HIP PRIESTESS

Fall fan, transgender person and lover of fine confectionary
The The

—Three Orange Kisses From Kazan

It was disappointing to discover that the 6 bonus songs found on side 2 of the cassette edition of “Soul Mining” are not part of the upcoming vinyl-only reissue. Of course, if MJ was *finally* going to release “The Pornography Of Despair” that would be another matter entirely. Such as it is…

This is my favourite of these songs, “Three Orange Kisses From Kazan”, “mastered” *cough* from my own cherished tape this very morning.

hippriestess:

thefallthings:

Record Store Day 19/4! ‘The Fall - White Lightning’ on 180 g translucent vinyl in silver foil cover! 

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433863717732/


I don’t like the look of this - that photo of MES is from about 82/83 but they didn’t play White Lightning until 1990. And it’s on Secret, responsible for the shoddy “Rebellious Jukebox” CDs. I’d be happy to be wrong, but this looks like a classic case of “Press any old shite onto vinyl and flog it on Record Store Day” to me.

…and so it turns out…it’s a random cull from the original “Rebellious Jukebox” boxset…tracklisting, complete with typos…
Side A:Frightened (Live at the Witch Trials 1978)Before The Moon (Dragnet 1979)Flat Of Angles (Dragnet 1979)Jawbone & The Rifle (Hex Enduction Hour 1981)Extracate (Extricate 1990) Side B:Your Heart Out (Dragnet 1979)Bill Is Dead (Extricate 1990)Black Monk Theme 1 (Extricate 1990)Black Monk Theme 2 (Extricate 1990)Gotta See Jane You (You Are Missing a Winner 2001)

hippriestess:

thefallthings:

Record Store Day 19/4! ‘The Fall - White Lightning’ on 180 g translucent vinyl in silver foil cover! 

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433863717732/

I don’t like the look of this - that photo of MES is from about 82/83 but they didn’t play White Lightning until 1990. And it’s on Secret, responsible for the shoddy “Rebellious Jukebox” CDs. I’d be happy to be wrong, but this looks like a classic case of “Press any old shite onto vinyl and flog it on Record Store Day” to me.

…and so it turns out…it’s a random cull from the original “Rebellious Jukebox” boxset…tracklisting, complete with typos…

Side A:
Frightened (Live at the Witch Trials 1978)
Before The Moon (Dragnet 1979)
Flat Of Angles (Dragnet 1979)
Jawbone & The Rifle (Hex Enduction Hour 1981)
Extracate (Extricate 1990) 

Side B:
Your Heart Out (Dragnet 1979)
Bill Is Dead (Extricate 1990)
Black Monk Theme 1 (Extricate 1990)
Black Monk Theme 2 (Extricate 1990)
Gotta See Jane You (You Are Missing a Winner 2001)

On a massive Nurse With Wound thing right now. Nrml srvc will resume shortly.

thefallthings:

Record Store Day 19/4! ‘The Fall - White Lightning’ on 180 g translucent vinyl in silver foil cover! 

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433863717732/


I don’t like the look of this - that photo of MES is from about 82/83 but they didn’t play White Lightning until 1990. And it’s on Secret, responsible for the shoddy “Rebellious Jukebox” CDs. I’d be happy to be wrong, but this looks like a classic case of “Press any old shite onto vinyl and flog it on Record Store Day” to me.

thefallthings:

Record Store Day 19/4! ‘The Fall - White Lightning’ on 180 g translucent vinyl in silver foil cover! 

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433863717732/

I don’t like the look of this - that photo of MES is from about 82/83 but they didn’t play White Lightning until 1990. And it’s on Secret, responsible for the shoddy “Rebellious Jukebox” CDs. I’d be happy to be wrong, but this looks like a classic case of “Press any old shite onto vinyl and flog it on Record Store Day” to me.

Catalogue inserts from Chrystal Belle Scrodd’s “Belle De Jour” - look at those postage charges and weep…

Curiosities of The Fall - No 15 of 15 - White Lightning/”The Dredger E.P.”
“The Dredger EP” was difficult to photograph thanks to the none-more-black sleeve. A bright flash did the trick but pause for a moment to consider that The Fall put “White Lightning” in a jet black sleeve, the awkward buggers. This, our final curiosity, qualifies on two counts.The first is Smith’s inexplicable affection for “White Lightning” itself. The first sighting of the song in The Fall’s repertoire for UK listeners was a bizarre television appearance. Jonathan Ross decided to do an episode of The Last Resort from a moving train and about halfway through, it was off to an adjoining carriage where Mark E Smith was ready to lead Steve Naïve and the Playboys in a rendition of “White Lightning”. Despite having brought a pack of cards (cheerfully strewn across the keyboards), a scribbled lyric sheet and, most importantly, Craig Scanlon for support, the gap between singer and band is vast and a tendency towards sub-Holland boogie makes for an uncomfortable two minutes. Nevertheless, the song began to slip its way into The Fall’s live sets. Where it has remained pretty much ever since. In fact, only “Mr Pharmacist” has been played live more often. The single was released on 27th August; originally scheduled for  the13th, it was delayed due to manufacturing problems, rendering the enclosed flier advising that the Fall were playing the Reading Festival on the 26th fairly useless. Likewise the enclosed poster, showing the “Extricate” Fall including Martin Bramah and Marcia Schofield, both of whom were, by then, no longer in the band. It’s an entertaining enough canter through a very basic song, mixed murky and dark for effect but it‘s really difficult to hear it as an A-side. Smith and The Fall were over-reliant on cover versions during this period - ok, the redrafting of “Jerusalem” and the transformation of Coldcut’s “My Telephone” into “Telephone Thing” clearly show that the group’s creativity had not left them but what happened to The Fall’s confidence in their own material? “Bill Is Dead” was vetoed as a single by Smith in favour of this!! Which brings us on to the *real* curiosity…Each of the three other tracks on this EP is so blatantly superior to “White Lightning” as to make “WL”’s A-side status completely bewildering. “Blood Outta Stone” is probably Bramah‘s best contribution of this era, a dark, gothic (with a small g) thing, which builds slightly twangy guitar over a superb Steve Hanley/Simon Wolstencroft rhythm section with metallic percussion clanking and booming dramatically. Schofield’s organ looms like an unexplained shadow and Smith brings his game, making a terrific entrance and delivering a decidedly bitter tract of which one would not like to have been the target. Smith’s lyric heightens the already-palpable friction and it never actually resolves, with the song fading to a conclusion. Terrific. “Zagreb” appears in 3 “movements”. The first is the intro, faded out quickly. No idea why. The second is the song itself, a terrific rattle derived (as author Schofield later confessed) from Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”. Jammed into shape in soundchecks with particular support from an enthusiastic Wolstencroft, it’s a shiny, funky thing enlivened by some high-end drone guitar and arranged to include tension-releasing power-chord peaks that work a treat. Movement III turns out to be a very slowed down “Black Monk Theme II” (or “Oh, How To Do Now” to give it its original title). A much longer version of this completely pointless piece of studio jiggery-pokery was the final track on the standard 12” and CD single. Which makes track 4, exclusive to the limited edition, all the more baffling  - it’s “Life Just Bounces” and it’s magnificent.  One of the best songs of the Phonogram era, it spins around a delicious ascending and descending guitar figure (one can tell this is a Scanlon composition without looking at the label) and a thundering rhythm section. But it’s Smith’s delivery that seals the deal; he sounds gloomy and distant and his hangdog melancholy sits so uneasily on the music as to create an unassailable sadness. Why on earth was this stuffed away at the back end of the limited edition format? In fact, when Smith sings “I’m surprised at their standards” on the track, it’s hard not think “Physician, heal thyself”. That it was later re-recorded for “Cerebral Caustic” suggests that they were aware of their mistake.Next year’s output was to consist of “Shift-Work”, 12 songs, no singles, no multiformat marketing. “The Dredger EP” is, for me, one of the most vital slabs of Fall vinyl ever pressed, at minimum, a four-song case for the defence against those who saw the group as “over” as soon as Brix left (or joined, for that matter). Artefacts like this have long since dissolved into history - in 2014, a single is now an mp3 file with no b-sides and no artwork (except on eBay Price Gougers Record Store Day). There’s more to be written about the creative and cultural impact of the end of the b-side and the associated departure of the much-loved four-track-EP format. But not by me. Not while The Fall keep making new records anyway.

Curiosities of The Fall - No 15 of 15 - White Lightning/”The Dredger E.P.”

“The Dredger EP” was difficult to photograph thanks to the none-more-black sleeve. A bright flash did the trick but pause for a moment to consider that The Fall put “White Lightning” in a jet black sleeve, the awkward buggers. This, our final curiosity, qualifies on two counts.

The first is Smith’s inexplicable affection for “White Lightning” itself. The first sighting of the song in The Fall’s repertoire for UK listeners was a bizarre television appearance. Jonathan Ross decided to do an episode of The Last Resort from a moving train and about halfway through, it was off to an adjoining carriage where Mark E Smith was ready to lead Steve Naïve and the Playboys in a rendition of “White Lightning”. Despite having brought a pack of cards (cheerfully strewn across the keyboards), a scribbled lyric sheet and, most importantly, Craig Scanlon for support, the gap between singer and band is vast and a tendency towards sub-Holland boogie makes for an uncomfortable two minutes. Nevertheless, the song began to slip its way into The Fall’s live sets. Where it has remained pretty much ever since. In fact, only “Mr Pharmacist” has been played live more often. The single was released on 27th August; originally scheduled for  the13th, it was delayed due to manufacturing problems, rendering the enclosed flier advising that the Fall were playing the Reading Festival on the 26th fairly useless. Likewise the enclosed poster, showing the “Extricate” Fall including Martin Bramah and Marcia Schofield, both of whom were, by then, no longer in the band. It’s an entertaining enough canter through a very basic song, mixed murky and dark for effect but it‘s really difficult to hear it as an A-side. Smith and The Fall were over-reliant on cover versions during this period - ok, the redrafting of “Jerusalem” and the transformation of Coldcut’s “My Telephone” into “Telephone Thing” clearly show that the group’s creativity had not left them but what happened to The Fall’s confidence in their own material? “Bill Is Dead” was vetoed as a single by Smith in favour of this!! Which brings us on to the *real* curiosity…

Each of the three other tracks on this EP is so blatantly superior to “White Lightning” as to make “WL”’s A-side status completely bewildering. “Blood Outta Stone” is probably Bramah‘s best contribution of this era, a dark, gothic (with a small g) thing, which builds slightly twangy guitar over a superb Steve Hanley/Simon Wolstencroft rhythm section with metallic percussion clanking and booming dramatically. Schofield’s organ looms like an unexplained shadow and Smith brings his game, making a terrific entrance and delivering a decidedly bitter tract of which one would not like to have been the target. Smith’s lyric heightens the already-palpable friction and it never actually resolves, with the song fading to a conclusion. Terrific. “Zagreb” appears in 3 “movements”. The first is the intro, faded out quickly. No idea why. The second is the song itself, a terrific rattle derived (as author Schofield later confessed) from Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”. Jammed into shape in soundchecks with particular support from an enthusiastic Wolstencroft, it’s a shiny, funky thing enlivened by some high-end drone guitar and arranged to include tension-releasing power-chord peaks that work a treat. Movement III turns out to be a very slowed down “Black Monk Theme II” (or “Oh, How To Do Now” to give it its original title). A much longer version of this completely pointless piece of studio jiggery-pokery was the final track on the standard 12” and CD single. Which makes track 4, exclusive to the limited edition, all the more baffling  - it’s “Life Just Bounces” and it’s magnificent.  One of the best songs of the Phonogram era, it spins around a delicious ascending and descending guitar figure (one can tell this is a Scanlon composition without looking at the label) and a thundering rhythm section. But it’s Smith’s delivery that seals the deal; he sounds gloomy and distant and his hangdog melancholy sits so uneasily on the music as to create an unassailable sadness. Why on earth was this stuffed away at the back end of the limited edition format? In fact, when Smith sings “I’m surprised at their standards” on the track, it’s hard not think “Physician, heal thyself”. That it was later re-recorded for “Cerebral Caustic” suggests that they were aware of their mistake.

Next year’s output was to consist of “Shift-Work”, 12 songs, no singles, no multiformat marketing. “The Dredger EP” is, for me, one of the most vital slabs of Fall vinyl ever pressed, at minimum, a four-song case for the defence against those who saw the group as “over” as soon as Brix left (or joined, for that matter). Artefacts like this have long since dissolved into history - in 2014, a single is now an mp3 file with no b-sides and no artwork (except on eBay Price Gougers Record Store Day). There’s more to be written about the creative and cultural impact of the end of the b-side and the associated departure of the much-loved four-track-EP format. But not by me. Not while The Fall keep making new records anyway.

That Hit The North video…

Curiosities of The Fall - No 14 of 15(ish) - Hit The North
1987 found music in an interregnum of sorts. If one was to codify the 80’s year by year, it would be the hardest to pin down as there was no real overriding arc. Folks seemed confused as to whether they wanted black vinyl or shiny CDs, three-minute 7” pop singles or 12” dance mixes. The Smiths went from unassailable to disbanded within a few strange and never-quite-unravelled weeks. The NME‘s “C86” cassette had codified the indie scene of the time and, therefore, killed it, leaving us to wade through the DIY delights of “shambling“ bands like Tallulah Gosh and The Soup Dragons, early Creation releases, Sarah Records and so on. The US was bringing forth the strobe-lit metallic KO of Pixies, Big Black and Sonic Youth. We had a bloody goth revival via The Mission et al and strangest of all, indie people went all funky and stuff with the early sampling experiments of Pop Will Eat Itself and the first records by The JAMS/KLF. Meanwhile, where are The Fall? Oh, yeah, in the top 30. With a cover version of an old Motown song. As Bill Drummond and Jimi Cauty rightly asked, what the fuck was going on?Unquestionably designed as an all-out pop single, “Hit The North” was released on 19th October 1987. And the 26th October 1987. And 2nd November. Oh, and the 9th November too. It is a perfect post-ZTT 80’s artefact, a multi-part, multi-format meander through a pretty flimsy musical idea, being essentially a two-note riff in search of a purpose. As with many Beggars Banquet Fall singles, its b-side is its vast superior, in this instance, the hilarious rawk-riffing of “Australians In Europe”, made sublime by Smith’s use of an echo-unit and his long drawn out vowels, not to mention his inability to pronounce “Antipodean”. Anyway, back to the point…“Hit The North” was fed to us in 6 parts and in 4 doses - a 7” (also available as a picture disc), two 12” singles and a cassette. These are extrapolated from at least two (probably three) completely different recordings of the track. “Part 2” (the 7” b-side) appears to be an entirely separate pass at the song and it’s guitar-free - this probably explains why this part has the writing credit “M. E. Smith/S. Rogers”, whereas all other parts add “B. E. Smith”. Containing a clearer but less dynamic vocal and what appear to be completely programmed drums, it could well be a cleaned-up demo. “Part 3” is  closer to “2” than “1” but has a lot more group involvement and is taken at a faster lick. It’s at a slightly higher pitch too so it has likely been sped up a fraction to add some extra zip - which it does. Overall, it’s a very quiet one for old-skool fans - a heavily phased rhythm guitar part can be heard most clearly on Part 4 and this is likely to be Scanlon’s work whilst Hanley is mixed either low or out altogether with synth-bass largely preferred. However, Wolstencroft works well with Rogers’ machines, thus beginning a pattern where programmed rhythms provided by Rogers, Coldcut or even Wolstencroft himself could and would be successfully absorbed into Fall Sound. Parts 4, 5 and 6 are all remixes by German producer Zeus B. Held, a name so improbable that my 14-year-old self instantly assumed it to be an alias of MES (it was the middle initial). Presumably arriving on The Fall’s radar due to his remixes of Gary Numan for Beggars Banquet earlier the same year, he adds little, although the emptiness of Part 6 - listed as the “Double Six” mix on the original cassette single - has an appeal of sorts. Actually that mix poses an interesting translation issue - a dartboard was used as part of the artwork and was, in fact, the only non-text on the monochrome cassette inlay. But a double six is rubbish in darts. It’s a good one to have in dominoes tho’. Which game do we think MES actually had in mind? The main event was “Part 1”, now usually referred to simply as “Hit The North”. It opens well - a bopping sequencer is joined by Schofield’s gentle keyboard pads and then Wolstencroft’s drums. It bursts into life on the two note off-beat riff, played by, ooh, everyone but with Rogers‘ none-more-eighties midi-saxophone bulking the largest. The first holler of the title is followed by a teeth-shattering scream from MES who then advises us that his cat says………..ack. Or eeeeeeee-ack depending on how one regards the layered vocal tracks. But after this, “HTN” sadly loses its way - the verses have nothing to tell us musically, doing little but stab at one of the two notes - it would be bigging it up to describe it as “dub” but that seems to be the aim (the other parts change key, swapping the D/Bminor sequence to A/E). The Fall can do monochordal or unison riffing like few others but “HTN” despite a snarky, topical lyric needling Eastenders and James Anderton, simply doesn’t catch light and throwing a few more layers at it as it progresses only adds to the weight of the tracks failure. Its best feature is probably the video, in which the whole group look heroically awkward, especially Steve Hanley. They head for the bingo and the funfair and, for the most part, Brix dances around guitarless as does, inexplicably, Kid Congo Powers of The Cramps/Bad Seeds. Bizarre.This is the odd thing tho’. “Hit The North” became something of a catchphrase and, in this guise, penetrated the culture like no other phrase from the MES canon. It started quietly enough, being namechecked by the aforementioned (and undervalued) Pop Will Eat Itself and with Frank Sidebottom doing a cover. But there was a radio show of the same name, which was helmed by Mark Radcliffe - who had produced a Peel Session for The Fall in 1985 - and featuring ex-Fall member Marc Riley. Much more to the point, we *did* hit the north - within less than 2 years, it felt like the entire alt/indie media had headed to Manchester with every band who could string a chorus together on the front page of the NME and almost all of them being heavily remixed for extra 12“ singles - yep, “indie-dance” was the new thing (smash, crash, bash, ring) and the title was used as a headline again and again. The Fall, of course, prepared music for a very different kind of dancefloor, with the “I Am Kurious, Oranj” ballet soundtrack appearing late 1988. Nowadays there’s a bike festival called Hit the North. And a group. But then, we’ve also had The Dresden Dolls and These New Puritans. Which reminds me. We need to talk about AFP sometime…

Curiosities of The Fall - No 14 of 15(ish) - Hit The North

1987 found music in an interregnum of sorts. If one was to codify the 80’s year by year, it would be the hardest to pin down as there was no real overriding arc. Folks seemed confused as to whether they wanted black vinyl or shiny CDs, three-minute 7” pop singles or 12” dance mixes. The Smiths went from unassailable to disbanded within a few strange and never-quite-unravelled weeks. The NME‘s “C86” cassette had codified the indie scene of the time and, therefore, killed it, leaving us to wade through the DIY delights of “shambling“ bands like Tallulah Gosh and The Soup Dragons, early Creation releases, Sarah Records and so on. The US was bringing forth the strobe-lit metallic KO of Pixies, Big Black and Sonic Youth. We had a bloody goth revival via The Mission et al and strangest of all, indie people went all funky and stuff with the early sampling experiments of Pop Will Eat Itself and the first records by The JAMS/KLF. Meanwhile, where are The Fall? Oh, yeah, in the top 30. With a cover version of an old Motown song. As Bill Drummond and Jimi Cauty rightly asked, what the fuck was going on?

Unquestionably designed as an all-out pop single, “Hit The North” was released on 19th October 1987. And the 26th October 1987. And 2nd November. Oh, and the 9th November too. It is a perfect post-ZTT 80’s artefact, a multi-part, multi-format meander through a pretty flimsy musical idea, being essentially a two-note riff in search of a purpose. As with many Beggars Banquet Fall singles, its b-side is its vast superior, in this instance, the hilarious rawk-riffing of “Australians In Europe”, made sublime by Smith’s use of an echo-unit and his long drawn out vowels, not to mention his inability to pronounce “Antipodean”. Anyway, back to the point…

“Hit The North” was fed to us in 6 parts and in 4 doses - a 7” (also available as a picture disc), two 12” singles and a cassette. These are extrapolated from at least two (probably three) completely different recordings of the track. “Part 2” (the 7” b-side) appears to be an entirely separate pass at the song and it’s guitar-free - this probably explains why this part has the writing credit “M. E. Smith/S. Rogers”, whereas all other parts add “B. E. Smith”. Containing a clearer but less dynamic vocal and what appear to be completely programmed drums, it could well be a cleaned-up demo. “Part 3” is  closer to “2” than “1” but has a lot more group involvement and is taken at a faster lick. It’s at a slightly higher pitch too so it has likely been sped up a fraction to add some extra zip - which it does. Overall, it’s a very quiet one for old-skool fans - a heavily phased rhythm guitar part can be heard most clearly on Part 4 and this is likely to be Scanlon’s work whilst Hanley is mixed either low or out altogether with synth-bass largely preferred. However, Wolstencroft works well with Rogers’ machines, thus beginning a pattern where programmed rhythms provided by Rogers, Coldcut or even Wolstencroft himself could and would be successfully absorbed into Fall Sound. Parts 4, 5 and 6 are all remixes by German producer Zeus B. Held, a name so improbable that my 14-year-old self instantly assumed it to be an alias of MES (it was the middle initial). Presumably arriving on The Fall’s radar due to his remixes of Gary Numan for Beggars Banquet earlier the same year, he adds little, although the emptiness of Part 6 - listed as the “Double Six” mix on the original cassette single - has an appeal of sorts. Actually that mix poses an interesting translation issue - a dartboard was used as part of the artwork and was, in fact, the only non-text on the monochrome cassette inlay. But a double six is rubbish in darts. It’s a good one to have in dominoes tho’. Which game do we think MES actually had in mind?

The main event was “Part 1”, now usually referred to simply as “Hit The North”. It opens well - a bopping sequencer is joined by Schofield’s gentle keyboard pads and then Wolstencroft’s drums. It bursts into life on the two note off-beat riff, played by, ooh, everyone but with Rogers‘ none-more-eighties midi-saxophone bulking the largest. The first holler of the title is followed by a teeth-shattering scream from MES who then advises us that his cat says………..ack. Or eeeeeeee-ack depending on how one regards the layered vocal tracks. But after this, “HTN” sadly loses its way - the verses have nothing to tell us musically, doing little but stab at one of the two notes - it would be bigging it up to describe it as “dub” but that seems to be the aim (the other parts change key, swapping the D/Bminor sequence to A/E). The Fall can do monochordal or unison riffing like few others but “HTN” despite a snarky, topical lyric needling Eastenders and James Anderton, simply doesn’t catch light and throwing a few more layers at it as it progresses only adds to the weight of the tracks failure. Its best feature is probably the video, in which the whole group look heroically awkward, especially Steve Hanley. They head for the bingo and the funfair and, for the most part, Brix dances around guitarless as does, inexplicably, Kid Congo Powers of The Cramps/Bad Seeds. Bizarre.

This is the odd thing tho’. “Hit The North” became something of a catchphrase and, in this guise, penetrated the culture like no other phrase from the MES canon. It started quietly enough, being namechecked by the aforementioned (and undervalued) Pop Will Eat Itself and with Frank Sidebottom doing a cover. But there was a radio show of the same name, which was helmed by Mark Radcliffe - who had produced a Peel Session for The Fall in 1985 - and featuring ex-Fall member Marc Riley. Much more to the point, we *did* hit the north - within less than 2 years, it felt like the entire alt/indie media had headed to Manchester with every band who could string a chorus together on the front page of the NME and almost all of them being heavily remixed for extra 12“ singles - yep, “indie-dance” was the new thing (smash, crash, bash, ring) and the title was used as a headline again and again. The Fall, of course, prepared music for a very different kind of dancefloor, with the “I Am Kurious, Oranj” ballet soundtrack appearing late 1988.

Nowadays there’s a bike festival called Hit the North. And a group. But then, we’ve also had The Dresden Dolls and These New Puritans. Which reminds me. We need to talk about AFP sometime…

Curiosities of The Fall - No 13 of 15(ish) - Touch Sensitive…Bootleg Box Set
Of all The Fall’s live releases, this is the most bewildering. Straight away, it’s a worry not just because the set is cynically named after what was, at the time, their most popular song in years but also because the notion of “bootleg” was always going to give one pause, given the quality of  some of the recordings issued without such a qualifying subscript. That said, it looks good - a tidy little box with simple but effective artwork, presumably designed to look like a slightly rumpled paste-on and with a cheeky appropriation of the “Trademark Of Quality” logo, well known to bootleg traders. It was priced reasonably enough, less that 2 separate CDs. I scored mine second-hand for £9 - even now, it strikes me as an improbable used-rack find. Anyway…All 5 gigs are from 2001, not generally regarded as a vintage year. The group are ostensibly touring “The Unutterable” but have already lost almost all of the line-up that made it; Neville Wilding, Adam Helal and Tom Head/Murphy are all gone, replaced by Ben Pritchard, Jim Watts and Spencer Birtwistle. Only Julia Nagle had held on and she would leave midway through the year. The gigs are not given in chronological order - the earliest gig is on disc 3, followed by 4, 5, 2 and 1.  If one listens chronologically, it’s clear why Disc 3 (Haarlem, The Netherlands, 6th April) isn’t Disc 1 as it has the most amateur recording quality of the whole set. If the box had opened with this, there really would have been a surplus of second-hand copies. That said, it is one of the better performances - the overly pumping cassette-tape compression might actually help a bit but this is a blast. Kicking off with a terrific “Sons Of Temperance”, the group are lively, quick and sound like they’re enjoying themselves. It’s clear there were a few problems; 4 of the tracks on this disc are taped inserts but they make strong work of “Two Librans”, “F-Oldin’ Money” and, surprisingly, a spirited (if slightly simplified) “Paintwork”. We’re deep in the audience for the second disc, recorded the following night at the Melkweg in Amsterdam; the sound is a bit better but the performance doesn’t quite hit the same level. Nagle is virtually inaudible on both of these (I checked the gigography and there’s nothing to suggest she didn’t play) but she is heard very clearly on Disc 5, recorded in Brighton a week or two later. This is easily the worst disc of the set; the performance is sloppy, a guitar is already out of tune on opener “The Joke” and there are weird echo effects on the drums every so often  - this may be partly down to microphone fuckery by MES, mind you. Anyway, the group appears to have forgotten the structure of “Mr Pharmacist” already and the version of ”Paintwork” is terrible, a messy, mainly instrumental botch with random tapes from “Midwatch 1953” and “Birthday Song” blaring across it. Pritchard’s faux-rawk guitar stylings are at their excruciating worst, the mostly awful keyboards are too loud, the group don’t know “I Am Damo Suzuki” very well (MES‘s mic failing won’t have helped them) and Birtwistle appears never to have even heard “And Therein”, let alone played it. Bah. Returning to the beginning of the set, we flash forward to November and things are much better. Nagle is gone and The Fall are a tight, straight-down the line 4 piece rock ‘n’ roll band, touring an album they actually made - “Are You Are Missing Winner“. That said, “RUR“ weighs lightly on the set with just 4 songs making it to each gig - oddly, “Ibis Afro Man“ is dropped as soon as it hits vinyl. They‘ve learned “And Therein“ and the medley of “Kick The Can” and “F’oldin’ Money” works a treat, a gesture that connects this stripped back edition of the group to The Fall’s roots - r ‘n‘ r as primal spirit. They take “Sons Of Temperance” far too fast, sacrificing the burbling thwack of the original for pure speedthrill but overall, there is an improvement in atmosphere and energy as well as recording quality. A couple of these takes made it to “2G+2” and one wonders why the other gigs recorded for that CD weren’t included, given the generally ropey feel of the April recordings. Inevitably, the set suffers from longeuers caused by excessive repetition (yeah, I know, I know…) - every disc features “Two Librans”, “F’Oldin’ Money”, “Mr Pharmacist” (all five takes of which are rotten), “Way Round” (which, by contrast, comes out of the whole thing brilliantly), “Cyber Insekt” and “Touch Sensitive” with “Sons Of Temperance” missing only from Disc 5. But the core calculation is actually pretty clever. If you’re keen enough to own one live album from this period, you’re likely to want another and popping 5 into a value-for-money box was pretty astute both economically and in terms of creating a “nice item“ which is inherently more attractive than yet-another-live-CD in a jewel case with crap artwork. Well played, Sanctuary. Ultimately, this is a spell of The Fall’s existence which is actually best served by the studio albums and few will pull this off the shelf with any regularity.

Curiosities of The Fall - No 13 of 15(ish) - Touch Sensitive…Bootleg Box Set

Of all The Fall’s live releases, this is the most bewildering. Straight away, it’s a worry not just because the set is cynically named after what was, at the time, their most popular song in years but also because the notion of “bootleg” was always going to give one pause, given the quality of  some of the recordings issued without such a qualifying subscript. That said, it looks good - a tidy little box with simple but effective artwork, presumably designed to look like a slightly rumpled paste-on and with a cheeky appropriation of the “Trademark Of Quality” logo, well known to bootleg traders. It was priced reasonably enough, less that 2 separate CDs. I scored mine second-hand for £9 - even now, it strikes me as an improbable used-rack find. Anyway…

All 5 gigs are from 2001, not generally regarded as a vintage year. The group are ostensibly touring “The Unutterable” but have already lost almost all of the line-up that made it; Neville Wilding, Adam Helal and Tom Head/Murphy are all gone, replaced by Ben Pritchard, Jim Watts and Spencer Birtwistle. Only Julia Nagle had held on and she would leave midway through the year. The gigs are not given in chronological order - the earliest gig is on disc 3, followed by 4, 5, 2 and 1.  If one listens chronologically, it’s clear why Disc 3 (Haarlem, The Netherlands, 6th April) isn’t Disc 1 as it has the most amateur recording quality of the whole set. If the box had opened with this, there really would have been a surplus of second-hand copies. That said, it is one of the better performances - the overly pumping cassette-tape compression might actually help a bit but this is a blast. Kicking off with a terrific “Sons Of Temperance”, the group are lively, quick and sound like they’re enjoying themselves. It’s clear there were a few problems; 4 of the tracks on this disc are taped inserts but they make strong work of “Two Librans”, “F-Oldin’ Money” and, surprisingly, a spirited (if slightly simplified) “Paintwork”. We’re deep in the audience for the second disc, recorded the following night at the Melkweg in Amsterdam; the sound is a bit better but the performance doesn’t quite hit the same level. Nagle is virtually inaudible on both of these (I checked the gigography and there’s nothing to suggest she didn’t play) but she is heard very clearly on Disc 5, recorded in Brighton a week or two later. This is easily the worst disc of the set; the performance is sloppy, a guitar is already out of tune on opener “The Joke” and there are weird echo effects on the drums every so often  - this may be partly down to microphone fuckery by MES, mind you. Anyway, the group appears to have forgotten the structure of “Mr Pharmacist” already and the version of ”Paintwork” is terrible, a messy, mainly instrumental botch with random tapes from “Midwatch 1953” and “Birthday Song” blaring across it. Pritchard’s faux-rawk guitar stylings are at their excruciating worst, the mostly awful keyboards are too loud, the group don’t know “I Am Damo Suzuki” very well (MES‘s mic failing won’t have helped them) and Birtwistle appears never to have even heard “And Therein”, let alone played it. Bah.

Returning to the beginning of the set, we flash forward to November and things are much better. Nagle is gone and The Fall are a tight, straight-down the line 4 piece rock ‘n’ roll band, touring an album they actually made - “Are You Are Missing Winner“. That said, “RUR“ weighs lightly on the set with just 4 songs making it to each gig - oddly, “Ibis Afro Man“ is dropped as soon as it hits vinyl. They‘ve learned “And Therein“ and the medley of “Kick The Can” and “F’oldin’ Money” works a treat, a gesture that connects this stripped back edition of the group to The Fall’s roots - r ‘n‘ r as primal spirit. They take “Sons Of Temperance” far too fast, sacrificing the burbling thwack of the original for pure speedthrill but overall, there is an improvement in atmosphere and energy as well as recording quality. A couple of these takes made it to “2G+2” and one wonders why the other gigs recorded for that CD weren’t included, given the generally ropey feel of the April recordings.

Inevitably, the set suffers from longeuers caused by excessive repetition (yeah, I know, I know…) - every disc features “Two Librans”, “F’Oldin’ Money”, “Mr Pharmacist” (all five takes of which are rotten), “Way Round” (which, by contrast, comes out of the whole thing brilliantly), “Cyber Insekt” and “Touch Sensitive” with “Sons Of Temperance” missing only from Disc 5. But the core calculation is actually pretty clever. If you’re keen enough to own one live album from this period, you’re likely to want another and popping 5 into a value-for-money box was pretty astute both economically and in terms of creating a “nice item“ which is inherently more attractive than yet-another-live-CD in a jewel case with crap artwork. Well played, Sanctuary. Ultimately, this is a spell of The Fall’s existence which is actually best served by the studio albums and few will pull this off the shelf with any regularity.

Actually, I think I’d rather do fiftytwoweeksofmilesdavis