Mott The Hoople – Two Miles From Heaven (1980)

FrontCover1Mott the Hoople are an English rock band, popular in the glam rock era of the early to mid-1970s. They are best known for the song “All the Young Dudes”, written for them by David Bowie and appearing on their 1972 album of the same name.

Two Miles From Heaven is a compilation album of tracks recorded by British rock band Mott the Hoople during their period with Island Records from 1969 to 1972. It features the original band line-up of Ian Hunter (vocals, piano, guitar), Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals), Peter Watts (bass guitar, vocals), Dale Griffin (drums) and Verden Allen (organ). Incomplete tracks from original sessions were supplemented by overdubs of vocals, keyboards (by later Mott the Hoople and Mott member Morgan Fisher) and guitar (including contributions from Mott guitarist Ray Majors).

Of significance to followers of the group were the inclusion of alternative versions of extant Mott the Hoople songs (a vocal version of “You Really Got Me”, the discarded mix of “Thunderbuck Ram” and early demo tapes of songs that were later recorded for their All the Young Dudes album once the band had left Island and signed to Columbia Records: “One of the Boys”, “Ride on the Sun” (better known as “Sea Diver”) and “Black Scorpio” (Momma’s Little Jewel). “Until I’m Gone” was an otherwise unreleased Ralphs track.

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The initial vinyl release was on Island’s German label (202 429-270), in 1980, but it has subsequently been re-released on Angel Air SJPCD 161 in 2003 with additional bonus tracks. (by wikipedia)

After British Lions broke up, Dale Griffin, Overend Watts, Ray Majors and Morgan Fisher went in the studios to put together this compilation of rare and unreleased Mott The Hoople material from Island’s vaults. Mott recorded virtually everything they wrote, and just about any day not spent gigging was spent in the studio. As a result, there is a lot of unreleased (and unfinished) material in there.

What an absolute peach this collection is. Unreleased tracks, rare b-sides and early versions of songs that would be recorded later on… this album has long been sought after by fans, and is now at long last available on CD.

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It starts with a rare vocal version of the Kinks’ You Really Got Me. Next up is Ian’s first stab at social commentary, Road To Birmingham which was the b-side to Rock And Roll Queen, Mott’s first single. Then there’s the alternate version of Thunderbuck Ram, with Verden’s organ featuring much higher in the mix. The studio version of Keep a Knockin’ is fast and furious, and an absolute belter.

Movin’ On is next – slated for the original vinyl but withdrawn at the last minute is a medium-paced rocker that Mick Ralphs would eventually re-record with Bad Company. Ride On The Sun is beautiful – this again would be re-recorded (as Sea Diver) later on – and is possibly one of Ian’s best ballads. Growin’ Man Blues is another fast rocker which I never grow tired of hearing. Till I’m Gone is another ballad, beautifully sung by Mick Ralphs (for a version of him sharing the vocals with Ian, check out the Anthology). One Of The Boys is an acoustic version of the song that would be re-recorded later on. Black Scorpio (Momma’s Little Jewel) is faster than the version that would be recorded for the Dudes album.

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Two more bonus tracks close the album, The Debt (which was the b-side to Midnight Lady) and the non-LP single Downtown, with Mick Ralphs again supplying the vocals for this Neil Young/Crazy Horse cover.

Sound quality throughout is excellent (a lot better than the original LP). Strangely, tho’ the running order on the “Bald At The Station” side is different from the original LP. No matter – this is an important album in Mott’s history, and I for one am glad it’s finally available on CD! (hunter-mott.com)

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An even more overlooked album from an already overlooked band, this was released at the beginning of the 80’s without too much fanfare. Having heard the album I have no idea why; this is so much more than just a collection of B-Sides and out-takes. 75% of this album is made up of songs that could have been on albums in their present state. I hardly know where to begin; “The Road to Birmingham” for example is a song that should have been on “Brain Capers” or “Wildlife” and the re-mix of “Thunderbuck Ram” actually outshines the original and it’s interesting to hear the pre-Bad Company version of “Movin’ On” and a few of the covers thrown in as well. This was such an interesting band and this is a real gem of a collection that would do YOUR collection well. (by Jacob Koehler)

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (organ, background vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, background vocals)
Ian Hunter (vocals, piano, guitar)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, background vocals)
Pete “Overend” Watts (bass, background vocals)
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Guy Stevens (piano, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. You Really Got Me (Davies) 3.08
02. The Road To Birmingham (Hunter) 3.30
03. Thunderbuck Ram (Ralphs) 4.41
04. Going Home (Ralphs) 3.00
05. Little Christine (Ralphs) 3.06
06. Keep A Knockin'” (Richard Penniman) 3.25
07. Black Hills (Ralphs) 1.32
08. Movin’ On (Ralphs) 2.44
09. Ride On The Sun (Hunter) 3.38
10. Growin’ Man Blues (Hunter) 2.46
11. Until I’m Gone (Ralphs) 3.14
12. One Of The Boys (Ralphs, Hunter) 4.19
13. Surfin’ U.K. (Ralphs) 2.37
14. Black Scorpio (Hunter/Watts) 3.36
15. I´ll Wind Blowing (Hunter) 3.53
16. The Debt (Hunter) 4.15
17. Downtown (Whitten/Young) 3.03

Dale Griffin tried hard during the production process to improve on the original recordings. All material was transferred from the original 8- and 16-track tapes to 24-track tape. All were remixed, and many were overdubbed, as follows:

The Road to Birmingham: extra acoustic and electric guitars were added by Overend Watts, together with a few minor edits
Thunderbuck Ram: some keyboard fills were added by Morgan Fisher
Going Home: Overend Watts and Dale Griffin added backing vocals
Keep a Knockin’: Morgan Fisher added piano
Black Hills: Morgan Fisher added piano and mellotron
Ride On The Sun: Morgan Fisher added Hammond organ and mellotron
Growin’ Man Blues: in reality only a minute and a half long, they had to do two dub edits and some covering vocals and instrumental fills
Till I’m Gone: Overend Watts added acoustic guitar
One Of The Boys: Overend Watts added guitar; Dale griffin and Overend added backing vocals
Surfin’ UK: Dale Griffin added backing vocals and percussion
Black Scorpio: Ray Majors added slide guitar, Dale Griffin added backing vocals and percussion
Ill Wind Blowing: Dale Griffin added backing vocals and percussion ((hunter-mott.com))

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Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgAll the Young Dudes is the fifth studio album by Mott the Hoople, released in 1972. It was their initial album for the CBS Records label (Columbia Records in North America), after three years with Island Records in the UK and Atlantic Records in North America.

All the Young Dudes was a turning point for the then-struggling British band. Mott the Hoople were about to break up when David Bowie stepped in and gave them the song “All the Young Dudes”. Bowie also produced the album, which took Mott “from potential has-beens to avatars of the glam rock movement”. A remastered and expanded version was released by Sony BMG on the Columbia Legacy label in the United Kingdom and the United States on 21 February 2006.

The title track, “All the Young Dudes”, was released as a single prior to the album and charted worldwide, becoming the “ultimate ’70s glitterkid anthem”.[6] “Sweet Jane”, a cover of the Velvet Underground song from their 1970 album Loaded, was issued as a single in Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United States, though not in their home market of the UK. “One of the Boys”, originally the B-side of “All the Young Dudes”, was also released in North America and Continental Europe.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 491 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2012, the album listed at No. 484 on a revised list by the magazine.

“Ready for Love” was reworked by Mick Ralphs’s subsequent band Bad Company on their self-titled debut.

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Speculation has persisted over the years that, although All the Young Dudes was released by CBS/Columbia Records, Mott the Hoople may have recorded part or all of the album while still under contract to their original label, Island Records – a situation that, if proven true, might give Island ownership rights to the recordings. Fuel was added to this speculation in 2006 with the re-release of All the Young Dudes in remastered form, including several bonus tracks. Production on one of the bonus tracks, “Black Scorpio” (an early version of “Momma’s Little Jewel”), is co-credited to Island staff producer/A&R executive Muff Winwood, possibly suggesting that work on at least that track was begun while Mott were still signed to Island.

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Public comments from the band regarding this matter have been inconsistent. In an extended August 1980 interview with Trouser Press magazine, Ian Hunter stated that Mott had completed All the Young Dudes prior to the band’s leaving Island Records, and that Island’s head Chris Blackwell was unaware the band had a new album ready for release when dissolving their relationship. However, when interviewed about the situation for Chris Hall’s and Mike Kerry’s 2011 documentary Ballad of Mott the Hoople, Hunter laughed nervously, saying “I can’t really discuss it … there’s a blank there as far as I’m concerned – all of a sudden we’re on Columbia Records, and ‘Dudes’ was the first single.” (by wikipedia)

 

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Just at the moment Mott the Hoople were calling it a day, David Bowie swooped in and convinced them to stick around. Bowie spearheaded an image makeover, urging them to glam themselves up. He gave them a surefire hit with “All the Young Dudes,” had them cover his idol’s “Sweet Jane,” and produced All the Young Dudes, the album that was designed to make them stars. Lo and behold, it did, which is as much a testament to Bowie’s popularity as it is to his studio skill. Not to discount his assistance, since his production results in one of the most satisfying glam records and the title track is one of the all-time great rock songs, but the album wouldn’t have worked if Mott hadn’t already found its voice on Brain Capers.

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True, Dudes isn’t nearly as wild as its predecessor, but the band’s swagger is unmistakable underneath the flair and Ian Hunter remains on a songwriting roll, with “Momma’s Little Jewel,” “Sucker,” and “One of the Boys” standing among his best. Take a close look at the credits, though — these were all co-written by his bandmates, and the other highlight, “Ready for Love/After Lights,” is penned entirely by Mick Ralphs, who would later revive the first section with Bad Company. The entire band was on a roll here, turning out great performances and writing with vigor. They may not be as sexy as either Bowie or Bolan, but they make up for it with knowing humor, huge riffs, and terrific tunes, dressed up with style by Ziggy himself. No wonder it’s not just a great Mott record — it’s one of the defining glam platters. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (organ, vocals on 07  background vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Ian Hunter (vocals, guitar, piano)
Mick Ralphs (lead guitar, vocals on 08.,  background vocals)
lead vocals on “Soft Ground”
Pete Overend Watts (bass, background vocals)
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Buddy Bauerle (pan flute)
Jeff Hanover (vibraslap)
Mike Walls (organ)

Inlets

Tracklist:
01. Sweet Jane (Reed) 4.21
02. Momma’s Little Jewel (Hunter/Watts) 4.27
03. All The Young Dudes (Bowie) 3.32
04. Sucker (Hunter/Ralphs/Watts) 5.01
05. Jerkin’ Crocus (Hunter) 4.02
06. One Of The Boys (Hunter/Ralphs) 6.47
07. Soft Ground (Allen) 3.20
08. Ready For Love/After Lights (Ralphs) 6.48
09. Sea Diver (Hunter) 2.53

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Billy rapped all night about his suicide
How he’d kick it in the head when he was 25
Don’t want to stay alive when you’re 25

Wendy’s stealing clothes from unlocked cars
Freddy’s got spots from ripping off stars from his face
A funky little boat race

The television man is crazy
Saying we’re juvenile delinquent wrecks
But, man, I need a TV when I’ve got T. Rex
Hey, brother, you guessed
I’m a dude

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

Now Jimmy’s looking sweet though he dresses like a queen
He can kick like a mule
It’s a real mean team
We can love

And my brother’s back at home
With his Beatles and his Stones
We never got it off on that revolution stuff
What a drag
Too many snags

Well, I drunk a lot of wine
And I’m feeling fine
Gonna race some cat to bed
Is this concrete all around
Or is it in my head?
Oh, brother, you guessed
I’m a dude

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news

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Mott The Hoople – Live With David Bowie (Philadelphia) (1972)

FrontCover1.JPGAnd here´s another rare item from my bootleg collection:

Mott The Hoople were one of the most influential bands to come out of the UK. Everyone from Oasis to REM to Def Leppard have cited Mott as a major influence. In their day Mott soon became an awesome live act, and concerts were frequently a riotous affair. Sadly, they were unable to convert this live success into record sales, and four albums on Island sold poorly.

A switch to CBS and a tie-up with David Bowie (before Bowie himself had broken through) saw long-overdue commercial success for Mott. However, very little evidence has been made available of Mott’s live prowess, save for the too-short live album recorded and released shortly before Mott broke up at the end of 1974.

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Late 1972 saw Mott touring the United States for the third time, this time under Mainman’s management and as headliners for the first time. David Bowie introduced them at the Tower Theatre, Philadelphia amd joined them on stage for the encores, and this show makes up the second disc. Again Mick Ralphs’ guitar is loud and clear as again he plays blistering but tasteful licks, like his extended solo on Ready For Love. Bowie joinds Mott for the first encore All The Young Dudes, where is backing vocals are clearly audible. A raucous version of the Stones’ Honky Tonk Women closes the show, complete with a little audience participation.

Crank the volume up high, and you can imagine you are really there in the front row – always the mark of a good live album. (hunter-mott.com)

This is the show where Bowie do the introduction, and sing backing vocals
on “All The Young Dudes” and “Honky Tonk Women”.

Recorded live at the Tower Theater (Philadelphia PA, November 29. 1972

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Alternate frontcovers

Personnel:
Verden Allen (keyboards)
Dale Griffin (drums)
Ian Hunter (vocals, guitar, piano)
Mick Ralphs (guitar)
Overend Watts (bass)
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David Bowie (background vocals on 11. + 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction by David Bowie / American Pie 3.29
02. Jerkin’ Crocus (Hunter) 4.26
03. Sucker (Hunter/Ralphs/Watts) 5.53
04. Hymn For The Dudes (Hunter/Allen) 6.15
05. Ready For Love (Ralphs) 12.49
06. Sweet Jane (Reed) 6.00
07. Sea Diver (Hunter) 3.29
08. Sweet Angeline (Hunter) 6.36
09. One Of The Boys (Hunter/Ralphs) 7.06
10. Midnight Lady (Hunter/Ralphs) 6.56
11. All The Young Dudes (Bowie) 4.03
12. Honky Tonk Women (Jagger/Richards) 8.41

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And here´s a great tribute tot Mott The Hoople (featuring Queen, David Bowie, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson; recorded live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992:


Hi there your friendly neighbourhood sadist want to take you for a ride
Come on tell me ’bout the nights that I make you cry
Two tiny purple hands crawling out across the floor
All I could hear was a voice “Give me more more more”

My baby call me when she want a tale
She knows its right in her heart I never fail
She’s a sucker

Oh
Oh

God help the woman who’s late for work I get a green light flashing red
Like a superstar (brass town?) queen who’s crown I bled
Now I just ran out of aspirin for an aching head
So I guess I’ll have to do it just one more time instead

Mott the Hoople – Mad Shadows (1970)

LPFrontCover1Mad Shadows was the second album by Mott the Hoople. It was recorded in 1970 and released in the UK on Island Records in September 1970 (catalogue number ILPS 9119) and in the US by Atlantic Records (cat. no. SD 8272). As with their debut album, it was produced by Guy Stevens.

The original pressing reached No. 48 in the UK Albums Chart in October 1970. (by wikipedia)

When Mott the Hoople went into the recording studio to record this, their second album, it was known as Sticky Fingers. The front sleeve was already complete and featured an outsize Frankenstein’s monster driving a dragster through the night. But Mott had reckoned without their producer Guy Stevens getting friendly with the Rolling Stones, who were next door mixing their new album for impending release. Hearing the title of Mott’s new album, Mick’n’Keef promptly nicked it off them. And so it was that Mott’s second LP had to be retitled Mad Shadows, a title originally chosen for the projected Steve Winwood solo album which was soon to become Traffic’s come-back LP John Barleycorn Must Die. Confused? Well, you always would be when Guy Stevens was involved. And Mott could hardly complain, especially as Guy had got Mott together in the first place.

This second LP, Mad Shadows, was to be Mott’s greatest statement of all and a true cry from the heart for Ian Hunter. His wife had taken his children and returned to Shrewsbury, telling him that she would not accept his new longhair and new lifestyle, and the whole album resounds with Hunter’s wailing and fist-pounding as the ghosts of his still recent former life spill over into every song. The sledgehammer attitude of the first album is, if anything, overtaken by the brutality of musical execution of Mad Shadows. Indeed, what makes Mad Shadows so powerful is the brazen way in which the other much younger musicians interpret Hunter’s work. Simple to the point of repetition because of his ultra-limited piano playing, Hunter’s songs actually gain from this flash, virtually punk energy which the rest of the band bring, and his desperate cry from the heart of a dissolving 30-something marriage is gloriously mis-translated by rampant musical interpreters barely out of their teens.

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Throughout the LP, Overend Watts’ bass is far more reminiscent of Bill Wyman’s storming work on “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby”, than Rick Danko of the Band or any equivalently subtle American musician. Buffin’s drums are proto-flash to the point of bluster, and were thoroughly ripped off by Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos to later drive a far more brash kind of music. Verden Allen’s overdriven Hammond organ cranks out the same old riff song after song, even resorting to that dreadful Bar Mitzvah lick from “Like a Rolling Stone”, but never does Guy Stevens scream ‘Enough!’ He just lets them get on and on with it, and often on songs of six and seven minutes in length. It is this suffocatingly, axe-wieldingly sentimental glue which fixes the entire album together, and the freedom was given to the band by Guy Stevens. Crediting himself with ‘spiritual percussion and psychic piano’, Guy Stevens is an awesome presence on Mad Shadows – not for what he contributes but for the space he allows them all to fill. Mott the Hoople may have made their name with a David Bowie song, but it was Stevens who created them, and he who created this LP. For Mad Shadows is their masterpiece.

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This huge emotional reverberator drop kicks into life with the frantic five minutes of “Thunderbuck Ram”, in which Mick Ralphs’ raucous guitar riffs ring out across a Cheddar Gorge of chasmic reverb. The proto-Paranoid riff propells them all into the chorus with such venom that Guy Stevens’ record-this-live-at-all-costs mode is immediately confronted and challenged head-on by huge glaring errors, as minors and majors clash and buzz. Yet the song thunders on relentlessly, until the tail-out becomes a huge one chord burn-out and the first of Ian Hunter’s Velvets-meets-Jerry Lee Lewis high velocity piano attacks kicks in like cooking amphetamines into a hot curry.

Verden Allen’s monolithic Hammond organ introduces the massive six minutes of “No Wheels to Ride”, as Ian Hunter grinds his teeth and pounds the piano in grief, the OverendWatts1memories of his children so recently taken from his life manifesting in a gargantuan emotional haemorrhage, as the band behind him try desperately to upstage him. “Can’t get enough, can’t get enough, can’t get enough of your love,” he howls over and over and over until even Mick Ralphs jots down the hookline (for later use). Then it’s off into another huge and simple three chord emotional Hammond organ and pounding piano blow-out, like some kind of Spectorized proto-punk gross out. It’s fair to remind ourselves at this moment that Guy Stevens once claimed: “There are only two Phil Spectors … and I’m one of them!” Indeed, In-fucking-deedio!

Following close behind on the coattails of “No Wheels to Ride”, “You are one of us” is virtually the same song with the same frantic emotion and the same ‘Hang on Sloopy” chord sequence, while Hunter screams about how he ‘wants to thank everyone’ and the band return to their single-minded intention of upstaging each other. Apparently, Hunter wants to THANK the band for letting him stay IN the band, while they accompany him as though they think he’s already left.
And when they finish side one with “Walking with a Mountain”, Mott is a Foden truck with the intentions of a Cadillac. Brutal, brash and totally without finesse, the bass and piano threaten to drive the whole tune into a lake at any moment, while Buffin’s totally overachieving ideas of drumming are matched only by his inability to achieve any of it. Startling upstart rock’n’roll this is indeed and their producer Guy Stevens would have made the worst politician ever. He can’t even be bothered to do a cover-up of thee most glaring errors. No wonder Mott’s labelmates Traffic would later disparagingly allude to Mott’s flash and bluster in their album title The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

But subtlety was the last thing Stevens was searching for here, which is good because he would have been more than disappointed. Instead, he opted for huge Viking emotions and Neanderthal gestures. Side two begins with the sentimental and monumentally real seven-minute last-waltz of “I Can Feel”. I say ‘real’ because it is both dopey and refreshing at the same time. The most mawkish female singers this side of Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From my Friends” coo and placate Hunter as he stands knee deep in pain and self-pity. Huge descending piano and organ chords swoop gratuitously as lumpen melody bass and ernie-ernie guitars squeeze out huge obvious solos from their wrung-necks. Only opera dares to be more brutal than Mott the Hoople when describing sad emotions.

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Then it’s off to the rodeo for “Threads of Iron” with its C&W rhythm and good time melody and cliched lyrics, until Mick Ralphs reminds us all that ‘You are what you are’ and the whole group bludgeon some poor old blues riff until it becomes subsumed into their standard two-chord thrash out, and we’re off again into pounding and huge Albert Hall-sized Jerry Lee Lewis piano and that fucking merciless punk rock bass that wants to be a lead guitar played on telegraph wires. Of course, the whole thing disintegrates into utter painful chaos. Crash, bash, wallop. Oh, and then some more wallop.

Then we’re down and down and downer still … to the very last song on the album. Legend has it that Guy Stevens switched the tape on for “When My Mind’s Gone” without letting Ian Hunter write lyrics, telling him that whatever he sung would be the last track on the LP, so he’d better make it good. Stevens told the press that he’d hypnotised Hunter and sat at the other end of the piano staring the song into Hunter’s eyes. If it’s the truth, then Ian Hunter was a human sponge for emotion and instant song-writing. If, as Hunter later claimed, he was touching cloth and made it all up at the drop of a hat, then he’s still a genius. Whatever, for “When My Mind’s Gone”, the standard three chords got wheeled out by Hunter, who proceeded to hammer his muse for all it was worth.

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“What once was true is now untrue … what once was clean is now unclean … what once was safe is now … unsafe.” Does it cut it, damn right it does. It is magnificent and tragic and funny and the best thing on the LP. Only Verden Allen dares play along with any confidence, while the rest of the band hesitate and splutter in the background for the whole six and a half minutes. And Mott prove themselves with their one great album; an album so flawed that it makes the Faces look tight and cover versions of Vanilla Fudge seem subtle.

Mad Shadows takes its name from a poem by Baudelaire, which Guy Stevens reproduced on the back of the gatefold sleeve. It includes such lines as: “Descend the way that leads to hell infernal, Plunge in a deep gulf where crime’s inevitable.” So we must presume from this evidence that, if Ian Hunter was really Pinocchio to Guy Stevens’ Gepetto at this time, Mad Shadows is a brilliantly unhinged example of an albeit briefly, but nevertheless perfectly balanced rock’n’roll symbiosis. (by Julian Cope)

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (organ, background vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, background vocals)
Ian Hunter (vocals, piano, guitar)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals on 01. + 06.,  background vocals)
Pete “Overend” Watts (bass, background vocals)
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Guy Stevens (piano, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Thunderbuck Ram (Ralphs) 4.50
02. No Wheels To Ride (Hunter) 5.50
03. You Are One Of Us (Hunter) 2.26
04. Walkin’ With A Mountain (Hunter) 3.49
05. I Can Feel (Hunter) 7.13
06. Threads Of Iron (Ralphs) 5.12
07. When My Mind’s Gone (Hunter) 6.31

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PETE OVEREND WATTS R.I.P. 1947-2017

Mott the Hoople founding member Pete Overend Watts has died aged 69. The bassist played on songs including Roll Away The Stone and the group’s best known hit All The Young Dudes, written and produced by David Bowie. He died on Sunday (January 22, 2017) of cancer, said Peter Purnell from record label Angel Air Records. He said Watts was a “highly intelligent and witty man who throughout his adult life was both an immensely likeable character and an enigma”. His death comes almost exactly a year after that of drummer Dale Griffin. (BBC)

More from Mott The Hoople:

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Mott The Hoople – AC/DC (1971)

FrontCover1.jpgAfter the musically weak and commercially failed Wildlife (released in March 1971), Mott The Hoople recorded several songs in studio sessions planned in April, May and August for purposed singles and further album. They were back to their heavy sound although they did some (unsuccessful) attempts to record more commercial songs. They tried to produce themselves, but in September, they called back the great and weird Guy Stevens for helping them on the production of what will become their Brain Capers LP (released in November 1971). Few songs recorded during these spring and summer sessions will feature in this late LP and even “The Journey” will be re-recorded. The putative album was designed to be called AC/DC but the explicit sexual content made them abandon this idea. An Australian band would, some years later, make this name one of the most famous on the planet. Listening to the 10 songs recorded during this time period (only 8 are on the album cos the 2 others would be A-sides of released singles I’ll post later, are quite unusual for the band and certainly not appropriate in such an LP), it’s clear the band is begining to adopt the singular approach of rock that will lead them to celebrity. But the most important is how loud and heavy they could be. This mix between old time rock ‘n’ roll, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and heavyness, is what makes this music rather eternal. So, if you agree, imagine this album is the 4th MTH one and enjoy it this way. I hesitated quite a long time before chosing the order of the songs and their place on each side, but I think I finally ended on a good one, with songs opening and closing each side where they should be. The cover sleeve was the inner cover of Brain Capers. (by dkandroughmix-forgottensongs.blogspot)

This album include “Journey” a early masterpiece of Mott The Hoople !

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (organ)
Dale Griffin (drums)
Ian Hunter (vocals, piano)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals)
Pete “Overend” Watts (bass)

Ian Hunter, Mott The Hoople
The Jack Tar Hotel , San Francisco Francisco 8/70  
sheet 693 frame 27

Tracklist:
01. One Of The Boys (Hunter/Ralphs) 4.13
02. Black Scorpio (Hunter/Watts) 3.36
03. The Debt (Hunter) 4.15
04. Long Red (West/Pappalardi(Ventura/Landsberg) 3.48
05. Until I’m Gone (Ralphs) 3.09
06. It’ll Be Me (Clement) 2.57
07. Mental Train (Hunter/Ralphs) 4.58
08. The Journey (Hunter) 9.46
09. How Long (Hunter/Allen) 3.53
10. Wind Blowing (Hunter) 3.53

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Mott The Hoople – Live In Stockholm (1971)

FrontCover1Ian Hunter and his brilliant band MOTT THE HOOPLE plays a great concert in Stockholm 1971!

The British magazine Melody Maker once said that MTH would rock on good days like the best band in the world. ‘ That was not exaggerated, the British Power Blues band led by singer Ian Hunter and guitarist Mick Ralphs developed especially for their concerts on the stage an incredibly punchy interplay. After the live tour in 1971, when the present title was recorded, the band was about to dissolve because of the more conservative sales of their studio albums. It was the band’s big fan David Bowie, who wrote them in 1972 with ‘All The Young Dudes’ a veritable hit on the chest, placed them in glitter and on platform shoes, and Mott The Hoople became one of the leading glam rock bands of the Seventies. Without Mick Ralphs, who was replaced by Luther Grosvenor (Spooky Tooth) aka Ariel Bender on guitar.

On their Sweden tour in 1971, Ralphs was still in the process – and how! These recordings were taken from the possession of bassist Overend Watts and mean the uncut last half of the concert in Stockholm – including the encore of the furious ‘Keep A Knockin ‘.’ The first half of the concert is unfortunately missing. The original comments by Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs were taken over by the full way. The band played mostly songs from their albums ‘Wild Life’ and ‘Mott The Hoople’. )promo text)

And … on this album you can hear a very rare coververson of Mountain´s “Long Red” !!!

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (organ)
Dale Griffin (drums)
Ian Hunter (vocals, piano)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals)
Pete “Overend” Watts (bass)

BackCover
Tracklist:
01. Long Red (Landsberg/Pappalardi/Ventura/West) 4.23
02. The Original Mixed Up Kid (Hunter) 4.37
03. Walkin’ With A Mountain (including Jumpin Jack Flash + I Can´t Get No Satisfaction/ (Jagger/Richards/Hunter) 7.08
04. Laugh At Me (Bono) 5.46
05. Thunderbuck Ram (Ralphs) 5.07
06. Keep A Knockin’ (Penniman) 7.21

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This entry is dedicated to
Terence Dale “Buffin” Griffin (24 October 1948 – 17 January 2016)

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Aged 58, Griffin was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Griffin died in his sleep on 17 January 2016 at the age of 67

Mott The Hoople – Live At HMV Hammersmith Apollo (2009)

frontcover1“Mott the Hoople storm back to London for a dazzling night at the Hammersmith Apollo.

The stakes in heritage rock reunions are getting so high that, soon, only the exhumation of some demised old stager will up the ante. This latest one, however, was pretty far-fetched.

Mott the Hoople were titans of mid-Seventies glam. In their early career, they struggled as unreconstructed rockers, until David Bowie, no less, remodelled them in satin suits and platform boots. He donated them a fabulously dissolute glam anthem, ‘All the Young Dudes’, and thus began their tenure in the Top Five.

This, however, was a band destined to fail. They didn’t handle whirlwind fame well at all, and quickly disintegrated, only to be championed retrospectively by fans such as Morrissey, for their raunchy, wry take on the rock ‘n’ roll life.

Forty years on from their inception, and thirty years since some of the members had concertposteractually spoken to each other, Mott stormed back into London for the first of five sold-out nights at the Apollo. Their singer, Ian Hunter, agelessly shrouded in corkscrew curls and face-blotting sunglasses, led straight into a ballad, ‘Hymn For the Dudes’, his gnarly, Dylan-esque voice roaring at the high notes. This was not to be a half-hearted canter through the hits.

The first hour was mostly devoted to the band’s pre-Bowie, high-voltage rock ‘n’ roll material. Hunter, a busy solo artist for more than three decades, and the silver-topped lead guitarist, Mick Ralphs, riffed vigorously, in active defiance of Time’s subsequent intervention. The partisan crowd — at least eighty percent of whom, gloriously, unrepentantly, were old enough to remember it all from the turn of the Seventies — responded with commensurate enthusiasm.

The electricity crackled to a new intensity, however, when Hunter moved to a piano stage-left, and finally unleashed a dazzling run of glam classics — songs about little more than rock itself. Glam, originally, existed purely to overturn prog-rock’s tedious virtuosity, to revive the raw, sexy thrill of Fifties rock’s simple, thumping beats and clanging riffs.

Perhaps it was daft, witnessing a seventy-year old man with a blond afro singing, “I get my kicks from guitar licks”, but also fabulously empowering, given his heedless dedication to the cause.

The sense of lifelong commitment was heightened during the encore, when the band’s original drummer, Dale Griffin, entered the fray.

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Martin Chambers with Ian Hunter and his daughter Tracy Hunter

Griffin has Alzheimer’s, and had to be led by the hand to a drum kit alongside his substitute for the evening, the Pretenders’ Martin Chambers. Soon, he was pounding away the rhythm to ‘Roll Away the Stone’, grinning from ear to ear. ‘All the Young Dudes’, then, was simply breath-taking, with Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott joining in for a verse.

And the rockin’ went on, unrestrainable, deafening, totally life-affirming.”(by Andrew Perry; The Telegraph, 02 October, 2009)

Okay, most of th time, Mott Te Hoople sounds like a “Mott The Hoople Revival Band” … but it´s still a very important document of one of the finest bands from the Seventies.

Note: This show was recorded and transferred to CD on the night. This means you hear a CD-R rather than factory-pressed CDs.

Recorded live at the first Mott The Hoople re-union show
at HMV Hammersmith Apollo 1st October 2009.

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (keyboards)
Martin Chambers (drums)
Ian Hunter (vocals, guitar, piano, bass on 11.)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, background vocals)
Overend Watts (bass, vocals on 11.)
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Joe Elliott (vocals on 20.)
Dale Griffin (drums on 21. + 22.)
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background vocals:
Maggie Ronson – Tracy Hunter

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Jupitor Intro  (Holst) 1.12
02. Hymm For The Dudes (Allen/Hunter) 5.34
03. Rock & Roll Queen (Ralphs) 4.44
04. Sweet Jane (Reed) 4.51
05. One Of The Boys (Hunter/Ralphs) 6.15
06. Sucker (Hunter/Ralphs/Watts) 5.15
07. Moon Upstairs (Hunter/Ralphs) 6.32
08. The Original Mixed Up Kid (Hunter) 4.41
09. I Wish I Was Your Mother (Hunter) 6.36
10. Ready For Love (Ralphs) 8.13
11. Born Late ’58 (Watts) 4.33
12. Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (GriffinHunter/Ralphs/Watts) 6.18

CD 2:
13. Walking With A Mountain (Hunter) / Jumpin Jack Flash (Jagger/Richards) 5.56
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Dylan) / Laugh At Me (Bono) /The Journey (Hunter) 9.02
15. Golden Age Of Rock & Roll (Hunter) 3.35
17. Honaloochie Boogie (Hunter) 3.43
18. All The Way From Memphis (Hunter) 9.46
19. Roll Away The Stone (Hunter) 4.41
20. All The Young Dudes (Bowie) 4.52
21. Keep A Knockin’  (Penniman) 3.53
22. Saturday Gigs (Hunter) 6.28

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Mott the Hoople – Brain Capers (1971)

frontcover1Brain Capers is the fourth album by the band Mott the Hoople.

It was originally released in November 1971 in the UK by Island Records (catalogue number ILPS 9178) and on Island Records in Canada (cat. no. SW-9178), and was reissued in 2003 (on CD) by Angel Air (cat. no. SJPCD160). It was released January 1972 in the US on Atlantic Records (cat. no. SD 8304).

The album was not initially a commercial success, and was the only Mott the Hoople album that failed to chart in either the UK[4] or US.

Its working title was “AC/DC” though this was abandoned in favour of either “Brain Damage” or “Bizarre Capers” before a compromise was settled on. Earlier sessions, self-produced by the band, were also abandoned when svengali Guy Stevens was called in to rescue the album but a number of these recordings have resurfaced on All the Young Dudes: The Anthology and as bonus material on Angel Air’s re-issues of Mott the Hoople albums.

The covers of the original UK and Canadian LPs do not feature the mask seen on the US version (and some later re-releases). There was an actual mask packaged inside with the UK version of the album, but not with the Canadian LP. The band name and line under it are in the centre of the cover where the mask would be and the title shifted upwards. The US and Canadian LPs do not have the inner sleeve picturing fighter planes that the original UK album had.

The album is dedicated to James Dean, as stated below the band photo on the back cover. (by wikipedia)

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Re-teaming with producer Guy Stevens, Mott the Hoople delivered the great forgotten British hard rock album with their fourth outing, Brain Capers. Stevens was a legendary rock & roll wildman and he kept Mott careening through their performances; they sound harder than ever, even dangerous at times. Fortunately, this coincided with Ian Hunter’s emergence as a fantastic songwriter, as tuneful and clever as any of his peers. All these changes are evident from the moment Brain Capers kicks in with the monumental “Death May Be Your Santa Claus,” a phenomenally pile-driving number that just seems inevitable. As it gives way to a cover of Dion’s “Your Own Backyard,” it becomes clear that Mott have pulled off the trick of being sensitive while still rocking. And that’s not the end of it — they ride an epic wave on the nine-minute “The Journey,” pull off a love song on “Sweet Angeline,” and generally rock like hell throughout the record. The most amazing thing about the album is that none of the songs really change character — it’s all straightforward hard rock, graced with Dylanesque organ — but there are all sorts of variations on that basic sound, proving how versatile they are. It’s a fantastic album, and stands as the culmination of their early years. When a record this confident and tremendous is stiffed, it’s little wonder they thought about chucking it all in; and it isn’t a surprise that, when they decided to continue, it was with a change in sound. They couldn’t have topped this if they tried. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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The original Island labels

Personnel:
Verden Allen (keyboards, vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, vocals)
Ian Hunter (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals)
Pete Watts (bass, vocals)
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Jim Price (trumpet)
Guy Stevens (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Death May Be Your Santa Claus (Hunter/Allen) 4.55
02. Your Own Backyard (DiMucci) 4.13
03. Darkness, Darkness (Young) 4.33
04. The Journey (Hunter) 9.15
05. Sweet Angeline (Hunter) 4:53
06. Second Love (Allen) 3.46
07. The Moon Upstairs (Hunter/Ralphs) 5.07
08. The Wheel Of The Quivering Meat Conception (Hunter/Stevens) 1.21

(“The Wheel of the Quivering Meat Conception” is essentially part two of “The Journey,” beginning with a fade-in at the point where “The Journey” was earlier faded out.)

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Mott The Hoople – Wildlife (1971)

FrontCover1Since they had little success and seemed to be going off the tracks, Mott the Hoople was encouraged to produce their third album with anyone that wasn’t Guy Stevens. Eventually, they chose themselves, creating a record that is bright and punchy, standing in direct contrast to Mad Shadow’s enveloping fog. They wound up with Wildlife, a record that still seems a little transitional, yet is considerably more confident, unified, and enjoyable. Ironically, even if this is a much better record, few songs are as immediately gripping as “Walkin’ with a Mountain,” but both Mick Ralphs and Ian Hunter turn out some fine rockers, while driving the group toward some interesting territory, like the string-drenched “Waterlow,” the country-tinged “It Must Be Love,” and the ambling “Original Mixed-Up Kid,” or even the surprisingly straight and faithful reading of Melanie’s “Lay Down.” These give the record a slightly rural feel, lending credence to the title, and the album is unique in Mott’s decidedly urban body of work for that very reason — it’s lighter, quirkier, and more friendly than the rest. Of course, it didn’t widen their audience, and they returned to brutal rock with Brain Capers, but in retrospect it’s a charming anomaly in their catalog. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Verden Allen (organ, background vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, background vocals)
Ian Hunter (vocals, guitar, piano)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, vocals)
Pete “Overend” Watts (bass, background vocals)
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James Archer (violin)
Gerry Hogan (steel guitar)
Jess Roden (background vocals)
Stan Tippins (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Whiskey Women (Ralphs) 3.42
02. Angel Of Eighth Avenue (Hunter) 4.33
03. Wrong Side Of the River (Ralphs) 5.19
04. Waterlow (Hunter) 3.03
05. Lay Down (Safka) 4.13
05. It Must Be Love (Ralphs) 2.24
06. Original Mixed-Up Kid (Hunter) 3.40
07. Home Is Where I Want to Be (Ralphs) 4.11
08. Keep A Knockin’ (live) (Penniman) 10.10 (*)

(*) This track is a rock and roll medley that, in addition to “Keep A Knockin'”, also includes snippets of “I Got A Woman” (by Ray Charles), “What’d I Say” (Charles) and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (Jerry Lee Lewis). On the recording, however, singer Ian Hunter incorrectly introduces “What’d I Say” as being written by Jerry Lee Lewis.

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Mott The Hoople – Same (1969)

LPFrontCover1Mott the Hoople is the debut studio album by the band of the same name. It was produced by Guy Stevens and released in 1969 by Island Records in the UK (cat. no. ILPS 9108), and in 1970 by Atlantic Records in North America (cat. no. SD 8258). It was subsequently re-released by Angel Air in 2003 (SJPCD157).

Stevens, the group’s initial mentor and guide, wanted to create an album that would suggest Bob Dylan singing with the Rolling Stones. This was partially achieved, with the album including several Dylanesque cover versions along with aggressive rock originals. Years later, vocalist Ian Hunter – who had only just joined the band prior to Mott the Hoople’s recording and had yet to play live with them – would insinuate, in an August 1980 Trouser Press magazine interview, that the Stones’ 1971 track “Bitch” bore more than a passing resemblance to this album’s “Rock and Roll Queen.” (Both songs are in the key of Am, and use the pentatonic scale.)

An instrumental version of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” introduces the album, though a vocal version was recorded and is available on Mott’s compilation release Two Miles From Heaven. Doug Sahm’s “At the Crossroads” (originally recorded by Sahm’s Sir Douglas Quintet in 1968) and Sonny Bono’s “Laugh at Me” (originally issued by Sonny & Cher on their second full-length album in 1966, but without vocals from Cher) are suitably reminiscent of Bob Dylan, as is Hunter’s “Backsliding Fearlessly.”

MottTheHoople1969Initial copies of the album were wrongly pressed with the song “The Road to Birmingham,” the B-side of their debut single, replacing “Rock and Roll Queen.”

The album’s cover is a colourised reproduction of M. C. Escher’s lithograph “Reptiles.” In an interesting coincidence considering Guy Stevens’ desire for Mott to sound like the Rolling Stones, in early 1969 Mick Jagger had approached Escher wanting to commission a painting for the cover of the Stones’ upcoming album Let It Bleed; Escher declined the request. (by wikipedia)

SingleEnough works on Mott the Hoople’s eponymous debut album, and enough is so imaginatively freewheeling, that it’s easier to think of the record as a bit more successful than it actually is. After all, their combination of Stonesy swagger, Kinks-ian crunch, and Dylanesque cynicism is one of the great blueprints for hard rock, and its potential is apparent the moment their monumental instrumental “You Really Got Me” kicks off the record. This is followed by two covers, Doug Sahm’s “At the Crossroads” and Sonny Bono’s “Laugh at Me,” that demonstrate their musicality more than their depth, since all three of these songs sound like they derive from the same vantage point. Then, to cap it off, Ian Hunter turns in “Backsliding Fearlessly” and Mick Ralphs gives Mott their first anthem with the pile-driving “Rock and Roll Queen.” Up to this point, Mott the Hoople is wildly imaginative and invigorating, and that’s enough to make this a fine debut, even if it falls off the tracks during the second side. The first side and those two originals reveal a band whose rowdy power is matched by sly humor, clever twists, and fierce intelligence — all qualities they built a career on, and this blueprint still stands the test of time. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

BackCover1APersonnel:
Verden Allen (organ, background vocals)
Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums, background vocals)
Ian Hunter (vocals, piano, guitar)
Mick Ralphs – guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on 2003 bonus track “Ohio”
Pete “Overend” Watts – bass, backing vocals
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Guy Stevens (piano)

LPInlet1Tracklist:
01. You Really Got Me (Davies) 2.55
02. At The Crossroads (Sahm) 5.33
03. Laugh At Me (Bono) 6.32
04. Backsliding Fearlessly (Hunter) 3.47
05. Rock And Roll Queen (Ralphs) 5.10
06. Rabbit Foot And Toby Time (Ralphs) 2.04
07. Half Moon Bay (/Ralphs/Hunter) 10.38
08. Wrath And Wroll (Stevens) 1.49

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