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There are several compilations of this great band, but this is the best and the easiest to find, aside from 1976's skimpy Greatest Hits (which it wasn't, because it only focused on their three Columbia albums, and half of its songs came from Mott).

This two-disc compilation is the closest the band has to a boxset, and it contains just about all the Mott a casual fan would ever need to hear. Essentially, it consists of nearly everything they released on Columbia, which means all but two songs from All the Young Dudes, one from Mott, and three M.I.A. from The Hoople.

For the hardcore fans there are a number of B-sides and rarities, of which only "Rose" is worth hearing I.M.H.O. In other words, purchasing this two disc set basically saves you the trouble of buying the three albums mentioned above, since only Mott's "I'm a Cadillac" is a needless deletion.

This is a far from complete retrospective however, since it only contains one song apiece from the Island albums Mott the Hoople, Mad Shadows, Wildlife, and Brain Capers - for a decent overview of that era, both 1990's Walkin' With a Mountain and 1994's Backsliding Fearlessly are good single-disc compilations, and quite generous ones too.

Update: Well, it turns out that like nearly every other band, Mott has now been given the boxset treatment. The three-disc set All The Young Dudes mainly focuses on the Columbia years (1972-74), with the third disc devoted to rarities such as pre-Mott efforts by the various band members.

by Reviewer: Creative Noise

Posted: Monday 20th Oct 2014 3:43 PM

This album heralded the return of one of the most popular characters from Britpop, so I wouldn't expect anything less than a good album from the man who competed with - and beat - Blur and Oasis at their finest. 1995 was Pulp's year, for despite all the headlines that went to Blur and Oasis, Pulp got the outsider's vote, one that sold millions of records.

Guitarist and now solo artist of some note Richard Hawley, and Pulp bassist Steve Mackey, join Cocker here. Jarvis doesn't exactly sound like any Pulp album - the shine of Different Class or His N Hers is entirely absent. The darkness of latter-day Pulp is here though, but only in places. Jarvis reminds me more of earlier non-hit making Pulp, although with the added assuredness that only comes from having 'been there, done that'.

"Fat Children" is an anomaly, in that it sounds like Jarvis Cocker meets indie-luminaries The Wedding Present, but other than that, nothing here would come as a surprise to anybody. So the album's in familiar pop / rock / indie territory - Cocker doesn't come across as any kind of earnest singer/songwriter, the track being a case in point - it's Cocker in full indie-rock mode. That's not a mode that entirely suits him, but the song is such fun if not taken seriously, whereas latter-day Pulp demanded to be taken seriously. Approaching Jarvis in the same way may lead to disappointment.

Just when I think Jarvis is about to lose its way, a run of two or three great songs invariably pops up, the best of which has to be the dark ballad "Disney Time" flowing into "Tonight" flowing into "Big Julie", the latter being the best song here. It's a proper Jarvis Cocker song, one of his character pieces, story-telling using the kind of unlikely small detail that he does so well.

Towards the other end of the album, the crunching chords of "Black Magic" do very well and the song, which I initially disliked, reveals itself to be far cleverer than first listen suggests. The ballads "I Will Kill Again" and "Baby's Coming Back To Me" are superior too, and though the songs inbetween don't always thrill, this is nevertheless a fine album, and certainly better than one or two lesser Pulp albums.

by Reviewer: Adrian Denning

Posted: Monday 20th Oct 2014 5:01 PM