First Masters
May 4, 2011 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Troy Tate and The Smiths: The Not Poor Recordings. The Smiths were first produced by Troy Tate and the bootlegs have been rather bootleggy as it were. These are one step removed from the master recordings and don't sound quite so hollow... Includes an apparently unheard version of Accept Yourself as a bonus.
posted by juiceCake (19 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Long thought of as inferior, Tate’s tracks are now defined as lo-fi, as compared to Porter’s hi-fi tracks. "

hmmm, we can redefine crap these days.

As a moderate Smiths fan, I enjoy this. But give me a decent sound engineer and studio any day.
posted by wilful at 6:29 PM on May 4, 2011


Awesome. Thanks for posting.

If I had a time machine, one of the first tasks on my list would be to go to the '80s with a hammer and break the digital reverb machines in the studios where my favorite albums would be recorded.
posted by The World Famous at 6:45 PM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


In case it is unclear there is a download link at the bottom of the post.

I'm a closet Smiths fan. I always get annoyed with Morrissey opens his mouth and isn't singing, but that holds true for Bono and Sting as well.

Shut up and sing!

I am going to listen to these all. Now.

Goodbye.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:12 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


gratias agere
posted by puny human at 7:18 PM on May 4, 2011


I always get annoyed with Morrissey opens his mouth and isn't singing, but that holds true for Bono and Sting as well.

Eh? Morrissey gave some of the funniest interviews of the 1980s!
posted by mykescipark at 7:20 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks! Vocals sound great!
I wonder if I'd love these as much as the album versions if this was the first I'd heard as a kid. Probably.
posted by activitystory at 7:52 PM on May 4, 2011


"i don't hug people, because i can't bear the letting go..."

his interviews were absolute comedy gold
posted by radiosilents at 8:18 PM on May 4, 2011


In case it is unclear there is a download link at the bottom of the post.

Indeed. Which also leads to more gems.
posted by juiceCake at 8:22 PM on May 4, 2011


Power of Independent Trucking/Analog Loyalist is also doing restoration/remastering of Smiths Rough Trade 7/12in output at Extra Track (and A Tacky Badge)
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 8:34 PM on May 4, 2011


(wow, that was a lot of forward slashes)
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 8:34 PM on May 4, 2011


Thanky thanky!
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:04 PM on May 4, 2011


Well wow, that first Smiths album was a fever dream watershed moment for me when it came out and I was deep in the cringe worthy hothouse of adolescence, so listening to these pre-recordings, demos really of what went on to be the iconic John Porter produced product is a real eye opening experience.

First off, I'm still caught by what a tight and propulsive and muscular band they are here, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce have a tremendous lock on the tension and release of the rhythm section as they went on to reproduce on the Porter produced debut, but he took that and deepened it, took out the dated reverb on the drums (yes, that signature 80s reverb on the snare) turned down the toms, turned up the cymbals a bit, and locked the bass guitar in with a deep smooth sounding kick (bass) drum, creating a lush velvety smoldering background for the drama in the melodies coming from the vocals and Marr's sorta heralding style of guitar playing.

And there are some out of tune moments, it's true. You hear Morrisey occasionally hit a blue note, but he's got his parts down and he sounds more or less unique and fantastic, and ahold of something very personal and unique, and unabashedly and proudly such, so he's all there really.

The shocking thing is how poorly and out of tune the guitar sounds! There are dead moments, wasted measures in there, and flat out fluff or crap parts when he's not sure what to do, and it's pretty shocking. Shocking because on the Porter debut Marr's guitar playing is a freaking revelation of beautiful chords and sounds, Christ it almost sounds magic, and I guess that's the beauty of over-dubbing, but I didn't think it made that much of a difference.

I think Porter must've told Marr to step up his game in a HUGE way. His playing on the debut is superb, tight, no wasted notes and again as I mentioned revelatory. And Porter, with his perspective taking the whole band in found the place for Marr's guitar to embody and to become it's own breathtaking foreground.

First song I wanted to hear from these Demo's was This Charming Man, which I think was the first or second single off the debut (the other being Hand in Glove?), and of course that song wouldn't exist on that demo, because This Charming Man really became the crucible of sorts for the Marrs/Smiths guitar sound, adding that irrepressible joy and eccentric exhilaration to counter Morrisey's relentless self-deprecating morose monotone. And I think it could only come together like that after Porter really got Marrs focussed and excited about the place he could inhabit in the songs.

It's always interesting to see how a good outside perspective can quickly make adjustments here and there to a band's sound, that they can no longer can make themselves because they're too close to the material and the details of their specific parts. It makes good bands great, and great bands Gods.

Glad Porter did that. At the time I heard the debut I thought it was too over-produced, but damn if it's not a masterpiece at this point, that doesn't sound anywhere near as dated as a lot of 80s music.
posted by Skygazer at 9:45 PM on May 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Can we get a tag fix on "Morrisey"?
posted by elsietheeel at 10:18 PM on May 4, 2011


These are one step removed from the master recordings and don't sound quite so hollow...

Not the legendary hatful then.......
posted by MajorDundee at 3:00 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you!
posted by Human's Nephew at 6:26 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm sure if they got the actual master it'd sound a whole lot better. Even after just one generation, this is noticeably quite cassettey, particularly in terms of EQ (the bass would be gone entirely if not for that distinctive twang). Still, yay!!

What's surprising about a lot of it, though, is how similar it is, fidelity aside, to the re-recording. Not that any change was required, of course, perfection being perfection and all. I do wonder, though, if any of the bootlegs are just the official album badly dubbed.

If I had a time machine, one of the first tasks on my list would be to go to the '80s with a hammer and break the digital reverb machines in the studios where my favorite albums would be recorded.

No!!!! "Script of the Bridge" would simply cease to exist!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget Troy Tate's far more important contribution to 80s music as guitarist during the recording of the Teardrop Explodes' second album "Wilder."
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:53 AM on May 5, 2011


TY!
posted by humboldt32 at 8:44 AM on May 5, 2011


I've been listening to this on-and-off for about a week now. It's... interesting. As a Smiths fan I'm glad to have a chance to finally listen to versions of the Troy Tate songs that are of a quality that doesn't make me want to rip my ears off. I appreciate the different arrangements. Moreso than ever before, though, I'm convinced that the Porter-produced songs are far superior (with the possible exception of Pretty Girls Make Graves, which sounds better to my ears as the ramshackle sea shanty that Tate made it). But there's something jam-bandish about the Tate songs that I just don't associate with The Smiths. The songs don't sound big or deliberate enough. I can understand why they canned it.
posted by kryptondog at 9:29 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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