Thursday, March 10, 2011

ET(aatb) 07: RTT166 "William, It Was Really Nothing"



[Link removed 20 November 2012] (52 MB)
"William, It Was Really Nothing"
Rough Trade RTT166
Produced by John Porter
July 1984

Tracks:

1 William, It Was Really Nothing
2 How Soon Is Now?
3 Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
4 How Soon Is Now? (withdrawn alternate mix)


Sources:

1-3 from
"William, It Was Really Nothing" (RTT 166CD, fall 1988)
4 from
"William, It Was Really Nothing" (Italy, Virgin VINX71 12" single, 1984)(thanks to Steve)

Restoration:

Gentle EQ as needed, a smidgen of tasteful noise reduction if required, and very cautious, gentle peak limiting.

Artwork for this, and every other release we'll be featuring, was sourced from the amazing
Vulgar Picture treasure trove of sleeve artwork scans (with permission).

Notes:

If this record was all the Smiths ever released as a band, they'd be legendary. This 3-track 12" collects three, easily, of the best songs ever written and performed by the band.

"William, It Was Really Nothing" is all a modern pop single isn't. There's no chorus, really - or should it be said the chorus lasts for 2/3 of the song? It's a hair over 2 minutes long, it's quick and to-the-point. The entire song nearly sums up Johnny Marr's passion for guitars. A real gem.

"How Soon Is Now?" - well,
there's nothing I can add about this song that isn't already legendary. It's a shame this was initially wasted on a B-side, though the label did come to its senses (far too late, it must be said) eventually and properly released this some months later as an A-side in its own right.

"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" - the final track on the original single - is, along with "How Soon Is Now?", a contender for many fans' favorite Smiths track of all time. The late American "Brat Pack" movie director John Hughes loved it so much, he used it twice in his 1980s films - both as the Smiths original, and as a cover by the Dream Academy. Many had their first exposure to this track via the
Pretty In Pink soundtrack LP (including yours truly), and it only grew from there.

The Italians, when given the masters for their own local release of this 12" single, somehow got their reels confused and initially released a highly unique rough mix of "How Soon Is Now?" instead of the final, approved take. While it doesn't start off terribly different (the guitars are mixed differently, but that's about it in the first quarter of the song), it quickly devolves into a most unique version. Moz gets to exercise his moaning organ a bit, and there's a great bit where the band comes to a complete stop with Moz clearly saying "OK?" to producer John Porter, and then a few seconds later the track fades back up to the final closing. There are other vastly different instrumental sections in the latter third of the song that make this a great listen as well. When made aware of their error, the Italians quickly corrected it before too many records hit the shops, and replaced it with the final, approved take.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

ET(aatb) 06: RTT156 "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"



[Link removed 20 November 2012] (49.4 MB)

"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"
Rough Trade RTT156
Produced by John Porter
March 1984

Tracks:

1 Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
2 Girl Afraid
3 Suffer Little Children
4 Girl Afraid (live in Glasgow 2 March 1984)
5 This Night Has Opened My Eyes

** new **
6 Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (12" extended mix)

Sources:

1-3 from
"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" (RTT 156CD, November 1988)
4 from
NME Department of Enjoyment cassette (NME011, 1985, via the bootleg CD Asleep)
5 from
Hatful of Hollow (ROUGHCD76, December 1985)
6 re-edited from 1 based on link shared by a reader

Restoration:

Gentle EQ as needed, a smidgen of tasteful noise reduction if required, and very cautious, gentle peak limiting.

Artwork for this, and every other release we'll be featuring, was sourced from the amazing
Vulgar Picture treasure trove of sleeve artwork scans (with permission).

Notes:

The first Smiths single that earned them their "depressive" tag. Nothing spectacular about this; Marr's summery retro composition of the title track belies the subtle moping humor of Moz's lyric (which was written during a miserable first visit as a band to America for a New Years Eve gig in December 1983). "Girl Afraid" is a better track; in my humble opinion it's lasted better than the A-side. "Suffer Little Children" is simply a reprise of the same track on the debut LP, no more, no less. Due to the exposure this track received because of the relative high chart placing of this single, however, controversy arose due to its subject matter (the Moors Murders) despite the track having been available for some time as the final track on the debut LP.

Track 4 was taken from the bootleg CD
Asleep, part of the Chelsea label's vaunted collection of otherwise-unavailable-and-rare outtakes, BBC sessions, and rare compilation tracks. It's raw and rough, but a nice version of the song.

Track 5 was/is the only officially available version of this track, recorded as part of a Peel Session for the BBC in September 1983, and was first made available on record as part of November 1984's
Hatful of Hollow compilation LP. The studio version (from June 1984) was yet to be recorded at the time of the "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" single release, and did not surface until December 2010 as part of the legendary Demos and Outtakes double LP bootleg.

*** addendum *** 

Thanks to a kind reader who supplied a link to an actual rip (mp3 only) of an actual original-pressing 12" with the rare extended version of "Heaven Knows...", I've uploaded Track 6, a recreation of the same. Really it's only the "In my life..." segment repeated, but it's good to have nonetheless. Link here!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Font?

Does anyone know what font was used for the bold song titles on the Sandie Shaw Hand In Glove and Smiths Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now and William It Was Really Nothing sleeves?

See here.

I was able to fudge it for Hand In Glove but after hours of work I'm giving up on Heaven Knows and I'm going to have to reset the type. I can get close, but can't get it exact, and none of my usual resources are able to identify it.

This is what I get for wanting to show the correct track listing (a la New Order Recycle), as opposed to just faithfully replicating the original sleeve (a la Joy Division Recycle).