1987 had come and gone, very unusually, without The Fall releasing an album, albeit much of the year had been spent in the studio writing and recording what would be released as The Frenz Experiment in February 1988. Prior to that, the new year began with a very early release, on 11 January, of a new single, and once again there were a number of formats – 7″, 12″, 7″ box (with a badge and lyric sheets) and cassette. The good thing, unlike Hit The North, was that is that fans didn’t have to get all the formats to obtain all the new songs, with it being the more traditional 2 tracks on the 7″ and the 7″ box, while 4 tracks were available on the 12″ and cassette.
mp3: The Fall – Victoria
I’ll cut to the chase. I think the Fall’s cover of Victoria, a minor hit single for The Kinks back in 1966, is a tame and mundane effort, albeit the band sound as if they enjoyed how it turned out, with Simon Rogers again on production duties. The fact it was also very much a part of the live set lists, is an indication that it was something everyone – MES, Brix, Craig, Steve, Marcia and Funky Si – were happy with. It reached #35 in the UK singles charts, and thus continued the strange situation whereby covers brought hits, but originals seemed to flop.
But what of your b-sides?
mp3: The Fall – Tuff Life Booogie
mp3: The Fall – Guest Informant
mp3: The Fall – Twister
Tuff Life Booogie is common to the 7″ and 12″. It is one of the most accessible and almost pop-like tunes ever recorded by The Fall, and while the lyric back in 1988 would have probably seemed strange and rambling, in later years you can piece together some subsequent details and facts to conclude that it was MES having a dig at his wife. Nobody knew back then that their relationship was on the wane, nor that she was unhappy living in what she considered to be squalid conditions in the north-west of England. Her dream of becoming a bona-fide pop star was fading with each passing month, no matter how much the critics loved the band.
Talking of Brix, hers is the first voice you hear on the brilliantly bonkers rocker of a tune, Guest Informant. It’s nearly six minutes long, and the first 60 seconds are taken up with the chant of “Bahzhdad State Cog-Analyst”.….well, that was the lyric written down by MES within the script for the Hey! Luciani play, with the song being part of the show every night. Brix, on the other hand, has long said she was chanting ‘Baghdad State Cog-Analyst……
Whatever the chant is, there can surely be no argument that Guest Informant is another great example of the way The Fall offered a quite unique post-punk take on rockabilly.
Twister is another longer song, extending to five minutes in length. There are a number of tempo changes throughout, and it veers occasionally towards the sort of chin-stroking artistic musical nonsense that I can’t be bothered with. It’s not among my favourite of the band’s songs. And while an earlier version was recorded for a Peel session in May 1987, it was never part of the band’s live shows at any time, so maybe MES also got bored with it quickly.
Tune in next week for the first Fall single to be released on CD. You won’t regret it. But before then….a PS to last week’s posting on Hit The North.
A huge thanks to those of you who got in touch and who attached files with the songs missed out last week. Some of you sent me Part 2, sourcing it from various places where it has been described as such, but in fact it was actually Part 3 as found on the 12″ single. The easiest thing to do is actually use the files sent over by Joe via the 5 albums CD box set, issued by Beggars Banquet in 2013. Part 2, as below, has a slightly different opening than any other version, and it also comes in some 15 seconds longer than Part 3 (which is sometimes mixed up with Part 2)
mp3: The Fall – Hit The North (part 2)
The CD box set also contains that fairly elusive mix that had been kept back for the cassette version of the single, as well as a previously unreleased instrumental version:-
mp3: The Fall – Hit The North Part 6 (the double six mix)
mp3: The Fall – Hit The North (instrumental)
As I say, thanks to all of you who got in touch after last week. Hugely appreciated.