Kooky 2009. Kookydisc 027/4
Discogs (This link is for the whole box, but only disc 4 is presented here.)
This is the remaining bonus disc from the Kooky Boxed set as requested by Charles. The other one is here.
This is, as you’ve probably figured out, a collection of live tracks from the same period as the four factory albums were recorded, taken from three very different gigs. The first, Glasgow 1982 is classic Durutti – no great surprises. The second, LSE 1984 is very different and includes keyboards, a brass section and a violin, in step with the studio recordings he made around that time. The final gig, the Zap Club Brighton, also from 1984 is similarly embellished, but has a more recognisably Durutti sound.
If you want to know which tracks were recorded at which gig, look at the tagging info which comes with the files. It’s in “properties”.
There will be more Durutti Column to come when I’ve figured out which of my huge pile of their albums is currently out of print.
As before, if you enjoy this, head over to his web site and buy something. Vini could use the cash, and you’ll enjoy the music.
Cherry Red 2012. Cherry501
Record Store Day has been going downhill recently; too many major labels clogging it up with pointless and overpriced re-issues of old music. This single from last year is what it’s supposed to be about – exclusive content to drag the punters kicking and screaming away from taxdodgers.com and back into record shops, although most copies of this single were bought by ebay vultures looking for a profit…
It’s best viewed as an appendix to last year’s Ersatz G.B., and in fact the original version of the live track on the B side is on that album. Victrola Time, the A side is unusual for the lack of guitar and the very weird vocals it starts with, but for me The Fall rarely put a foot wrong and this is no exception. Maybe it’s an out-take, but it’s still better than most bands manage in a career.
Just noticed that this is the 100th post. Berlimey.
Update: The Fall’s new album, Re-Mit has just arrived, and it includes Victrola Time. Not sure yet whether it’s the same version.
Play It Again Sam Records, 1990. BIAS 185-7
Discogs (This link is for the whole Pigeonhole album. Only the bonus 7″ is presented here)
The New Fads have been a pretty consistent companion for the last 25 years or so, and while I prefer the darker character of their later material, they were pretty consistent throughout their short career. This is a 7″ single which was given away free with the first few copies of their debut album, Pigeonhole. The A side is a cover of a Velvet Underground track, originally on their third album, The Velvet Underground. The New Fads version also appeared on a Velvets tribut album, and while it’s hardly their finest hour, it’s a solid performance featuring their distinctive choppy guitar work. The B side is on the CD version of the Pigeonhole album.
As for further listening, everything is of course deleted, although you can get the first two albums in horrible MP3 format on itunes.
Kooky 2009. Kookydisc 027/5
Discogs (This link is for the whole box, but only disc 5 is presented here.)
Over at the consistently excellent Everything Starts With An A there have been a three wonderful Durutti Column posts recently, which reminded me to post some of mine. His back catalogue is vast and largely unavailable, so I’m spoilt for choice. Actually I haven’t got around to figuring out what is still available, so I’ve started with something I know definately isn’t.
In 2009 Kooky re-issued the first four factory albums and included two bonus discs. This is the first of them and consists of demos and studio out-takes from the same period, i.e. 1978 – 1981. The sound quality is a bit variable – the home demos are a bit rough, whereas the studio recordings are great, but everything is perfectly listenable, and essential if you’re into this period of his work. Many fans say that LC is his best work, so outtakes from the same period are worth a listen. In that sense there are no surprises here – the disc sounds exactly as you’d expect.
The boxed set is a bit odd. It comes in a huge box, but the CDs just rattle around in slip cases along with album artwork and a handful of interviews printed on square card. Only 4 years after the event it’s already deleted and selling for silly money. Since Vini himself is broke and illness seems to have brought an untimely end to his playing career, it seems odd that he’s not able to make much needed money from sales of his back catalogue. So, if you enjoy this CD, consider buying something from his web site. In an earlier post I recommended Vini Reilly; today’s recommendation is his highly personal tribute to Factory boss Tony Wilson, Paean To Wilson. The vinyl edition looks particularly yummy – unfortunately I only have it on CD.
Play Hard Records 1989. DEC 14
Angry men with guitars and an angry woman with an electric violin is very good combination, so much so that this has rarely strayed far from my turntable. The manic violin playing is so good that it’s hard to see why more bands don’t use them. I guess violins are difficult to play.
King Of The Slums were a Manchester band who got the sort of underground recognition (and airplay from Peel) you’d expect for a band of this calibre, although they sounded like no-one else, especially in 1989, and never got any sort of mainstream success.
The first track, Fanciable Headcase is an absolute monster. I defy you to sit still while it’s playing, and not to play it again immediately and then bore all your friends with it. It really is that good.
I’m not sure why there’s a picture of horrible racist Enoch Powell on the cover – maybe it fueled the anger on the record. The union jack behind him is pink. Haven’t figured that one out either, but I expect Enoch Powell was also homophobic so maybe that’s why.
Everything by the band is of course long deleted, although according to their truly dreadful web site, there are a few bits and pieces available on itunes.
Wooden Records 1989. WOOD 7
This is a remarkable album by any standards. On the face of it, it’s a tribute album to the maverick Manchester artist, Edward Barton, but there’s more to it than that. The usual tribute album is about a long established, legendary artist (like the Neil Young tribute I posted a few days ago), and the performers are either newer artists or unknowns, but this is the other way around. Many of the artists on this album were well established, at least in independent music circles, whereas Barton was little known. It also appeared on Barton’s own label, Wooden, and it appears, was compiled by him. The last odd element to this is how unlistenable Barton’s own performances of these songs were. He was at the time best known for a disturbing appearance on The Tube where he performed I’ve Got No Chicken, But I’ve Got Five Wooden Chairs solo, playing his acoustic guitar with a wooden spoon with a manic vocal delivery which generated a surprising number of complaints, despite the absence of anything obviously offensive.
However, as this album shows, Barton was much more than a novelty act. With his, er, difficult delivery removed and replaced by some of the best Manchester had to offer in 1989, his songs are revealed to be startlingly original, both musically and lyrically. Apart from Chapter and the Verse’s contribution which hasn’t aged well, there’s hardly a duff track here. Highlights are 808 State, whose inspired version of Sorry Dog features a couple of young kids on vocals and tells of a man’s feelings of guilt after he shits on the floor and blames the dog. The Ruthless Rap Assassins (more music from them at some point in the future) deal with the sorry tale of a car crash in Z Bend, also covered strangely poignantly by Ted Chippington. I’d been listening to this album for years before I realised that when A Guy Called Gerald said “pump the jack” in Barber Barber that he was talking about the barber’s chair, not some sort of dance move I was way too uncool to be aware of. As always, Gerald is excellent.
There’s a surprising amount of Edward Barton material available. His new (ish) album which is by far his most accessible to date and really worth a punt is available here. It’s obvious his early releases didn’t sell well, so you can buy them direct here. There are also a few free MP3s if you hunt around.
Artful Records 1997. ARTFULCDX9
I posted the rare double six mix of Hit The North recently, and said I wouldn’t be posting much more Fall, because it’s mostly available. It turns out I was wrong about that – a surprising amount is out of print. This album is particularly difficult to find, especially in its original 2CD format because the label went bankrupt.
Frankly, it isn’t the place to start if you’re not already a fan. The usual dominance of guitar work is replaced by a lot of electronics, supplied by Mark E Smith’s then girlfriend, Julia Nagle who also appears a lot in the writing credits. There are also drum ‘n’ bass elements courtesy of D.O.S.E who Smith fell out with early on in the process. There’s less in the way of conventional songs and the thunderous bass lines which usually feature. The production is often bizarre and uncompromisingly lo-fi.
However, MES knows what he’s doing, and it’s usually a mistake to dismiss his work because it wasn’t what you were expecting. Of course he’s on ranting good form here as always – the lyrics are by turns funny, surreal and incomprehensible, but always entertaining. Standouts are the utterly manic 4½ Inch, the dirty bassline of The Quartet of Doc Shanley and the very obscure surf cover, I’m a Mummy.
That this album is a difficult listen is perhaps because The Fall were in a phase which was chaotic even by their standards; during the tour to promote this album, MES sacked the whole band. Persist with it though and it rewards your efforts.
So what Fall stuff should you buy? Well my preference is the earlier stuff. I’ll stick my neck out and say Perverted By Language is their best, but ask me tomorrow and I’ll have a different answer. After pushing 40 albums, most of which are excellent, it’s very difficult to pick out a favourite. Just be careful of the endless (and mostly pointless) live albums. If you want a career retrospective, 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong is a good one.
There’s an unofficial Fall web site which is a great source for more info about the band than you ever knew existed.
Sheer Joy 1990. Sheer CD001
An interesting Manchester compilation this with some exclusive tracks from bands worth hearing.
The most interesting is The Fall’s Theme From Error-Orrori. I have no idea what Error-Orrori actually is, but it’s a Fall track unavailable elsewhere which is all you need to know. Weirdly it’s credited not to The Fall, but to the individual band members. Mark E Smith said in an interview recently that “if it’s me and your Granny on bongos it’s The Fall”, so I make no apology for changing the tagging accordingly.
For me the other essential track is the New Fast Automatic Daffodils’ Jaggerbog, again, unavailable elsewhere. It’s not as polished as their usual output but well worth the price of admission.
The Paris Angels were another Manchester band full of promise who were soon swallowed up by major label crapness – another one worth a listen.
If you’re into New Order, Revenge are half of them (but I forget which half) and you may know World Of Twist and What? Noise.
Beggars Banquet 1987. BEG200C
As a devotee of John Peel, it is inevitable that I’m into The Fall. I won’t be posting much of it here because it’s generally available, but here’s a curio which has been unavailable for 25 years and I doubt will ever be re-issued.
The Fall are by no means immune to marketing nonsense with multiple versions of singles and re-issues of old albums with pointless live bonus tracks to ensnare the completists. Hit The North, perhaps the best of their “commercial” sounding singles took this to extremes by appearing in no less than 6 versions. To get them all you had to buy the 7″, the 12″, the remix 12″ and the cassette. To say I was hacked off was putting it mildly, so I sourced all 4 in bargain bins after the single had charted. To add insult to injury, the endless remixes are a bit pointless and samey.
What we have here is by far the rarest of them, the double six mix (aka part 6) which appeared only on the cassette single. I doubt many of them were sold – cassettes are of course horrible, and back in the day were mostly bought by people not that bothered about music, i.e. not your typical Fall fan. Since then I’m guessing most of them have been binned, chewed up by car cassette players or just forgotten about. I’ve only ripped the double six mix, because the other tracks on the cassette are available elsewhere in much better quality.
I don’t have the right gear for ripping cassettes properly. You’re supposed to use a Nakamichi deck which you adjust for the cassette you’re trying to rip. I had to dig my old Denon deck out of a cupboard and hope for the best. It’s actually a pretty decent deck and still works fine. The result, while not perfect is very listenable, and as far as I can see isn’t available anywhere else on the net. Maybe one day someone will do the Nakamichi thing, but until then, this rip is as good as you’ll find.
If you like this period of The Fall, get the Beggars Banquet B sides compilation 458489 B Sides. It’s much better than the A sides equivalent, and has Hit The North (part 2) and a live version which I don’t think appears anywhere else.
Playtime Records 1990. AMUSE7CD
The New FADS were one of the better Manchester bands of their era, although not really part of the whole Madchester baggy thing. This was their breakthrough (third) single, and it’s easy to see why. It’s got a great bass line, really funky guitar work and their trademark excellent percussion. I’m also a sucker for singers who use megaphones; too much time spent listening to The Fall I guess. Their later work (also really worth hearing) was angrier and darker – this is more about leaping around the room, although the lyrics deal with desertification which isn’t much of a cause for celebration.
The band seem to have been completely forgotten about – there’s surprisingly little on the web about them, although they do have a myspace page.
There are a couple of remixes here too which work well enough, but it’s the first track, the original version which is essential. As for further listening, everything’s deleted, although it looks like all their albums are on itunes, if you don’t mind crappy MP3s.