A GUEST POSTING FROM DAVE GLICKMAN
For the second OCD EP, I have chosen The Smiths. Maybe I went a bit overboard with the foreshadowing in the previous installment, but I’ll leave that type of literary analysis to future generations of academics who choose to study the golden age of indie music blogging.
A much more challenging task to narrow things down this time, as over the years, quite a bit of previously unreleased material has been “leaked” on the internet – a couple sets of recordings from the aborted Troy Tate sessions for the debut album, unreleased BBC radio sessions, and various demos, outtakes and alternative versions of songs spanning the lifetime of the band. Everything in my Smiths’ library is generally accessible on the internet, so if you are hoping for A Matter of Opinion or the complete version of I Want a Boy for My Birthday, then I am sorry to disappoint you. For the most part, in what follows, I’ve chosen to focus on what I find interesting, not necessarily most enjoyable or better than the official released versions.
1. Accept Yourself (Troy Tate alternate vocal and piano version)
In his book “The Songs That Saved Your Life,” Simon Goddard mentions two different versions of Accept Yourself from the Troy Tate debut album sessions. Of this second version we have here, he says:
“…the second version being particularly impressive with its staccato rock ‘n’ roll piano punches during the pre-chorus breakdowns, Morrissey’s doubled vocal and some enlivening falsetto shrieks.”
There is certainly something to the piano work that could have found its way into later versions, but obviously didn’t. As for the alternative vocals, I suspect everyone involved was comfortable moving in a different direction.
2. The Queen Is Dead (original unedited version)
To be consistent with the overall theme of this EP, I should really put the trumpet version of Frankly, Mr. Shankly here. However, while unique, I just don’t find it that interesting a listen. So instead, here is the complete, high octane version of TQID, before the decision was made to trim it down a bit for the album. It’s all the greatness you’ve come to expect from the song, with 17% more free!
3. Never Had No One Ever (studio outtake)
It’s not that I don’t like the album version of this song, it’s just that I Know It’s Over is a very tough act to follow. However, when I first heard this version with the extended trumpet solo and Morrissey’s moans and laughing, it was a complete revelation. There was a bluesy lounge song hidden there all this time just waiting to get out. This is one case where I think the alternative version (fully worked up) might actually have worked well in place of the official album track.
4. Sheila Take A Bow (original John Porter version)
I don’t really have anything to add to Analog Loyalist’s notes from when this track originally leaked:
“One of the more famous episodes in Smiths session history, this song was originally produced by John Porter, signed, sealed and delivered, ready to go. Then for whatever reason the band had a rethink, decamped to another studio with Stephen Street, and re-recorded the song (sampling some of Porter’s guitar work in the process, to save time – which miffed Porter, understandably, since they never asked for permission).
This original version is much more jangly, with Porter on emulated sitar, while the final Street take is all T.Rex‘ed out. Marr’s zingy guitars are all over the stereo field and it’s really a wonderful recording. It’s almost as if Porter knew this was the last time he’d be working with the band (it was), so he had Marr lay down 30 times more guitars than normal as a parting gift.”
5. Girlfriend In A Coma (early take)
It’s the Bob Marley version.