1. Thunderbuck Ram
The six month period following the release of ‘Mott The Hoople’ in November 1969 found the band working at a ferocious pace, averaging over twenty gigs a month. Despite their initial lack of confidence in front of an audience, Mott The Hoople were slowly, but surely, building a fearsome reputation as a dynamite live attraction – a ranting, raucous, raving, riotous, rip-roaring, and above all, real, rock’n’roll band.
Although sales of ‘Mott The Hoople’ were unremarkable, Island Records were keen to get the band back into the studio to capture the next stage of their development. Mott The Hoople began working on their second album almost as soon as the first was on the streets.
The recording of Mott The Hoople’s second album turned out to be a long, drawn out, tortuous affair. While some recording had been done in November, the band spent December 1969 and January 1970 pretty much on the road in the UK (apart from rehearsals and recording demos).
The bulk of the material for the new album was taped intermittently during February, March and April 1970 and Ian Hunter does not have great memories of recording the album. “It was recorded over a period of about six months, although we only had about eight or nine sessions in the studio. We had a very heavy work schedule and just had to fit it in when we could.
“We would have liked to continue in the vein of the first album,” said Ian Hunter at the time. “But Island had seen what happened at live gigs when we did ‘Rock And Roll Queen,’ and they told us we had to get more rock’n’roll.” To try and somehow capture that raw essence of Mott The Hoople on tape, Guy insisted on recording the band live in the studio. With Guy, the sound had to be there. It didn’t matter to him if the resultant track had rough edges; as long as it had the required feel, it was O.K. So the album was recorded totally live – mistakes and all.
With the album now complete, it was time to find a title. ‘Meanwhile Steve Winwood’s long-awaited solo debut was to be ‘Mad Shadows,’ but when Winwood reunited with his old buddies in Traffic, his attention turned to another project, ‘John Barleycorn.’ Mott The Hoople, now seeing Winwood’s original title going free, immediately grabbed it for their own, So ‘Mad Shadows’ it was then and its title could not have been more appropriate. ‘Mad Shadows’ was a dark, unsettling work with a desperate edge which seemed to perfectly sum up a pretty turbulent period of emotional instability in Mott’s life.
DALE GRIFFIN, IAN HUNTER, MICK RALPHS, OVEREND WATTS, VERDEN ALLEN
Procol Harum, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones are considered to be the main influences of the band, and you can definitely trace those influences throughout this nine track album. The opening track of the album is "Thunderbuck Ram". After a short melodic guitar intro...The riff that made me play this song again and again and again!!! Now I understand why Island Records was in favour of a live recording. "No Wheels To Ride" is a very emotional song based on acoustic guitars and great piano melodies.
"You are One of Us" and "Walking With A Mountain" will remind you a lot of the Rolling Stones. The Stones were also recording at the same studio with Mott the Hoople and it is rumoured that Keith Richards and Mick Jagger jammed with the band in their spare time. The band's musical range also enters the fields of Gospel with "I Can Feel", a really interesting song. "Threads of Iron" is my second favourite song, probably the heaviest of the album. The last song of the original recordings is "When My Mind's Gone". What a way to finish an album, but trust me - you don't want to listen to this song when you are in a bad mood.
The CD also contains two extra songs, the southern rock based "It Would Be A Pleasure" and another Rolling Stone influenced song called "How Long?" I am really happy that I had the ability to listen to this album. Mott the Hoople is one of the bands who deserve all the respect they can get, and they have definitely gained mine!
John Stefanis,Get Ready to ROCK! (October 2003)
...a typically 70's heavy rock album and features some fine energetic rock 'n' roll...by and large it's a fine album.
Steve Ward, Classic Rock Society (Nov/Dec 2003)
...their 'black' album, and finds the band in a dark and sombre mood...
The remastering allows the overall sound level to be boosted somewhat while enhancing details. Sound quality is excellent, as are the sleeve notes by Keith Smith.
Adrian Perkins(Nov 2003)
...This is a tremendously strong album, with some great performances...and the band really moving away from their debut...
Feedback (Nov 2003)
...a much heavier affair, gone are the Dylan obsessions and in its place a darker caste is set...Recorded as it were live in the studio...the album although smarting with the smell of over indulgence at times does give up a few gems...
Mark, Losing Today, www.losingtoday.com
...altogether darker and louder, personified by the glorious opener 'Thunderbuck Ram' and mixing up feelgood rockers ('Walkin' With A Mountain') with Hunter's more tortured outpourings ('When My Mind's Gone').
Nick Dalton, Record Collector, (January 2004)
...a much more unsettling work which found producer Guy Stevens striving a little too hard to achieve the feelings of raw spontaneity which was such a feature of the band's live work.
Kevin Bryan, (January 2004)
Excellent and exhaustive liner notes provide fascinating historical data, while each beautifully remastered disc avoids overkill by only adding a couple of well-chosen bonus tracks...Ultimately, none are expendable
Bernard Perusse, The Gazette (France), (December 2003)
...Recorded 'live in the studio' this album is much more raw and raucous than the debut but benefits from having all the tracks written by Ralphs or Hunter...
Free Appreciation Society (January 2004)
Mott's second album is a brilliant example of great British rock...I'll give it Five!!
Lister, Modern Dance (August 2004)