Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Queen Is Deader

Stumbling around the internet a week or so ago I came across an album of demos and unreleased instrumentals by The Smiths. In the past I've listened to The Smiths so much that I can't really hear them anymore so I was intrigued by this album. It contains demo versions (presumably early takes) of various songs- Is it Really So Strange?, Death Of A Disco Dancer, Sheila Take A Bow, Girlfriend In A Coma, Frankly, Mr. Shankly, and There is A Light That Never Goes Out among them- that sound like what they are, which is demos. The arrangements are slightly different, they lack the finished gloss of the album track, different vocal melody, slight lyrical change, and so on. Interesting enough but still, unreleased demos are unreleased for a reason usually. Hearing Frankly, Mr. Shankly with a trumpet part makes you realise they were right to take the trumpet off. There are two unfinished instrumentals, Johnny Marr and the rhythm section trying out tunes that for whatever reason didn't become Smiths songs. Again, interesting enough . A seven minute rough version of Rusholme Ruffians, an instrumental Shoplifters, a few other things that I can't remember right now.

The one that got me hooked though was this one, The Queen Is Dead- monarchy baiting, cheerless marshes, heads in slings, bad piano playing, sponges and rusty spanners, rain and hair, apron strings, castration, drugs, the church, the pub and the band's awe inducing guitar, drums and bass attack. The Queen Is Dead may well be their finest moment- Johnny, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce's swaggering, feedback-ridden music and Morrissey's funniest and most scything lyrics. This version is The Queen Is Dead before they decided it needed to be shorter, so you get everything you'd normally get but Marr, Rourke and Joyce playing out of their skins for an extra two minutes. If that doesn't get you excited I don't know what will. Or you don't like The Smiths, in which case, fair enough. Always a personal favourite in the Bagging Area bunker, ever since I read years ago that they thought it 'went on a bit' I've wondered what the full version sounded like. Now I know.

04 The Queen Is Dead [Demo].mp3#2#2


Mondo said...

Over the last few New Year's Eves - I've taken my acoustic round to the neighbours for a sing-a-long: Suspicous Minds, Jolene, The Monkees, The Beatles, Soft Cell, Human League

We did The Smiths Panic this year went down a treat..

PS picked up the Viva album - worra a winner like the best of Neu! Cheers for the tip off.

swiss adam said...

No problem Mondo- glad you enjoyed Viva. You should record the acoustic session for Mondo Unplugged.

davy h said...

Grand. Goes on a bit! Grand.

Anonymous said...

maybe it's just me but i can't get this to download and i'd love to hear it...!


swiss adam said...

It seems to be working jim. Have you managed it yet?