The Troy Tate outtakes

The first studio sessions for the Smiths' debut album took place in the summer of 1983 with producer Troy Tate. Unsatisfied with his work, the Smiths hired producer John Porter to finish the job and this is what ended up being released. Different versions of the shelved Tate recordings are circulated on various bootlegs. These are usually referred to as the Troy Tate outtakes or sessions, or incorrectly as the Troy Tate demos (perhaps only a few songs in the TATE+ set below fit the definition of demo). The tapes which emerged from these sessions are all from cassettes of rough monitor mixes, as no tracks were ever mixed as finished songs. The vocals are just guide recordings. Tate worked on the backing tracks first, with Morrissey adding a guide vocal over the basic track. He then started working with Johnny Marr on guitar overdubs. They were ready to start work on the vocals after a weekend break but it was at this stage that Tate was dropped.

The most evolved master (in the hands of record companies) features the following songs in this order: "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle", "You've Got Everything Now", "These Things Take Time", "What Difference Does It Make?", "Reel Around The Fountain", "Hand In Glove", "Handsome Devil", "Wonderful Woman", "I Don't Owe You Anything", "Suffer Little Children", "Miserable Lie", "Accept Yourself", "Pretty Girls Make Grave", "Jeane". Biographer Simon Goddard speculates that this order corresponds to the planned album plus b-side "Jeane" but considering what is explained in the previous paragraph as well as other factors, there is reason to believe that this may actually not be quite the case.

Two versions of most songs Troy Tate worked on can be found on bootlegs, with the exception of a few titles for which there are either only one or three versions out there. The first set to have leaked contains the versions that sound the most like the Troy Tate master that is currently in the hands of record companies (let's call these the 'definitive versions' and this set TATE1). Alternate versions that have leaked later sound better because they are from a better source but they are not necessarily more polished. These alternate versions include or exclude different vocals/instruments/studio effects or overdubs. They leaked in a set that we will call TATE2 which includes two titles that are also found in the TATE1 set.

The Troy Tate recordings of "Jeane" and "Pretty Girls Make Graves" were considered good enough to be officially released so most bootleggers added them to their compilations or replaced the inferior sounding versions they had with the released ones, which adds to the confusion. The Tate recording of "Reel Around The Fountain" was given an official release for the first time in 2011, so after having been available on bootlegs for years. For more information on the availability of the latter three songs on official sources, click on the title links above.

The Pablo Cuckoo tape
A rehearsal tape featuring nine of the above songs will also be of interest to collectors. The tape was recorded for Troy Tate, in order to give him something to work with before going into the studio. It is referred to as the "Pablo Cuckoo Tape" and its content leaked on the internet in March 2013. Information about this is found at the bottom of this page.


TATE1 set

The first bootlegs featuring Troy Tate sessions appeared on the market in the early 1990s. The versions of the songs are identical or very close to what is found on the Troy Tate masters in the hands of record companies (referred to here as the 'definitive' versions). The pitch (speed) on these is often too slow and the sound quality, even in the best cases, leaves a lot to be desired. Later bootlegs produced from the earlier ones were corrected for pitch but there is not much that can be done with sound quality. Song lengths given here correspond to the slow versions followed by the pitch-corrected ones.

- Reel Around The Fountain (version 1; 6:13/6:02)
- You've Got Everything Now (version 1; 4:28/4:15)
- Miserable Lie (version 1; 4:52/4:39)
- These Things Take Time (only version; 2:48/2:40)
- Wonderful Woman (version 1; 3:29/3:19)
- Handsome Devil (version 1; 3:00/2:50)
- Hand In Glove (version 1; 3:30/3:20)
- What Difference Does It Make? (version 1; 4:13/4:01)
- I Don't Owe You Anything (version 1; 4:37/4:24)
- Suffer Little Children (version 1; 5:54/5:39)
- Pretty Girls Make Graves (officially released version 3:35)
- Jeane (officially released version 3:03)

The 'definitive' Troy Tate versions of "Accept Yourself" and "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" did not leak in this set (but they do exist). Slightly alternate versions are found in the TATE2 set detailed below.

A better sounding version of "Reel Around The Fountain" was leaked in 2010 on this untitled vinyl bootleg before getting officially released in 2011.


TATE2 set (first half)

In the mid-1990s the following outtakes were released on the manufactured bootlegs "Reel Around The Fountain" and "Wonderful Woman". They have since been lifted from these titles and included on various other fan-made compilations. They are sometimes referred to as alternate, alternative or remixed Troy Tate versions. They were originally assumed to be earlier Troy Tate versions, but there seems to be a certain amount of evidence that they might actually be post Troy Tate: either John Porter's early attempt at patching up the Tate recordings (more likely), or versions re-recorded under Porter's supervision (less likely). They do include elements that are not in the TATE1 set but present in the subsequent Porter versions (officially released on the debut album). This would also explain why they were labeled as 'remixed' when they first leaked. One way or another, it appears now less likely that the TATE2 set pre-dates the TATE1 set as it was once believed, although that theory can still not be entirely ruled out. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

The set includes versions of "Accept Yourself" and "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" which were not leaked in the first set. These sound a lot like the 'definitive' Troy Tate versions although additional work was done to them. Also, "Accept Yourself" is faded out instead of ending after 4:30. This could also be the work of John Porter. The other four songs are significantly different to their 'definitive' counterparts in the first set.

- Accept Yourself (version 1; 4:03)
- The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (only version 5:15)
- Miserable Lie (version 2; 4:37)
- Reel Around The Fountain (version 2; 5:55)
- What Difference Does It Make? (version 2; 3:19)
- Wonderful Woman (version 2; 3:18)


TATE2 set (rest)

The complete set from which the above six were lifted has since leaked on the internet and found its way onto fanmade bootleg compilations. These are also sometimes referred to as alternate, alternative or remixed versions. The set circulated on the internet as 'remixed' is actually this one, with an inferior sound. So besides the above 6, this set also includes the following songs/versions, different to any one above (except for the two officially released ones of course).

- You've Got Everything Now (version 2; 4:29)
- Handsome Devil (version 2; 2:52)
- Hand In Glove (version 2; 3:24)
- I Don't Owe You Anything (version 2; 4:30)
- Suffer Little Children (version 2; 4:54)
- Pretty Girls Make Graves (officially released version 3:35)
- Jeane (officially released version 3:03)


TATE+ set

A different set, this one labeled "Rough Trade Demos", leaked on the internet after the two other ones. The sound quality here is not good enough for us to detect any significant difference that may exist with the TATE2 set, with the exception of the two songs listed below which are very clearly different. They sound like pre-mixed versions of the ones above. Whether or not Troy Tate had anything to do with these is unclear at this point, but because they are circulated as Troy Tate sessions, they are mentioned here.

- What Difference Does It Make? (version 3 aka demo; 3:56)
- Jeane (demo 2:46)


In 2011 collector Soundsville Paul leaked a set which mostly comprised material from the TATE2 set (in better sound than before), the above two TATE+ demos (in much better sound!), "These Things Take Time" from the TATE1 set, plus - Accept Yourself (alternate version 4:04)


In short, completists will have to look on the internet for the best sounding versions of most of the Troy Tate outtakes. Manufactured bootlegs either have slow versions of the TATE1 set, or 2nd or 3rd generation fan-'remastered' versions of all sets. At this point in time great lossless versions of all the above are available on torrent sites.


Differences between versions

Differences between the various Troy Tate outtakes in circulation are given below. These descriptions are not exhaustive, only the most obvious differences are mentioned.


"Accept Yourself"

Version in TATE2 set - 4:03
Version in TATE+ set - 4:04 alternate version - 4:04

The first two versions feature clearly different guitars. The TATE2 version sounds like the 'definitive' Troy Tate one (which exists but has not yet leaked) with additional work done to it, and with a faded outro. The TATE+ version also includes piano and Morrissey shrieks following the line "time is against me now".


"Hand In Glove"

Version in TATE1 set - 3:20 corrected / 3:30 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 3:24

These sound like different mixes of the same recording. Fortunately, the mixes are reasonably different. At 1:36 in the TATE1 version there is an echoey background vocal of "kiss my shades..." which is not found in the other version. There is also something that sounds like flute (actually harmonica with lots of reverb) in the outro of the TATE1 mix, but not in the TATE2 mix. There are many other minor differences, but these are the most obvious ones.


"Handsome Devil"

Version in TATE1 set - 2:50 corrected / 3:00 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 2:52

The two versions sound like they stem from the same musical take, with different vocals and mix. A very obvious difference is found at 1:45 when in the TATE1 version Morrissey stretches the 'you' in "yooooooou deserve it", while in the TATE2 mix he sings "you deserve it, deserve it, deserve it". At the very end of the song, after singing "Oh you handsome devil!", he shouts "aah!" in the TATE1 mix, and "ow!" in the TATE2 mix.


"The Hand That Rocks The Cradle"

Only version, TATE2 set - 5:15

This song did not leak with the TATE1 set. The recording found in the TATE2 set sounds a lot like the 'definitive' Troy Tate version which has yet to escape to the general public, either in official or unofficial form.


"I Don't Owe You Anything"

Version in TATE1 set - 4:24 corrected / 4:37 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 4:30

These two versions are very similar. They sound like they stem from the same musical take, with different vocals and mix. The TATE1 mix has a one note bass intro before the drum kicks in, while the TATE2 mix, which also sounds slower or smoother, has a 2-note bass intro. At 3:05 the finger clicking is more prominent in the TATE1 version. At 3:50 when Morrissey sings "life is never kind", the inflexion is more on 'never' in the TATE1 version, and more on 'kind' in the TATE2 mix.



Single version - 3:03
Demo in TATE+ set - 2:46

All the bootlegs of Troy Tate outtakes seem to feature the officially released version of this song, lifted from the "This Charming Man" single. However an obvious demo was found in a 'Rough Trade Demos' package circulated on the internet which mainly featured inferior sounding versions of the TATE2 set except for this song and "What Difference Does It Make". This "Jeane" demo is shorter, rougher and lacks backing vocals. Its outro doesn't have the accelerating drum and "ooh!" ending. Collectors may like to know that the version of "Jeane" in the 'definitive' Troy Tate set, which has not yet leaked, sounds differently to the one which was released as a b-side (likely because additional mixing was done prior to release).


"Miserable Lie"

Version in TATE1 set - 4:39 corrected / 4:52 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 4:37

The music and vocals sound the same and the mixes are very similar. The TATE2 mix usually starts with a drumstick click. There is reverb at the end of the TATE1 version but the TATE2 version ends very abruptly.


"Pretty Girls Make Graves"

Studio version - 3:35

Because the Troy Tate produced version of this song had already been officially released by the band at the time of the initial release of the Troy Tate sessions on bootlegs, it appears that the makers decided to include it with the rest. The presence of the song at the very end of the track listings of the earliest bootlegs adds more weight to this theory, but doesn't necessarily confirm it. Until someone finds any noticeable difference between the officially released version and the bootleg ones, this theory can safely be accepted.


"Reel Around The Fountain"

Version in TATE1 set - 6:02 corrected / 6:13 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 5:55

The two versions sound like they stem from the same musical take, with different vocals and mix. The TATE1 version starts with three notes that are not in the TATE2 version. There is no 'oh' before 'people said' in the TATE1 version, while in the other one Morrissey sings 'oh people said'.

The better sounding full version which was leaked in 2010 on an untitled vinyl bootleg before getting officially released in 2011 is the definitive Troy Tate recording.


"Suffer Little Children"

Version in TATE1 set - 5:39 corrected / 5:54 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 4:54

This one is rather obvious. The music sounds like it's from the same take but the vocals differ slightly and the mixes are quite different. The TATE2 mix ends with a guitar and cymbals outro but the TATE1 version segues into a beautiful piano coda which is commonly assumed to have later been adapted by Johnny for the song "Asleep", but which has more in common musically with the background piano in the song "Meat Is Murder" (when sped up). The sound of a woman giggling or sobbing at the 4:00 mark is present in the TATE1 mix but absent in the other one. Also, the "you might sleep but you will never dream" line sounds differently between versions.


"These Things Take Time"

Only version, TATE1 set - 2:40 corrected / 2:48 uncorrected

There is only one Troy Tate version of this song in circulation.


"What Difference Does It Make?"

Version in TATE1 set - 4:01 corrected / 4:13 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 3:19
Demo in TATE+ set - 3:56

The TATE1 and TATE+ versions are in the same key, which is different to that of the TATE2 version. Apart from the song lengths, there are quite a few obvious differences to report. There is a "oh!" before the drum kick in the intro of the TATE2 mix, and the piano that comes in right after that. Also, what sounds like a violin is heard in the background soon after, while it only comes in at about 0:38 in the TATE1 mix.

At 1:36 when Morrissey sings "it makes none", the violin (or something that sounds like a violin) is heard in the background of the TATE1 mix, while in the TATE2 mix, there is guitar picking and an added "aaahh" back vocal. At 1:46 there is slide after "tonight" in the TATE1 version, and dreamy echo on the background vox, but in the TATE2 version there is no slide and much less echo.

The 'Rough Trade Demos' version is unique and different to both of the above mixes. It sounds like a primitive pre-overdub version of the TATE1 mix. It could be speculated that this version predates Troy Tate's involvement.


"Wonderful Woman"

Version in TATE1 set - 3:19 corrected / 3:29 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 3:18

The two versions of this song are very similar, they sound like different mixes of the same recording. The guitar seems to be slightly higher in the TATE1 mix, particularly around the 1:45 mark. The only obvious difference is the presence of an echoey 'tock' sound at the very beginning of the TATE2 mix (probably the last beat of the click track). The same sound can be heard at the very beginning of the TATE2 mix of "Suffer Little Children", but in a higher pitch.


"You've Got Everything Now"

Version in TATE1 set - 4:15 corrected / 4:28 uncorrected
Version in TATE2 set - 4:29

The two versions are somewhat similar. From the 3:35 mark in the TATE 1 version, a child's voice (or perhaps slide guitar or some studio effect) can be heard.




The Pablo Cuckoo Tape (rehearsal)

In May 1983 (exact date unknown), in the very initial stages of preparing for their first album, The Smiths ran through a selection of songs at a rehearsal room in manager Joe Moss' Crazy Face jeans warehouse. The tape was recorded for Troy Tate, in order to give him something to work with before going into the studio. The sound of it is rather rough, but considering it was only recorded on cassette with a stereo microphone pointing into the room, the quality isn't too bad. Morrissey's vocals are a bit distorted but everything else is surprisingly clear. There are a few tape flutters at various points.

The master cassette was lent in 1997 from a source close to the band who made it, to the person who eventually leaked the recording, with the intention of giving it some form of semi-official release. But a combination of the poor sound quality and threats from Warner Bros meant that the idea was shelved. The master cassette was transferred to DAT at the time and it is this DAT transfer that was leaked on the internet. The name 'Pablo Cuckoo' is the alias given to the recorder by the person who leaked the recording.

The cassette's track listing:
      You’ve Got Everything Now 4:29
      Accept Yourself 4:19
      What Difference Does It Make? 4:06
      Reel Around The Fountain 6:36
      These Things Take Time 3:05
      I Don't Owe You Anything 5:29
      Hand In Glove 2:59
      Handsome Devil 3:06
      Miserable Lie 5:11



"I really hope [the Troy Tate demos] do [get released] because they are a true representation of what the band really were for the first year or more of our career. I heard the Troy Tate album in somebody's car a few years ago and I just thought 'What a peculiar group'. Strange things to be singing about and in a strange way. And I was in it!"