Friday, September 01, 2006

Smudge V's The Lemonheads
(A cover version fourplay)

Some Smudge and a Lemonhead

Evan Dando is a thieving bastard! =;^)

Not happy with using his band The Lemonheads to raid the back catalog of artists including Kiss, Gram Parsons, Suzanne Vega, The Stone Ponies, Patsy Cline and Charles Manson – plus many more - even before the breakthrough album “It’s A Shame About Ray” was recorded. And not only did Evan have this album co-written with the great assistance of Tom Morgan .... he even went on to steal many of Tom's classic pop tracks! With the end result that many people think that these are Dando/Lemonhead tracks!! The indignity!!!

And let's not forget The Lemonheads radio friendly version of Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs Robinson which brought the band to the world stage and helped to totally twist poor Evan’s mind.

Smudge are an Australian "slacker pop" trio who were made known to the world stage in the early 1990’s primarily due to the recognition of singer-songwriter Tom Morgan's co-authorship of tracks on The Lemonheads breakthrough 1992 album “It's A Shame About Ray”.

Smudge have been an on-again, off-again concern since the early 1990’s (in many ways they have a not too different history to that of The Lemonheads – although they have had many fewer line-up changes), with a number of periods of hibernation since their formation.

Built around the constant of Tom Morgan (who also played in Sneeze with Half A Cow label owner and one-time Lemonhead Nic Dalton) and Alison Galloway (also of “Alison’s Starting To Happen” fame). Smudge formed in 1991 and quickly became known for the melodic, mini-pop masterpieces of Tom Morgan and their low-fi approach to recording, releasing three albums (plus a collection of B sides and unreleased covers), a mini-album, a handful of singles, and appearing on several compilation albums.

The band split/took a hiatus in 1999, reformed for a quick tour in 2002 and then again got back together to play gigs in support of the recent re-release of their Manilow, album (with a bonus CD of demo and live tracks).

I have loved The Lemonheads, and especially the pop sensibilities of Evan Dando, since first being introduced to them – via their Creator and Lick albums - by my good buddy Dirk back in the late 1980’s. During this period, lead vocal and songwriting duties were shared by fellow forming-member Ben Deily and Evan Dando, although even then I preferred Dando’s songs.

Since that time I’ve caught The Lemonheads several times in Australia and the U.K., and have seen Evan Dando play a few solo shows. Even during his infamous drug-f*cked days he managed to put on a good show, at least in my experiences. The Lemonheads were also part of our wedding, with My Drug Buddy being our “bridal waltz” song.

Now after 10 years, and a multitude of band member changes, Evan Dando has recreated The Lemonheads with yet another new lineup and has just recorded a new album. Co-starring Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Karl Alvarez and with extra special guests including Dinosaur Jr singer/guitarist J Mascis and The Band organist Garth Hudson.

Consistent collaborator Tom Morgan (Smudge) has also added two tracks to this new album, including the first single and the track provided here.

The Guardian has an interesting interview with Evan here.

The Lemonheads new self-titled album will be released on September 26th. Woo Hoo!! Four tracks from the album are being streamed here.


Blogger Michael said...

i have received an email from Damien suggesting that he is unable to access the Smudge "No Backbone" track (his email is shown below). is anyone else having problems with this? it looks good to me.

here's Damien's email:-

Interesting post! Unfortunately that link for the Smudge version of "No Backbone" doesn't work. I've been listening to The Lemonheads version over and over and would really like to hear the Smudge version for comparison..

can anyone let me know if they're having problems too

Sun Sep 10, 10:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about 'tenderfoot' from Car Button Cloth?
First released on a smudge record

Thu Mar 01, 04:19:00 pm  
Blogger Robert Cass said...

"Down About It" did appear on "Come On Feel the Lemonheads" before Smudge did their version, and it is cowritten by Dando. "Tenderfoot," however, is another Lemonheads cover of a Smudge song.

Tue Jul 03, 05:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never even heard the smudge version of outdoor type. Thanks.

Mon Jan 14, 02:42:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"he even went on to steal many of Tom's classic pop tracks! With the end result that many people think that these are Dando/Lemonhead tracks!!"

Well, I wouldn't say he stole them. Covered them , inspired by them, loved them. But your second sentence is true!
Nic Dalton, Sydney

Thu Apr 08, 07:29:00 am  
Blogger Robert Cass said...

Well said, Mr. Dalton. I don't think Dando's ever tried to hide the fact that Morgan wrote all those great Smudge songs he's covered -- and he covered ones like "Impractical Joke," "Superhero," and "Steak and Chips" in concert in the early '90s, often by introducing them as Tom Morgan compositions -- but I also think Dando is his occasional songwriting partner's greatest interpreter. I ordered Smudge's "Mo Poontang" from Half a Cow (thank you, Mr. Dalton) in 2001, but it wasn't until Dando covered "No Backbone" for the self-titled Lemonheads LP five years later that the song made any kind of impression on me. Obviously the sing-along melody and insightful lyrics were already there in Smudge's version, but the Lemonheads' cover teases out everything that's great about the song, turning it into a real show-stopper. Dando gives "No Backbone" its backbone, you could say.

Tue Feb 05, 02:56:00 pm  

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