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The Smiths : Singles (1995)


Review : I love the Smiths and I don't mind who knows that. In a word they are the finest family duo to emerge from Liverpool since the Nolans. With Morris Smith's poignant lyrics and Johnny Smith's effect melodies they carved their way across the UK pop scene only charted previously by premier bedsit dignitaries Jim Balding and The Slumberlands.
The whole concept was well thought out, from the Chrysanthemum's in Morris' shirt pocket (who will ever forget Frank Carsons hilarious impersonation on Noel Edmond's Louse Party) to the imaginative use of 1950's and 1960's British Film Noir characters. A whole raft of classic characters appeared on their album covers, Kenneth Williams, Wilfred Bramble as Albert Steptoe, Simon Bates, to name but a few. My own particular favourite was the Double A-Side "Stupid Troy"/"A Nice Straight Line" which borrowed images from Dad's Army favouritites Ted Lowe (who later went onto host Pot Black) and Jim Le Courier. The more observant fans of the sitcom will notive that Le Courier's portrait was in fact a facsimile, as the Le Courier Estate objected to the use his image being used....enter Morris Smith and some very creative make-up.
All your favourites are here "Boyfriend in a Nova", "Arggggghh!" and their first #1 "Shop Fitters of Note Unite". Curious is the omission of "Crikey Mr Bikey" however.
An essential purchase for those of you who still don't own the entire two album back-catalogue.
Standout Tracks : "You Might Be Joan Simms, but all your all Windsor to Me", "This Alarming Tram" and "Foot & Mouth"
Standout Moments : 0:53 into "Penguin" Morris takes a breath before THAT kazoo solo
Try This : "The Slitwrist Tapes" - Leonard Bowen, "Noose" - Su Long Wega and "The Incidental Music of Agatha Cristie" - The Stratford Philharmonic
Rating : *****

Mark Tallon

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