Mott - Drive On

Mott – Drive On

90 / 100

Mott straddle pop, rock, and grandiose styles too, not quite Queen, but perhaps a tinge of glam and that earlier Mott The Hoople style I would suggest.

Written by: gdmonline

ALBUM: Drive On
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: S 69154 (UK), PC 33705 (USA)
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Overend Watts – bass, vocals * Nigel Benjamin – vocals * Morgan Fisher – keyboards, vocals * Ray Major – lead guitar, vocals * Dale Griffin (Buffin) – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 By Tonight * 02 Monte Carlo * 03 She Does It * 04 I’ll Tell You Something * 05 Stiff Upper Lip * 06 Love Now * 07 Apologies * 08 The Great White Wail * 09 Here We Are * 10 It Takes One To Know One * 11 I Can Show You How It Is * 12 Shout It All Out


It was late 1974. British band Moot The Hoople, were on the verge of big things, but their world came undone with the departure of Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson, both considered the blood and guts of the band.

The remaining members could have jacked it in then and there, but resolved to turn things around the following year. New guitarist Ray Major and new vocalist Nigel Benjamin, who at that stage no-one had heard of, were bought in. Thankfully, the band still retained a contract with CBS, but cut their name short to just Mott, to avoid confusion and legal wrangles.

The Songs

The songs on ‘Drive On’ are quirky as they are appealing. Considering this was 1975, in an age where Slade and Sweet dominated the charts, there is a lot to like with Mott when lined up against those two. Mott straddle pop, rock, and grandiose styles too. Not quite Queen, but perhaps a tinge of glam and that earlier Mott The Hoople style I would suggest.

‘By Tonight’ is so unlike previous Mott material you begin to question whether this is the same band! Well of course it isn’t, and the stylistic changes presented make this more like an American 70’s hard rock album instead! Benjamin hits the high notes on ‘Monte Carlo’. Quite extraordinary for a newcomer once you listen to it. ‘She Does It’ is so jekyll and hyde, you’ll be reaching for the rewind button. The song blasts into action after the sleep inducing piano introduction. What else can I say? Haha!

‘I’ll Tell You Something’ is achingly melancholy, as a ballad and a touching one at that. ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ is representative of the new Mott direction, quirky as anything operating on borderline strange! ‘Love Now’ takes the direct approach, 70’s hard rock with a bit of toe-tapping bar-room boogie piano for effect. We’ll skip on by the ballad ‘Apologies’ to something a bit more satisfying, in hard rock grinder ‘The Great White Wail’. Nigel’s vocal goes for broke here. Very shrill, not unlike Geddy Lee during the early Rush years.

‘Here We Are’ is a sweet ballad, very nice in fact, ‘It Takes One To Know One’ sees Mott about ready to toss in their UK passports for US ones, the new style tempered by two slower songs at the tail-end of the album in ‘I Can Show You How It Is’ and ‘Shout It All Out’.

In Summary

I’m thinking CBS would have been pleasantly surprised by the two Mott albums, though history will say otherwise, as both ‘Drive On’ and ‘Shouting And Pointing’ didn’t do very well at the box-office. Don’t let that put you off, as both Mott albums are pretty good truth be told. It’s great that Rock Candy saw fit to release both their albums in 2014 as a testament to this great incarnation of the Mott The Hoople legacy. Knock it back!

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