Another very unexpected e-mail. Some of you will recall Dave Glickman came up with a great idea in May 2016 for the OCD EPs which he again explains in his intro to today’s piece.
Over the next few months he supplied the blog with such EPs for Father Sculptor, The Smiths, Gene and Joe Strummer, the last of which was some eleven months ago. He’s come back and decided to feature Morrissey, without doubt the most featured artiste within this small corner of the internet but somone I have been avoiding in recent months as my own silent protest at some of the stupid and offensive things he’s been uttering around politics and race. But, I’ve always said that guest postings will be taken for what they are, regardless of my own thoughts on the singer/band, and besides, what comes is, again, of a very high quality. Here’s David to say more…..
OCD #5 : THE RARELY PLAYED SYMPHONIES
Well, after a rather extended hiatus, I am back with another installment in this series. Admittedly, the public clamoring over the past year for more has been less than deafening. However, I have only two more collections in my library that warrant this treatment and, after all, the series is about obsession and compulsion, isn’t it?
For newer Vinyl Villain readers and long-timers for whom the earlier posts had no lasting memorable impact, here’s a bit of repeat from what came before:
“And then one day, you just have to have it all…
I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I come across a band where I eventually decide that I have to get my hands on everything they ever recorded. It usually starts innocently enough – one album purchased on iTunes or a couple of songs downloaded from my favorite indie music blog. Perhaps I’ll find a b-side collection on a fan site and pick out a few favorites or come across a video of a particularly stellar radio or television broadcast. And then suddenly, the obsession kicks in. What else in their catalog is still purchasable? Where can I find the best quality rips of those broadcasts? And, by god, why didn’t I download all those b-sides when I had the chance?
With all this in mind… the OCD EPs are intended to be short collections of the best or most interesting obscure, off the beaten track songs that only the most ardent and obsessed fans might be familiar with and have in their libraries.”
Today’s selection is in honor of the boys and girl from WYCRA and in memory of their dearly departed blog. After all, it was their policy of deducting Saturday Song Challenge points for any and all mentions of The Smiths or Morrissey that finally motivated me to pick up my pen again and get on with it.
1. Striptease With A Difference (outtake)
At an earlier point, there was quite a bit of unreleased material from the Viva Hate and Bona Drag sessions. However, over the years, most of it has been released as b-sides or bonus tracks on album reissues. This would be the exception. Striptease is a rather witty lyric about Moz hoping to lose a game of strip poker over music that, to be honest, is nothing to write home about. Surely though, it can’t be worse than Get Off The Stage, can it?
2. Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself (alternate electric studio outtake)
One of my favorites in the entire solo catalogue, there really isn’t a bad version of this song. While the acoustic album version is in keeping with the overall mood of Vauxhall & I, the band also did a few amped-up takes. There are several electric versions floating around the internet, but this fairly recent leak is my favorite.
3. It’s Hard To Walk Tall When You’re Small (Maladjusted b-side session version)
There is a track of the same name officially released as a b-side to the Irish Blood, English Heart single and later collected on Swords. However, this is something rather different. Apparently, seven years earlier Moz tried similar, though not exactly the same, lyrics over a ballad written by Spencer Cobrin. Quite an interesting find!
For reference: It’s Hard To Walk Tall When You’re Small (official version)
4. I’m Playing Easy To Get (BBC Radio Session)
From Passions Just Like Mine: “This song must have been written at some point in 2004. Its only confirmed studio recording is Morrissey’s appearance on Janice Long’s radio programme on BBC2, on 17 December 2004….A proper studio version was allegedly recorded at the end of 2004 alongside material meant to be used for b-sides on the “I Like You” single (which ended up being shelved).”
I absolutely adore this song and its twisted take on playing hard to get. In my view, the track actually has a-side potential, though obviously Moz does not agree as he hasn’t even released this radio session version. Now, if only I could get my time machine to work, I’d be heading back to Los Angeles on November 12, 2004 for its one and only live outing.
5. Sweetie-Pie (Michael Farrell version)
As I understand the story, Morrissey and the band worked on this ballad for quite a while during the Ringleader sessions but were never able to put down something they were satisfied with. Instead, the decision was made to cover it over with noise and additional vocals by Kristeen Young (just another term for “noise”) and release it as a b-side. While some people consider the officially released version to be some sort of avant-garde masterpiece, I am not one of them.
In any case, Michael Farrell took the tapes home, kept working on the song and then played his version on a radio program in 2009. This new version, which I find superior to the official one in virtually every way, was subsequently leaked on the internet.
6. The Bullfighter Dies (promo video version)
In an ill-fated promotional attempt, Harvest produced a number of spoken word videos to accompany the release of World Peace Is None Of Your Business. No doubt, these must have played some role in the subsequent falling out between Moz and the record label which led to the severing of their relationship and the eventual deletion of the album from the catalog.
While the sound from most of these videos is hardly worth your attention, the spoken word version of The Bullfighter Dies is the exception. Backed by muted trumpet and piano, Moz brings out a deeper, more serious emotional tone to the lyrics.