Morphine: B-Sides and Otherwise, Rykodisk 1997

A compilation album of B-sides, soundtrack contributions, improvisational pieces and other miscellanea by Morphine, with more guest performers than is strictly healthy, and thus a larger range of sounds than we'd expect from a typical Morphine arrangement. Tracks are:

  1. Have A Lucky Day
    A live radio version which appeared as one of the B-sides to "Super Sex", performed on 25th May 1994 in Nederhorst deb Berg, Holland for the rather charming sounding programme "Twee Meter Sessies", though I suspect that's Dutch rather than the obvious English interpretation!
  2. All Wrong
    From the same session as above. Lacks the vocoder which makes the album version of the song so distinctive. The intensity of the performance is pretty close to the overall effect of the album version though. Appeared as a B-side to the  Honey White single.
  3. I Know You - Part Two
    Again, from the Nederhorst deb Berg session, a fairly faithful reproduction of album version. Also a B-side to Honey White.
  4. Bo's Veranda
    An instrumental piece which appeared on the soundtrack to Get Shorty. Featuring some guest performers and with more of a laid-back swing vibe, it doesn't sound like Morphine. In fact, I never realised, having watched the film, that this was Morphine until I actually bought this album. Instrumentation is something like: Mark on guitar, Dana on baritone saxophone as usual, Billy on drums, and guests Mike Rivard on bass and Russ Gershon on tenor saxophone. Who "Bo" is, or where his Veranda is located, are not recorded.
  5. Mile High
    Mmm, funky! From the soundtrack of Things to do in Denver When You're Dead. Guest performers are plentiful: Russ Gershon (again) on tenor sax, Tom Halter on trumpet, and Larry Dersch on drums.
  6. Shame
    "Morphine By Numbers", an archetypal B-side track from the Cure for Pain single.
  7. Down Love's Tributaries
    Appears to be beat poetry improv; an eight minute indulgence featuring guest vocals by someone named Sabine. Highly enjoyable if you're in that kind of mood, but tedious otherwise. Another B-side to Cure for Pain.
  8. Kerouac
    Mark's tribute to Jack Kerouac, just Mark reading and Billy drumming. Again, whether you enjoy this will be highly dependent on your mood at the time.
  9. Pulled Over The Car
    A short treatise on the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel and the apparent physical impossibility of staying awake. From the Japanese version of the Yes single.
  10. Sundayafternooneightlessness
    Another improv piece, this time instrumental and with obvious overdubs. Nothing special. Appeared on the Super Sex single.
  11. Virgin Bride
    This was taken from a bonus CD that was bundled with the Australian release of Like Swimming, which seems appropriate given its humorous content; it tells the sad tale of a (what else?) virgin bride and the tragic misfortune brought about immediately prior to the consummation of the marriage in a hotel basement laundry room. A track which is funny the first time you hear it, but lacks staying power.
  12. Mail
    A reading (to synth bass by one Frank Swart and minimal drums by one Dominique Zar) of the Ernest Noyes Brookings poem. Contributed to a compilation of readings titled Outstandingly Ignited.
  13. My Brain
    B-side from the Cure for Pain single, the same poem as read on the Bootleg Detroit live album.

Overall a very lackluster album, which can be expected from a B-side compilation. Its main problem is that it lacks almost any cohesion as an album in it's own right, and the range of moods it covers make a conventional listening a confusing experience. By the same token, it should make excellent fodder for mix tapes when you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary to squeeze in as the last track on a side.

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