Lord Knows It Would Be The First Time

This American TV performance of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want is a beaut. I saw Johnny and his band at The Ritz back in March and the reviews have been gathering pace and praise ever since that tour. Johnny turned 50 at the end of October as well. Looks well for it doesn’t he?

This was a cover of a Rabbit MacKay song, a 60s hippie anthem, for a compilation lp from a few years ago and is one of the best things Johnny has done solo. Especially the guitars.

Tendency To Be Free

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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…

Johnny Marr News And Stuff

Local hero, Bagging Area role model (haircuts, dress sense, beautifully inventive guitar playing- OK maybe not the guitar playing. Don’t manage the haircuts that well either) and all round good guy Johnny Marr has contributed a track to a download only compilation for the homeless charity Centrepoint. If you head on over to centrepoint.org.uk you can find his cover of the 1969 Rabbit Mackay song Tendency To Be Free, and download it for 99 pence. All the tracks on the album are from 1969, the year the charity was founded. I’d never heard of Rabbit Mackay before, and while the original is on youtube I’ve not been able to find an mp3 of it to post, which was my intention and I’m not posting Johnny’s cover, cos it’s for charity innit. Johnny applies some blistering guitar, a cool bassline and some good vox, ending up with a stomping, abrasive song which is well worth just under a quid of your money.

Johnny Marr’s charitable work has directly impacted on my family. My son I.T., who has various needs (severe learning difficulties, severe deafness, skeletal problems, various other things, is currently going through puberty- we have some interesting times at the moment!) used to attend Pictor School, a special needs primary school in Timperley. It goes without saying it’s a fantastic school, and when I.T. left to go on to secondary this year tears were shed all round. Johnny Marr’s nephew attends the school, and a few years back Johnny and the U.S. trainer firm PF Fliers put out a limited edition signature pump, sold on ebay with proceeds split between Pictor School and an Autism charity. That’s a picture of one of them up at the top. Obviously I bought a pair. It was funny how someone whose records I’d bought since the mid 80s and followed avidly had this link to my life and our son. Johnny popped in at the school at least once, and promised to come back and play guitar with the kids- I’d love to have seen I.T. playing guitar with one of my heroes, and questioning him relentlessly about what day his binmen come, which supermarket he shops at and whether he uses the bus or the tram (all I.T. obsessions).

So, without rambling on too much more, I’m not posting the Rabbit Mackay cover but you can have this instead, Johnny Marr covering Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright. This was given away with an issue of Uncut magazine back in 2005. A decent acoustic cover version with some good harmonica- and it’s not often I get to type that.

Johnny Marr – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.mp3#1#1