The Knight, The Devil and Death
Peculiarly folk rockish musical setting with distinct lack of MES, but a female recitation of the title along with sporadic mentions of that great word, 'Usurping.' Gets a bit shouty near the end with the screaming of 'Accelerate!' along with a quick burst of dramatic kettle drum and a fragment of a chant. For possible inspiration and visual accompaniment, see Albrecht Dürer's 1513 copper engraving: Knight, Death and the Devil.
PS. Why not try my mix of The Night, Thriller and Death
The Knight, The Devil and Death (Ed's Babe EP, 1992)
posted @ 11.55 AM, July 19, 2007
Pumpkin Head Xscapes
A shuffling baggy-esque workout with a great call of 'Lee - oh.' Quite who Leo is, I have no idea. The song itself appears to be a diatribe against those jolly conceptual pranksters, 'the senile morons who run KLF' who, during their 1992 BRIT Awards appearance, fired machine gun blanks into the audience and dumped a dead sheep at the aftershow party. It's a great tune and danceable too.
Pumpkin Head Xscapes (Ed's Babe EP, 1992)
posted @ 13.10 PM, July 18, 2007
Arid Al's Dream
An infectious ringing guitar riff forms the first main part of the song, backed by violin scrapings whose intensity increases with the manic drumming on the 'It was hectoring him' parts. A fittingly dream-like recollection of spiritual visitations and 'pre-psicognition.' Great drum sign off too. First appeared on a various artists compilation called 'Volume Four.' The 1990 demo version, 'Simon's Dream', (a reference to then drummer, Simon Wolstencroft) has amended lyrics, interchanging 'His boss lectures at him' with 'MES lectures at him.'
Arid Al's Dream (Volume Four, 1992)
Simon's Dream (demo, 1990)
posted @ 11.40 AM, July 17, 2007
What a brilliant pop single. All the right ingredients - catchy backing refrain ('D.I.Y.') and female ooohs, consistent beat and snappy keyboard parps. I guess, it just goes to show, the lie that The Fall don't do commercialism. Apart from the off kilter lyrics of course, e.g. 'Folly is the cloak of knavery.' A proper toe-tapper.
Ed's Babe (EP, 1992)
posted @ 12.50 PM, July 16, 2007
Token way off the wall album track. Starts off with one of the 'So What About It' remixes, then descends into a drunken/stoned piss about injoke fest with MES doing that peculiar American impersonation thing he does, and will later revive on Reformation's 'The Insult Song.' Generously label under 'experimental.' Or, as wayneb puts it on the unnoficial Fall forum, The Fall do Derek n Clive.
Crew Filth (Code: Selfish, 1992)
posted @ 13.30 PM, July 13, 2007
Married, 2 Kids
A low, swaggering, almost Stones like bluesy riff dominates this easy going little tune which kicks off with one of those great lyrical repetitions: 'In 1978/Was in a hotel in Notting Hill Gate/Now in 1992/Staying in a hotel in Notting Hill Gate.' When the riff breaks off, the spacey guitar and sparse piano hits mixed way back, add an extra thrill. Brilliant and succint touches of character to the average Joe depicted, who is dilapidating rapidly with an 'aftershave like mustard' and 'a peculiar goatish smell.'
Married, 2 Kids (Code: Selfish, 1992)
Married, 2 Kids (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 12.55 PM, July 12, 2007
And very gentle it is too, from the calming keyboards and soft drum machine to the subtle bass and guitar figures drifting through the sleepy undemanding melody. You half expect something jarring to take place, but it never does, until the lyrical nod to new technology: 'Your brain is software/Your brain is Game Boy/It's filled with excretement.' That refining of the word 'excrement' is a typical MESism. MESism n. To deliberately mispronounce/alter a word for comedic/lyrical effect and to piss off grammarians.
Gentlemen's Agreement (Code: Selfish, 1992)
posted @ 12.50 PM, July 11, 2007
Ah, I love it when The Fall go country. This is a terrifically simple re-interpretation of a 1951 Hank Williams single which he recorded under the pseudynom Luke The Drifter. MES updates the basic concept of people just mooching around waiting for things to happen, including much waiting for riches from TV quiz shows and dead relatives, and this particular stoozy: 'The cretin is waitin for U2 to come on MTV again.'
Just Waiting (Code: Selfish, 1992)
posted @ 13.20 PM, July 10, 2007
Funky cow bell and fuzz guitar soon meld into a more regular rock beat for this one, which spends a great deal of time playing around with the rhythmical and rhyming possibilities of the phrase 'two- face.' The bass retains its funkiness, though. On the face of it (sorry, couldn't help that), fairly straightforward but strangely compelling, so, musically, it sort of mirrors its subject matter. You could even dance to it, if you were so inclined. Also, I love that descending fuzz guitar at the end. Smart.
Two Face! (Code: Selfish, 1992)
posted @ 13.10 PM, July 9, 2007
Time Enough At Last
Nothing much to this one at all. Trundles along harmlessly, although it retains that hypnotic air of disinterestedness which always pulls you back in. No shocks, no surprises. Innocuous chord sequence and pedestrian melody with random backing shouts of 'You think you're so smart' and the like. 'The projectiles hit you/When you least expect it,' is true enough, but my favourite couplet has to be, 'From a summit of experience/To a pit of its knowledge.'
Time Enough At Last (Code: Selfish, 1992)
Time Enough At Last (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 13.15 PM, July 6, 2007
The Legend of Xanadu
Recorded for the NME charity record, Ruby Trax, which brought together pop luminaries of the time to represent their favourite No. 1 of the past as a celebration of 40 years of the NME or something spurious like that. I can't be arsed checking the facts, just as MES here can't be arsed singing this splendidly silly Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch nonsense. Sadly, the whip sound here is not as authentic as the real whip I remember being weilded with great relish by Mr Dee on telly. Top marks for droning, though.
The Legend of Xanadu (Ruby Trax, 1992)
posted @ 13.55 PM, July 5, 2007
The Birmingham School of Business School
The hissy clanging of bells at the start heralds this excellent opening to Code Selfish. MES wailing "wah wah wah wah" welcomes in the relentless dance beat accompanied by electronics and a bit of guitar heroics too. I love the way his voice goes up at some 'ham' bits. The repeating of school in the school's title is even further ridiculed with the line, 'The Birmingham Business School of Business School.' Inevitably, 'the big heart of England' comes in for some stick as the 'Laughing-stock of Europe...Olympic bidding again and again'
The Birmingham School of Business School (Code: Selfish, 1992)
The Birmingham School of Business School (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 14.20 PM, July 3, 2007
Dangerous (aka So Called Dangerous)
Upon repeated listens, this hardly played (by me anyway) track is fairly harmless after all. Breezes along on a two chord structure with flimsy electronica, yet still engages. Some deft lyrical touches too, e.g. 'And the meek shall inherit the mirth.' Also, 'How can you have the same again?' Good point. Well made.
Dangerous (B-side, 1992)
posted @ 13.15 PM, July 2, 2007
A litany of aches and pains against a straight rock backing. Evoking the Marxist 'huddled masses' maxim, MES teases, 'Come to me all ye that labour and are heavy laden' whilst bemoaning, 'I've been pursuing the fuel too long' and going on to recite his many ailments such as tinnitus and Tourette's. 'I'm dressed like a road beacon/On my way to Valhalla breakfast' has me stumped though, unless he's referring to Kurt Cobain's stripey jumper.
Everything Hurtz (B-side, 1992)
Everything Hurtz (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 13.40 PM, June 22, 2007
A chugging, simple melody with echoes of PIL and Iggy Pop and a great 'uh uh uh uh...' bit. The keyboard line that comes in at the end of the first verse and floats in and out is a great touch. It's missing on the Peel version, though, which is much more riff/bass driven. Lyrically unremarkable apart from the mention of BCI.
Immortality (Peel session, 1992)
Immortality (Code: Selfish, 1992)
Immortality (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 13.00 PM, June 21, 2007
A veritable dance classic. The Nietzschean quote 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' sits alongside MES's roll call of East European trouble spots in a crunching driven blast of a song. The scream of 'No-one!' is particularly effective/affecting. The prophetic 'Grudge match' in the lyrics was indeed acted out in the gruppe itself during the infamous New York fight on stage in 1998 during this song. You can hear my take on it here, merged with John Inman's 'I'm Free.' Irreverent? You betcha.
Video here: Free Range
Free Range (Peel session, 1992)
Free Range (single, 1992)
Free Range (live, Germany, 1993)
I'm Free Range (The Foul, 2007)
posted @ 13.10 PM, June 20, 2007
Kiddie tunes and kitchen noises kick off this playful and simple Lee Perry tune about Fugitive character Kimble. Good opportunity to rhyme it with tremble, though. Otherwise, no major musical surprises as such. References 'Why Are People Grudgeful' - another cover to come (see the future). Only available as a Peel session, too, which makes it kind of unique. Best lyric has to be, 'I wear very good shoes/but since the Midlands mentality/has decided to do all buildings in upholstery/the people smell...'
Kimble (Peel session, 1992)
posted @ 12.50 PM, June 18, 2007
Has a brilliantly simple chugging beat and a sublime guitar/keyboard interplay going on. Greek culture gets a look in - see Hellas for disambiguation! It's always great when MES uses a facile pop song lyrical cliché and transforms it into a jaded sigh, as in 'baby baby baby... come back to me.' The Peel session packs the most punch methinks. Here's another lyrical gem: 'Is that a hair extension?/It's soaked in hair lotion/How can you smell your own head?'
Return (Peel session, 1992)
Return (Code Selfish, 1992)
Return (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 13.55 PM, June 15, 2007