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Hear The Smiths’ Rare 1983 Indie Recording, ‘The Pablo Cuckoo’ Tape

posted by Oscar March 20, 2013

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After news got out that Morrissey’s health has once again gone south leading to the cancelling of tour dates, an early recording session by a still-unsigned The Smiths back in 1983. The Smiths’ drummer, Mike Joyce tweeted about the recording that the YouTube link contains “an early recording you’ve probably never heard before.”

While the recording quality is a bit rough, early versions of “Hand in Glove,” “Reel Around the Fountain,” and “These Things Take Time” sound remarkably great.

Hit the jump to read more about the newly-unearthed tape.

The Smiths’ The Pablo Cuckoo Tape track list:

1. “You’ve Got Everything Now”
2. “Accept Yourself”
3. “What Difference Does It Make”
4. “Reel Around the Fountain”
5. “These Things Take Time”
6. “I Don’t Owe You Anything”
7. “Hand in Globe”
8. “Handsome Devil”
9. “Miserable Lie”

Here’s the uploader’s account of the tape’s backstory:

In May 1983 (exact date unknown), while preparing to record their debut album, The band ran through & recorded a selection of songs at a rehearsal in band manager Joe Moss’ jeans warehouse (Crazy Face). The cassette 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 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 of trying to put it out as a semi-official release. As it was recorded before the band had signed to Rough Trade, technically he had the rights to the recording. But a combination of poor sound quality & threats from Warner Bros. meant that the idea was shelved




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