And so Ian Hunter has enjoyed a bit of a late-career renaissance, churning out a steady stream of records — including one he just released — as he approaches his 70th birthday. I haven’t tracked all of them down, but the ones I have — especially 2009’s Man Overboard — have all been worthwhile.
A great example of his late period music is the opening track 2007’s Shrunken Head, the loping “Words (Big Mouth),” where over an agreeably catchy guitar hook, he rasps:
Ah words, little beads of poison
Letting out the venom
One thing for certain, baby
I got a big mouth
With an organ and violin lurking in the background only to come forward with their own hooks, co-writer Andy York sawing away on the guitar and Jeff Tweedy — who established himself as an Ian Hunter fan by covering “Henry and The H-Bomb” back in 1997 — singing the harmonies, “Words (Big Mouth)” adds something cool at nearly every turn, but nothing more cool than Hunter’s usual self-awareness.
That’s always been the thing about Ian Hunter: he always seems like he’s really enjoying himself. That’s been the thread running through his music going back to the very earliest Mott The Hoople days, and even as he’s pushing 80, still manifests itself.
“Words (Big Mouth)”
“Words (Big Mouth)” performed live on The Late Show With Craig Ferguson, 2007
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