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LISTEN: Never Heard Before R.E.M. Track
John Doran , October 7th, 2017 07:23

Vintage indie rock group's previously unreleased song, Devil Rides Backwards

Ahead of the 25th anniversary reissue of R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People, you can listen to a previously unheard track by the band called 'Devil Rides Backwards' (by clicking here).

The track will be available as part of the reissued album's Deluxe Edition, due out on November 10 on Craft Recordings, which features a number of unreleased tracks and demos as well as a live recording of a 1992 performance at Athens, GA's 40 Watt Club.

The sleeve notes of the release have the following to say about the track:

“The album’s great lost track—talked about by fans the world over down the years, but never previously heard—is ‘The Devil Rides Backwards On A Horse Called Maybe.’ Although unfinished, its inclusion here is a tantalizing glimpse into what might have been an AFTP highlight. Except that in this demo, the horse is a mule.

“‘That was a mistake,’ laughs Stipe. ‘It’s supposed to be a horse. I think that phrase might have been something that Peter pulled from literature. He thought it had a nice ring to it.’

“Indeed, Buck always regretted that the singer never completed the lyric. ‘That was the one that I most wanted to have on the record,’ he says now. ‘I really loved that song. Michael just didn’t feel that he had it and he likes to work by inspiration. But I remember I was in New Orleans and I played a cassette of a lot of rough mixes to a bunch of people. Five years later they’d go, “Gosh, whatever happened to that Devil Rides Backwards song?” It got pretty close but it was never finished. So it’s on this.’”

In addition, the four disc Deluxe version of the release comes with a whole bunch of never commercially available demos, including 'Mike's Pop Song' which can be streamed via this link.

There is more information on the reissue on R.E.M.'s official website and you can read our feature on the album here.

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