This week, a single that made it into the Top 75 in September 1986, thanks to a song that could and did pack the floor at indie-discos.
The first Fall song which Mrs Villain ever admitted she liked, thanks to me constantly including it on all the mix taped we would pack into a suitcase to take with us when we went away on holiday. It’s amazing to think back and realise how much space was needed for a box of 24 cassettes, and how often the batteries would need replaced on whatever cheap version of the Sony Walkman was being taken down to a beach or pool. I don’t miss those days now that there’s almost 50,000 songs each on a couple of i-pods which quickly charge up in a matter of hours overnight.
Enough of me wallowing in nostalgia. Here’s the press release issued by Beggars Banquet:-
The 1st of September heralds the release of The Fall’s version of MR PHARMACIST, a superb break-in taster for, and from their next LP.
Recorded straight onto master tape at Abbey Road Studios, MR PHARMACIST is the first record by THE FALL to contain new ingredient ‘JOHN’ S. WOLSENCROFT (ex-Weeds) on the drums who replaces much loved Karl Burns (now of the group ‘Thirst’).
MR PHARMACIST was an afterthought during the recording, being one of Mark E. Smith’s FAVOURITE songs by The Other Half – coincidentally, M.E.S. was ill with a chest infection during part of the recording.
HEAR live bass of Super Hanley on vinyl! NOTE phlegm vocal rattle! WITNESS earscorch of Brix Guitar, unfettered by tedious modern mixing methods. If only all cover versions were like this.
Companion track ‘LUCIFER OVER LANCASHIRE’ would not fit onto (blank space) but it is too good to store. The subject of much debate, ‘LUCIFER OVER LANCASHIRE’could refer to:-
A. Recent Commie cloud and complaints of aching bones in the health-conscious Fall camp.
B. The Erasure of good manners and good groups in that holy county or
C. A trailer for Pashion Religious Whodunnit due December
‘I tell you no lies.
Completely blind/are the Sentinels
Eyes/At the back of his mind/
This demon’s hip.
Bonus track ‘AUTO TECH PILOT’ features horror machine FX by Simon Rogers, and offers weirder territory in THE FALL legacy – where delirious commentary meets modern classical at the Eighties Trash-Gate.
Edward M. Cohort II
There’s no point in adding anything to that is there??
I love Lucifer Over Lancashire. Another example of the weird and wonderful stuff that was stuck away on b-sides over the year (and yes, I’m thinking that’s a subject matter for a future ICA….). Auto Tech Pilot, on the other hand, I can happily live without.
Mr Pharmacist entered the charts at #75. It dropped out after one week. The song was, in due course, played more than 400 times at Fall gigs, the first being on 9 November 1986 in Birmingham and the last being on 23 October 2017 in Newcastle, the second to last show they ever played, and was, by far the song most aired. Maybe an indication that MES wished he had written it?
For those who are interested, The Other Half was an American psychedleic/garage band from San Francisco in the mid-late 60s. They were largely unknown at the time, but the inclusion of Mr Pharmacist, a single back in 1966, on a Nuggets compilation in 1985 from which it is likely that MES picked up on it, finally got them noticed.
John Leckie was on production duties for The Fall on this occasion, as he would be for the album Bend Sinister released just three weeks after Mr Pharmacist. But by the time of the next single, he would have been usurped……