Friday, February 24, 2012

ET(aatb) 15: RTT194 "Ask"


[Link removed 20 November 2012] (37 MB)


"Ask"
Rough Trade RTT194
Produced by John Porter, mixed by Steve Lillywhite

* Produced by Morrissey and Marr, engineered by Stephen Street
October 1986


Tracks:

1 Ask (single version)
2 Cemetry Gates *
3 Golden Lights

4 Ask ("album" version)

Source:

1-3 from "Ask" (RTT 194CD, fall 1988)
4 from The World Won't Listen (ROUGHCD101, February 1987)

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 band's second single as a 5-piece, this breezy strummer is yet another clear fan favorite. I wonder what buck-toothed Luxembourgian lasses thought, however... Great guitar interplay between Johnny Marr and Craig Gannon, you hear all sorts of wicked guitar effects including fake seagulls done on guitar. Had John Porter had his way, it would have been even more amazingly tracked, though - Morrissey had Steve Lillywhite mix it without the map detailing the hundreds of guitars on the track.

"Cemetry Gates" as legend has it was written in about 3 minutes by Marr in his kitchen, and suddenly they had the song. Not much more needs to be said; it too is a classic and deserves all the exposure it can get.

Regarding "Golden Lights"... Err, is this the Smiths? Perhaps the most wretched track in the catalogue; Moz sounds ridiculous and this insipid Twinkle cover doesn't really rate at all. Porter says its initial incarnation was much better before Lillywhite got his hands on it.

As to the "album mix" of "Ask": There is no technical "album mix" because the song was never taken from an album. The single (and original) version drops in at 3:05, whereas that released on the various compilations stretches an additional 13 or so seconds to 3:18. As detailed as I am, I've not taken the chance to lay the two versions atop each other and find those spare 13 seconds. Anyone who can find them, let me know!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ET(aatb) 14: RTT193 "Panic"


[Link removed 20 November 2012] (29 MB)

"Panic"
Rough Trade RTT193
Produced by John Porter

* Produced by Morrissey and Marr, engineered by Stephen Street
July 1986


Tracks:

1 Panic
2 Vicar In A Tutu *
3 The Draize Train

Source:

All tracks from "Panic" (RTT 193CD, fall 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:


Certainly anyone with a passing interest in this endeavour knows the story by now: Bassist Andy Rourke comes down with a rather nasty cold, is booted out of the band, gets arrested for buying too much cold medicine, and in a fit of empathy is subsequently re-invited to the fold. In the meantime onetime Aztec Camera Craig Gannon is brought in by Johnny Marr to replace Rourke on bass, though Gannon says this is fabrication; according to him, he was brought in specifically to beef up the guitars.

Meanwhile, this silly thing called Chernobyl happens in April 1986. Moz is listening to the Beeb one morning late in April, and the storyline that morning was a discussion of the Chernobyl tragedy immediately followed by the non-sequitur "I'm Your Man" by Wham!. Enraged, he pens a strident attack on radio. Marr marries it to a glam stomper, and "Panic" is born.

This session - featuring John Porter producing, and the band recording "Panic" and instrumental track "The Draize Train" - is Gannon's first studio outing with the band. "Panic" is a fan favorite; the refrain "Hang the DJ" is amongst the most memorable bits in the band's catalog. For a Manchester band, the virtual English travelogue in the lyric doesn't reach Cheshire or Greater Manchester, oddly.

"Vicar In A Tutu" assumes its rightly position as a B-side, even though it was just released on the LP The Queen Is Dead only a few months prior. Yes, we know this song has its cheerleaders, but to the Analog Loyalist it's not anywhere close to the band's peaks.

"The Draize Train" was the third - and last - instrumental released by the band. A highly percussive affair, this track was built up around a Linn drum and sounds it (and there's no problem with that!). It's one of Marr's best instrumental performances, in a catalog full of them; its later appearance on the live set Rank really makes the song shine. RT boss Geoff Travis so loved this song he pleaded with Moz to write a lyric, which obviously Morrissey declined. It's a shame; while I don't hear an obvious vocal melody on this track, I wouldn't have put it past Moz to find one that would be perfect.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A petition to release the Porter "Sheila Take A Bow"

I've created a petition, for shits and giggles, encouraging Rhino/Warners (and Morrissey and Marr) to release the John Porter recording of "Sheila Take A Bow" (as found on the stellar Demos and Outtakes 2xLP bootleg) as a single.


Sign it!

Spread the word too.  Who knows, perhaps we'll effect change in Smithdom.