How Soon Is Dub

You may think that the recorded works of Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce are so sacrosanct that they shouldn’t be mucked with. I don’t as it happens, I’m more than  happy for people to rework and remix almost everything and anything if it’s done well. Plus, seeing as Morrissey sees fit to spew shit all over his legacy there’s no reason why the odd bootlegger and remixer shouldn’t (and given his ‘all reggae is vile’ comment back in the 80s this seems even more fitting). This is a dub version of How Soon Is Now, using the original track, especially Johnny Marr’s wonderful guitar parts, and adding the dub elements in increasingly as it rides on. As a bonus there’s precious little Morrissey involved in it too.

How Soon Is Now Dubweiser Remix


The Lowlife Has Lost Its Appeal

Many words have been written recently on blogs about Morrissey and his views in interviews and pronouncements. His statements on all sorts of political and social issues are starting to stand in the way of the music, becoming a barrier to being able to listen to the songs. Not his solo career, which is patchy anyway, but the songs made by The Smiths between 1983 and 1987, which are among the finest made by anyone at that time. So, to try to counter that here are a couple of songs from the early days of the group. If you try hard enough, switch off from now, and allow yourself to listen properly, be immersed in the music of Marr, Joyce and Rourke and words of Moz, you can block out the shite and be transported.

These two songs, both from their early days have a busy, clattery, garageband quality. Morrissey’s lines in Jeane come straight from kitchen sink drama while Marr finds space to play rhythm and lead, the repeated circular riff sparkling. The Smiths recorded their debut album with Troy Tate but then dropped almost all the recordings, switching to John Porter. Only Jeane and the Tate mix of Pretty Girls Make Graves survived as official releases. Jeane was the B-side to second single This Charming Man.

Jeane (Troy Tate Mix)

Recorded for a Radio 1 David Jensen session in June 1983, These Things Take Time was one of Morrissey and Marr’s earliest songs, with some ear-catching lyrical lines and ringing Rickenbacker guitar lines. I think the John Porter produced version is probably superior but there’s nothing wrong with this.

These Things Take Time (David Jensen Session)


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.


Blue Rondo a la Turk were a briefly hip bunch of baggy suited, jazz-funkateers from the early 80s who unwittingly paved the way for the likes of Matt Bianco. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything by them until recently. Jazz-funk was pretty low on my list of interests in 1982, aged 12. And it has been ever since really. They were mainly known to me as the band The Smiths supported at their very first gig at The Ritz and almost every account of The Smiths’ rise uses Blue Rondo a la Turk as symbolising the old guard and old ways about to be shoved aside by Morrissey and Marr with their faded Levis, quiffs, flowers and Rickenbackers.

Blue Rondo’s 1982 album Chewing the Fat has been released on cd for the first time with a second disc of extras, the main draw for me being the Andrew Weatherall remix of Klactoveesedstein (or Klacto Vee Sedstein, I can’t work out which it is). I downloaded, legally I should add, the Weatherall  remix a couple of weeks ago. I keeps the ooh-ooh-ooh-oh-ah vocal part and turns jazz-funk the down and machine-funk up, adding an upfront bassline, pretty good really if not as earthshattering as some of Lord Sabre’s recent remixes. I can’t find a listen only or streaming version of it on the net, no Soundcloud or Youtube file, and seeing as it only came out in the middle of June I don’t think I should share it as an mp3 yet. But you can buy it at the usual digital places for 79 pence/99c if you’re an avid Weatherall head. Instead, here’s the original.


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

I’ve Read It In Books

Nice aren’t they? This is The Teardrop Explodes (co-written with The Bunnymen, when they all got on. Hated each other but got on).

Books (Zoo Records Version)

You Gotta Believe

Explorer and pioneer Sir Ernest Shackleton, second left in the dark jumper, led the Endurance and its crew into the Antarctic in the winter of 1915. They were trapped by ice and lost the ship. Camping on the ice floe and in a twenty foot lifeboat they survived and were rescued in the August of 1916. Without a single man lost. That, reality TV show contestants, is a back story.

Explorer and pioneer Lovebug Starski began work in 1971 as a record boy and by 1978 was playing a key role in the nascent hip hop scene in New York djing and later producing and making records. he had a regular spot in the rooftop roller rink in Harlem during the 80s and made this record in 1983, which somewhat surprisingly was one of the key influences on Johnny Marr when he was recording How Soon Is Now? with The Smiths in 1984.

You Gotta Believe (12″ Instrumental)

I’m not saying the two men’s experiences were comparable. It just amuses me to put them together and I’ve got to do something to keep this whole thing blog thing interesting.