1 denotes bonus track on the 2006 reissue
Mott started 1973 with no tour commitments and no album already in the can - a first for them. They broke with Mainman (who wanted to concentrate on Bowie), and so after a handful of hastily-arranged club dates in the UK (during which they parted company with organist Verden Allen) they entered the studios to record their sixth album.
A couple of the producers they wanted were unavailable, so they decided to produce it themselves. The result is one of the best albums of the 70's. The songs are there, the playing is top notch, the arrangements are spot on, the production is superb... There is nothing to fault this album. It is the fan's favourite by a mile, while Rolling Stone magazine has called it "one of the great lost masterpieces of modern rock". If you are just a casual fan and are looking to buy just one Mott The Hoople album, then make it this one.
The 2006 reissue sees excellent sound quality, with the "moan" at the start of Whizz Kid thankfully restored. However, All The Way From Memphis appears to be a different mix, with the sax more prominent and Mick Ralphs' guitar mixed down in places. The bonus tracks are also odd - demos of Honaloochie Boogie and Nightmare, but no sign of the demo of Hymn For The Dudes - odd!
The booklet includes the lyrics and informative notes by Keith Smith, but few band photos.
Mott asked noted designers Hipgnosis to design a sleeve for the album. Their best design was one of a girl's face, with a tear running down her cheek - and no mouth. This totally freaked CBS, and they refused to use it. Roslav Szaybo came up with the "boy" cover, which was used in the UK. Columbia in the USA refused even to use the "compromise" cover, and instead used a group photo from a "do not use" set.
The familiar "boy" (UK) cover was originally issued as a gate-fold sleeve, with a photo-montage in the middle, and the boy's outline replaced with a transparent window. This proved expensive to make, so only a few thousand of the gatefold sleeve were ever produced.
This album has been issued on CD several times. Columbia released it in the USA (with the group photo cover). Castle released it in the UK in 1987, with poor packaging and average sound quality. Sony/Rewind re-issued it in the UK in 1995 ("boy" cover) - excellent packaging and excellent sound quality, but the "moan" at the start of Whizz Kid was inexplicably omitted. None of the previous CDs had any bonus tracks.