The time immediately after the second single was filled with touring as well as the recording and release of the debut album, Live At The Witch Trials, in March 1979, after which The Fall convened at Cargo Studios in Rochdale, less than ten miles north-east of Manchester, to begin work on a new 45.

The same five musicians as who had recorded It’s The New Thing/Various Times stayed together for the debut album.

But by 11 June 1979, it was again all change, with Karl Burns and Martin Bramah taking their leave (temporarily, as it turned out), with the newcomers being Mike Leigh (drums), Craig Scanlon (guitars) and Steve Hanley (bass), meaning that the band was now six-strong with Marc Riley moving from bass to guitar, while Mark E Smith and Yvonne Pawlett remained as vocal and keyboards, respectively.

It’s worth recalling just how young all the members of this line-up of The Fall were at the time of this recording – Smith (22), Scanlon (19), Hanley (20), Riley (17), Pawlett (20) and Leigh (24) – which goes some way perhaps to explaining the energy they were all able to bring to things, as well as the inexperience and immaturity to cope with any adversity…..of which there was plenty!

It was also the case that Riley, Scanlon and Hanley had played together in a band prior to Riley joining The Fall, and this, albeit limited experience, certainly helped drive the band along superbly for a spell, not least with the new 45:-

mp3: The Fall – Rowche Rumble

One of the most instantly recognisable of the band’s early tunes. It opens with some pounding drums, over which MES begins his rant about drug addiction via prescription pills, and it’s only after some 25 seconds that the rest of the band join in, playing as if their very existence depended on them delivering a top-notch performance (and let’s face it, given MES’s trigger-happy finger, there’s every chance that a sub-standard effort would see one or more of them get the bullet). It quickly turns into the most majestic cacophony, perfectly designed for body-slamming down at the front of the live audiences, albeit it never stood a chance of getting any radio play outside the usual suspect of John Peel Esq.

The b-side offers a real contrast, a meandering middle-paced tune that starts off quite conventionally, until Pawlett adds a deliberately out-of-key and out-of-tune piano line which then really goes on to dominate things as Smith sings about things he’s seen, including the madness in his area.  He also manages to fit in a self-deprecating reference

“Can’t remember who I’ve sacked, just stupid faces looking bad
The madness in my area

mp3: The Fall – In My Area

It’s really, all things told, one for the devotees rather than anyone seeking an easy route into the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall.

It was, again, issued by Step Forward Records. It didn’t chart.



  1. With a few notable exceptions (like Brix) individual Fall band members never got the recognition they deserved. This is especially true as to Steve Hanley, who arrived in time to record Rowche Rumble and stayed on for 15+ years, which is no small feat. Right up there with Hook, Adamson, Rourke and Garvey in the pantheon of great Manchester bassists.

  2. I was late entrant to the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall but Rowche Rumble made an immediate impression when I finally heard it for the first time.

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