Mott The Hoople – Brain Capers (ILPS 9178)

in Blog by Adrian

Most people seem to think that Mott only really got interesting with the involvement of David Bowie. Balls. Ok, the first three albums whilst having great covers and titles (Mad Shadows. Brilliant name for a record) were generally pretty average. They always were a great live act but you get the impression on these records that the studio rather overwhelmed them. For Brain Capers producer Guy Stevens returns and, by all accounts, was determined to shake the band up a bit and give it some badly needed edge.Stories abound of chairs being smashed on walls to create an air of menace in the studio. Well, whatever, it worked. A year before anyone had heard of the New York Dolls these Hereford lads created a proto punk classic. The production is sharp and full, the sound driving, driven principally by the searing, swooping, grinding organ of Verden Allen, marginalised and finally forced out during the chart years. Hunter`s voice never sounded better on record. It cracks with emotion, screams with rage and snarls with contempt. Listen to the Moon Upstairs or the Journey. The former even has proper swearing, almost unprecedented for the time, the latter one of the most murderous riffs committed to vinyl. Fuck yeah! The fabulously titled Death may be your Santa Claus starts with Buffin`s drums holding a solo beat and Allen`s organ scrapes and vamps ushering in a joyous punky racket. This could be the Sex Pistols,; certainly Paul Cook learned to play drums by listening to this guy.

Right. I`m not going to go into all the trainspottery stuff about this album. Look it up for yourself online if that`s your bag, man. Just ask yourself why you don`t have a copy of this. And you call yourself a record collector? Huh! Small problem. Mott albums just didn’t sell pre-Bowie so there aren’t many copies about. I’ve seen two in the shop in the last year. Without the free mask you`ll pay twenty quid for a good copy. With the mask a hundred. What? You’re waiting for a copy with a mask inside? Get a grip. This album totally rocks.

About the Author


Adrian – Hi. My name is Adrian. You may have bumped into me in the Sound Machine as I have been working there, three days a week for the past year. I`m 62 years old and a retired teacher of English, music and drama to secondary school kids who found themselves in some difficulty in mainstream education. I have been collecting records since I was twelve and now have approx ten thousand albums. Totally ridiculous of course and a bugger to store in the average family home. You can imagine then my delight at being invited to work in the shop within days of my retirement last year. A dream job for someone so obsessed with vinyl as I.

Working in the shop is a delight principally for the opportunity it affords to talk about my favourite things to like-minded obsessives of all ages, to learn from them and to introduce them to stuff that they may have overlooked. I thought I would take the opportunity once a month to highlight a couple of albums that we get in with reasonable regularity and to ask you as to why the bloody hell you don`t have them.

For those of you with long memories I used to sing with Reading`…near legendary Complaints. I have yet to come across a copy of “There were rays coming out of their eyes” in the shop so obviously it is still a prized possession for it`s owners. Yeah.

One Response to “Mott The Hoople – Brain Capers (ILPS 9178)”

  1. Joe Maloney says:

    I was a Mott The Hoople fan, starting with the first time I heard “At The Crossroads” on the radio, in 1970. “Mad Shadows” and “Wildlife” had their moments, but “Brain Capers” made it clear that I would have to see them live and I did, twice in 1973 and again in 1974. 1972 was a great year in music and two days after I heard “Death May Be Your Santa Claus on the radio for the first time, I made a trip to my favorite record store to get the album. That day, I bought both “Brain Capers” and the new Humble Pie album, “Smokin’. Those were two of the best albums of 1972, by two of the best British Rock and Roll bands of all time!

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