A nice little gem surfaced thirty years later, courtesy of bellapintura.
Here's one that you haven't heard before...
In May 1983 (exact date unknown), while preparing to record their first album, The Smiths ran through a selection of songs at a rehearsal in a room in manager Joe Moss' jeans warehouse. The tape was recorded for Troy Tate, in order to give him something to work with before going into the studio. It's pretty rough but considering it was only recorded on cassette with a stereo mic pointing into the room, the quality isn't too bad. Morrissey's vocals are a bit distorted - maybe singing too close to the mic or maybe the cassette mic was too close to the PA - but everything else is surprisingly clear. There is some tape flutter at various points.
I was lent the master cassette by a source close to the band who made the recording - let's call him Pablo Cuckoo - in 1997, with a view to trying to put it out as a semi official release, as it was recorded before the band had signed to Rough Trade, so technically he had the rights to the recording. But a combination of the poor sound quality and threats from Warner Bros, meant that the idea was shelved. The master cassette was transferred to DAT at that time but the DAT copy disappeared shortly afterwards. To my surprise it resurfaced a few weeks ago while I was going through some boxes of old tapes. The quality is a lot better than I'd remembered too!
I've done a little work on the overall sound but only on the EQ, no compression has been applied. There is a possibility that some noise reduction was done when it was first transferred to DAT as you would expect more tape hiss, but I can't be sure.
Anyway, it's a good listen and must be one of the earliest recordings of the band, certainly in a non concert setting. Sadly there isn't much between song chat, which could have been interesting...
Enjoy the tape and please circulate freely but don't charge for it!
The man from Hojo, 2013
UPDATE Mar. 21:
The YouTube video was removed but was apparently restored following a dispute.
Link posted by an anonymous person:
Listen to The Smiths’ rare 1983 demo, The Pablo Cuckoo Tape
- Consequence Of Sound
IndieCentExposureUK YouTube comment:
Warner have found this video and UMPG publishing. But I have disputed it because this was recorded before they were signed and by published by both companies
armadillo posted the link to the tracks on YouTube (original link removed, updated link below):
UPDATE Mar. 20:
Rare Smiths Demo From 1983 Unearthed
- Rolling Stone
Answering a few questions on Twitter about the recording, Joyce said he had no idea who found the recording, and when asked about the demo's sound quality wrote
, "It was recorded on a cassette player lying on the floor in the rehearsal room." And as for the reason
his drums are so in the foreground? "Oi! I'm just closer to the mic's than everyone else!"
Also a link from modrevolve:
Rare early demo from The Smiths emerges online – listen
When asked by former Oasis guitarist Bonehead who unearthed the tape, Joyce replied: "Not a clue. I thought I was the only one who kept all the old stuff, obviously not."
The demo is said to have been recorded at a rehearsal in band manager Joe Moss' jeans warehouse Crazy Face in Manchester. The aim was to give the album's original producer Troy Tate something to work on before going into the studio with the band. Tate was later replaced on production duties by John Porter.