Features, Yestalgia

Buy Both, and Feel Deceived: A Look At 10 Unreleased Smiths Songs

It has been an intensely gloomy week here in Baltimore – rain, cold weather, and a general sense of malaise. If my social media is any indication, this has spread across the rest of the country like a morose heatwave. So I ask you to embrace the sulk and enjoy these ten Smiths/Morrissey outtakes that should have been officially released but never were.

This early take on “Frankly, Mr. Shankly” features a more prominent bass and a horn player.

A demo of the classic “Ask” that is superior to the actual single release in every possible way. Drums! Bass! A reminder that The Smiths were a rock band above all else.

This version of “Sheila, Take a Bow” features heavier guitars from Marr and a sitar. It annoyed Morrissey enough to merit a mention in his autobiography, so you know it’s good.

Calling it “reggae” might be pushing it a bit, but this demo of “Girlfriend in a Coma” is a fascinating listen.

This alternate take of “Never Had No One Ever” only leaked a few months ago, and is a masterpiece. Includes a jazz trumpet and intense moaning (and laughing!) from Moz. What else is in the vault?

Yes, they recorded a studio version of “Is It Really So Strange.” It lacks the energy of the Louder Than Bombs Peel Session take, but could have easily received a single release.

Here’s a rough demo of “Rusholme Ruffians” that allows a look at the Morrissey/Marr creative process. It threatens to go off the rails a few times but never does. Someone falls in love, someone’s beaten up, etc.

Let’s spend a little time with Johnny and “I Misses You.” This instrumental supposedly had lyrics written for them but never recorded, because life is unfair. Enjoy the jangle.

The fact that “Rank” is the only official live document of The Smiths is a shame – it’s a fine show but doesn’t capture a lot of their early energy. This intense performance is from a California show in 1986, and features Moz having a meltdown at the security guards before going right back into the song. There was always a sense of danger to the band, and it’s present here.

Closing with Morrissey’s solo career – this legendary Malajusted outtake called “Kit” only leaked late last year and features him at his absolute best. Hurry up and listen before it gets taken down!

BONUS EXTRA TRACK / TACKY BADGE:

“Rubber Ring” and “Asleep” have been released many, many times. However, the original 12″ single featured the two tracks segued together to form one long piece of music. It’s brilliant and exists nowhere outside of the original record. A kind soul took the two tracks and remastered them so you can listen online. Go ahead, lay in awe on the bedroom floor. You’ve earned it.

May 18, 2016

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Christopher Busch Writer, napper, obscure reference maker.


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