The Fall, you love them or you hate them
Hello and welcome one and all. This is my first piece for this site, and as you may have read in my Bio or not, Rebjukebox is a shortened version of ‘Rebellious Jukebox‘ the track from ‘The Fall’. So they seemed to be the perfect choice for my first article!
I’m looking for the home of the real
I want a happy time now
Drinkers from the slaughterhouse
Weren’t happy and went out
Noise resounds aloud
Noise resounds the lounge
Rebellious Jukebox yeah
Rebellious Jukebox oh
I have a liking for extreme bands, bands other’s might find hard work, but we are all different and have different tastes. So once again, welcome to my very diverse world of music. Hope you enjoy the ride. It could get bumpy!! About my future posts, not decided yet about the band for next month, guess you’ll have to come back then and find out in June. I do at some point want to do something about ‘John Peel’ the greatest Radio DJ of all time!!!
The Fall are definitively an acquired taste, Mark E Smith’s Manc [Manchester] drone not being easy listening at times. Not singing, not talking but somewhere in between! But he certainly has one of the most distinctive voices in modern music. You can always tell a Fall track, a collaborations which he does the vocals on with another band [and there are many of these] anywhere, anytime.
They are a band you really love or profoundly detest, and sadly for me, there seems to be no middle ground on this. But i think more people should give the band a listen! Once a Fall fan always a Fall fan, there are times, when i’ve sort of given up on the band, for one reason or another, only for them to return with something that blows me away all over again, and the love affair with the band starts once more.
In this piece on the band, i hope maybe to convince some of you to try The Fall for the first time. And those who detest them, to maybe re assess the band, and give them another listen. Because in over thirty years of making music, they have produced some fantastic albums, they returned this year with one the best albums they have produced in many years, ‘Your Future, Our Clutter’  on Domino Records, their 28th proper album. ‘Cowboy George’ from this album is included in this site’s May 2010 playlist. But i will also put some link’s to other Fall tracks for you to try, and a list of recommend albums to try.
The Fall, a post punk band, were formed in 1976, in Prestwich, Greater Manchester, England, Uk. By the infamous Mark E Smith, Una Baines, Martin Bramah and Tony Friel. It was tony, who came up with the moniker of ‘The Fall’ after a 1965 novel by Albert Camus.
They played their first gig in 1977, and the line up of the band had already changed a few times, this is something that never changes, members leaving or being kicked out, Mark E Smith sacking the whole band on one occasion, just an hour before a gig! Mark has also married two female band members, Brix Smith [she also had her own band ‘The Adult Net] and present wife and band member Elana Poulou.
Past band members of note are Marc ‘Lard’ Riley [now a BBC 6music and former BBC Radio1 DJ] after being sacked from the band by Mark E Smith, started the band ‘Marc Riley and the Creepers’. Martin Bramah and Una Baines, both from the original band line up, formed a very under rated band ‘Blue Orchids’.
Along with such a big exchange of band members, The Fall have had so many different record label’s form 1976 to date. I suppose the biggest label’s being Phonogram/Fontana, Beggars Banquet, Rough Trade and now Domino. And many other now sadly gone great independent labels, Mark Perry’s [writer of the first punk fanzine ‘Sniffin’ Glue] Step Forward label.
The Fall, were also one of legendary Radio1 DJ John Peel’s favourite bands of all time, they recorded 24 sessions for his radio show. John Peel had a record box, in which he kept his favourite 143 singles. Here’s the list of the records. But strangely there were none by ‘The Fall’, these were kept in another box, safe at Peel acres, John’s Suffolk home.
Fall album’s and live performances, do have one thing in common, you never know what you are going to receive. Sometimes terrible, sometimes brilliant, but live and on record, always strangely addictive. Live shows where Mark would walk off stage after a few songs, leaving the rest of the band on stage, fighting with various band members on and off stage.
But for me this is part of the appeal of the band. Not ordinary group is so many ways. Albums can range from brilliant to pretty bad. In the mid eighties they produced their most mainstream albums and singles. Some of these singles making the British top 40 charts, but these were mainly cover versions.
But in saying that a Fall cover is never a straight cover, they always bring something new to the song they cover. They did ‘The Beatles’ ‘Day In The Life’ for the NME compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father, a different version for sure. For band a who’s live performance can be so hit and miss, they have recorded 30 live albums, and 6 albums of which the tracks are half live and half studio recordings and 28 studio albums. Not to mention the compilation albums, which are a good starting point for anyone new to The Fall.
For quick taster of the band most likely the best compilation album to start off with would be 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong – 39 Golden Greats  Check the tracklist. This is a great starting point as it spans the band from the beginning in 1977 to 2007.
The list of colaboration, solo, spoken word tracks / albums that Mark E Smith has done is so very long and maybe i will cover this in a future post.
The Fall, like so many cult bands, The Fall have inspired many new generations of bands, and i am sure many more stiil to come in the future. Some bands influenced by The Fall are Pavement, These New Puritans, The Long Blondes, The Birthday Party, Nirvana, Faith No More and Franz Ferdinand. Sonic Youth recorded a John Peel Session in 1998 and the four tracks were all Fall covers versions.
Well i guess that about it, so give them a listen, and find out which camp you are a member of, lovers / haters.
Will end this with some quotes from the great man ‘Mark E Smith’. Nothing is ever simple and smooth running in the world of The Fall, but it’s never boring!
- Mark E Smith on art “Everybody i know in Manchester is an artist, they don’t go out and sell it. They’re as good as anybody i’ve ever seen”
- Mark E Smith on The Fallen [Book cataloguing former Fall band members] “it’s like a dirty book, i keep under the bed”
- Mark E Smith on sacking Marc ‘Lard’ Riley “He was surrounded by people from the NME telling him he was the bees knees, but you can’t eat reviews“.
- The Fall – Fiery Jack:
My face is slack
And the kidneys burn
In the small of my back
Will never learn
Well I’m not going back
To the slow life
Cos every step is a drag
And peace is a kite
Of materials you never catch
Come up for a snatch
Up from hell
Once in a while
Cause I am Jack
From a burning ring
My face is slack
Ok as I’m talking about albums here is my list of recommended Fall albums for you:
- Studio Albums: Live At The Witch Trials , Dragnet , Slates , Hex Enduction Hour , This Nation’s Saving Grace , Bend Sinister , Extricate , Shift-work , The Infotainment Scan , The Unutterable , Your Future Our Clutter .
- Live/Part Live albums: Totale’ s Turns (It’s Now Or Never) , Fall In A Hole , The Twenty-Seven Points .
- Compilations Albums: 77 – Early Years – 79 , 458489 A Sides , 458489 B Sides , Totally Wired – The Rough Trade Anthology , The War Against Intelligence – The Fontana Years , 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong – 39 Golden Greats .
- The Complete Peel Sessions: 1978 – 2004 [6 CD Box Set], The Permanent Years – Paranoia Man In Cheap Shit Room , The Fall Box Set 1976 – 2007 [5 CD Box Set].
The Fall Discography
The Fall Discography of studio albums only. Go To A Full Fall Discography here.
- Your Future Our Clutter 
- Imperial Wax Solvent 
- Reformation Post TLC 
- Fall Heads Roll 
- The Real New Fall Lp (Formerly The Country On The Click) 
- You Are Missing Winner 
- The Unutterable 
- The Marshall Suite 
- Levitate 
- The Light User Syndrome 
- Cerebral Caustic 
- Middle Class Revolt 
- The Infotainment Scan 
- Code : Selfish 
- Shiftwork 
- Extricate 
- I Am Kurious Oranj 
- The Frenz Experiment 
- Bend Sinister 
- This Nations Saving Grace 
- The Wonderful & Frightening World Of The Fall 
- Perverted By Language 
- Room To Live (Undilutable Slang Truth) 
- Hex Induction Hour 
- Slates 
- Grotesque (After The Gramme) 
- Dragnet 
- Live At The Witch Trails