Interlude

Interlude was a Morrissey and Siouxsie Sioux two-for-the-price-of-one special, released in 1994, and a cover of a 1968 Timi Yuro song. They’ve both got distinctive voices that work well together and complement each other nicely, Siouxsie rich and deep, Morrissey wobbling and higher, but somehow, somewhere along the way, it doesn’t quite catch fire. In his autobiography Morrissey gives Siouxsie a proper slagging off. But then, he gives almost everyone who appears in the book a proper slagging off so it’s difficult to know how much to read into it. I’ve a vague recollection that Siouxsie was uncomplimentary about the whole experience in an interview as well. Morrissey’s guitarist and producer of this single Boz Boorer said Siouxsie was ‘a complete joy’ to work with and according to a well known online encyclopedia the falling out happened after the recording when Morrissey and Siouxsie disagreed about the content of the video- a video which was never shot. One of Morrissey’s most recent Best Of compilations has a version of this with only him singing it- a slight at Siouxsie if ever there was one. Despite all of this playground drama, bitchiness and a bit of an air of let down, I quite like the song, every once in a while.

Interlude (Extended version)

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Still

Johnny Marr looks the business in this photo- the black barnet, drainpipes, denim jacket and white shirt buttoned all the way up (from The Smith’s appearance on the Oxford Road Show). As does his songwriting partner next to him, but Marr’s look was always a bit more streetwise.

Johnny’s been promoting his new solo album with his band, playing the 6 Music red button thing this week. I haven’t got Playland yet so can’t comment. But the version of Still Ill was first rate.

Still Ill (6 music live)

Still Ill is a reminder of what an inventive guitarist he is (and he wrote it aged about 18) and also of how stunning Morrissey’s early lyrics were. This song has more great lines than some people manage in an entire career- ‘I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving, England is mine and it owes me a living’ for starters. And whatever your opinion of Morrissey it is sad and unpleasant that he has been having treatment for cancer.

Getting Away With It was Electronic’s masterclass of a first single. Marr and his band played it live at Maida Vale. Opinion seems to be split on this live version but I think it’s alright. Watch it quick, these red button sessions have a habit of being taken down.

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 149

Another punk/rockabilly cover version for you, thanks to reader David. The Polecats have been rocking out of North London since 1977 and according to a well known online encyclopedia were still touring Europe, Japan and the US in 2012. Their line up included Boz Boorer, long time one of Morrissey’s bequiffed lieutenants. Here they tear into Buzzcocks.

What Do I Get?

All You Need Is Me

Morrissey’s autobiography is out imminently via Penguin (Penguin Classics apparently). Long awaited I suppose you could say. There are several things I expect from it-

a) It will most likely be highly unreliable as a historical source
b) It will be both entertaining and irritating in equal measures (like Mark E Smith’s book from a few years back- MES repeatedly, repeatedly, slagged off middle class tossers, music journalists and students- it became quite boring after a while- and hey, Mark, say hello to 90% of the people who have bought your records since the late 1970s)
c) Moz will use it to settle scores with all and sundry- Mike Joyce, Johnny Rogan, assorted former band members, record labels, journalists, the NME, other bands…

I will probably read it at some point though I will not be joining any queue to buy it at those outlets opening at midnight to sell it to the hardcore. I hope Waterstones have taken on extra security. This was a single a good few years back which had a good deal of swagger about it.

All You Need Is Me

Essoldo

I took these pictures of Stretford’s art deco cinema building on my phone last weekend- it was so cold I could hardly operate the button. Stretford is just up the road from here and this old cinema building is one of my favourite Mancunian buildings. Previously known as Longford Cinema and Stretford Essoldo it’s been empty since the early 90s when the bingo it housed moved out (Top Rank Bingo). The current owners said in 2010 they had plans for it but other than a coat of paint it’s had little care or attention since. The location isn’t ideal for much anymore I suppose. On the corner of a major crossroads, four lanes of Chester Road traffic flying past and opposite a seen better days shopping centre (once Stretford Arndale, recently re-branded as Stretford Mall).

In the 1930s it looked like this…

And in it’s 1937 heyday…

The walkway/concourse has long gone since then, making way for a lane of traffic. In 1960 it was still a bustling suburban cinema…

Up the side Edge Lane leads to Chorlton. There’s a row of shops, some empty, and the old exit from the Essoldo which has this beautiful curved brick recess and a large column sticking up.

Morrissey lived not much more than a stone’s throw from here, the iron bridge where he kissed crosses the canal and railway line that pass behind the back of the Essoldo half a mile south. I think Ivor Perry (of 80s janglers Easterhouse and briefly Johnny Marr’s replacement in The Smiths) is a Stretfordian too. Bowie played Stretford sometime in the 70s according to my hairdresser as well. But it’s Morrissey’s patch popculturewise. His public pronouncements have become increasingly bizarre and ill-judged recently and he’s currently poorly (Still Ill with double pneumonia). His solo career is very hit and miss but this song, a B-side, is something special- if you want a self-pitying wallow.

Never Played Symphonies

Friday Night Is…Off To See Johnny Marr Night

As I mentioned last weekend. But I’m looking forward to this, so I’ve suspended the rockabilly for this week (and Johnny was always a rockabilly fan). The gig’s at The Ritz which is a real Manchester homecoming too as it was the venue for the very first Smiths public performance thirty years ago. This song features Morrissey, Johnny, Andy and Mike early on, from the aborted Troy Tate sessions for the first Smiths album. It turned up on the I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish single in 1987, suggesting someone in the band realised late on that those Troy Tate sessions were scrapped hastily. Or they’d run out of B-sides.

Pretty Girls Make Graves (Troy Tate version)

Pretty Girls Make Graves has loads of great Morrissey lines in it- I particularly like ‘She wants it now and she will not wait, but she’s too rough and I’m too delicate’

In 2010 Johnny recorded an all-guns-blazing cover version of Rabbit MacKay’s Tendency To Be Free, with all the proceeds going to homeless charity Centrepoint. You can get it here for the princely sum of 99 pence. I heartily recommend that you do- it’s ace. Rabbit MacKay’s original was from the 1969 biker film Angels Die Free…

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 81

The Smiths were rockabilly fans, as evidenced in their quiffs if nothing else. Several Smiths songs benefit from the rockabilly sounds and rhythms too, and Johnny Marr’s desire to get that Sun Records vibe down on tape. Here is a seven minute version of Rusholme Ruffians, eventually trimmed and re-recorded for 1985’s Meat Is Murder album, with Andy Rourke’s rocking bassline well to the fore. Always loved this song, Morrissey’s tale of violence and love at the fair very English up against Marr, Joyce and Rourke’s rockabilly shuffle. Live they segued Elvis’ Marie’s The Name (Of His Latest Flame) into it (on the live album Rank).

Rusholme Ruffians (demo version)