Goodnight and Thank You

I have retired It has served its purpose and had started to go to seed.

In the 1990s I found a bootleg of The Smiths at a local record fair. I was amazed that there were live recordings of my favourite band. It was before the internet so until that day all I knew of were the albums in the record stores along with a few singles. From that point, it turned into something of a mission to go to the record fairs and collect rarities and live recordings.

In 2006, I established that I could start sharing these recordings with other people on the internet using torrents, so I set up smithstorrents and offered up what I had. There were already low-quality MP3s on the internet but I wanted to try and collect the best possible versions at the highest possible quality. Gradually people started sharing what they had and the site built up some momentum. A turning point was when Steve Catterall at Soundsville International started sharing what he had recorded when he unofficially toured with the Smiths.

Over the years the collection grew. More rarities were uncovered and often live recordings were direct from the master tape. Sometimes fans would remaster to improve sound quality or to stitch together tapes to create full recordings. Old VHS tapes were dusted off; I collected ticket stubs from eBay; I shamelessly plagiarised clippings and photos from other sites and I saved and sorted any time anything Smiths-related showed up on the internet, TV or radio. Some of that got put on smithstorrents, some of it did not.

There are some things that eluded me. I’d like to archive Grant Showbiz’s sounddesk recordings, but despite a friendly pub conversation, those remain in his attic. I’d like to have a good copy of the Drone demos. I have no idea why I still can’t find a good Jensen version of Wonderful Woman, but I shouldn’t focus on what’s missing but on what great recordings we have.

Here's a link to the Smiths archive, which is around 350GB at its last weigh-in. I didn't ever collect the Morrissey solo material so I don't have that to offer you.

Some of you might find the FLAC files to be an inconvenience. Likewise, DVD VOB files. In both cases, the goal was to preserve them in the best available quality. There are tools that will help you convert to something that suits your needs better, should you need it.

Thanks to everyone who contributed in one way or another over the years. Too many to name, but if you’ve shared your recordings, collated, remastered or documented then I appreciate your efforts. Thank you.

July 2020