Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Fall ‎– "The Complete Peel Sessions 1978 - 2004" (Castle Music ‎– CMXBX982) 2005

Mark E. Smith : "A Tribute?"

Those of you who are sick of the recent barrage of Italian Post-Industrial Noise have been rescued,momentarily by the untimely death of the Bard of Prestwich, Mark Edward Smith.Yea,he of The Fall.
I once thought that 'The Fall' was a good name for a group,until I realised it was American for 'Autumn'!?.....very proto-gothic I thought.
This Band.....oh sorry.....'Group', as Mark E. always insisted they were, fitted very nicely into the exclusive ,canon of 'groups' such as Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, as 'groups' one could NOT get into on the first encounter. As with Beefheart, the first time I heard 'The Fall' I was immediately enamored and wanted more, like Oliver Twist approaching the Mr Bumble of accepted Rock'n'Roll myths for more Gruel. If there was a food equivalent for The Fall, it could only be a grubby bowl of tepid Gruel. Marks corresponding Dickensian character would have had to have been Fagin, and the endless supply of Group members would have been his gang of child pick-pockets,but with worse clothes. 
I first heard The Fall (mark 1),aged 14, predictably on the John Peel show back in '78. "Stepping Out" from the 'Live at the Electric Circus' blue ten incher on ,incredibly, Virgin Records, was the track. I found this short discordant tune was to this date the weirdest thing i'd ever heard, even alongside the moment my record player needle hit the grooves of "Frownland", the opener to 'Trout Mask replica'.
That saturday I asked my Mother to pop into the record shop to get me a copy.
'Twas a thing of great beauty in its opaque electric blue vinyl, made even better as it introduced me to Joy Division as well. But it was the two tracks by The Fall that were by far the most intriguing.Both tracks ('Stepping Out, and Last Orders') would have been very relevant for Mark's funeral service in my opinion, predictably followed by 'Bill Is Dead' and ' New face In Hell' from the post-Bramah period.
Then i was privileged to hear the first Peel session from 1978, which included the best ever Fall song in my opinion, "Industrial estate".....I Know Mark will be spinning in his Urn, but its a fact.
Then I spotted "Bingo-Masters Breakout" stuck on the wall of Revolver Records in Leicester, opposite Gary Linekers' family vegatable stall in the market.
Wow!..."Psycho Mafia" , and "Repetition",which set out The Fall's musical manifesto in three letters, The three 'R's....Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!...Perfect.
All the tunes on the first singles and "Live at the Witch Trials" were indeed......Perfect in their imperfection........then, as happens with everything 'good', the human ego takes hold and  ruins everything. Mark wanted the 'Group' to be his backing 'Band', and he was to be the poet in the spotlight. So Martin Bramah, the musicial brains behind the early Fall, left (returning for the last great ,despite the inclusion of a DJ(?) in the line-up?,Fall Album, "Extricate" in 1990).
I again sent my long suffering Mother downtown to Revolver to get "Dragnet", the second album, and the first Mark E. Smith and backing band record. The magic had gone for me, and it was only 1979! If it wasn't for the Vocals and lyrical content,it would have been not much different to any Spherical Objects album from the same town and era. It had the lo-fi clautrophobic atmosphere, and a greyness about it,but it just sounded like a 'Band' of also-rans, following orders to these ears. Some good singles followed and a few more decent albums, but it never again recreated the spark the early records achieved for me. a Poet and  Word E. Smith , he was probably second to none. Of course he had to have a backing 'Band', or no-one would have had the pleasure of his written script. No matter how slurred his delivery became in the last twenty years of the 'Groups' existence, the lyrical content was always interesting and worthy of study in English Literature classes of the near-future.
Then during the eighties, in the period when Mark E. was seen dancing in video's, wearing eye-liner and Armani suits, a bizarre mental illness reared its ugly head....."The Fall Fan" became common place.
Mostly post-teenage male professionals with thinning male pattern baldness, they delighted in telling anyone who would listen who their Favourite Group was, with an 'Ain't I weird' smirk. Willing the person on the receiving end of this announcement to have an aptly confused expression on their face.
Bank managers were regularly seen replacing the Jazz cd's on their coffee table with a copy of "Hex Enduction Hour".As much as Mark hated being accidentally,but on purpose, 'Cool', his 'Group' were now inevitably accessories for the Yuppie classes and trainspotters everywhere to appear 'Cool'.
Yes, a Fall Gig was a depressing experience.
But we still have the records, and The Complete Peel Sessions is arguably the best one, even if it goes downhill musically from the third session onwards....."Australians In Europe" excepted.
The words however will live on in infamy ,....infamy,infamy they all had it infa-him!
He should be interred in Poets Corner in Westminster abbey, but the great man,contrary as always would have viewed that as a failure. So an unmarked grave in hallowed ground in Prestwich will have to suffice methinks? He was, remarkably, a Christian after-all!?
Mark E. Smith as the man at C&A!?

PS...Oh, and by the way, yes he sacked a lot of group members and was permanently Drunk for at least 20 years, but he was one of the grand dukes of DIY philosophy,so he' earned this mealy mouthed tribute well.Hopefully he won't just be remembered only for being the drunk megalomaniac he's so often portrayed as? RIP MES.


1-1 Futures And Pasts 2:35
1-2 Mother-Sister! 3:07
1-3 Rebellious Jukebox 2:59
1-4 Industrial Estate 1:44
1-5 Put Away 3:33
1-6 Mess Of My 3:13
1-7 No Xmas For John Quays 4:12
1-8 Like To Blow 1:46
1-9 Container Drivers 3:38
1-10 Jawbone And The Air-Rifle 3:22
1-11 New Puritan 7:13
1-12 New Face In Hell 5:02
1-13 Middlemass 3:53
1-14 Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul 2:41
1-15 Hip Priest 9:23
1-16 C'n'C / Hassle Schmuck 4:13
2-1 Deer Park 4:26
2-2 Look, Know 5:05
2-3 Winter 8:03
2-4 Who Makes The Nazis? 2:54
2-5 Smile 5:10
2-6 Garden 10:00
2-7 Hexen Definitive / Strife Knot 9:07
2-8 Eat Y'self Fitter 7:01
2-9 Pat Trip Dispenser 4:08
2-10 2x4 4:15
2-11 Words Of Expectation 9:14
2-12 C.R.E.E.P. 2:36
3-1 Cruiser's Creek 5:49
3-2 Couldn't Get Ahead 2:33
3-3 Spoilt Victorian Child 4:55
3-4 Gut Of The Quantifier 4:42
3-5 L.A. 4:34
3-6 The Man Whose Head Expanded 5:13
3-7 What You Need 5:52
3-8 Faust Banana 5:06
3-9 Hot Aftershave Bop 3:10
3-10 R.O.D. 4:26
3-11 Gross Chapel / GB Grenadiers 6:21
3-12 US 80's-90's 4:53
3-13 Athlete Cured 4:45
3-14 Australians In Europe 5:42
3-15 Twister 4:16
3-16 Guest Informant 4:09
4-1 Deadbeat Descendant 2:17
4-2 Cab It Up 4:40
4-3 Squid Lord 3:48
4-4 Kurious Oranj 5:57
4-5 Chicago Now 5:33
4-6 Black Monk Theme 4:05
4-7 Hilary 2:22
4-8 Whizz Bang 2:59
4-9 The War Against Intelligence 3:02
4-10 Idiot Joy Showland 3:46
4-11 A Lot Of Wind 5:25
4-12 The Mixer 4:32
4-13 Free Range 4:05
4-14 Kimble 3:53
4-15 Immortality 4:27
4-16 Return 4:11
5-1 Ladybird (Green Grass) 4:04
5-2 Strychnine 2:54
5-3 Service 3:35
5-4 Paranoia Man In Cheap Sh*t Room 4:17
5-5 M5 3:08
5-6 Behind The Counter 4:03
5-7 Reckoning 3:40
5-8 Hey! Student 4:09
5-9 Glam Racket / Star 3:20
5-10 Jingle Bell Rock 1:08
5-11 Hark The Herald Angels Sing 3:09
5-12 Numb At The Lodge 3:00
5-13 He Pep! 4:15
5-14 Oleano 3:08
5-15 Chilinist 5:20
5-16 The City Never Sleeps 2:55
5-17 D.I.Y. Meat 2:32
5-18 Spinetrak 2:39
5-19 Spencer 3:34
5-20 Beatle Bones 'N' Smokin' Stones 3:40
Twenty One
6-1 Calendar 3:00
6-2 Touch Sensitive 3:35
6-3 Masquerade 6:33
6-4 Jungle Rock6:21
Twenty Two
6-5 Bound Soul One 3:50
6-6 Antidotes 4:57
6-7 Shake-Off 1:43
6-8 This Perfect Day 2:15
Twenty Three
6-9 Theme From Sparta F.C. 3:53
6-10 Contraflow 4:05
6-11 Groovin' With Mr. Bloe 6:06
6-12 Mere Pseud Mag. Ed. 3:17
Twenty Four
6-13 Clasp Hands 4:41
6-14 Blindness 6:28
6-15 What About Us? 5:52
6-16 Wrong Place, Right Time 7:00
Bonus Track
6-17 Job Search 4:20

DOWNLOAD the downfall of MES RIP HERE!


Andy R said...

Best tribute I've read yet.

Anonymous said...

Rest In Peace Mark

badgerstump said...

Well said!

I was a bit late to the party. It was 1980 when I heard Live At The Witch Trials but I caught up quickly. Imagine my horror when the execrable Brick Shit turned up. However, like the best/worst love affairs, the bastard kept dragging me back.

I bought this when it came out and if anybody is wondering whether to bother a) what are you doing here? and b) get on with it. It's brilliant.

Philip Johnson said...

I heard the news at about 8:30 on Wed night. First reaction was shock; I actually felt nauseous, like something from a panic attack. I knew he was very ill, but I didn't expect him to go so soon - only two months after the abandoned show in Bristol. The odds looked against it, but I thought he might even pull up and carry on.

I see a lot of people played Fall music for hours afterwards but I didn't feel like it. Around midnight I was listening to Frank Zappa, "Roxy & Elsewhere" - not the best Zappa, but as a musical tribute I think Mark would have preferred "Penguin In Bondage" to anything maudlin.

Michael said...

Great compilation, awesome tribute, thank you for posting!!! Peace!

Smollett said...

well done, cock

W. said...

He certainly did it his way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks from Big Ern in Australia xxx

Rob said...

Definitive versions of many of these songs. Class.

Jim said...

Goodness me, Revolver Records! Sadly nothing more than a vague memory.

Anonymous said...

When doin a karaoke, do it His way, don't try to sing when you can't, get the words out like you can. and when there is a Fall song on the karaoke list.....sing it with melody like he Never

Jonny Zchivago said...

Agree with all sentiments above concerning MES.....I decided to make a Fall compilation to play during a drunken soirée last night,and listening to it after a few bottles of beer and sparkling white I suddenly felt a sense of loss!.....he was really the last relevant artist in the reasonably popular bracket of Pop music.There really is no-one left with anything near as much to offer as Mark E.!? still had. There's a space for hire for an unpleasant someone who doesn't follow the rule book and doesn't mind being disliked.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Yeah...Revolver's infamous "New Wave" section was my fav destination in town around 78-80...then there was the European section,that was even sorted into alphabetical order.

RSTVMOR said...

Is the MEGA d/l link broken? Errorism.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Nope, it appears to be fine from this end.

Michael said...

Ha, I knew you were the right one to write a tribute to MES. VERy well written !
And I knew you´d pick the Peel sessions :-)
I´ll miss him.

Thanks once again,

pinkpressthreat said...

Knew I could rely on you Jonny, good stuff. My Blogger moniker is a bit misleading in the sense that I'm not an uber fan of everything they did. It just happened to be the first thing that came into my head. I was probably listening at the time I filled in the online forms.
Agreed, Extricate is indeed the last great Fall LP for me. I was delighted when Bramah came back too, having been a fan from the very beginning like yourself, a few years younger, listening to Peel on transistor under bedclothes, and buying early singles/LPs. I guess I kind of jumped ship around 1998, but came back recently to latterday Fall and found something great on almost everything they put out since, if with diminishing returns for part of that time.
Some great live memories too - the best being Exeter Lemon Grove in 1988 when the floorboards broke down the front during a lengthy, bad-tempered Bremen Nacht, scattering audience members all over the shop.

All the best to Mark's family and friends, RiP.

bill said...

Thankyou JZ. I imagine MES would approve this post, and appreciate the tribute. Fantastic.

Joel Rizzo said...

Major loss for me personally and music globally. I love the guy and miss his presence lots already. Nice tribute there, though I beg to differ with yr casual dismissal of the latter sessions. There's gold in them as well. But to each his own. Thanks for the post.


Nice one man. Hopefully he haunts the hell out of this shithole planet. Cheers and nears. ♥

Anonymous said...

very well said!

Anonymous said...

Hello all.
Nice written piece and mega thanks for the download and all the good stuff.
The magic over after Witch Trials? C'mon, y've got Dragnet (my fave) and a massive block of great Fall for quite a few years afterwards.
Then again, I got into The Fall when I was about 14, in 1983. And I come from DownUnderLand; that is, Australia. Which meant that I've seen The Fall just once; as opposed to your average 50-odd attendances in Ol' England.
One thing did baffle me; well-heeled-yuppie Fall fans? I can tell you that just about everyone I've ever met in my life during my "career" in the local band-scene in my locale, hated The Fall! Myself and a couple of mates encountered every sort of 'Black Flag T-Shirt Wanker', 'Dead Kennedys Dickhead' (our terms for the local punks) and 'Herman's Hermits Wanker' (our term for the 60's uniform wearers), expressing their bloody disdain over and over again! Haven't even got to The Three Johns yet!
Thanks again, good luck to you all and all the best to MES in whatever (Under)World he may be in - it's been great Mark!
Andrew J. Callan from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Jonny Zchivago said...

I do like Dragnet a lot, but they were a different group to a lot og the 80's albums....but its in a like NOT love category for me, 9/10 as opposed to 10/10....if you get what I mean?
Of course anyone who wears a Black Flag/DK t-Shirt is a wanker, but they are nothing more than a kind of simple rocker with no other pretentions. In fact anyone who wears a t-shirt with their fav band on it almost certainly a wanker...I do however own a Chas and Dave t-Shirt and a Slaughter and the Dogs fact anything with 'and'in the group name it seems.....Fall fans feel that liking the fall gives them a weird edge when its nothing more than straight forward honest rock'n'roll, backing a northern white rapper. Everyone loved the Fall in the mid-eighties to appear cool and on the edge, when they really didn't like it at all.
I kinda think if you like something, keep it to yourself for fucks interested....or say that everything's Shit...rather like MES himself did.....Black Flag certainly are Shit one must say.

Anonymous said...

Surely 'Rebellious Jukebox' is the best Fall song?

PS Fall is from Old English, Autumn comes from the French language.

Bodhi Amol said...

Hey Jonny,didn't you know The Fall took it's name from the homonymous novel ''The Fall'' (La Chute) by Albert Camus? it has nothing to do with any season...

Jonny Zchivago said...

Yeah I know.....but i didn't in 1978.
Frankly, if I knew that it would have put me off buying their first single.