THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING SERIES FOR SUNDAYS (Part 53)

masqueradersd7 front

The Fall released a new record in July 2017. It was their 32nd studio album – New Facts Emerge – nobody had any idea it would be their last.

MES gave UNCUT magazine a lengthy and decent interview for a lengthy feature.  The opening paragraph comments are priceless:-

“There are some fucking weird people around, aren’t there?” says Mark E Smith, taking a sip of Jameson’s in Manchester’s Crown & Kettle public house. He’s talking about musicians, a group of people he famously detests. “I suppose you meet a lot of ’em. I’m not one to talk, but a lot of them can’t give it up, can they?”

The interview also acknowledged that the band had been reduced to a four-piece, with Elena Poulou having taken her leave the previous year when she and MES separated and then divorced.  New Facts Emerge proved to be a disappointing effort, with Elena’s keyboards replaced only by more guitars, bass and drums, leading to an even heavier and more pounding sound, which is no surprise given the way the current and now-long standing musicians had been performing on the most recent releases.

No singles were lifted from the album, which would indicate Cherry Red Records were perhaps thinking the band was treading water and that the next set of songs, maybe with someone new brought into as Elena’s replacement, would be slightly more commercially-orientated. Sadly, with MES passing away a few months later in January 2018, (with a gig in Glasgow proving to be his last ever), the theory was never put to the test.

The label had previously issued a 7″ single for Record Store Day on 22 April 2017.  It was done, seemingly, without MES’s knowledge far less blessing, which left him a bit pissed off to say the least.  In the olden days, this would have led to him ripping up the contract and seeking a new home, but seemingly tired of battling with record company bosses, he told Uncut that “Cherry Red are all right (to work with)”.

It wasn’t even as if a really old track had been resurrected. Masquerade had been released in February 1998, on 10″ vinyl and 2 x CD singles, on Artful Records, selling enough copies to reach #69 in the singles chart.  The RSD effort didn’t even offer up any new version, with the b-side being a remix that had been included on the original 10″ release:-

mp3: The Fall – Masquerade
mp3: The Fall – Masquerade (PWL mix)

All in all, a rather limp ending to the singles/EP career of The Fall, but it certainly wasn’t planned that way…MES’s body finally gave up on him before any new music could be written, recorded and released.

I’d like to thank everyone who has stuck with this series, and I’ll apologise to those of you who aren’t fans who probably feel it has long overstayed its welcome.  The first part was actually just over a year ago, on 13 June 2021, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing the research involved for each release.  I haven’t always enjoyed the music, but it’s fair to say there have been way more hits than misses.

One thing I will add is that if a fairly recent book on The Fall had been in print when I began this series, then my life would have been a lot easier.

You Must Get Them All : The Fall On Record is a 656-page hardback epic written by Steve Pringle, issued by Route Publishing.  I don’t think at this stage you can get it anywhere other than via the publishers, and while as yet I’m only just over halfway through its contents, it does feel as if it’s the first book to tell the full chronological story by concentrating on every release, weaving in the various line-up changes and the live and often punishing touring schedules.  Click here for more details.

Tune in next week for the start of a new(ish) Sunday series…..its success or otherwise will rely heavily on audience participation/involvement.

JC

13 thoughts on “THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING SERIES FOR SUNDAYS (Part 53)

  1. What a wonderful and frightening series.

    I stuck with it, not always listening to the tracks, but keen to learn a bit more about The Fall. If anyone is looking to write another Fall book you have provided a chronological background.

    Thank you for your writing, commitment and stamina.

  2. Gave up on the music a while back but it was always a good read.An outstanding piece of work JC although I bet you’re glad it is over!

  3. Great work mate. Certainly filled in a few gaps, even though I was never exactly the world’s biggest Fall fan. Intrigued as to what’s next.

  4. Thanks JC, a monumental effort over the last year. I stayed with the music throughout, always something worth hearing there (although I seem to be in the minority on that view), and much else of interest in your posts. I listened to The Fall from 1978 onwards, and bought many of their records – yes, clearly they had their golden and not-so-golden periods and, yes, MES in person could be hard (or very hard) work at times – so cheers cock for all the memories the series has prompted, he is much appreciated, and so are you.

  5. You deserve a pint or two after completing this series. I hadn’t been much of a MES fan before – The Fall always seemed to be on the periphery of my interests, but I hadn’t realized just how extensive his release history had been. This has been an epic series, full of intrigue, backstabbing, poor business decision and just plain bad luck. Oh, and some fine music too. Thanks for doing this.

  6. “Way more hits than misses” is quite the understatement. Brilliant band and songs, even if MES was phoning it in by the end. This was a fantastic series, JC–many thanks for pulling it together. Made this Fall fan happy every Sunday for a year.

  7. Wow, has it really been a year?! Whilst the singles were definitely a case of diminishing returns, particularly as we reached the last decade, I kept listening to the music throughout. The songs themselves may have lost momentum some time ago, but that cannot be said for the writing, which was always top notch. A morbidly fascinating tale of the extreme highs and lows of being a musician in MES’s orbit, it’s been a fantastic series week in, week out, JC. Thank you!

    Like everyone else, intrigued and excited by what comes next…

  8. Well done for persevering, JC. No comment I could have
    made would have added any value, but did enjoy the series.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.