Sunday, November 13, 2011

ET(aatb) 13: RTT192 "Bigmouth Strikes Again"


[Link removed 20 November 2012] (44 MB)

"Bigmouth Strikes Again"
Rough Trade RTT192
Produced by Morrissey and Marr

Engineered by Stephen Street May 1986


Tracks:

1 Bigmouth Strikes Again
2 Money Changes Everything
3 Unloveable
4 Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (Australian unique edit)

Sources:

1 from The Queen Is Dead (ROUGHCD96, June 1986)
2 from The World Won't Listen (WEA 450991898-2, November 1993)
3 from The World Won't Listen (ROUGHCD101, January 1987)
4 from The Queen Is Dead (Australia - Festival D30108, 1988)

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:

And, they're back.

Legal issues having held the band out of the public eye for the greater part of a year, the public thirst for new Smiths product was reaching fever pitch (or so we would have it).

Rough Trade supremo Geoff Travis wanted "There Is A Light" as the lead track premiering the upcoming LP The Queen Is Dead. Johnny wanted this. Johnny won. It's all one could hope for for the first new Smiths record of the year, with Moz throwing up lyrics about Walkmen and melting hearing aids and featuring blisteringly triumphant Marr guitars. Johnny called this single his "Jumping Jack Flash" moment, and it's not hard to see why. Another absolute classic in the canon, and great for drunk singalongs with friends and whisks involved (don't ask...).

"Money Changes Everything" was the second instrumental released by the band, and while not terribly phenomenal (or terribly poor), it is perhaps of greater import that Bryan Ferry would re-christen this as "The Right Stuff" and work it up with Marr post-breakup. It is one of the few Smiths tracks not to see CD release on official Rough Trade product, hence the sourcing from the lesser WEA disc.

According to Simon Goddard, "Unloveable" was short-listed for the LP but left off to include the last-minute-composition "Vicar in a Tutu". Frankly, they shouldn't have bothered, because this wipes the floor with "Vicar". Another classic composition, perhaps featuring the most bleakly ironic Moz lyric "I wear black on the outside, because black is how I feel...on the INSIDE" married to a cloyingly pretty Marr guitar figure. That this was the extra track on the 12" is shameful, but then again, many of this band's all-time classics were the so-called "extra track" on the 12". Such is this band's sheer genius.

The Australians, forever unique they shall be, decided that the reverse fade intro on the closingThe Queen Is Dead track "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" just wasn't their cup of tea, so they chopped the fade intro and did a weird doubling edit of one of the intro phrases at approximately 0:14 into the song. I have no earthly idea why, because I can't imagine the hordes of cries pleading to "fix" the intro of the official "Some Girls..." track. But if nothing else it gave the world a slightly rare curiosity, which is why we chose to feature it here. That all said, this is perhaps Analog Loyalist's favorite piece of Smiths music ever. There is something about the guitars, the emotions within, that really gets into me. There's also no chorus figure to speak of, or, is the entire song a chorus? More Marr genius, I guess. That Moz had to throw this lyric on top just makes the juxtaposition that much greater.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

ET(aatb) 12: RTT191 "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side"


[Link removed 20 November 2012] (32 MB)

"The Boy With The Thorn In His Side"
Rough Trade RTT191
Produced by Morrissey and Marr

Engineered by Stephen Street
September 1985


Tracks:

1 The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
2 Rubber Ring ->
3 Asleep


Source:

All tracks from "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" (RTT 191CD, November 1988)

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 classic single, as it was meant to be heard.

One of the most satisfyingly beautiful melodies ever captured by Johnny Marr, the title track is a clear favorite in the discography. What many people don't realize is that the common version, that on the LP The Queen Is Dead, is muchly embellished from the simpler single version (extra synthetic strings, some guitar overdubs, etc.). Now (even in this blog!) I've been known to be wrong before, but as best as I can determine the only place to get the original single mix was on the actual, you know, single. None of the compilation appearances of this track was the single mix, they all featured the LP version. I can't speak for the recent Rhino singles boxes, but I suspect they too feature the LP mix.

The November 1988 Rough Trade CD single also thankfully featured the single mix, which is what we have here. It's a tossup as to which version is better; the LP mix fits better on the album, but as a standalone track I think I prefer the simplicity of this one.

This same November 1988 Rough Trade CD single is (and I think remains) the only CD source for the wonderful Rubber Ring -> Asleep segue, where the two tracks gracefully segue together. We maintain this segue here. Johnny maintains that the only way to fully appreciate the two pieces of music is to hear them of a piece and I agree: the entirety of the Rubber Ring / Asleep piece is one of the most poignant, beautiful segments of music in the catalog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ET(aatb) 11: RTT186 "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" AKA "Meat Is Murder Live EP"


[Link removed 20 November 2012] (137 MB)

"That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"
Rough Trade RTT186
Produced by The Smiths
(live tracks mixed by Stephen Street)
July 1985

alternate:

"The Headmaster Ritual"
Megadisc MD 125295
Produced by The Smiths
(live tracks mixed by Stephen Street)
early summer 1985

alternate:

"The Headmaster Ritual"
Rough Trade RTT215CD
Produced by The Smiths
(live tracks mixed by Stephen Street)
November 1988

Tracks:

1 That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
2 William, It Was Really Nothing (live)
3 Nowhere Fast (live)
4 Stretch Out And Wait (live)
5 Shakespeare's Sister (live)
6 Meat Is Murder (live)
7 Miserable Lie (live)
8 That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore (7" edit)
9 The Headmaster Ritual

Sources:

1, 9 from Meat Is Murder (UK: ROUGHCD81, April 1985)
2 from Westwood One In Concert New Rock (USA: Westwood One #95-40, September 1995)
3-4, 6 from "The Headmaster Ritual" (UK: Rough Trade RTT215CD, November 1988)
5 from "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" (UK: Rough Trade RTT186 12" single, July 1985)
7 from Rough Trade Compilation (Canada: Rough Trade RTS1986 vinyl LP)
8 edited from 1
Intros and crossfades created from the 2009 Rhino CD Singles Box variant of "That Joke..."

Restoration:

Gentle EQ as needed, a smidgen of tasteful noise reduction if required, and very cautious, gentle peak limiting.
Crossfades and patching galore (see below).

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:

Summer 1985 saw Rough Trade (or the band) proposing a live EP based on the Meat Is MurderUK Spring 1985 tour: the 18 March 1985 Oxford gig was recorded by the BBC and tapes given to Rough Trade to use. Using the RTT186 catalog number, very limited test pressings of the 7" and 12" "Meat Is Murder - Live EP" records were cut. The tracklistings for the proposed releases were as follows:
7" (RT186): Meat Is Murder - Live EP
Meat Is Murder
Nowhere Fast
Stretch Out And Wait

12" (RTT186): Meat Is Murder - Live EP
Meat Is Murder
Nowhere Fast
Stretch Out And Wait
William, It Was Really Nothing
Miserable Lie
For unknown reasons this release was scrapped, with the decision made to pull "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" off the LP as a single, with the live tracks from the Oxford gig used as the B-sides, and the whole package remaining under the root RT(T)186 catalog number. Left behind from the final official product were "William..." and "Miserable Lie", though "Shakespeare's Sister" was added to the package as a consolation gift of sorts. The final tally:
7" (RT186)
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore (edit)
Meat Is Murder (live)
12" (RTT186)
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Nowhere Fast (live)
Stretch Out And Wait (live)
Shakespeare's Sister (live)
Meat Is Murder (live)
Meanwhile, the Europeans via Megadisc decided to use an alternate sleeve with an alternate A-side, though kept the 12" B-sides, and released "The Headmaster Ritual" at roughly the same time. The alternate sleeve remains a classic sleeve in the canon, hence the reason for including it here.

In 1988 Rough Trade began releasing, in haphazard fashion, the band's 12" back catalog on CD single. The rarest of these - RTT215CD using "The Headmaster Ritual" as the "A-side" with 3 of the 4 live tracks from the RTT186 12" as B-sides ("Nowhere Fast" / "Stretch Out..." / "Meat Is Murder") - was quickly withdrawn as the cover star quickly protested use of the artwork, so only a handful made it out to collectors. Again, its rarity (and classicism as cover art) warrants its inclusion here.

Finally, in 2009 Rhino UK released a box set of the first ten or so singles as individual CD singles, and in the process used a new transfer of the Oxford live set as the basis for their release. How do we know this? The original Rough Trade 7" and 12" from 1985 was one of the most piss-poor edit hack jobs I've ever heard, with drumstick click-ins from the wrong song leading into the various tracks, really poor edit points, etc. While the proper click intros were restored on the Rhino CD, the outtros were faded out rather than edited into the next track. It too was a poor overall experience.

I repaired and enhanced the live selection with the help of an excellent team of co-conspirators, who not only lent their considerable collections to the endeavour, but their equipment as well. Basically, I used the raw audio sources as detailed up top in the tracklist descriptions, with the intros stolen from the Rhino CD, and patched it all together. We finally have a coherent, quality assemblage of the best versions available of the "released" live tracks, nicely crossfaded, source-matched, and pristine.

Yes I am aware of the existence of "What She Said" from this gig on an NME 7", and I have several transfers of this, but the quality (I blame the pressing, not those who kindly sourced them for me) did not lend itself to inclusion here, at least to our standards.

My quick take on the 7" edit of the title track: While I like the reverse fade at the end as preserved on the album track and full 12" version, it's a bit much for radio play and I agree with the reasoning behind editing it out for the 7". Not that it helped, I'm sure, as while a beautiful track, it's not exactly daytime Radio 1 stuff.