It’s a standing-joke in Manchester that The Fall are very deep and always arguing about things … and it’s true. There’s never a common agreement within the band. Instead there’s a tension that makes us stronger. We’ve never been signed up. It’s a big help — we’re independent and that’s how we want it. We’re not continually repaying agents and promoters for P.A. The songs we sing are just personal experiences. If you identify with them, that’s fine. [Mark E Smith, NME, 18 March 1978]
TK has been taking it easy for a while. Too damned easy. For those of you who don’t know where I’ve been, I’ve been working on this. I look on it as improving my Peel education.
Well, the 16 June 1978 was a day and a half in the history of JP’s programme, as it featured the first session by the Fall. That particular show has not come to light yet, but it was repeated several times during the year, and one of those repeats, the 4th of August, is thankfully with us, and interested parties can find the page I wrote about it and a download link here. At the time, their punk hillbilly style was at its roughest and most abrasive: lots of dissonant organ courtesy of Yvonne Pawlette, Martin Bramah’s one-chord slabs of rhythmic disfunction, and Karl Burns contributing some quite fantastic drum fills and breaks (he had been drumming since he was 13). The meat of the music, though, is Mark E. Smith’s atonal drawl, nailing each target with unfailing accuracy. the odd scream and just the right amount of venom.
It makes one wonder, then, why Smith didn’t want this session released on Strange Fruit when they started their heroic trawl through the archives ten years later, instead opting for the second. It’s a supreme demonstration of their punk heritage and points forward to the developments they would take in a very short space of time. John repeated it in 1997, in an act of frustration at no new material from the band. It’s axiomatic to say that when one is as prolific as this group, the standard tends to suffer, by and large, but I defy you not to be impressed by the energy on this. Some might find it humourless, but as MES said to the NME, ‘We’re not a comedy act. We’re not The Barron Knights. How many people laughed at The Sex Pistols?’
Fall, Session #1 (1978-05-30)
1. Rebellious Jukebox
2. Mother Sister
3. Industrial Estate
4. Futures And Pasts