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4.8 out of 5 stars152
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on March 16, 2000
The only disappointing thing about this collection is that this small but authoratative compilation of various album songs, demos, and soundtrack work is all that remains of what could have been a truly, truly amazing band.
But for what's here, this is truly a masterpiece. Thankfully the person(s) in charge of putting this comp. together managed to squeeze every drop of music possible in, clocking in at some 75 minutes long. Some of the songs ("This Is Shangrila") jump right out at you in a riffing, cocky way, while others ("Bone China," "Stargazer") take a few listens to really assimilate as beautiful. The stand-out song is definitely "Stardog Champion," the feel and power and subdued grace stand out brilliantly among the other fantastic songs.
But, unfortunately, the tragic death of Andy Wood trainwrecked the wonder of Mother Love Bone. However, through his death he gave birth to two of the most powerfully brilliant bands of our time: the Temple Of The Dog project (Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament & Matt Cameron) and Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament & Dave Krusen, Dave Abbruzzese, Jack Irons and now Matt Cameron). The Temple Of The Dog project, an outlet for Cornell's sorrow, brought some of the most moving music I've ever heard in my life to the forefront of the music scene, and Pearl Jam obviously still thunders on to this day.
You have to wonder while you're listening to this that, had Andy Wood lived, would there even have ever been a Pearl Jam? And, if there weren't, would that be so bad, so long as Mother Love Bone was still around?
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This is truly one of the most beautiful and sad albums to come out of Seattle. I'll echo what almost all other reviewers have said: a cloud raining "what if?" hangs over this whole album.
Andrew brilliant, so tortured, so glam. His voice has a bit of that Led Zepplin/'80s metal tinge to it, but Andy's lyrics are timeless, especially if you know anyone who has stuggled with drug or alcohol abuse. Even if you're lucky enough not to, you'll still find an aching beauty in each of these epic songs.
I'm not sure if this album really qualifies as "grunge," since Mother Love Bone really predated the commercial explosion that happened in the early '90s (Andy died in March of 1990, and most of these songs were written in '88 and '89). MLB influenced the genre, definitely, but isn't always as angry and thrashing as much the music recorded by Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Mother Love Bone is much more emotive and lovely.
After listening to this Mother Love Bone CD and then Pearl Jam's "Ten," I realized that I actually like Andy Wood's voice better much more than Eddie Vedder's--a surprise for me as a Pearl Jam fan. All you have to do is compare the original version of "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns" with the Pearl Jam cover (an Mp3 I downloaded). Eddie Vedder simply can't bring the magic to that song that Andy could...Eddie's voice sounds bleating and overdone instead of Andy's simple ease.
Stone Gossard's power riffs give me tingles, especially on "Stardog Champion." But it's the lyrics that almost make me cry:
You ever heard the story,
of Mister Faded Glory?
Say he who rides the pony must someday fall,
I been talking to my altar
It says life is what you make it,
And if you make it death well rest your soul.
Away, away, away.
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on April 17, 2000
Every once in awhile an artist comes along that affects our lives in ways we have never been affected before. We can never really understand the total why's and how's of this affect, but we know that the art has put us in a place we truly enjoy being--no matter how temporary. A truly beautiful piec of art can make us look at our surroundings a little differently than we ever had before, it can make us interact with others in a manner we never have before, and we can eek out just a little bit more enjoyment from life because of it. As a young man, I picked up this album on a whim (I just liked their name). Little did I know how much I would be affected by this brilliant man's take on life. Did it entirely change my life, no, but it did enhance my outlook on life for a time...A gift from this brilliant artist, named Andrew Wood, for which I will be forever grateful.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2005
If there was one common "Grunge" thread to bands as disparate in style as Mudhoney / Nirvana, Alice In Chains / Soundgarden it was that they all took inspiration from the 70's and then put a post-modern or otherwise unique spin on their primary influences. Mudhoney and Nirvana took punk rock as their starting point and then dirtied it up. AIC and Soundgarden looked to the best of 70's metal like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and then tried to make it even more intense and heavy.

To understand Mother Love Bone, you have to understand that their music was a collision of irony and hero worship. I have always suspected that on some level, they began by making fun of the swaggering excesses of '70's cockrock but at the same time were completely caught up in celebrating the undeniable rockness of the music. It is as if they ended up transcending an inside joke.

This collection is pretty much the Apple LP and the Shine EP combined with a bonus single. The only reason it was released at all was to capitalize on the Pearl Jam buzz of the time. Thank goodness, it came out because it is a fabulous record of a band that was supposed to be huge. If only they would remaster it and re-issue it with outtakes and live material. That however, is highly unlikely.
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on March 20, 2002
Mother Love Bone is one of the larger branches that formed the Seattle grunge family tree that gained popularity in the early 1990's. And what a formidable branch of that tree the band was.
Led by vocalist and visionary Andrew Wood, Mother Love Bone combined elements of classic rock, punk and glam to form something truly unique. This collection compiles the band's total output.
Highlights include `This Is Shangrila,' `Stardog Champion,' `Bone China' and the remarkable `Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns.' What is astounding is that Mother Love Bone could be bizarre, obnoxious, and truly moving all at the same time.
When Wood died, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament teamed up with Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron (then of Soundgarden) and newcomer Mike McCready to record a few songs in tribute. This project became the brilliant Temple Of The Dog. And from those sessions, Pearl Jam was born. While Wood's absence from the music scene was and is truly missed, the good that came out of the tragedy is remarkable.
This is an important collection.
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on January 24, 2007
I bought this album in 1992, freshman year in college. I was blown away by the force and depth of the music. 15 years later, unlike so much other music from my teens, this album still rocks. RIP Andrew Wood. You gave the world your gift and then you were consumed by it.
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on December 14, 2006
When I bought this album I was a huge Pearl Jam, and had heard of Mother Love Bone in the past and knew a very little about them. Knowing they were the precursor to groups like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, I bought it ona whim. I was pleasantly suprised to find something that sounded completely different than what I expected. With Andrew Wood's amazing glam rock vocals, Gossard and Ament's free range song writing, and an altogether kick in the balls sound, it's worth however much you're going to spend.
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on March 28, 2004
I love this CD. I would reccommend this CD and ALL Mother Love Bone CD`s to anyone who is into Pearl Jam, Alice in chains, Jerry Cantrell, Malfunkshun, Mudhoney. This is an EXCELLENT piece of work. My favorite tracks are "This is Shangrila", "Come bite the apple" and "Capricorn sister". Although I love every track. "Man of golden words" is hard to listen to because of the words "...sometimes I`m living in the temple of the dog", which later became the title of a tribute album for Andrew Wood after his death. EXCELLENT CD.
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on April 15, 2000
If you like Pearl Jam, Soungarden, Stone Temple Pilots and Temple Of The Dog, you will love Mother Love Bone. Precussors to the later Seattle Sound, and following Green River's in your face punk, this was a fantasy rock band.
Fronted by the often theatrical Andrew Wood (Andy), there was solid musicianship in the presence of Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. Poised on the brink of stardom, it's as if the 1990 signing to a Major Label was too much for Wood. A latter day Jim Morrison, he soared too close to the Sun and plummeted back down to earth in a massive drug crash that left him dead.
A lot of slinky, wink wink sexual innuendo in such treasures as Bone China, and the sinuous treasure that is Capricorn Sister, (my vote for best lyrics). Hooks and power riffs galore. Other stand-out cuts, Star Gazer and Stardog Champion.
This is all we have left, (there is also a short video), and Gossard and Ament went on to first Temple Of The Dog and later, Pearl Jam. You can't help but wonder...what if? I don't often give five stars but this album is worth it!
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on November 18, 2003
First off, let it be known that this is a really great album. They probably recieved more attention in hindsight, than they did while together. "Mother Love Bone" was kind of a stepping stone of sorts. Members of "Green River" split to become "MLB" and "Mudhoney", then "MLB" dissolved, and Jeff and Stone eventually became part of "Pearl Jam". Outside of the Northwest, "MLB" were most known for being on the "Singles" soundtrack. The singer OD'd which brought the band to an end, but not before they made a huge mark. Songs like "Bone China", "Stargazer", and "Man Of Golden Words" are absolutely amazing. Of course the track "Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns" alone makes this worth having. In the end, "Mother Love Bone" gave us one beautiful rocking album, and in a way, "Pearl Jam" and "Temple Of The Dog".
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