Following Fall founder Mark E. Smith’s death in 2018, Cherry Red Records expanded and reissued the ‘50,000 Fall Fans…’ compilation, adding nineteen bonus tracks to bring it up to date, making it the most comprehensive Fall compilation ever. It was an ideal starting point for new listeners. News that there would be other Fall reissues in the future was met with keenness. The first of that reissue campaign – now dubbed “The Fall Sound” – goes right back to the beginning with expanded editions of 1978’s ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ and 1979’s ‘Dragnet’.
As is their tradition, Cherry Red Records and their many associated subsidiaries have dozens of fantastic box sets and reissues lined up for the year’s second and third quarters. As we move firmly into Spring, Real Gone picks a few essentials lurking just over the horizon.
Over the years, the early part of The Fall’s wonderful and frightening back-catalogue has been reissued various times. In May 2019, Cherry Red Records will give the first two albums their best reissues to date.
The first two releases in Cherry Red’s “Fall Sound” reissue campaign, ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ and ‘Dragnet’ will be reissued on high quality vinyl. ‘Witch Trials’ will be available as a limited edition red vinyl, while ‘Dragnet’ will appear as a limited “splatter” vinyl and include a bonus replica 7″ single of ‘Rowche Rumble’.
For most people, Paul Hanley will be best known as the drummer with The Fall during their “two drummers period” between 1980 and 1985. He is currently a member of Brix and The Extricated, a band comprising several ex-Fall members. In the last quarter of 2017, Paul’s book ‘Leave The Capital’, in which he looks at the history of various recordings made in Manchester, was published by Route Publishing. In March 2018, Paul met with Lee from Real Gone to discuss ‘Leave The Capital’ and more besides.
John Peel – The Fall’s biggest and outspoken fan – famously claimed they were “always different, always the same”. In many ways, Peel was right. With each new Fall album, you could never guarantee you’d like all of the material; you couldn’t even guarantee you’d remember any of the material after the album finished, but through it all, there would be Mark E. Smith, founder and only constant member, gleefully bamboozling the listener with rambling, obtuse lyrics. A lyricist and performer like no other, Smith’s work balanced precariously between the utterly mundane and bizarre, humorous and spiteful. Such a one-off proposition that even imitators could never quite match his unique style.
Smith steered his artistic vision through forty years and over sixty members. Sometimes the addition of a new band member or even Smith’s current mood could change the sound and fortunes of a new Fall record. The Fall back catalogue is one of the most daunting of any band’s, comprising of thirty two studio albums, as many live albums and over forty compilations to date. Given that Smith himself cared nothing for quality control and released material at a frighteningly prolific rate and then expected fans to work at reaping their own musical reward, finding the genuinely brilliant material within The Fall’s oeuvre can be like panning for gold, especially for newer listeners.
Here is Real Gone’s guide to The Fall essentials!