Mott The Hoople / Mental Train: The Island Years 1969-1971

6CD box set • Island albums + bonus tracks • disc of unreleased outtakes

Universal Music will, in November, issue Mental Train: The Island Years 1969-1971, a new six-disc Mott The Hoople box set which delivers everything the band recorded during their time at Island Records including many bonus tracks and unreleased material.

Mental Train includes the four albums – Mott The Hoople (1969), Mad Shadows (1970), Wildlife (1970) and Brain Capers (1971) – each of which include eight or nine bonus tracks, including A-sides, B-sides, demos, rehearsals and alternate takes.

The fifth CD includes more unheard and unreleased music from the Island archive while the final disc features live material recorded at Fairfield Hall, Croydon on 13 September 1970 and a BBC Radio One In Concert from the Paris Theatre, London on 30 December 1971.

The studio albums have all been remastered from the original tapes (where available) by Andy Pearce and this set comes in what looks like the familiar Universal ‘shoebox’ package (Tears For Fears, Simple Minds etc.) with a a 50-page booklet designed by Phil Smee with sleeve notes by Kris Needs.

Mental Train: The Island Years 1969-1971 will be released on 2 November 2018.

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Mott The Hoople

Mental Train - The Island Years 1969-71


Box Summary

Disc One: Mott the Hoople plus bonus tracks
Disc Two: Mad Shadows plus bonus tracks
Disc Three: Wildlife plus bonus tracks
Disc Four: Brain Capers plus bonus tracks
Disc Five: The Ballads of Mott The Hoople
Disc Six: It’s Live and Live Only

Originally released November 22 1969 – Island Records ILPS 9108

  1. You Really Got Me

  2. At the Crossroads

  3. Laugh at Me

  4. Backsliding Fearlessly

  5. Rock and Roll Queen

  6. Rabbit Foot and Toby Time

  7. Half Moon Bay

  8. Wrath and Wroll

Bonus Tracks

  1. If Your Heart Lay with the Rebel (Would You Cheer the Underdog?) (Instrumental Take 2)

  2. Rock and Roll Queen (Single A side)

  3. Road to Birmingham (Single B side)

  4. Road to Birmingham (Guy Steven’s Mix)

  5. You Really Got Me (Complete take)

  6. You Really Got Me (Vocal mix) 

  7. Rock and Roll Queen (Guy Steven’s Mono Mix)

  8. Rock and Roll Queen (Kitchen Sink Instrumental)

  9. Little Christine (2 Miles)

Originally released September 1970 – Island Records ILPS 9119

  1. Thunderbuck Ram

  2. No Wheels to Ride

  3. You Are One of Us

  4. Walking with a Mountain

  5. I Can Feel

  6. Threads of Iron

  7. When My Mind’s Gone

Bonus Tracks

  1. Thunderbuck Ram (BBC Session)

  2. Thunderbuck Ram (Original Take with Organ)

  3. No Wheels to Ride (Demo)

  4. Moonbus (Baby’s Got a Down on Me)

  5. The Hunchback Fish (Vocal Rehearsal)

  6. You Are One of Us (Take 9)

  7. Going Home (2 Miles)

  8. Keep A-Knockin’ (Studio version)

Originally released March 1971 – Island Records ILPS 9144

  1. Whiskey Women

  2. Angel of Eighth Avenue

  3. Wrong Side of the River

  4. Waterlow

  5. Lay Down

  6. It Must Be Love

  7. The Original Mixed Up Kid

  8. Home Is Where I Want to Be

  9. Keep A-Knockin’ (Live)

Bonus Tracks

  1. Midnight Lady (Single A side)  

  2. The Debt (Single B side)

  3. Downtown (Single A side)

  4. Brain Haulage (Whiskey Woman)

  5. Growing Man Blues (Take 10)

  6. Long Red (Demo)

  7. The Ballad of Billy Joe

  8. Lay Down (Take 8

Originally released December 1971 – Island Records – ILPS 9178

  1. Death May Be Your Santa Claus

  2. Your Own Backyard

  3. Darkness, Darkness

  4. The Journey

  5. Sweet Angeline

  6. Second Love

  7. The Moon Upstairs

  8. The Wheel of the Quivering Meat Conception

Bonus Tracks

  1. Mental Train (The Moon Upstairs)

  2. How Long? (Death May Your Santa Claus)

  3. Darkness, Darkness

  4. Your Own Backyard (Complete Take)

  5. Where Do You All Come From (Backing Track)

  6. One of the Boys (Take 2)

  7. Movin’ On (2 Miles)

  8. Black Scorpio (Mommas Little Jewel)

Unheard and unreleased music from the Island archive

  1. Like a Rolling Stone (Fragment) 

  2. No Wheels to Ride (1st House)

  3. Angel Of 8th Avenue (Tape 816)

  4. The Journey

  5. Blue Broken Tears (Tape 816)

  6. Black Hills (Full Ralph’s Version)

  7. Can You Sing the Song That I Sing (Full Take)

  8. Till I’m Gone (2 Miles)

  9. The Original Mixed Up Kid (BBC Session)

  10. Ill Wind Blowing (2 Miles)

  11. I’m A River (Vocal Rehearsal) 

  12. Ride on The Sun (Sea Diver) (2 Miles)

– Tracks 1 – 7: Fairfield Hall, Croydon, 13 September 1970
– Tracks 8 to 12: Paris Theatre, London, BBC Radio One, In Concert, 30 December 1971

  1. Rock and Roll Queen

  2. Ohio

  3. No Wheels to Ride / Hey Jude

  4. Thunderbuck Ram

  5. Keep A-Knockin’

  6. You Really Got Me

  7. The Moon Upstairs

  8. Whiskey Women

  9. Your Own Backyard

  10. Darkness, Darkness

  11. The Journey

  12. Death May Be Your Santa Claus

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I finally got my hands on this. Their time on Island is my very favorite period of theirs, it was to me, more consistently great than the Colombia years. All The Young Dudes and Mott are excellent, but The Hoople falls shorter than anything here in my eyes. If you’re a fan of Mott the Hoople you’ll want this box. My one compliant is that they didn’t mirror the LP packaging for the discs. That’s a real bummer because the USA Atlantic issues did the same thing and I was looking forward to seeing what the original LP’s had in terms of art and notes.

wayne klein

So Paul we still haven’t heard anything about a replacement disc from Island/Universal for the disc with the wrong track being used. Do you have any idea if this is going to be replaced? The label is awfully quiet. We could use your help.

Kevin Rathert

Agreed. Its the least they can do.

wayne klein

I caved and bought this. Any word about replacing the disc with the wrong version of “Midnight Lady”? I have it on the other boxed set but it should be corrected by UNI.

David Bly

I just got my copy today and disc #6 has some major problems…

The mastering is such that track #1 (Rock And Roll Queen) is partly on track 1 and partly on track 2. Track 2 is partly on track 2 and partly on track 3.

This continues to the point where track 11 (The Journey) is partly on track 11 and ends on track 12, leaving the actual track 12 (Death May Ne Yous Santa Claus) COMPLETELY MISSING.

I actually have all the BBC tracks on a US Rhino compilation for years ago, but not everybody does, I’m sure.

Someone at Universal needs to remedy this situation.


I had no problem with mine. Perhaps an isolated mastering error? Did this happen from playing the disc or ripping it to a server to listen to later?

Philip Birtwistle

Delays probably due to a fault with Midnight Lady, it’s supposed to be the single version but apprently there are no vocals…

Report in from reviewer with pre-release copy on the Steve Hoffman forum.

Wayne Klein

Sadly no word about a replacement disc for this release.

Kevin Rathert

That’s a bummer. Surely they will as it clearly is not the single version of “Midnight Lady.”

Wayne Klwi

I don’t know if they will. They are aware of this issue and haven’t responded. I asked Paul to reach to to Island figuring he might have a contact or two and no response from Paul either.

John Simmons

now showing on Amazon UK as ‘currently unavailable’ – instead of 2nd November

John Farr

Pete ‘Overend’ Watts was one of my best friends from our school days until he died. Likewise dear Buffin. I think and hope that they would appreciate this release, and although I’ve got all of the official C.Ds. etc I will have to buy it . As a MTH completist it’s a must.

Thore Henry Vallin Hansen

Checked my Japan 5 CD box, released some years ago: As mentioned in an earlier post, there are omissions in Mental Train; The 1st album misses the “Find your way” bonus track. Mad Shadows misses the “It would be a pleasure” bonus track. Wildlife misses the “It will be me” bonus track. 2 Miles from heaven (Separate disc in the Japan set) misses the “Surfin’ UK” bonus track. Disappointing!


vinyl release to follow ?

David Endersby

Very excited about this as I have been looking for the Island albums at a reasonable price for a while now. This ticks a lot of boxes for me.

Paul Mortimer

The Mott box has just gone down to under £39 on amazon Prime ;)

Not bad, all the young dudes should buy it now!

Nass Khan

About time.

It took me a while to hunt down original lps & Angel Air cds.

Some brilliant rockin stuff amongst otherwise a hippy/prog rock period

The Ancient Archivist

One of the great things about concertgoing decades ago is that you would be so psyched to see the headliner, but then you would be totally surprised and blown away by the opening act — so much so that the headline set almost became anticlimactic. One of those events was the opening set of Mott on the Emerson, Lake & Palmer (debut album) American tour in 1971 where they were promoting their Wildlife lp.

Even now. when I hear the invocation of the Rolling Stones as the best live rock and roll band then, I always think … well then, you never saw Mott the Hoople live. While I love the Stones on record, most of their concert repertoire were mid-tempo selections that was great “bar band” music. Mott actually rocked live!

Mott has never been given their due and I actually think they deserve a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (for whatever that’s worth). I love this period when they were struggling to prove themselves and prove themselves they did. And just a year later they would deliver to the world (courtesy of Mr. Bowie) their classic rendition of “All the Young Dudes.”

Looking forward to exploring this crucial addition to the Mott canon.


Do you know when there will be a pre-order link for Amazon US? (Or any other US website)

Peter Anderson

Hi Neil (Storey). I remember you well from your days at Island and Also Rob Partridge? I was a cub reporter working on the Torbay Herald Express and developed an obsession with the Waterboys after receiving a promo copy of A Pagan Place from you. Even visited the Island offices later while researching a Syd Barrett book. Seemed like a great label to work for at that time. Would love to know more about your current venture. Cheer Peter. P.S. Paul this site is bankrupting me! Keep up the good work!

Neil Storey

Thanks Peter! I do remember. Sadly, Rob no longer with us… Yes, it was a rare privilege to have worked there and during those years. Detail on most of the stuff we’re involved in can be found on the HM site; the biggest of all is The Island Book of Records – every LP issued detailed with the stories of each told by those there at the time. An ongoing project for the last 10 years and… no end yet in sight! All the best. NS


A ‘Robert Palmer Project’ … Yes Please! (ps. are there any Power Station ‘Live’ or unreleased tracks/videos?) – I think that the ‘Living In Fear’ album is Really Good!

wayne klein

Paul, any word from the label about replacing the disc with the wrong take of “Midnight Lady”? This is a nice set a pity that they couldn’t have included a seventh disc with the rest of the outtakes that were previously released just to make this complete. The packaging is nice (although I would have preferred the artwork to not look like it was from a used record bin although it is a clever idea with the stickers, etc.). I also wish that they had recreated the gatefolds for the first three albums and included a mini-Zorro styled mask for “Brain Capers” (I would have rather had that than the post as it would have been faithful to the original release). All told, I am please with the release it’s just some of the details that I would have liked to see handled a bit better. There are also mistakes in the book that i’m surprised no one caught (some songs credited to the wrong person, some tracks that state “previously unreleased” that were, etc.). I realize these sets require a lot of details but having a Mott superfan to review this stuff would have improved aspects of the set. Still, kudos for all of the hard work that did go into this set. It isn’t easy to create a comprehensive set and these are, largely, excellent with great remastering by Andy Pearce and Matt Worthington.

wayne klein

I have all of this but with the unreleased stuff and, perhaps, better mastering, I’m on board. I love the Island years (I got on board with the band with Brain Capers).


Do we know which albums didn’t have the master tapes available for this reissue (or songs)?

John H

Thanks Paul, now ordered. I have none of the Mott Island material so what a great way to get it in one handy box.
BTW there’s a track from the box over on Spotify – Rock and Roll Queen (Kitchen Sink Instrumental) – for your listening pleasure.

Colin Harper

When I worked on the Quintessence Island studio outtakes (1969-71) for the Hux Records 2CD ‘Spirits From Another Time’, the first step was having a lot of multitrack reels identified from label scribbles digitised at Abbey Road. One of them turned out to be mislabelled, and a Mott the Hoople song. Can’t recall what it was now… but I’ll have it noted down somewhere…

Jarmo Keranen

Nothing to do with this boxset but i find myself thinking how many years from his life has Ian Hunter been with sunglasses on?


Wow!! This looks great. Can anyone summarize what is truly new in this set? Sure hope Columbia can do something with 1972 to the end. Oh, by the way, I think Brain Capers is one of the best records ever made & it is sad that was ignored by the mainstream


Love the band, but not a fan of their early Island material, so will wait until this is cheaper. Biggest gig disappointment ever was their reunion show at the Manchester Apollo in 2013. Because of the line up that was there, they played a lot of their early material, and it didn’t really translate well live, and I couldn’t wait for the gig to be over.

Tom Kristensen


The Golden Age Of Rock 'n' Roll

I only have The Original Album Classics box with Ian Hunter only on 3 of the albums. So this box set is a must for me. The Real Mott The Hoople!


It also looks like the Croydon show is missing When My Wind’s Gone


I realize this is a late response but this must of been one of Ian’s moments when he had bad gas. “It’s When My Mind’s Gone” LOL.

John Wetzler

Very interested! Will have to make the jump at that price. I am STILL waiting for a break on Ian’s massive 30 cd box set. Never a budge in price. So much for the “If You Wait Long Enough For Anything, You Can Get It On Sale”!!


Obviously you just haven’t waited long enough yet…

Kevin Wollenweber

Oh, indeed, I’ll have to get this. I had a three-disk distillation of this era, but nothing near “complete”; but what’s this about a massive 30-disk Ian Hunter box set? Where can I find such a joy??


The first time Island have got off their arses and given MTH the respect they deserve.
It’s a simple fact, Mott did more than anyone to uphold the spirit of rock n’roll during some dark years in the ’70’s.
Some decent treatment of their albums has been a long time coming, and about time too – hope they sound as good as the japanese card sleeve remasters, or even the US Atlantic versions which are no slouches – looking forward to it.
In the words of The Ian “We ain’t started!”


I love MOTT THE HOOPLE – but this box sort of insults me as I have laid out from almost all of these tracks before. There are a few (the full take of “Black Hills” for instance) that jump out – but I have most of this. Is it worth my money? Now if the record company paid me for the box I bought as an import here in the USA 20 years ago as a credit towards it, I would be more tempted. The over-elaborate packaging, does nothing for me – it rips and breaks too easy for it to be handled by anyone who may have had a sip of Morgan Fischer’s champagne…so leave me out. I want my Mott when I party! If this is around cheaper in a few years I may dish out – but I have spent so much money for this to be the be all end all of the Island years (I won’t even LOOK at the CBS years as that will be a total rip off). I wish I had the money to blow – but just like Mott – this is REAL LIFE. No fucking about. No wasting too many of dollars on 93% material I already have…and paid top dollar for over the years.

Love to Ian Hunter – one of the greatest songwriters we have ever know and of course to the original Mott the Hoople!

Wayne Klein

While I see your point, this has always been the way the industry has operated since the introduction of remastered/expanded CDs. Give a little bit of extras to get people to buy them so it isn’t anything new.

Is this worth it? It really depends on you I suppose. For example, I wasn’t going to get the box for The White Album but there’s some pretty terrific stuff on it and the lossless Blu-ray made it essential for me.

I have to say that I really really wish that Buffin and Overend were still around to enjoy this getting reissued. It would be nice for them to enjoy the love and bask in the glow that will no doubt result from reviews. They did a pretty good job of taking care of the Mott The Hoople history (I’m not a fan of most of the overdubs on the “Heaven” CD though).

Skippy O'Nasica

Looks great! Some small omissions: “The Chosen road” (Mad Shadows outtake) and “The Wreck Of The Liberty Belle” (unfinished track from 1969) which both came out on Angel Air. (Perhaps these were sourced from a band member’s personal archive and are not extant in the Island vaults?) Also, oddly, “It’ll Be Me” which appeared on the ATYD boxset.


It’s also missing Surfin’ U.K. , Find Your Way and It Would Be A Pleasure

Sam Matheson

If I might be the first to complain: I gather this isn’t the full Fairfield Hall set, why would they truncate it like this? The full performance would’ve been a good inducement for the punters who have the main albums on CD already.


Weren’t a couple of the “unreleased” tracks on the Backsliding Fearlessly comp?


WOW! Now I will wait for the vinyl versions of the 4 albums… Thanks, Paul! Thanks, Island!

Peter H.

Hello from a big early Mott fan in the US. This is very exciting!!!


Good for anyone who doesn’t have any or much of this on CD already but not enough on here for anyone with all the albums plus the previous BBC and Angel Air releases.

Gary Fowles

I’ll be having this, cheers for the heads up Paul.

Nick L

What a nice set!!! I love Mott the Hoople. It’s been on my dream wish list to hear the ‘untampered’ versions of the songs from Two Miles from Heaven (most were overdubbed by Overend Watts, Ray Major and Buffin around ’79/’80) but does anyone know if the fact that the bonus tracks say (2 miles) beside them mean we are getting the overdubbed versions from that compilation?

Phil Cohen

This is a step in the right direction for archival product by Island Records’ 1970’s artists. Many performers of that era signed recording and publishing deals(with Island & its subsidiaries) that may have seemed fair by the standards of the day, but became blatantly unfair during the compact disc era, when (initially) CD’s sold for three times the price of an L.P.
Universal Music (present-day owner of the Island label) has had only limited willingness to revise those unfavourable contracts, and this is the reason that a number of Island Records artists have invoked their right to prohibit the release of vault materials. It is the reason why all archival materials by Free, Spooky Tooth and Traffic have been deleted, and those group’s albums have reverted back to no bonus tracks. Universal has to make a better offer.

Neil Storey

Heavily tempted not to reply here but… Phil… factually, thats about as inaccurate a set of statements as its possible to get. On as wide-read forum as this is, don’t you think its wise to have all your ducks lined up in as straight a row as possible? I worked at Island through the 70’s and 80s; your employing a version of hindsight to twist what you believe to be true holds no water at all against how archive releases are put together. It should be noted, you could have used BMG as an example as well as citing Universal – but, obviously, not on a MTH thread. Firstly, contracts in the day and age you’ve mentioned – no matter which label to whom artist X / band Y was signed – could ALL be argued as being unfair. Forty, even fifty years ago… the world was very different; the music industry was so different much of what we take for granted today hadn’t been invented. Secondly… “invoked their right to prohibit the release of vault materials.” referencing ‘a number of Island Records artists’ and choosing three to name. Believe me (please) there is a good deal more to putting archive releases together than looking at contracts. One hell of a lot more. And, just for clarity’s sake – I don’t work at Universal, I run my own, small, re-issue label and, because of my background, we’re involved in a number of projects that relate to Island.


Hi Neil, I remember I got the Chris Wood SDE from you. Fantastic cheers.

Eric Weinraub

Neil. spot on. It’s so easy when you’re not in charge to second guess decisions. There are numerous Island artists from the past that I love. Bob Marley. FREE. Mott the Hoople. I am a serious collector of vinyl and I have been more than satisfied with the effort put in to see their archives made available. That said, TRAFFIC needs a lot more love…..

Dave at Nyquest Limited

It takes a hell of a lot just to get these projects “green lit” then the work begins….I didn’t work on this (no video content) but I’ve worked on others for UMG various labels and acts….Need any video post production Neil? DVD authoring, editing etc? Dave Meehan Nyquest Limited


No its not. Its far more complicated than that.

“this is the reason that a number of Island Records artists have invoked their right to prohibit the release of vault materials. It is the reason why all archival materials by Free, Spooky Tooth and Traffic have been deleted”

Andrew B

Sounds like a nice set, wonder if there will be a collected works box set for the later well known LP’s. Even though these have been done before.


I don’t think I will resist this! And only €36.83 at amazon.fr: woaw!!!

Bob Preston

Wow, I will grab this. Cheers Paul.