It’s Better Than Working

Released November 1976

Private Stock PVLP1011

Produced by Pip Williams

  1. It Don’t Mean A Thing (Stiles/Davis)
    Lead vocal by Ray Stiles
    Synth by Andy Ball
    Electric Sitar by Rob Davis
    Rice Shaker by Pip Williams

  2. Beating Round The Bush (Stiles/Davis)
    Air powered, abrasive percussion chamber designed, built and programmed by Pete Tattersall (Strawbery)
    Electric piano by Andy Ball
    Communist slide guitar by Rob Davis
    Breathing by Christine Hope
  3. I’ve Got A Song (Stiles/Davis)
    Electric piano by Pete Wingfield
    Leslie guitar by Rob Davis
  4. Sweet and Sour Lady (Williams/Hutchings)
    Electric piano and clavinet by Andy Ball
    Electric sitar by Pip Williams
    Chinese cymbals and gongs by Dave Mount
  5. All I’ve Got To Give (Stiles/Davis)
    Lead vocals by Ray Stiles
    Piano and synth by Andy Ball
    Additional synth by Pip Williams
    Voice box by Rob Davis
  6. Nite On The Tiles (Stiles/Davis)
    Hammond by Andy Ball
  7. How Many Times? (Mount/Blakely)
    Hammond by Andy Ball
  8. Don’t Talk To Me (Stiles/Davis)
    Piano by Pete Wingfield
    Bass voice by Ray Stiles
  9. Blagging Boogie Blues (Ball/Coates)
    Piano and synths by Andy Ball
  10. Vambo Rools (Williams/Hutchings)
    All synths by Andy Ball
    Voice box by Rob Davis
  11. Moving On (Stiles/Davis/Dunning)
    Piano by Pete Wingfield
    Bass synth by Pip Williams



Les Gray - lead vocals, vocal backings and vocal overdubs

Dave Mount - drums and backing vocals

Ray Stiles - bass guitar, backing vocals, bass and falsetto vocal overdubs

Rob Davis - guitars, vocal backings, falsetto vocal overdubs

Sleeve Notes

Album recorded between March and September 1976 at Roundhouse Studios, Strawberry Studios, IBC Studio, Audio International, The Manor, Konk Studios, Marquee Studios.

With thanks to:
Barry Dunning for signing the cheques
Phil Beryl Bowdrey for getting it all together
Dave Hammy Hulme and John Reg Vahey for unlimited electronic and technical know how
Steve Ronnie Rayment for devotion to duty
Gerry Geggs Hope for a zillion cups of tea and coffee

Extra thanks:
Trev the tea, Pete De Silva, Keith the car, Greg the wipe, Tony the tape, Cathy the inspiration

Used in recording:
9 amps - Acoustinc Fender, Vox
19 guitars - Fender, Gibson, Hayman, Tamaha
Drums - Ludwig, Arbiter Autotune, Evans head
Keyboards - Fender, Warlitzer, Hohner, Moog
Effects Units - all MXR

Album Engineered by:
Mark Dearney, John Eden, Nick Ryan, Pete Tattersall, Mike Claydon, Roger Wake


My review

MUD’s second album for Private Stock, It’s Better Than Working, was recorded at a number of sessions around the UK between March and September 1976. Taking over production was former Jimmy James guitarist Pip Williams. Although he is better known as the producer of some of Status Quo’s post ’76 albums, during the 1970s he also worked with Phil Wainman and Chinn and Chapman, playing on the first Sweet and MUD singles.

A change of producer brought a change of style. With one exception, It’s Better Than Working has a much lighter and funkier feel than their previous three releases. The album also featured Ray Stiles on lead vocals for two of the albums 11 tracks - “It Don’t Mean A Thing” and “All I’ve Got To Give”.

The production and writing are smooth and accomplished, but the album lacks the sense of fun that had become MUDs trademark. It is also the only MUD album not to feature any covers of ’60s hits.

That aside, It’s Better Than Working is an excellent album, with a good mix of moods and sounds. Andy Ball is still there on Keyboards, joined by Pip Williams on electric sitar (“Sweet and Sour Lady”) and Pete Wingfield on piano.

Probably the most intriguing track is “Beating Round The Bush” which features an “Air powered, abrasive percussion chamber designed, built and programmed” by Pete Tattersall at Strawberry Studios in Manchester. “Breathing” is credited to Christine Hope!

The album contains only one all-out rocker - “Nite On The Tiles” - which was the first of two tracks to be issued as singles.

Although it is not their best album, It’s Better Than Working, with its cleaner production and funkier sound is as good a pop album as your are likely to find.

Lows: Lack of fun.


Album Lyrics


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