Southpaw Grammar

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Southpaw Grammar
Studio album by Morrissey
Released 28 August 1995
Recorded March–April 1995
Genre Alternative rock, indie rock
Length 47:50 (original)
62:03 (re-release)
Label RCA (UK), Reprise (USA)
Producer Steve Lillywhite
Morrissey chronology
Vauxhall and I
(1994)
Southpaw Grammar
(1995)
Maladjusted
(1997)
2009 re-release cover
Singles from Southpaw Grammar
  1. "Dagenham Dave"
    Released: 21 August 1995
  2. "The Boy Racer"
    Released: 27 November 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars link
Blender 2/5 stars[1]
Drowned in Sound 7/10 stars[2]
Q 4/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]
Spin 8/10 stars[5]

Southpaw Grammar is the fifth solo album by the British alternative rock singer Morrissey. It was released in August 1995 and charted at number 66 in the United States and at number 4 in the United Kingdom. The singles lifted from it were "Dagenham Dave" (which reached number 26 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1995) and "The Boy Racer" (which reached number 36 in the UK Singles Chart in October 1995).

The record[edit]

On its release Southpaw Grammar was an eyebrow raiser with fans and critics alike. Following the success of Vauxhall and I, often considered to be Morrissey's finest solo moment, this was a change in direction.

The nature of the album is certainly different from past Morrissey releases. Musically, the inclusion of two tracks which surpass the ten-minute mark, the near two-and-a-half-minute drum solo courtesy of Spencer Cobrin which opens the track "The Operation" and the sampling of a Shostakovich1 symphony have led some to dub this album as "Morrissey's flirtation with prog-rock". Some critics were impressed by this apparent attempt at progression, while others dismissed the longer tracks as mere self-indulgence. By this album Morrissey had been writing with Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer for almost as long as he had been writing with Johnny Marr by the time of the Smiths' demise. The catchy pop numbers are by no means gone, as proven by the two singles "Dagenham Dave" and "The Boy Racer". There are no ballads on this album.

According to Morrissey himself, the title refers to 'the school of hard knocks', that is, boxing (a southpaw being slang for a boxing left-hander and grammar a reference to British grammar schools). Some have taken this a step further and believe Southpaw Grammar to be a concept album about boxing, or just the violence prevalent in modern society in general.

Another reference to boxing is the original cover photo, a photo of boxer Kenny Lane taken from the April 1963 issue of boxing magazine The Ring.

The lyrics are different from those found in Vauxhall and I, though it could be argued the protagonist's quotation in "Reader Meets Author", "no-one ever sees me when I cry", is auto-biographical, which follows in a similar path to the one left by Vauxhall and I.[citation needed]

Opening track "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils" is noteworthy as it is possibly the antithesis of the ideas he put forward in the Smiths song, "The Headmaster Ritual", from their album Meat Is Murder. The theory here is that Morrissey goes from berating the over-zealous administration of discipline, as he saw it, to berating the lack of it.

The critical reception to Southpaw Grammar was mixed. Some fans still regard this as his most exciting work and a brave departure from past success with Vauxhall and I. Q listed it as one of the top 50 albums of 1995.[6] Some critics gave it bad reviews, but there was not total condemnation. Indeed, some hailed it as Morrissey's most real, intense and ambitious work yet, while others lambasted it as over-orchestrated. The NME were especially damning of their one-time hero, claiming the album was "a loud mess to sell to America". Yet many reviewers commented upon the idiosyncratically English nature of the lyrics, even by Morrissey's standards, so there is no consensus on which market this album was aimed at.

2009 remaster[edit]

On 27 April 2009 (2009-04-27) Sony-BMG released a remastered version of Southpaw Grammar in the UK. This version of album included three previously unreleased tracks, B-side "Nobody Loves Us", and new artwork. The digital version from iTunes Store adds the B-Sides "London" and "Billy Budd", both live from London.[7] The album was originally set for a July 2008 (2008-07) release but was pushed back after the delay of Years of Refusal.

The three unreleased tracks were: "Honey, You Know Where to Find Me", "You Should Have Been Nice to Me" and "Fantastic Bird", the last of which dates from the Your Arsenal sessions. The album also featured new sleeve artwork by Anthony Lui, including previously unseen photographs by Linder Sterling. Lui had also designed the sleeves for Ringleader of the Tormentors, Live at Earls Court and Greatest Hits plus the last eleven UK singles.[8]

Track listing[edit]

1995 release (RCA / 74321 29953 1 United Kingdom)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils" (features Fifth Symphony sample) Morrissey/Boorer 11:15
2. "Reader Meet Author"   Morrissey/Boorer 3:39
3. "The Boy Racer"   Morrissey/Whyte 4:55
4. "The Operation"   Morrissey/Whyte 6:52
5. "Dagenham Dave"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:13
6. "Do Your Best and Don't Worry"   Morrissey/Whyte 4:05
7. "Best Friend on the Payroll"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:48
8. "Southpaw"   Morrissey/Whyte 10:03
2009 Expanded Edition release (RCA / 88697333522 Europe)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Boy Racer"   Morrissey/Whyte 4:55
2. "Do Your Best and Don't Worry"   Morrissey/Whyte 4:05
3. "Reader Meet Author"   Morrissey/Boorer 3:39
4. "Honey, You Know Where to Find Me"   Morrissey/Boorer 2:55
5. "Dagenham Dave"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:13
6. "Southpaw"   Morrissey/Whyte 10:03
7. "Best Friend on the Payroll"   Morrissey/Whyte 3:48
8. "Fantastic Bird"   Morrissey/Whyte 2:53
9. "The Operation"   Morrissey/Whyte 6:52
10. "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils" (features Fifth Symphony sample) Morrissey/Boorer 11:15
11. "You Should Have Been Nice to Me"   Morrissey/Boorer 3:35
12. "Nobody Loves Us"   Morrissey/Whyte 4:50

The band[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Lukowski, Andrzej (2009-04-29). "Morrissey: Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted (Expanded Editions) / In Depth // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  3. ^ "Southpaw Grammar". Motorcycleaupairboy.com. 1995-08-26. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ "Southpaw Grammar". Motorcycleaupairboy.com. 1995-08-26. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  6. ^ "Rocklist.net...Q magazine Recordings Of The Year". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  7. ^ Southpaw Grammar Remastered
  8. ^ "Morrissey now managed by Irving Azoff; Southpaw Grammar: Album re-issue release date and other information". True To You. 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 

External links[edit]