‘They’ve never disappointed me yet, and I suspect won’t…I can’t think of any other artist who’s managed to do that for 10 years…I simply don’t know what it is that I like about the Fall…He [Mark E. Smith] never takes the prevailing trendy attitude…I’m pleased that he does say what he actually thinks…The Fall are always identifiably The Fall, but they do seem to evolve’. John Peel on Peeling Back The Years, recorded in the 80s.
When Peel said that, he had not of course heard the two tracks I present here, but I have no reason to think that he had changed his mind about the band he booked for 24 Peel sessions and who played at his 50th birthday party. The nucleus of the group was Mark, who seemed to hire and fire at will (one band member said that he knew he was sacked when Smith bought everyone a drink except him). They have recorded a huge amount of material, many of the songs appearing on Festive Fifties. They had two stabs (at least) at recording Theme From Sparta, a rollicking and defiant number. The first here (FF 2003 #2) is loose and with more of a jam feel to it: it’s taken from a Peel session. The second (FF 2004 #1) is much tighter, but I still think Smith’s introduction to the first (‘1, 2, 3, 4, fuck off’) encapsulates the band’s feel nicely. The title link can be used to find Smith’s (barely respectful) interview on Newsnight just after John’s death.
Buy: The Fall, The Real New Fall LP: Formerly Country On The Click