IAN HUNTER : YOU'RE NEVER ALONE WITH A SCHIZOPHRENIC
Label : Chrysalis
Released : 1979
Length : 41:58
Review (AllMusic) : This classic album from 1979 is considered by many to be the high point of Ian Hunter's solo career. Although its sales never matched up to the enthusiastic critical reaction it received, this polished hard rock gem has held up nicely through the years and is definitely deserving of its strong cult reputation. You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic also marked the reunion of Hunter with his finest creative ally, Mick Ronson, who had been forced to sit out of Hunter's last few albums due to management problems. Together, the reunited duo put together an album that matches Hunter's literate lyrics to a set of catchy, finely crafted tunes brimming with rock & roll energy. Two of the finest tracks are "Cleveland Rocks," an affectionate, Mott the Hoople-styled tribute to an unsung rock & roll city that later became the theme for The Drew Carey Show, and "Ships," a heartrending ballad built on a spooky and ethereal keyboard-driven melody that was later covered with great success by Barry Manilow. Elsewhere, the album features plenty of tunes that soon became mainstays of Hunter's live show: "Just Another Night" is a rollicking rocker with an infectious, piano-pounding melody reminiscent of 1970s-era Rolling Stones, and "Bastard" is a pulsating rocker that features guest star John Cale contributing to its ominous hard rock atmosphere. However, the unsung gem of the album is "When the Daylight Comes," a beautifully crafted mid-tempo rocker that balances a soulful, organ-driven melody with rousing guitar riffs and surprisingly vulnerable lyrics about romance. It should also be noted that You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic benefits from a sterling mix by Bob Clearmountain, who gives the sound a muscular quality that makes it leap out of the stereo speakers. In the end, You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic is not only Ian Hunter's finest and most consistent album but one of the true gems of late-'70s rock & roll.