Title - Mud: The Albums 1975-1979 [4CD]
Artist - Mud
Mention the name Mud to most Americans - even those neck-deep in the í70s revival - and the likely result will be a blank stare.
In England, however, between 1974 and 1976, Mud was one of the hottest rock & roll acts there was, charting a series of monster hit singles and recording a pair of delightful oldies-oriented albums.
They were never a profoundly philosophical band, and never pretended to be. The group played music to have a good time, and merely asked that others join in, which millions of Brits did for a few years.
Formed in February 1966, their earlier success came in a pop and then glam rock style, while later hits were influenced by 1950s rock and roll, and they are best remembered for their hit singles Dyna-mite, Tiger Feet, which was the UKís best-selling single of 1974, and Lonely This Christmas which reached Christmas number 1 in December 1974.
After signing to RAK Records and teaming up with songwriters/producers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, the band had fourteen UK Top 20 hits between 1973 and 1976, including three number ones.
Mud: The Albums 1975-1979 (releasing December 17th, 2021 via Cherry Red Records UK) is a 62 track, 4CD clamshell box-set covering the albums recorded by í70s legends Mud between 1975 and 1979.
CD 1: Use Your Imagination (1975)
1. RU Man Enough
2. Sheís Got The Devil In Her Eyes
3. Donít Knock It
4. Maybe Tomorrow
5. 43792 (Iím Bustiní You)
6. Hair Of The Dog>br>
7. LíLí Lucy
8. Show Me Youíre A Woman
9. Bird Dog
10. Use Your Imagination
11. Under The Moon Of Love
12. My Love Is Your Love [Bonus Track]
13. Donít You Know [Bonus Track]
Disc One is 1975ís Use Your Imagination album which reached #33 in the UK charts. It features the Top 10 singles LíLí Lucy (#19 in Germany) and Show Me Youíre A Woman (#43 in Germany).
In 1975 Mud decided they didnít need to be puppets of the highly successful songwriters/producers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman any longer. While the duo had written all the bandís hits like Tiger Feet and Dyna-mite, the group had been penning their own B-sides and felt they could strike out on their own without striking out.
Their first self-penned single LíLíLucy was a hit reaching number ten and the album Use Your Imagination reached number 33. Not exactly smashes, but enough to keep the band in the spotlight.
The album was a bit of a departure from their previous records which were loaded with covers of rock classics and seemed nothing more than placeholders between Chinn/Chapman singles.
There are only two covers here, a silly reggae take of the Everly Brothersí Bird Dog and a rollicking take of Curtis Leeís Under the Moon of Love (which later became a hit for Showaddywaddy with a very similar arrangement).
The rest are composed by the band or contemporary songwriters and are a mixed bag of glammy rockers and í50s-styled ballads.
CD 2: Itís Better Than Working! (1976)
1. It Donít Mean A Thing
2. Beating Round The Bush
3. Iíve Got A Song
4. Sweet And Sour Lady
5. All Iíve Got To Give
6. Nite On The Ties
7. How Many Times?
8. Donít Talk To Me
9. Blagging Boogie Blues
10. Vambo Rools
11. Moving On
12. Shake It Down [Bonus Track]
13. Laugh, Live, Love [Bonus Track]
14. Time And Again [Bonus Track]
15. Nite On The Tiles (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
16. Lean On Me [Bonus Track]
17. Grecian Lament [Bonus Track]
18. Beating Round The Bush (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
The second disc is the Itís Better Than Working! album which contains the singles Beating Round The Bush and Nite On The Tiles (#37 in Germany). Among the bonus tracks is the UK #7 smash hit Lean On Me (#44 in Germany) and the #12 hit Shake It Down (#45 in Germany).
The follow-up to 1975ís Use Your Imagination, Itís Better Than Working! caught Mud continuing to pursue the twin directions laid out by their most recent hits - one eye on a distinctly Showaddywaddy-shaped brand of rock & roll revivalism, and the other firmly grasping the soft rock softball that had served former stablemates Smokey so well.
Neither was it an altogether desultory decision, Night on the Tiles handed the band one more in the long sequence of hit singles that had sustained them since 1973, while a taste of Mudís eye for the unusual was delivered by an unlikely cover of Alex Harveyís Vambo Rools.
Beating Round the Bush and the amusingly titled Blagging Boogie Blues, too, captured more than a soupÁon of the quartetís early endearing goofiness, rendering Itís Better Than Working! a stronger album than might have been expected.
CD 3: Rock On (1978)
1. Burn On Marlon
2. Let Me Get (Close To You)
3. Walk Right Back
4. Who You Gonna Love
5. Slow Talking Boy
6. Careless Love
7. Drift Away
8. Gotta Good Reason
9. Too Much Of Nothing
10. Cut Across Shorty
11. Let Me Out [Bonus Track]
12. Just Try (A Little Tenderness) [Bonus Track]
13. Gives You The Good Times Now [Bonus Track]
14. Weíve Got To Know [Bonus Track]
15. Let Me Get (Close To You ) (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
1978ís Rock On album can be found on Disc Three which features the 45s Slow Talking Boy, Cut Across Shorty, Drift Away and Just Try (A Little Tenderness).
In 1977, with Private Stock in financial difficulties, the band moved to RCA and brought out the diligently created Rock On. Their first single on that label and from that album was Slow Talking Boy, a folk rock song composed by John Kongos, and featuring Davis playing a Vox 12-string guitar-mandolin.
They actually performed this song on BBC TVís Top of the Pops, but without reaping any chart success. Mudís next single, Just Try (A Little Tenderness), was their final appearance on any major national chart, stalling at No. 98 in Australia.
Three more singles, all cover versions, followed in 1978 before RCA dropped the band and Gray quit for a solo career; the original band continued for a short while with female vocalist Margo Buchanan in Grayís place, releasing an unsuccessful single for Carrere, before finally disbanding in 1979.
CD 4: As You Like It (1979)
1. Dream Lover
2. Itís A Show
3. 1-2 Love
4. Heaven Was Meant For You
5. As You Like It
6. Youíll Like It
7. So Fine
8. Right Between The Eyes
10. Why Do Fools Fall In Love / Book Of Love
11. Run Donít Walk [Bonus Track]
12. Canít Stop [Bonus Track]
13. Donít Ever Change [Bonus Roly Track]
14. Yes I Do [Bonus Roly Track]
15. Car Friends [Bonus Roly Track]
The final disc is the bandís last studio album, As You Like It which includes the Youíll Like It and Why Do Fools Fall In Love / Book Of Love singles.
Among the bonus tracks are two rare singles recorded under the name of Roly which appear for the first time on CD.
Mudís sixth album could be regarded as very much a return to the spirit of former glories, a mass of rock & roll-era cover versions delivered in inimitable style by frontman Les Gray, and lacking only the magic touch of former backroom boys Nicky Chinn and Michael Chapman to bring the hits flowing once again.
It could be, but it sadly isnít (well, not completely). The year since Mudís last album had seen Gray spin off a solo hit with his cover of A Groovy Kind of Love and, though he never repeated the feat in his own right, Mud felt duty bound to try following suit - with the usual large helping of Showaddywaddy thrown in for good measure.
Dream Lover, Book of Love, and Why Do Fools Fall in Love? all feel like an unholy collision between the two styles, while the bandís self-composed material is aimed so unerringly at the heart of the prawn cocktail brigade that any hint of charm or humor has been wrung out of the music.
That all said, there are some great tunes to be found on this album, but they also sound like a band going through the motions, their choice of songs somewhat matted, and long before the producer finished layering in the last line of saccharin.
The booklet contains detailed liner notes by Ď70s expert Phil Hendriks plus reproís of relevant sleeves from around the globe.
Official 4CD Purchase Link