Various Morrissey: Under The Influence

Following up the success of the Back To Mine series of compilations, DMC’s latest venture into the record collections of your favourite recording artists kicks off with the melancholy Morrissey. You would expect someone of Morrissey’s disposition to have a great room full of tunes to pine by and he doesn’t disappoint. In fact, he seems to go out of his way to display an extreme diversity of taste. Things kick off with some zydeco from the Sundown Playboys, giving a sense of the unexpected selections here. We later get a taste of novelty country & western on the 1958 track "Woodpecker Rock” by Nat Couty and then there is "One Hand Loose” from rockabilly pioneer Charlie Feathers. In the ’60s pop crooner realm, we have British film star Diana Dors with "So Little Time” and the Bacharach-penned "The Forgotten Man” sung by Jimmy Radcliff. The nascent American punk scene is also well represented with early tracks from Patti Smith, Ramones and the New York Dolls. Add to that the psych-baroque stylings of Nico that might segue well with the fantasy folk of the 1970 Tyrannosaurus Rex track "Great Horse.” However, none of these tracks are actually sequenced to provide any kind of flow. Instead they are seemingly mashed up to be as jarring as possible, almost over-emphasising the uniqueness of each. Not only are there very few obvious choices, outside of his Manchester friends Ludus, the album provides a great collection of some hard to find tidbits, including the Cats’ 1968 ska rendition of "Swan Lake” later lifted by Madness, and my personal favourite, the epic opera-pop Sparks demo from 1972 called "Arts & Crafts Spectacular.” And if you are still looking for something that might remind you of the music of the Smiths and Morrissey, just wait for overwrought performance artist Klaus Nomi and his faithful rendition of Henry Purcell’s "Death,” which closes the album. This must have originally been some seriously depressing Brit-pop from the 1600s. (DMC)