With the news that Pete Doherty and Carl Barât are to write new Libertines material together in Paris, we thought it fitting to look deeper in to their catalogue of music, and bring you the best Libertines songs that you may not have heard before. These are a collection of B-sides, session recordings and early demo versions that rarely see the light of day on ‘Best of the Libertines’ lists.
Music When the Lights Go Out (Legs 11 version)
Legs 11 was recorded in 2000 when the band were desperate to be signed, and featured what the band considered to be their 8 best songs at the time. This early demo features a stupendously beautiful version of ‘Music When the Lights Go Out’ which later went on to appear on the band’s second album. This version features former cellist Vicky Chapman and Paul Dufour on drums. This recording has a sense of innocence to it that is rarely found in Libertines tracks. It is rough, and Peter’s vocals are far from perfect which only adds to the charm of this track.
Smashing – 77 Demos
The 77 Demos were EMI studio demos, and the date of recording is unknown. Only two songs came from these sessions, including an early version of ‘Death on the Stairs’. Also recorded was ‘Smashing’ featuring Peter and a guest appearance by photographer Lula Camus on vocals. As with most of the early Libertines tracks, this one is acoustic, and Lula’s verse is sung completely in French.
Narcissist – The French Sessions
The French Sessions were recorded in January 2003. This particular version of Narcissist is slower than the track that would eventually end up on The Libertines, and a lot rougher. The harmonies from Pete are still there, and the guitar is still as exquisitely unpredictable.
I Got Sweets – Baby Shambles Sessions
Another ode to narcotics here from the boys, affectionately renamed to sweets. The song has more of a blues swing to it than most Libertines tracks we are used to and features Carl on vocals. The Baby Shambles sessions are possibly the most honestly recorded sessions that the band did, with the songs being recorded in one take, which leads to poor mixing and inaudible lyrics at some points, but without doubt adds a certain allure to the tracks.
Breck Road Lover
Another early song from the boys here, recorded at some point between 1997 and 2000 when the band were still unknown. Supposedly written about a girl Peter met when visiting his Nan in Liverpool when he was only around 12 years old, his vocals are reminiscent of Suede’s Brett Anderson circa ‘Coming Up’ era.
Albion – Baby Shambles Sessions
Not many people are aware that Albion was in fact recorded before the split of The Libertines and the formation of Babyshambles, but those who are aware generally agree that the two versions from these sessions are quite special. Taken from the appropriately named Baby Shambles sessions, these songs feature harmonica accompaniment to one of Peter earliest written songs that would eventually come to be one of his most well-known.
By Conor Giles
Dance Yrself Clean