Morrissey A-Z: "Back on the Chain Gang"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member

We start the week with the first of 16 "B" songs on the list, Morrissey's cover of "Back on the Chain Gang" from the deluxe edition of LIHS. What do we think of this?

(I'll stick my neck out here and say it's one of my favourite cover versions of all time, by any artist!)
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
Usually I've just been quiet when I can't say something nice but the original is a great song and this version should have never been released. It's worse than some bar band because you wouldn't expect much and it would be fun to hear it but this is close enough to invite comparisons and sadly it fails terribly.
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
The recorded version feels completely unnecessary, it's not something I'd ever put on. Jesse, as usual, manages to botch the lead in his inimitable fashion. I will say that its inclusion in the live set was like a breath of fresh air after being subjected to twenty-something minutes of shit like "Munich Air Disaster" and "When You Open Your Legs."
 
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Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Nothing earth shattering about it, but Moz's very strong lead vocal makes it an enjoyable listen. He probably sang it a few more times in the live shows than most people would have liked, but it's a solid production and performance.

Morrissey will never exactly be known for the covers that he has recorded, but over the past couple or three years they have mostly been a welcome addition to the catalogue.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I love the original, I love Moz' fantastic vocals, I love the whole idea of this cover and it's one of my favourites, along with "No-One Can Hold a Candle To You." For me though, the Moz Chain Gang suffers heavily due to the fact that a version with Johnny is available online - really highlights Jesse's clumsy, cack-handed job of the guitar.

 

MrShoes

"Ooo, there's goobers on his bod." - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
The recorded version feels completely unnecessary, it's not something I'd ever put on. Jesse, as usual, manages to botch the lead in his inimitable fashion. I will say that it's inclusion in the live set was like a breath of fresh air after being subjected to twenty-something minutes of shit like "Munich Air Disaster" and "When You Open Your Legs."

Gotta mirror what Verso and The.Truth stated earlier - while arguably fun, this recorded cover was unnecessary.

At least some of the covers in 'Cali Son' were interesting, exploratory, or maybe even expanded his talents. This "chain" just seemed like low-hanging fruit; completely unchallenging.

But let's talk about the most egregious thing in the video -- Moz on guitar!

MrShoes
 
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MrShoes

"Ooo, there's goobers on his bod." - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
I love the original, I love Moz' fantastic vocals, I love the whole idea of this cover and it's one of my favourites, along with "No-One Can Hold a Candle To You." For me though, the Moz Chain Gang suffers heavily due to the fact that a version with Johnny is available online - really highlights Jesse's clumsy, cack-handed job of the guitar.

Cack-handed?! Never heard this term before - brilliant! Gotta be a British euphemism, right? This have to do with left-handedness or with arse-wiping?

MrShoes
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
It's a fun cover, finely executed, always love to hear it.

Moz on guitar I always thought was a nod to Chrissie. They're mirroring The Pretenders' line-up.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Cack-handed?! Never heard this term before - brilliant! Gotta be a British euphemism, right? This have to do with left-handedness or with arse-wiping?

MrShoes
Haha! Yeah, it's British. Never heard it used in the 'left-handed' sense (guessing that's a much older meaning) - to me it just means clumsy, awkward. No finesse.
 

Radis Noir

Well-Known Member
Cack-handed?! Never heard this term before - brilliant! Gotta be a British euphemism, right? This have to do with left-handedness or with arse-wiping?
Both. In days before toilet paper right-handed people tended to wipe their bottoms with their left hands. It's the same rationale behind the fact that for people who customarily eat with their fingers, eating with the left hand is taboo.
Because left-handedness was seen to be inferior and clumsy (for right-handed people anyway) the two things were associated to come up with 'cack-handed,' meaning 'clumsy.'
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Both. In days before toilet paper right-handed people tended to wipe their bottoms with their left hands. It's the same rationale behind the fact that for people who customarily eat with their fingers, eating with the left hand is taboo.
Because left-handedness was seen to be inferior and clumsy (for right-handed people anyway) the two things were associated to come up with 'cack-handed,' meaning 'clumsy.'
I've heard stories from people of my parents' generation (1950s/60s) about having their left hand(s) tied behind their back in school, to try and 'correct' their writing. Sounds medieval these days.
 

Radis Noir

Well-Known Member
I've heard stories from people of my parents' generation (1950s/60s) about having their left hand(s) tied behind their back in school, to try and 'correct' their writing. Sounds medieval these days.
My mother, who was left-handed, recounted a few stories like that. It was also problematic because pupils were still using pens and ink in those days, and the ink-well was always on the right-hand side of the desk. This meant that left-handed people were more likely to smudge their work, which often led to a smack or a rap on the hand with a ruler. It's also harder to write cursive text left-handed with a nibbed pen.
 
J

Janice

Guest
I liked it on first hearing it live but, and here’s the but...
It’s been done to death. It’s been in every set since it’s debut in 2017. It’s been hammered, literally and I can now take it or leave it. One of South American crowds went wild for it, which was rather odd. Still haven’t worked out why.
 

MrShoes

"Ooo, there's goobers on his bod." - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
I've heard stories from people of my parents' generation (1950s/60s) about having their left hand(s) tied behind their back in school, to try and 'correct' their writing. Sounds medieval these days.

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T

Trans

Guest
A good version of a song I’m vaguely familiar with from the tiny bit I heard it on the radio maybe as a child. Maybe they and this song were more popular in Britain but to me it’s got an air of whimsical nostalgic novelty. Makes it more of a fun cover and it was an undeniably light catchy fun moment live
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
:guitar: :rock: :handpointdown:





A necessary gem! In the treasure chest of Moz covers ! It always lifts my spirits. Morrisseys voice especially the way he sings the lines in the breakdown, I’m sure Chrissie smiled.

Though I’m not a fan of that little intro thingy tagged on the studio version.
 

Oh my

Enough! or Too much
LOL... I may be a contrarian... am I the only one who thinks that it's a jaw dropping song?

I adore it (indeed, if it had been included in California Son, it would be for sure my favourite one in that album... I don't get why it didn't get included).
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
LOL... I may be a contrarian... am I the only one who thinks that it's a jaw dropping song?

I adore it (indeed, if it had been included in California Son, it would be for sure my favourite one in that album... I don't get why it didn't get included).
Probably because it didn't fit the concept of the album. They're all songs from the 60s and 70s, many of which he's loved all his life.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
LOL... I may be a contrarian... am I the only one who thinks that it's a jaw dropping song?

I adore it (indeed, if it had been included in California Son, it would be for sure my favourite one in that album... I don't get why it didn't get included).
I agree with you! I love the original but I prefer Morrissey's version. Sacrilege!!
 
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