UPDATE (3/6): Morrissey has released the artwork for these new titles. The single cover for “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” was slated to feature an unreleased pic of Moz and David Bowie until the latter denied use of the image. Instead, the singer has cheekily used a picture of himself with pop Rick Astley backstage at Top of the Pops in 1988. No word as to whether or not the single will be intentionally mis-pressed to feature “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
ORIGINAL POST (2/5/2013): Dear hero imprisoned: iconoclastic crooner Morrissey is continuing his trend of tweaked catalogue projects with a forthcoming new version of sophomore album Kill Uncle and a reissue of non-LP single “The Last of the Famous International Playboys.”
Released in 1991, two years after the superb (and also recently re-imagined) Bona Drag compilation, Kill Uncle marked an intriguing transition away from his work with former Smiths producer Stephen Street. Producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, known for their work with Madness and Elvis Costello & The Attractions, helmed the album, featuring musical contributions by guitarist Mark E. Nevin, then of the recently-split Fairground Attraction, plus ex-Madness bassist Mark Bedford and session drummer Andrew Paresi. (Nevin co-wrote all but two of the album’s songs with Morrissey.)
Featuring a pair of unconventional-sounding singles, “Our Frank” and “Sing Your Life” (neither of which charted anywhere past the lower half of the British Top 40), Kill Uncle marked an unusual departure for the singer, less heavy on rock riffs and with lots of unconventional production techniques. Moz treaded into more muscular rock territory with the following year’s Your Arsenal, produced by iconic guitarist Mick Ronson and featuring the first work with longtime collaborators Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer.
Parlophone’s new edition of Kill Uncle features a tweaked track list – adding two non-LP B-sides not recorded during the album sessions (“Pashernate Love” and “East West,” a Herman’s Hermits cover), and replacing album-closing torch song “There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends” with an unreleased “live-in-studio” version that now serves as the album’s penultimate track. Bill Inglot at D2 Mastering has remastered the album, which will be available on both CD and vinyl and feature new, as-yet unreleased gatefold cover art and rare photos.
The same day of Kill Uncle‘s re-release, April 8, Moz reissues one of his most enduring singles – and specs on that are after the jump!
“The Last of the Famous International Playboys,” a satirical look at a pair of East London gangsters and the media’s fascination with such figures, was a major hit for Morrissey in the early winter of 1989, peaking at No. 6 in England. And it’s not hard to hear why: not only does it feature a strong, rocking melody, it featured nearly all of the band members that made Moz a household name in The Smiths. Producer Stephen Street played keyboards, underrated rhythm section Andy Rourke on bass and Mike Joyce on drums held the lower end, and guitars were played by Craig Gannon, who in 1986 was briefly the fifth member of The Smiths, serving as second guitarist behind the legendary Johnny Marr. (Of course, Morrissey’s former friend and greatest songwriting partner is absent from the track, their rift apparently too unworkable even to this day.)
Though it has nothing to do with Kill Uncle proper, this is the single Morrissey’s reissuing to commemorate his latest catalogue project, and it will be backed with not vault material, but some semi-new work: three songs, reportedly completed in studio for an album Morrissey has complained no record label will release, will be featured on various physical and digital forms of the single (7″ picture vinyl, CD and digital download). These versions were recorded for the BBC in the summer of 2011.
The full track list for both reissued album and single are below; Amazon U.K. links are now live.
Kill Uncle: Expanded Edition (originally released as HMV CSD 3789 (U.K.)/Sire/Reprise 26514 (U.S.), 1992 – reissued Parlophone (U.K.), 2013)
- Our Frank
- Sing Your Life
- Mute Witness
- King Leer
- Asian Rut
- Pashernate Love
- East West
- Found Found Found
- Driving Your Girlfriend Home
- The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye
- There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends (Live-in-Studio Version)
- (I’m) The End of the Family Line
Track 6 from “You’re the One for Me, Fatty” single – HMV POP 1630, 1992
Track 7 from “Ouija Board, Ouija Board” 12″ single – HMV 12 POP 1622, 1989
Track 11 previously unreleased
The Last of the Famous International Playboys (2013 Single) (originally released as HMV POP 1620 (U.K.), 1989 – reissued Parlophone (U.K.), 2013)
- The Last of the Famous International Playboys
- People Are the Same Everywhere (BBC Session) (7″ B-side)
- Action is My Middle Name (BBC Session) (CD single B-side)
- The Kid’s a Looker (BBC Session) (digital download B-side)
Tracks 2-4 recorded live on The Janice Long Show, BBC Radio 2 – 6/15/2011