Curious, what makes you think that his record signing tour 95(94?) had a negative impact on the Southpaw album ?
Production not the best, and after hearing Lillywhite’s magical touch
on Vauxhall, one would hope for more of that at the next two, I’m thinking his divorce with Kirsty may have had something to do with this. Fortunately the production on SG and Maladjusted
work for some songs on both albums, but for me, not as a whole.
I loved Southpaw Grammar from the start. It was the first new Morrissey album released during my fandom, it appealed to me as a young American who listened to alternative and the so-called grunge almost exclusively at the time and the bitter dregs of personal disappointment that seemingly inspired Morrissey to make it were relatable in my life. But "Southpaw" was my least favorite track. I felt it was too long where "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils" used its length more constructively/interestingly and the repetitive rhythm was a bridge too far.
Times change, tastes evolve and life moves on apace. This is now not only one of my favorites on the album but I regard it as a crown jewel for both Morrissey and Alain. The trance-like nature of the repeated rhythm is enticing, especially when you focus on the filigree of improvised guitar lines Alain added on the top jutting out perpendicularly from Boz's slashing, consistent acoustic attack. The bass and drums are locked into an inescapable pocket, like a latter-day Watts (RIP) and Wyman combo being the engine of a shoegaze band.
On different listens, I still wonder whether it is too short, too long or just the right duration. The solo version Alain did live a few years back is an instructive lesson on how it could potentially be handled in a concert setting.
While Maladjusted was the first new Morrissey album released during my fandom, I wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with all else that you wrote -- except I am firmly decided in that I think it's just the right duration.
I will never forget hearing the Teachers / Boy Racer / Operation (intro) multiple times live from 97-00.
I went to multiple nights of Moz's failed 10-day stint at the Hollywood Palladium following Ringleader's release. While some shows were better than others, I remember a few distinct moments:
1: Moz laughing at himself during the exploding kegs line in Dear God, Please Help me on the first night.
2: the girl running on stage and kissing Moz straight on the lips during Dear God, Please Help Me -- he spit afterwards and proclaimed his disgust.
3: a person came each night (outside of the ones cancelled over the "water break") with a "Play Southpaw" sign. I think it was the second to last night when Moz finally addressed her and proclaimed something along the lines of: "I'm sorry, but that was a time and a place and we can never go back again."
I met Alain many years later at his former home in Pasadena. Without going into personal affairs, he was parting with past items and while I was definitely shopping, I left empty handed, but thanked him for Southpaw on my way out.
Nice guy. Good guitarist. Great songwriter. Glad he was there at the right time and place for the benefit of all.
Not much to add to the Massive other than I love this song very much and listen to it as often as possible. I remember the first time I heard it - oh those many years ago - and love it as much now as I did then.