London Blues

by Simon

The Smiths. Hmmm. I don’t always get them. I love Johnny Marr’s guitars. Morrisey’s vocals and lyrics are great. Some songs are amazing. But I’ve never been what you would call a fan. I’m not sure what it is. All the ingredients are there: after all, it’s not that far from Weller at his peak in The Jam and The Style Council to prime Smiths is it? I’ve known plenty of people who love The Smiths with a passion. There are countless bloggers who have praised them to the stars and back. So apologies for outing myself as somebody who isn’t a fan.

I did like them initially. I bought What Difference Does It Make. And yes it had the original Terence Stamp sleeve. I’ve got one of the many best of compilations. I’ve listened to the proper albums inside out thanks to those people I knew I loved them.

But under the skin? No.

However there is a song and performance that I adore. It stands as one of my all time favourite recordings. And on a night when I might be seeing a Tory in charge of London a piece of beautiful melancholy by Morrisey/Marr seems kind of fitting.

Sandie Shaw – I Don’t Owe You Anything

This was the b-side of her version of Hand In Glove. And, yes if you don’t know this, that’s The Smiths backing her. Man alive, Sandie sounds amazing on this. It really does make it sound like it’s come from the soundtrack to some kitchen sink drama. I can almost see the foggy cobbled streets and dingy little flats. Cups of tea and toast. Winklepicker shoes and panda make up.

And the yearning: it’s almost an instrument of it’s own amidst the jangle.


And as something of a bonus here’s her version of Jeane from the 12″ of the Hand In Glove Single, plus her versions of a couple of 60s classics taken from her 1969 album Reviewing The Situation which Sandie produced herself. Told you I was into cover versions at the moment….My favourite here is the version of Sympathy For The Devil. How fast does that get? I dare you to try and dance to it!

Sandie Shaw – Jeane
Sandie Shaw – Lay Lady Lay
Sandie Shaw – Sympathy For The Devil