Late last year, we were looking at the lesser-listened-to Smiths albums—The Smiths, Meat Is Murder, and Strangeways, Here We Come—assembling a playlist of songs not collected on either Singles or Louder Than Bombs. Today we’ll conclude with
HATFUL OF HOLLOW (1984)
…which is admittedly getting somewhat obscure. Many of the songs on this compilation can in fact be found on Louder Than Bombs. But the versions I’ll point out here are not the studio recordings, but hail instead from from two John Peel sessions (31 May 1983 and 21 September 1983) and two David Jensen sessions (4 July 1983 and 5 September 1983), which makes this one also worth having…
Track 1. “Hand in Glove” (single version)
This is the original single release, with the fade-in intro and tinny vocals. It was later remixed for the Smiths—
I prefer the latter, but it’s nifty to have the earlier version.
Track 2. “What Difference Does It Make?” (Peel 5/18/83)
This was also released on the Peel Sessions EP (which also includes track 6, “Handsome Devil,” and track 15, “Reel Around the Fountain,” as well as one song not included here, “Miserable Lie.”) It’s substantially different from the Smiths version (which is also on Singles):
(That’s a lip-synced version, obviously.) Personally, I prefer the rawer Peel version.
Track 3. “These Things Take Time” (Jensen 6/26/83)
This song was the B-side for “What Difference Does It Make?”, and that version ended up on Louder:
Hatful is the only place where you can hear the Jensen version:
The differences here are less obvious than with “Difference,” but they’re there, once again mainly in the song’s low end.
Track 4. “This Charming Man” (Peel 9/14/83)
Oddly, this one’s lighter and more upbeat than the album version, which always sounded slightly lead-footed to me:
Bonus Smiths trivia: the very charming lyric “a jumped up pantry boy / who never knew his place” is a quote from the charming-in-its-own-way Sleuth.
Track 6. “Handsome Devil” (Peel 5/18/83)
If you want to get your hands / on this song’s mammary glands / Hatful‘s the only place to get it (besides the Peel Sessions EP)—which alone justifies owning the whole album.
Track 8. “Still Ill” (Peel 9/14/83)
One of my all-time favorite Smiths songs (featuring some of Morrissey’s greatest lyrics), I have never been able to understand why this song appeared only on Smiths and Hatful. The two versions are wildly different. The Hatful version—
—features a harmonica, and is slower than the Smiths cut—which, mysteriously, isn’t up at YouTube, but sounds more like this:
—and which, truth be told, I prefer. Still, it’s nice to have Hatful‘s take on it.
Track 11. “You’ve Got Everything Now” (Jensen 6/26/83)
This was never one of my favorite Smiths songs, and the Hatful version—
—is weaker than the Smiths version, IMO:
It plods, and Morrissey’s vocals sound more strained.
Track 12. “Accept Yourself” (Jensen 8/25/83)
A very minor song (it plays like a weaker retread of “These Things Take Time”) that only ever appeared on Hatful.
Track 14. “Back to the Old House” (Peel 9/14/83)
A wonderful little song, the better-known version is the one included on Louder than Bombs:
The Hatful version—
—is entirely acoustic, and entirely different.
Track 15. “Reel Around the Fountain” (Peel 5/18/83)
Another of my all-time favorites, this ended up only on Smiths and Hatful (well, plus the Peel Sessions EP). The two versions are extremely different. Here’s the one on Hatful:
And here’s the one on The Smiths:
I probably prefer…both of them.
Tracks 5, 7, 9, 13, and 16 are all studio versions, and as such were included variously on Singles and Louder. And track 10, “This Night Has Opened My Eyes,” is from the second Peel session, and ended up on Louder.
All in all, I’d argue Hatful is worth owning for tracks 2, 4, 8, 14, 15, and especially track 6 (“Handsome Devil”). The novelty of tracks 1, 3, 11, and 12 are just gravy.
Well. I hope this trek through the Smiths’s back catalog helps you get through your exams… Cheers!