Fans of The Smiths are reveling in an unexpected Christmas gift this week with the appearance of a bootleg LP featuring 16 unreleased studio outtakes, including the scrapped original recording of Sheila Take A Bow, a reggae-like take on Girlfriend In A Coma and two previously unheard instrumentals.
The vinyl album a 2LP set called Unreleased Demos & Instrumentals, which a fan ripped and posted to the Morrissey-solo.com forums (download it here, and hear samples below) is a treasure trove of rare material, much of it never-before-heard, from a group notorious for barely releasing anything outside of its original albums and singles.
As the newly launched Smiths audio restoration blog Extra Track (and a tacky badge) notes, This is the real deal, folks. From a collectors standpoint, these are nearly all the outtakes and alternate unreleased mixes everyone drooled about while reading Simon Goddards excellent book (The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life).
A full tracklist is presented below, but highlights include:
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out An early take of the Queen is Dead classic, apparently recorded in September 1985, that features the since-omitted final lyric, There is a light in your eyes and it never goes out.
Girlfriend In A Coma This early version of the Strangeways, Here We Come single, recorded in January 1987 with Stephen Street, has Morrissey crooning along to a surprising reggae lilt, which obviously didnt survive the sessions.
Sheila Take A Bow The original John Porter-produced version, recorded in January 1987. This was famously rejected by the band and re-recorded with Street.