• Rob Butterfield


All the way from Memphis, well, Herefordshire.

Mott. My first album. Photo by Rob Butterfield.

17th September 1973. It was my 11th birthday. Two years off being a teenager, the owner of a handful of 7” 45rpm singles and yet to own my very own 12” album. My older brother of 15 already had quite a few. Thanks to him I was well versed with the music of T.Rex, David Bowie and Deep Purple.

I’d seen Mott the Hoople on Top of the Pops performing their singles Honaloochie Boogie and All The Way From Memphis. Frontman Ian Hunter, with his corkscrew hair and sunglasses reminded me of Marc Bolan. I was digging this stuff and put in a request for their latest album release ‘MOTT’ for my birthday.

Imagine my excitement as I unwrapped the thin, square, album-shaped present from my Mum and Dad. Could it be? Peeling back the paper the vivid pink and iconic printed acetate head image showing through the cut out became apparent. This was it, this was art, this was Mott, this was my first ever album! I still revel at the album artwork today. It’s a classic, identifiable from 100 paces, hand finished, beautifully printed, the poem ‘A Sane Revolution’ by DH Lawrence overprinted on the back cover. A classic in the realest sense.

I felt grown up. This was no kids album, no Hot Hits or Top of the Pops compilation. This was proper, grown up rock music. I’d put my stake in the ground. This (just) 11 year old kid was serious about his music!

Just nine tracks in total, from the swing and swagger of All The Way From Memphis, the anthemic Violence (violence, violence, it’s the only way that’ll make you see sense) to the 7 minute 40 second musical extravaganza that is I’m A Cadillac/El Comino Dolo Roso and the final Cockney Rebelesque track I Wish I Was Your Mother.

It’s still one of my favourite albums, probably for the very fact that it was my very first album. It’s my only Mott The Hoople album, I can’t say that I was ever a huge fan, but a fan nonetheless. Do I play it much? Not really. It occasionally gets a spin when I’m feeling nostalgic and I can tell my wife, or the kids (or whoever is in the room at the time!) “this was my first ever album.” It’s bloody great too, a proper slice of what made 70’s music great.

I’m currently reading the recently re-issued ‘Diary of a rock n’ roll star’ by Ian Hunter which chronicles their 1972 American tour, just before this album was recorded and released. To quote The Guardian “…its mixture of insight, comedy and breathless prose makes it an enduring crystallisation of the rock musician’s lot, and a quietly glorious period piece.”

A quietly glorious period piece. Just like the album!

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