Mott 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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
Guy Stevens (piano, percussion)
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))