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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Rewind: 1984 Hatful of Hollow - The Smiths

Dedicated to Michelle F. and Soda

I am not the biggest fan of The Smiths on planet earth, but there's something about them that I've always found quite endearing. There was an intelligence and a sense of Britishness about them that had not been seen in awhile in music and I loved the ordinariness of the band name.

Hatful of Hollow was a compilation, which seems a bit odd for a band who earlier in 1984 had released their Debut Album (UK Chart #2) but such was the success of The Smiths BBC sessions from 1983, especially the John Peel ones which were repeated many times on his show that they made a great foundation for an album. Seven tracks from the two 1983 Peel Sessions and three songs from two Kid Jensen Sessions from 1983 are included along with a couple of singles and B-Sides.

The word is that John Walters (Peel's Producer) had gone to see The Smiths at the University of London Union who were a late replacement as support band (Babaluna having not being able to make the show) going on after The Laughing Clowns and played second on the bill to The Sisters of Mercy (who despite being on the go since 1977 had only just began recording having two EP's under their belt - Alice -John Ashton of The Psychedelic Furs had produced the EP - and The Reptile House EP) and so struck was he with the band that he offered them a Session then and there!

On May 18th (five days after the release of their one-off single for Rough Trade - which of course would soon be extended - Hand In Glove / Handsome Devil (Live) ) the band entered the Maida Vale Studios to record their first John Peel Session. Broadcast on the 1st June 1983 it included What Difference Does It Make, Miserable Lie, Reel Around The Fountain and Handsome Devil. Actually the version of What Difference Does It Make I believe is far superior to the version that was released as a single in January 1984.

In June, days after the broadcast of the session they signed to Rough Trade on a longer term basis and followed that with the 26th June broadcast of a session for the Kid Jensen Show (These Things Take Time, You've Got Everything Now, and Wonderful Woman). The second session for Kid Jensen was broadcast 5th September 1983 (recorded 25th August): Accept Yourself, I Don't Owe You Anything, Pretty Girls Make Graves, and Reel Around the Fountain. And then the second Peel Session which had been recorded on 14th September and broadcast a week later on 21st included This Night Has Opened My Eyes, Still Ill, This Charming Man and Back To The Old House.

It's hard to believe that a song like How Soon Is Now would just be a B-Side! It was belatedly released as a single in it's own right in January 1985 (reaching #24 in the charts) five months after appearing on the other side of William, It Was Really Nothing.

I could almost be tempted to say that this album is actually better than the debut release but that's another discussion for another time.

Hatful of Hollow - The Smiths
Rough Trade
Released 12th November 1984
UK Chart #7

The Smiths
    Morrissey – vocals
    Johnny Marr – guitars, harmonica, mandolin
    Andy Rourke – bass guitar
    Mike Joyce – drums

A1     William, It Was Really Nothing     2:09*
A2     What Difference Does It Make?     3:42
A3     These Things Take Time 2:33
A4     This Charming Man     2:43
A5     How Soon Is Now?     6:43**
A6     Handsome Devil     2:46
A7     Hand In Glove 3:14*
A8     Still Ill     3:54

B1     Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now     3:34*
B2     This Night Has Opened My Eyes     3:40
B3     You've Got Everything Now 4:18
B4     Accept Yourself     4:02
B5     Girl Afraid     2:45**
B6     Back To The Old House     3:02
B7     Reel Around The Fountain     5:51
B8     Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want     1:50**

*A-Side Single
** B-Side Single
A2, A4, A6, A8, B2, B6 and B7 from the BBC Radio 1 John Peel Show.
A3, B3 and B4 from the BBC Radio 1 David Jensen Show
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