Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The MB Reader > Album Reviews
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-28-2010, 07:11 AM   #31 (permalink)
Moper
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Default

Next up, The Troy Tate Sessions.
The Fascinating Turnip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2010, 06:50 AM   #32 (permalink)
Groupie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 32
Default

This Charming Man wasn't originally on the album, it's only been tagged on for the re-issues (same as How Soon Is Now wasn't on Meat Is Murder).

The Smiths debut has it's moments but they were a band who did the inverted V in terms of musical progression, starting off, getting better, peaking in roughly the middle of their career and then going down again.

I'd go as far as to say that many of these songs were done better before or after the release of the album.

The single version of 'Hand In Glove' is far superior to the album cut, tracks like 'You've Got Everything Now' and 'Reel Around The Fountain' were better in their BBC sessions form and I've always much preferred the live version of 'Still Ill' from 'Rank' where Morrissey really gets much more emotion in his voice.
__________________
Music and Reviews by Aswad Vogelenzang. DOWNLOAD THE NEW JAN - MAR 2010 MIX AT http://unnaturalconducts.wordpress.com/
Aswad Vogelenzang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2010, 07:43 AM   #33 (permalink)
Moper
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aswad Vogelenzang View Post
This Charming Man wasn't originally on the album, it's only been tagged on for the re-issues (same as How Soon Is Now wasn't on Meat Is Murder).
I stand corrected. It was really a crass mistake to make, I could have easily found that information on Wikipedia.

Quote:
The Smiths debut has it's moments but they were a band who did the inverted V in terms of musical progression, starting off, getting better, peaking in roughly the middle of their career and then going down again.

I'd go as far as to say that many of these songs were done better before or after the release of the album.

The single version of 'Hand In Glove' is far superior to the album cut, tracks like 'You've Got Everything Now' and 'Reel Around The Fountain' were better in their BBC sessions form and I've always much preferred the live version of 'Still Ill' from 'Rank' where Morrissey really gets much more emotion in his voice.
While I admit I haven't listened to the single version of "Hand In Glove" (and I'd quite like to, heard wonders of the 7'' version) or the BBC sessions rendition of the aforementioned songs, I find these claims entirely subjective. Not only that, I find the Rank version of Still Ill dreadful, so I'm having trouble understanding your point.

I shall post the Troy Tate Sessions review shortly.
The Fascinating Turnip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2010, 09:49 AM   #34 (permalink)
Moper
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Default

The Troy Tate Sessions



It was mid 1983 and the band was preparing their first release, The Smiths.
As advised by Geoff Travis, head of Rough Trade Records (their label), they sought for the production skills of Troy Tate. A month passed and they had already recorded 14 songs.
In August 1983, while recording a BBC session, they met producer John Porter, who, after listening to a cassette of the sessions, offered his services to the band; labeling the aforementioned version “out of tune and out of time”.
The band accepted and the album took the form we know today, having been released in February 1984.

So what was the first version like?
Well the sound, tracklist, title and track lengths are the main differences, though the last one bears little significance:

The Smiths (John Porter)



1 – Reel Around The Fountain - 5:57
2 – You’ve Got Everything Now - 4:00
3 – Miserable Lie 4:28
4 – Pretty Girls Make Graves - 3:44
5 – The Hand That Rocks The Cradle - 4:39
6 – This Charming Man - 2:43
7 – Still Ill - 3:21
8 – Hand In Glove - 3:23
9 – What Difference Does It Make - 3:50
10 – I Don’t Owe You Anything - 4:05
11 – Suffer Little Children 5:28


The Smiths/ The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (Troy Tate)



1 – Reel Around The Fountain - 6:05
2 – You’ve Got Everything Now - 4:18
3 – Miserable Lie - 4:42
4 – These Things Take Time - 2:42
5 – Wonderful Woman 3:21
6 – Handsome Devil - 2:52
7 – Suffer Little Children - 5:42
8 – Pretty Girls Make Graves - 3:39
9 - Hand In Glove - 3:22
10 – What Difference Does It Make - 4:03
11 – I Don’t Owe You Anything - 4:27
12 – Jeane - 3:04


The main differences in the tracklist, as you can see above, are the exclusion of tracks like The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, This Charming Man and Still Ill on the original recording, which had their place taken by These Things Take Time, Wonderful Woman, Handsome Devil and Jeane.

Despite being fond of all the tracks in both of these recordings, there are some that I’m bound to enjoy less than others: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and These Things Take Time are examples of these songs. I’m just a tad indifferent towards them; they’re not unpleasant yet they don’t seem to stand out much.

That said, I find the insertion of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle in the John Porter version rather useless . However, adding Still Ill and This Charming Man was quite ingenious, as both of these tracks are undoubtedly highlights in my book.

Even though it doesn’t have the characteristic mouth organ intro at this stage, Still Ill has the fast, yet not agressive guitarwork, the lyrics and the voice that make it undeniably great:

“I decree today that life
Is simply taking and not giving
England is mine - it owes me a living
But ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye

(...)


Under the iron bridge we kissed
And although I ended up with sore lips
It just wasn't like the old days anymore

(...)

For there are brighter sides to life
And I should know, because I've seen them
But not very often ...

(...)

Am I still Ill?”


It’s really a song that urges me to sing it loudly and theatrically, to what’s probably the shock, dismay and horror of others.

On a different note, Handsome Devil, Wonderful Woman and Jeane are tracks I feel shouldn’t have been scrapped;
(I shall discuss Handsome Devil on another occasion, so as not to make this terribly heavy).
Wonderful Woman has a fantastic touch of dark humour to its lyrics, which coupled with what I consider a distinct vocal performance on Morrissey’s behalf, make for a fantastic song:

“Here her head, she lay
Until she'd rise and say :
"I'm starved of mirth;
Let's go and trip a dwarf"

Oh, what to be done with her ?
What to be done with her ?
Oh ...


Ice water for blood
With neither heart or spine
And then just, and then just
To pass time; let us go and rob the blind”


Terribly gloomy, and quite depressing, it doesn’t lack the wit that effectively counters the song’s original dramatic weight.

Jeane reflects Morrissey’s interest in kitchen sink dramas quite obviously, with lyrics reflecting nothern english working class situations and ideals:

“Jeane
There's ice on the sink where we bathe
So how can you call this a home
When you know it's a grave ?”


The whole sound of the original recording is much more lo-fi than the one we’re used to.
Johnny Marr’s guitar tends to blend with Morrissey’s vocals, or perhaps even stand out comparatively; while improvisational hints surface now and then.
The tracks all sound a bit more “full”, sluggish and perhaps distant. That isn’t to say it’s bad at all, it’s what it is, an alternative version.

Reel Around The Fountain benefits from the lo-fi sound, it makes the track warmer, though not necessarily better than the original.

This is a recurrent feeling for me: while listening to both versions of most of the songs, I can’t decide make up my mind concerning the one I enjoy the most.

What Difference Does It Make reveals itself a bit rawer, angrier, with background vocals accompanying "The devil will find work...", which is something I found quite pleasant. I feel they add a certain emotion to a song that’s already extremely emotional:

“All men have secrets and here is mine
So let it be known
For we have been through hell and high tide
I think I can rely on you ...
And yet you start to recoil
Heavy words are so lightly thrown
But still I'd leap in front of a flying bullet for you"


Miserable Lie is hardly different from the most popular version, yet Morrissey’s voice seems to be amidst a sea of guitars, and more or less in the middle of the track you can hear Johnny Marr taking his liberties with said instrument. While I’m not sure if that’s something I’d associate with their general sound, I find it adds to the speed and general mood of the track. A refreshing addition, really.
It remains a fantastic song with highlight lyrics, full of resentment and desperation:

"So, goodbye
Please stay with your own kind
And I'll stay with mine
(...)

I know I need hardly say
How much I love your casual way
Oh, but please put your tongue away
A little higher and we're well away
The dark nights are drawing in
And your humour is as black as them
I look at yours, you laugh at mine
And "love" is just a miserable lie
You have destroyed my flower-like life
Not once - twice
You have corrupt my innocent mind
Not once - twice
I know the wind-swept mystical air
It means : I'd like to see your underwear
I recognise that mystical air
It means : I'd like to seize your underwear
What do we get for our trouble and pain ?
Just a rented room in Whalley Range
What do we get for our trouble and pain ?
...Whalley Range !
Into the depths of the criminal world
I followed her ...

I need advice, I need advice
I need advice, I need advice
Nobody ever looks at me twice
Nobody ever looks at me twice "


Hand In Glove: utterly romantic, passionate, and pessimistic; a song about a strong love that survives petty things like prejudice and poverty, but is plagued by pessimism. I think I miss Morrissey's voice being on the "front row" on this one, though:

"Hand in glove
The sun shines out of our behinds
No, it's not like any other love
This one is different - because it's us

Hand in glove
We can go wherever we please
And everything depends upon
How near you stand to me

And if the people stare
Then the people stare
Oh, I really don't know and I really don't care

Kiss My Shades ... oh ...

Hand in glove
The Good People laugh
Yes, we may be hidden by rags
But we've something they never have

Hand in glove
The sun shines out of our behinds
Yes, we may be hidden by rags
But we've something they never have

And if the people stare
Then the people stare
Oh, I really don't know and I really don't care

Kiss My Shades ... oh ...

So, hand in glove I stake my claim
I'll fight to the last breath

If they dare touch a hair on your head
I'll fight to the last breath

For the Good Life is out there somewhere
So stay on my arm, you little charmer

But I know my luck too well
Yes, I know my luck too well
And I'll probably never see you again"


In this version a certain instrument complements the outro beautifully, which I find in the John Porter one is the harmonica. I'm not sure what this one is though, it sounds like the harmonica but a bit more mysterious and drowned in the whole song.

The original version of Suffer Little Children sounds a bit more "disturbed", sickly, if you will; perhaps due to the extra janglyness of Marr's guitar. Morrissey's vocals aren't quite as powerful on this version, which I feel is a bit of a disappointment, along with the fact that it isn't the ending track. I enjoy the short piano outro though, which is sweet and innocent in a childish way.

It's always refreshing, listening to a different version of something you already know; unless it's ghastly and puts you in a terrible mood.
This version, however, definitely worked for me, and I appreciate the rawness, sometimes agressiveness, of the tracks, though I might prefer some of the John Porter versions.

The cover I used for the original release is most certainly not accurate, but I fear I'm not sure which one it is.

Added to the main differences, there are small changes in the lyrics and in the way they're sung.
The Fascinating Turnip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2010, 09:58 AM   #35 (permalink)
Moper
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Default

Here are some of the featured tracks:

Reel Around The Fountain:



Miserable Lie:



Wonderful Woman:



Suffer Little Children:


Hand In Glove:



Jeane:



Didn't add What Difference Does It Make because the video had terrible sound quality.
The Fascinating Turnip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 09:45 AM   #36 (permalink)
Melancholia Eternally
 
Mojo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: England
Posts: 4,922
Default

This is your best review yet I think mate. Well done.

Still Ill is one of my favourite Smiths tracks and I also really like Handsome Devil, i feel it was strong enough to make the cut myself.

Keep up the good work.
__________________

Last.FM | Blank Slate | Echoes and Dust
Mojo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 12:16 PM   #37 (permalink)
Moper
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojopinuk View Post
This is your best review yet I think mate. Well done.

Still Ill is one of my favourite Smiths tracks and I also really like Handsome Devil, i feel it was strong enough to make the cut myself.

Keep up the good work.
Thanks.
I really enjoy Handsome Devil too, but I felt I should adress that track when I discuss Hatful Of Hollow.
The Fascinating Turnip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2010, 02:41 PM   #38 (permalink)
Account Disabled
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Scotland
Posts: 4,355
Default

A good read looking forward to your next one!
James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2010, 01:29 PM   #39 (permalink)
Moper
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Default

Next up, Hatful Of Hollow!
The Fascinating Turnip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2010, 07:43 PM   #40 (permalink)
Moper
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Default

The Smiths - Hatful Of Hollow






1. William, It Was Really Nothing 2:09
2. What Difference Does It Make? 3:11
3. These Things Take Time 2:32
4. This Charming Man 2:42
5. How Soon Is Now? 6:44
6. Handsome Devil 2:47
7. Hand in Glove 3:13
8. Still Ill 3:32
9. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now 3:33
10. This Night Has Opened My Eyes 3:39
11. You've Got Everything Now 4:18
12. Accept Yourself 4:01
13. Girl Afraid 2:48
14. Back to the Old House 3:02
15. Reel Around the Fountain 5:51
16. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want 1:50



Hatful Of Hollow is a compilation album released in 1984 by Rough Trade, just months after their self-titled debut.
Comprised of two BBC Sessions, some then recent single tracks and a previously unreleased This Night Has Opened My Eyes, it charted at No. 7 in the UK album charts, and is quite frankly a mother of a blowout, if I may be so bold.
The tracklist represents The Smiths' early period quite exceptionally, with a selection of songs that yield little to no dull moments.
Some of the tunes I've covered earlier have only been slightly altered for this compilation, Still Ill gained its notorious intro and Reel Around The Fountain sounds a tad more glossy, perfected, which may or not be to your liking.

It begins quite smoothly with the immensely fun William, It Was Really Nothing. An acoustic guitar leads us into an upbeat track with grey, rainy imagery; endearing and vulnerable melancholy and delightfully fun wit:

The rain falls hard on a humdrum town
This town has dragged you down

(...)

Oh, no, and everybody's got to live their life
And God knows I've got to live mine

(...)
William, William it was really nothing

(...)

It was your life ...

How can you stay with a fat girl who'll say :
"Oh ! Would you like to marry me ?
"And if you like you can buy the ring"
She doesn't care about anything
Would you like to marry me ?
And if you like you can buy the ring
I don't dream about anyone - except myself !
Oh, William, William it was really nothing
William, William


There's something about the plump young lady imposing herself on "William" that I find terribly amusing. Of course, it's merely a satirization, and the person advising said "William" seems to be behaving like a scorned woman, jealous, perhaps of the whole relationship; which can be directly interpreted from the line "I don't dream about anyone - except myself", that presents us with some quite whimsical narcissism.
Again I'd like to point out the connection with Oscar Wilde. To me this resembles to a great degree a conversation between Lord Henry Wotton and Dorian Gray, in which Lord Henry Wotton blemishes the object of Dorian's love.

After this treat follows a myriad of fantastic tracks, with How Soon is Now? and its beginning riff standing out quite obstreperously, and its once again sensational, insightful; dare I say autobiographical lyrics:


I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir
Oh, of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way ?
I am Human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

There's a club, if you'd like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home, and you cry
And you want to die

When you say it's gonna happen "now"
Well, when exactly do you mean ?
See I've already waited too long
And all my hope is gone

What can I say? This is an anthem to every troubled wallflower or socially challenged teenager out there. The fact that it's so genuine is definitely moving, and you can see there's a certain dichotomy, with two sides presenting themselves: an angry one - which reflects on the sound of the whole song - and a soft, vulnerable side showing itself in its entirety. There's no hiding of flaws here.

Another track I find particularly amusing, and which I haven't discussed earlier on so as not to make these reviews too long is Handsome Devil.
This song is fantastic when it comes to the music: Once again we're presented with an upbeat track that seems angry at the world, and which has that fast paced guitar that doesn't fail to please.
The lyrics on this one, though, while terribly amusing and quite catchy at some points were rather controversial and I think you'll understand why:

All the streets are crammed with things
Eager to be held
I know what hands are for
And I'd like to help myself
You ask me the time
But I sense something more
And I would like to give you
What I think you're asking for
You handsome devil
Oh, you handsome devil

Let me get my hands
On your mammary glands
And let me get your head
On the conjugal bed
I say, I say, I say

I crack the whip
And you skip
But you deserve it
You deserve it, deserve it, deserve it

A boy in the bush
Is worth two in the hand
I think I can help you get through your exams
Oh, you handsome devil

And when we're in your scholarly room
Who will swallow whom ?
When we're in your scholarly room
Who will swallow whom ?
You handsome devil


There's more to life than books, you know
But not much more
Oh, there's more to life than books, you know
But not much more, not much more


It seems to be a rather predatorial song, agressive, forceful, as you can judge by the rough, blunt lyrics.
It might be an attempt at a caricature of the typical male role, or as my dear friend Paloma suggested, a tale of an attempt at assuming such a role, and in my opinion failing, as whimsical lines such as: "Let me get my hands on your mammary glands" suggest, revealing a slight awkwardness.
The school theme that shows up seems to bring up the subject of youth, inserting all of the aforementioned opinions in a rather youthful scenario, wich again is quite Wildesque.
All in all, the subject of the song ends up looking rather pathetic, yet human, as a lot of us are, which makes it all the more captivating.

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now is one of their most famous tunes as well, I believe.
Smooth, charming, perhaps most likely to be sung by the quiet man in the corner gazing at his shoes and tremulously grasping his beverage; it's a marvellous track that once again yielded an anthem for troubled souls:


"I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour
But heaven knows I'm miserable now

I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I'm miserable now

In my life
Why do I give valuable time
To people who don't care if I live or die ?

Two lovers entwined pass me by
And heaven knows I'm miserable now

What she asked of me at the end of the day
Caligula would have blushed

"You've been in the house too long" she said
And I (naturally) fled"

In my life
Why do I smile
At people who I'd much rather kick in the eye ?"

This is one of the few examples some people would just write off as whining; but I myself find it utterly charming, and relate to it heavily (I suppose that makes me a whiner).
He's surrounded by people he doesn't like and by things he wants and doesn't have, and it all seems rather unfair.
On the other hand, note how the lyrics could easily be a jab at people who at the time already considered them miserabilists. It's the wit people sometimes miss, and by relating to the theme too much, I admit I initially missed the humorous side of the lyrics too.

Accept Yourself
is a rather average musical arrangement, though it has interesting lyrics dealing with (as the title suggests) the acceptance of one's self.

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want is almost too sweet, with its tender acoustic guitar ringing in the background while Morrissey delivers a charming vocal performance. It seems endearing enough to put a small child to sleep with its innocent lyrics and a dream-like outro which sounds like the work of a balalaika, if I'm not mistaken:

"Good times for a change
See, the luck I've had
Can make a good man
Turn bad

So please please please
Let me, let me, let me
Let me get what I want
This time

Haven't had a dream in a long time
See, the life I've had
Can make a good man bad

So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows, it would be the first time"

A perfect ending for a marvellous compilation.

Last edited by The Fascinating Turnip; 05-17-2010 at 07:39 AM.
The Fascinating Turnip is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2019 Advameg, Inc.

SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.