December 1976: MOTT go Krazy for Kristmas!

A curio in the canon of recordings by Britain’s mighty Mott The Hoople must be the band’s successors’ – under the moniker of MOTT – trampling of festive music in December 1976.

MOTT already had two fine albums under their belt when they found themselves in state of forced ‘lay-off’ and in a bid to stay sane (?) took themselves to keyboardist Morgan Fisher’s home studio in London to an anarchic brew satirising Santa-time that has come back to haunt us all in the form of Singsong Music’s festive offering, ‘Kristmas Krackers’ (SINGSONG216; released Dec 1st 2023).

Highlights in this exuberantly cheesy slew of droll instrumental interpretations of carols and more (check out “Golders Green’s” hilarious mocking of Steeleye Span’s Christmas hit “Gaudete”) and perhaps it falls best to Morgan to recover his memories of the sessions:

“I wanted to parody the organ on some of the lobotomy-style hits of the 60’s such as “Woolly Bully”, “96 Tears” and so on but when it comes to the real brain-dead sounds, the instrumental bands really had it going for them.

“My all-time top band in this genre was Johnny and the Hurricanes. That horrible, measly, whingeing one-finger melody played on an organ bought at Wallmart really got me swinging, man – I mean, like a bog chain.

Morgan and the boys – sorry, bags – go photo-call

“Overend Watts, Ray Major and Dale Griffin and I decided to go all Christmassy and recorded these with a view to actually releasing them back in the day, a notion tossed in the trash by Quarry Management – also known as the lion killers – who apparently managed us.

“No matter, here they are again in all their tinsel glory, starting with cheerful medley “Krazy Kristmas Krackers” replete with key changes (prog was still with us!).

“Eddie Cochran bursts through the door for three seconds at one point. Dale makes a great effort to play like a drum loop but fails – a drummer of his calibre just can’t stay away from that ride cymbal. For a while, Ray actually tries to play guitar like I do! But towards the end he can’t help himself and rips out some staggering licks. The bass whoops on the last verse of “Silent Shite” are a marvel to behold.

Pass The Port, Gramps” enabled engineer Mick “School Bully” Glossop to have fun winding up the speed of the entire track at the end. Who, I ask you, is the voice saying “Paper Bag”? Answers to the internet, please …. it needs to know.

The Million Ton Snow Flake” suggests it being possible for paper bags to be heavy. Well, we tried to. I even crawled inside the piano at the end. We should have brought Rolf Harris in to give it a bit of “Sun Arise” but I didn’t get to meet him till a full 18 years later at the Ronno memorial gig. What on earth was he doing there anyway?

Anyone who heard Steeleye Span’s “Gaudete” (1972) will I am sure be mightily impressed by how accurately in “Golders Green” we spoofed the lyrics, which were: “Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine” (the internet comes in handy when you need useless info like this in about 5 seconds flat, what?). The ending is of course, pure Goons.

The Spook Meets The Gook” is for Chas Dickens who wrote very evocatively, don’t you think? Why haven’t any of the Scrooge movies been as spine-chillingly eerie as this brilliant Radio 3 style dramatic performance? Dickens, of course, wrote some of his books in the famous “Bleak House”, which is situated in none other than the cozy old resort town of – Broadstairs.

The bonus track on this illustrious release, “Drat!” is a career highlight, a very fine stab at manic shouty punk we did that was actually released as a 45rpm single back in the day (true). It’s not been reissued since then – and frankly why not??

“Listening to these recordings has brought pleasure and some sadness: the former for the fun we had, the latter for my being the last man standing.  But I am so glad we did it!

“So, Happy Christmas, one and all!”

Morgan Fisher, Tokyo, November 15th 2023

More information on this release  via this link