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New Vinyl LPs from Mott The Hoople and Steampacket released

March 28, 2023

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Mott The Hoople At The BBC 1970

Side One

  1. Ohio (Young)
  2. No Wheels To Ride (Hunter)
  3. Rock ’n’ Roll Queen (Ralphs)
  4. The Debt (Hunter)

Side Two

  1. Walking With A Mountain (Hunter) /
  2. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Jagger, Richards)
  3. Keep A-Knockin’ (Penniman) 
  4. At The Crossroads (Sahm)
  5. Laugh At Me (Bono)

Recording Details 

Side One and Side Two Tracks 1-3 recorded for the BBC radio John Peel Sunday Concert on October 15th and transmitted on October 25th

Side Two Tracks 4 & 5 recorded for BBC radio Top Gear on February 3rd and broadcast on February 21st 


Ian Hunter: vocals, guitar, piano

Mick Ralphs: guitar, vocals

Pete Overend Watts: bass

Dale “Buffin” Griffin: drums

Verden Allen: organ

Sound Quality

The Sunday Concert tracks are Very Good whilst the Top Gear tracks are of lesser quality but still totally listenable


Blame Guy Stevens. R&B fanatic, ex-mod, speedfreak, Scene DJ and Island Records director Guy had a vision of the ultimate group: Bob Dylan fronting the Stones. His first step was to find Silence, a Hereford band formerly known as the Doc Thomas Group. Singer Stan Tippins was ejected (he became Mott’s long suffering tour manager) and replaced by industry veteran Ian Hunter, then trying to make it as a songwriter after having played bass for Freddie “Fingers” Lee in At Last The 1958 Rock & Roll Show, With Hunter in place the band was renamed Mott The Hoople after a book Stevens’ had read during a short stay in Wormwood Scrubs. 

Stevens signed the band to Island Records who released first album Mott The Hoople in early 1969. Three further albums for Island followed – Mad Shadows (1970), Wildlife (1971) and Brain Capers (1971). Record sales were disappointing and hit singles totally absent. However Mott’s ferocious live act had amassed a dedicated hardcore of fans who would follow them around the country, including Mick Jones (The Clash) and Fred The Butcher (New Malden). At a time when audiences had grown accustomed to sitting cross-legged on the floor Mott were looning about and doing everything they could to get a reaction. Their live following reached the point where in July 1971 they could play two nights at the Royal Albert Hall. After the first night the RAH’s Marion Herrard complained to John Glover at lsland Records that “some members of the audience in Second Tier boxes became so enthusiastic and jumped and stamped around so much that the ceilings in two boxes in the Grand Tier below fell in. It is for reasons like this that we here do not like concerts at which the audience stamps and dances.” Mott were not permitted to play again, and for many years neither was anybody else.

Like Free, the Faces, Fleetwood Mac and other bands whose name did not begin with an F, Mott were fortunate to have the support of John Peel. Whilst much BBC material has now been released on the Original Mixed-Up Kids CD (1996) and the Mental Train box set (2018) some excellent tracks are yet to emerge. We have included two cover versions recorded for the band’s first Top Gear session in February 1970. Doug Sahm’s At The Crossroads features prominent Ralphs guitar, working well with Allen’s organ. Shrewsbury-born Hunter manages the line “You just can’t live in Texas if you don’t have a lot of soul” with surprising conviction. Sonny Bono’s Laugh At Me makes an unlikely but successful protest number.

In October the band recorded a live concert for Peel at the Paris Theatre in Lower Regent Street. Opening discordant guitar evolves into a rousing version of Neil Young’s impassioned protest Ohio, never released as a studio version. Ballad No Wheels To Ride is the first track from the forthcoming Mad Shadows LP, the arrangement here built around Verden Allen’s organ and some fine guitar from Ralphs. Debut single Rock’n’ Roll Queen is a Mick Ralphs rocker that emphasises the tightness of the Buffin / Overend rhythm section. The Debt isanother rare track, eventually released as the B side to 1971 single Midnight Lady. For this track Dylan and the Band are the inspiration, evidenced by the piano and organ interaction and by Hunter’s resigned vocal. In contrast Walkin’ With A Mountain is Mott in full-on Stones mode: the studio version included a spontaneous snatch of Jumpin’ Jack Flash which is repeated here. Little Richard’s Keep A-Knockin’ keeps up the momentum and gets an enthusiastic response from the crowd.

On March 1st 1972 the band decided to split, following a dispiriting gig in a disused gas holder in Zurich. Looking for employment Pete Watts rang Mott-fan David Bowie. In order to keep the band together Bowie offered the then-unreleased Suffragette City as a potential single: when Hunter declined Bowie finished off All The Young Dudes and offered that instead. The international success that resulted gave the band renewed momentum that lasted through three excellent and commercially successful studio LPs for CBS. Hunter continued to have a close relationship with Mott’s fans, documented movingly in the song The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (1973) and final single Saturday Gigs (1974). Hunter also wrote the funny and self-effacing Diary Of A Rock’n’Roll Star, the best ever book about life on the road.

 So it all turned out OK for Mott in the end. But the commercial success of the CBS years should not be allowed to overshadow the artistic success of the Island years. Hear for yourself – it’s live and live only! 

“Mott The Hoople matter a lot because they are one of the few bands currently operating whose work is intellectually consistent, who seem to have a solid idea of exactly what they are here for. They may not be the best rock’n’roll band in the world, and they may not be the most important, but right now they are certainly the most valuable” Charles Shaar Murray, NME

Sleevenotes: Willard Manus

With thanks to Billy Porter

Long John Baldry, Steampacket & Hoochie Coochie Men BBC Broadcasts 1965 – 66


Side One

  1. It’s All Right (Mayfield)
  2. How Long Will It Last (Clark)
  3. In The Midnight Hour (Pickett, Cropper)
  4. Going To A Go-Go (Moore, Robinson, Rogers, Tarplin)
  5. The Drifter (Feldman, Goldstein, Gotterher)
  6. Didn’t Want To Have To Do It (Sebastian)
  7. Everything Is Gonna Be Alright (Mitchell)
  8. She’s A Woman (Lennon, McCarney)
  9. (We’re Gonna) Jump For Joy (Turner)

Side Two

  1. Lord Remember Me (Cooke)
  2. Speak Your Piece (Thomas)
  3. I’m On To You Baby ( Giant, Baume, Kaye )
  4. Turn On Your Lovelight (Scott, Malone)
  5. Five Long Years (Boyd)
  6. Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good To You (Razaf, Redman)
  7. Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad) (Walker)


Steampacket – Side One and Side Two, Track 1

Long John Baldry – vocals

Rod Stewart – vocals

Julie ‘Jools’ Driscoll – vocals

Brain Auger – organ

Vic Briggs – guitar

Ric Brown – bass

Micky Waller – drums

Eric Burdon, Steve Winwood – vocals (Side One, Track 9)

The Hoochie Coochie Men – Side Two, Tracks 2 – 7

Long John Baldry – vocals

Rudy Jones – saxophone

Stan Robinson – saxophone

Geoff Bradford – guitar

Ian Armitt – piano

Pete Blannin – bass

Eddie Taylor– drums

Pete Peterson – trumpet

Recording Details

Recorded for BBC radio as follows:

Side One, Tracks 1- 3 on September 28th 1965

Side One, Tracks 4 – 8 on June 7th 1966

Side Two, Tracks 2 – 4 on March 3rd 1965

Side Two, Tracks 5 – 7 Early 1965

Side One Track 9 and Side Two, Track 1 recorded for American television programme Shindig (ABC) at the Fifth National Jazz & Blues Festival in Richmond on August 8th 1965

Sound Quality

All the BBC tracks are Excellent whilst the two tracks recorded for Shindig are Very Good


The London blues and r’n’b scene in the early 1960s revolved around Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies, bandleaders and club runners. In 1961 they formed the group Blues Incorporated with Art (brother of Ron) Wood and John William Baldry as vocalists, the latter earning his soubriquet Long John through being 6’ 7” tall. In June 1962 Blues Incorporated recorded the LP R&B From The Marquee, although a more honest title would have been Live In The Decca Records Studio, West Hampstead. Davies’ desire to play only pure Chicago blues lead him to leave Blues Incorporated in October 1962 to form The Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars. The two fixed points in aa fluid lime-up were Baldry on vocals and Davies on vocals and harmonica. Davies died in January 1964 at the tragically early age of thirty-two and Baldry took over the All Stars, who were renamed The Hoochie Coochie Men.

At this point enter a teenage Rod Stewart, then harmonica player with Jimmy Powell and The Five Dimensions. Stewart admitted he struggled with the harmonica at first.  “I used to blow it and wondered why I kept running out of breath. Then I saw the Stones and watched Mick playing it, and I realised where I was going wrong.” Baldry claims he recruited Stewart as co-vocalist with The Hoochie Coochie Men after hearing his rendition of Smokestack Lightning on Twickenham station after an All Stars gig at nearby Eel Pie Island. “What I thought was a pile of coats with a nose coming out turned out to be Rod!”.  During his time as a Hoochie Coochie Man Rod would frequently receive individual billing as ‘Rod The Mod’ or ‘The Mod’s Delight’. Baldry broke up The Hoochie Coochie Men to go solo, after receiving an offer from producer Jack Good to take part in a television special. 

Steampacket was the brainchild of Georgio Gomelski, manager of The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds amongst others. By 1965 Gomelski was managing The Brian Auger Trinity, regulars at his Crawdaddy club in Richmond. Organist Auger was backed by Rick Brown (bass) and Micky Waller (drums) but their only single for Columbia had flopped, prompting Gomelski to look for a vocalist. Initially he offered the gig to a destitute Baldry, who accepted, and suggested Stewart also join. Then Gomelski had the idea of adding a female vocalist to form an R&B / soul roadshow, choosing Yardbirds Fan Club secretary Julie Driscoll. Augur described Steampacket as “there was me playing more or less jazz stuff, there was Julie doing rhythm and blues songs from Wilson Pickett through Aretha Franklin to Nina Simone, then there was Rod singing Tamla things and John singing straight Chicago blues. It was quite good really.” Steampacket were fatally flawed by having three different sets of management – Stewart’s, Baldry’s and Gomelski – plus Gomelski disappearing off to the US with the Yardbirds for months. As a result no proper studio recordings were released, although some crude tapes made by Gomelski in late 1965 came out in 1971 as Rock Generation Volume 6 on the French label BYG. In March 1966 Stewart was sacked and then Baldry quit. Driscoll stayed with Auger and together they had a massive hit with Dylan’s This Wheel’s On Fire in 1968. Stewart would eventually rejoin Micky Waller in the first Jeff Beck Group, documented extensively by our LPs of radio sessions from 1967 (R&B28) and 1968 (R&B86).

There were no strong songwriters in either The Hoochie Coochie Men or Steampacket so the songs here are all cover versions. It’s All Right was written by Curtis Mayfield for the Impressions and features a rare Rod Stewart lead vocal. How Long Will It Last and The Drifter were unsuccessful singles recorded by Baldry. In The Midnight Hour and Going To A Go-Go wereclub favourites which Driscoll delivers with verve: The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Didn’t Want To Have To Do It shows her ability to handlea ballad, underpinned effectively by jazz-influenced guitar and organ. Willie Mitchells’ Everything Is Gonna Be Alright makes for an effective duet between Driscoll and Baldrywith a dextrous guitar solo from Vic Briggs. She’s A Woman is an instrumental featuring Auger’s Hammond. The final two Steampacket tracks were recorded in London for US TV. Surviving footage of Joe Turner’s (We’re Gonna) Jump For Joy shows a crowded stage with a full brass section and Baldry and Driscoll augmented by Eric Burdon and Steve Winwood. All are upstaged by Rod Stewart in mod haircut and white jeans who arrives late and gets the screams. Sam Cooke’s Lord Remember Me starts off as a more subdued affair before Baldry starts testifying, supported ably by Stewart and Driscoll.

The Hoochie Coochie Men’s version of Speak Your Piece retains the jazzy swing of the Joe Thomas & Bill Elliott original. I’m On To You Baby was another unsuccessful Baldry single, despite the dramatic arrangement and Ian Armitt’s melodic piano part. Turn On Your Lovelight and Gee, Baby, Aint I Good To You featured on Baldry’s LPs recorded for United Artists, Looking At Long John (1966) and Long John’s Blues (1964) respectively. The former is a perky version of the Bobby Bland classic with a call and response female chorus and the melody carried by the horns. The latter is a plaintive lovelorn ballad first recorded in 1929 by McKinney’s Cotton Pickers and popularised by Nat King Cole. Eddie Boyd’s Five Long Years continues the theme with Geoff Bradford’s guitar prominent. Finally a version of T-Bone Walker’s oft-misnamed Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad) allows Baldry to demonstrate his considerable ability to sing a straight blues.

Whilst there is much good music on this record there is a complete absence of original material and no single music direction or style. Most of the participants would go on to bigger and better things elsewhere but it is fascinating to hear them at such an early stage. Looking back Stewart described Steampacket as “not being the most original band but definitely one of the funniest I’ve been in – we had some really good times.” Here they are.

Sleevenotes: Mo & Jo, Woking


From → Music, Vinyl

  1. Error regarding name on the Mott The Hoople at the BBC vinyl LP sleeve, Verdan Allen is incorrect, should be Verden Allen, please adjust if possible. Cheers V. 👍

    • Verden, this is my mistake – I spotted that your name had been mispelled on the proof but somehow it went uncorrected. My apologies, as a long-time Mott fan. You will see that I have today corrected the online version so that your name is now spelt correctly in both credits and sleeve notes. All the best, Simon

      • Verden Allen permalink

        Cheers Simon. Verden.

        Sent from my iPhone


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