian Hunter and the Rant Band - When I'm President

  by Lisa Torem

published: 29 / 9 / 2012

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band - When I'm President
Label: Proper Records
Format: CD


Intensely magnificent latest album from ex-Mott the Hoople front man,Ian Hunter

Back in 1969, British singer-songwriter, Ian Hunter, joined the innovative Mott the Hoople and appeared on four under-selling albums with them, before becoming a super star in 1972 after they recorded David Bowie’s ‘All the Young Dudes’. The band helped instigate the British punk and new wave moments. After relocating to New York, Hunter continued writing a range of ballads, anthems and rock ‘n’ roll revelries, taking the random hiatus, and then forging ahead with fresh, imaginative material, something this troubadour never seems to run out of. There have been gaps in his recording history. ‘Rant’ came out in 2001, ‘Shrunken Heads’ in 2007 and then two years later ‘Man Overboard’. But even when the wait is long, it has always been worthwhile. Hunter is the whole package; a visceral guitarist and pianist, a vocalist with a distinctive style and keen powers of observation. His new album, ‘When I’m President’, is not only timely (at least for the Americans!), but also inspiring and incredibly well crafted. There are no fillers or oddities and every song, either written or co-written by Hunter, tells a colourful story. The album loses no time, opening with ‘Comfortable’, where the energetic rhythms of his band mates (The Rant Band: Steve Holley: percussion, Paul Page: bass, James Mastro, Mark Bosch and Andy York: guitars, Andy Burton: keys and Christine Ohlman: assorted vocals) blend seamlessly, and on which Mark Rivera’s sax section tops it all off. “No more innocence, no more guilt, no more cryin’ over the milk that you spilt” is one of the witty lines that come from ‘Fatally Flawed’. The story gets darker – Hunter sings of addictive personalities and twisted DNA. The title song, ‘When I’m President’, warrants some cynical phrases, which Hunter delivers passionately: “You go in with the right intent – when you become president…but something happens to you up on the hill…” With great detail, he expands the meaty theme. The confrontational ‘What For’ shows off this line-up’s choral talents and rhythmic unity, plus there are those dazzling piano licks and Hunter’s impeccable leadership skills. His call and response with the backing singers leaves you on the edge of your seat and his rough-hewn voice has never sounded better. ‘Black Tears’ is a stunner; a captivating example of living poetry. “I watched your blue eyes turnin’ into green eyes/I watched your green eyes turning into sad eyes…” he sings, a man tormented. Mark Bosch’s lead guitar solo matches and magnifies Hunter’s intensity. ‘Saint’ co-written by James Mastro, has lyrical content that is completely different, but equally genuine. The second co-write, ‘I Don’t Know What You Want’ is by Hunter and his son, Jesse Hunter Patterson, who also contributes vocals. ‘Wild Bunch’ is rock ‘n’ roll Saturday night nirvana, sprinkled with heroes of the Wild West. One of the more unusual tracks is ‘Ta Shunka Witco’, which is mostly accompanied by ambient sounds, sparse beats and Rivera’s haunting flute. On this one, the introspective Hunter reimagines the challenges faced by Crazy Horse. The final song, ‘Life’, expresses the obvious in a truly magical way: “Laugh, because it’s only life…” This whole album should be elected to Congress. Ian Hunter’s ‘When I’m President’ definitely gets my vote.

Track Listing:-
1 Comfortable (Flyin' Scotsman)
2 Fatally Flawed
3 When I'm President
4 What For
5 Black Tears
6 Saint
7 Just The Way You Look Tonight
8 Wild Bunch
9 Ta Shunka Witco (Crazy Horse)
10 I Don't Know What You Want
11 Life

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Fingers Crossed (2016)
1970's rock icon Ian Hunter pays tribute to his friend David Bowie and looks back at his own amazing life and career on his latest solo album

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