Angel Air SJPCD0157.
Mott's first album is always a delight to listen to. A healthy mixture of covers and originals, it opens with an instrumental cover of the Kinks' You Really Got Me. Two more covers follow, Doug Sahm's At The Crossorads and Sonny Bono's Laugh At Me, both highlighting the fact that in the early days Ian Hunter's vocal delivery was influenced by Bob Dylan - indeed Dylan fan Lester Bangs, reviewing the album in Rolling Stone magazine, gave it a glowing review, convinced that Dylan had recorded an album under an assumed name.
Ian Hunter continues to show his Dylan influences with his own Backsliding Fearlessly (borrowing heavily from The Times They Are a' Changing). He then reversed the chord sequences for the lengthy Half Moon Bay, a track that starts off with a frantic intro (Rabbit Foot And Toby Time), has a quieter, almost ghostly middle section before building to a frantic finish. Excellent track.
With the album supposedly finished, manager/producer Guy Stevens thought there were too many slow numbers, so ordered the band to write a fast one. Guitarist Mick Ralphs surprised everyone when he delivered Rock And Roll Queen, a full-tilt rocker that would stay in the live set almost to the end.
The bonus tracks have both previously been issued (on the Anthology box set), and are an oddity. Although Find Your Way is contemporaneous, Ohio wouldn't be recorded until over a year later, but these are just minor quibbles.
The remstering is to be welcomed, delivering excellent sound quality and revealing as it does extra depth to Half Moon Bay, and seeming to give Mick Ralphs' guitar extra edge and bite in Rock And Roll Queen. Technical analysis shows that perceived loudness has been boosted by some 4dB without excessive use of compression. Extra depth is also given to the fade-ins and fade-outs, resulting in a slightly longer running time and previous CDs.
Back in 1969, the first 5000 copies were mis-pressed, and include The Road To Birmingham at the end of side 1 and Backsliding Fearlessly at the start of side 2 (ie omitting Rock and Roll Queen). The "mispress" also has an alternate mix of Laugh At Me; Rabbit Foot And Toby Time has an extended intro, and Wrath And Wroll has an extended outtro, with a few bars of God Save The Queen at the end. Half Moon Bay is different in places as well.
It is a little-known fact there is another misspress - still with The Road To Birmingham at the end of side 1 but with Rock and Roll Queen in the correct spot (ie Backsliding Fearlessly is omitted). The remaining tracks are the same as the regular LP.
This album was released on CD in the USA by Atlantic. No bonus tracks. This was coupled with Mad Shadows and released by Edsel as a two-on-one CD in the UK in 1993. Sound quality is excellent. No bonus tracks.Adrian Perkins