'50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong: 39 Golden Greats' does what it says on the cover and offers an ideal two-disc primer into that brilliant career. As the definitive Fall-reissue programme advances and we also get the Peel Sessions box-set, there is room for a primer of the mighty Fall for those unsure where to start. This compilation is probably worth buying for the cover alone, though the sleevenotes and the selection of tracks is not as simplistic as might be thought...
It's notable that a few of The Fall's odder moments have made it here - we get 'Repetition' over 'Bingo Master's Breakout', the epic 'Hip Priest' (probably as it featured in 'The Silence of the Lambs'), the Kazoo-friendly 'New Face in Hell' and the Beefheart-on-speed 'Prole Art Threat - so the more caustic side of The Fall is here (as well as the odd dud moment like 'Susan Vs. Youthclub'). There are several of The Fall's cover versions here - 'There's a Ghost In My House', 'Mr Pharmacist', 'Victoria', 'Why Are People Grudgeful?' - though sadly not their storming cover of The Big Bopper's 'White Lightning' (surely The Fall's covers album isn't far from being issued and should also include 'Rollin'Dany', 'Lost in Music', 'I'm Going to Spain', 'The Legend of Xanadu', 'F'oldin Money', 'I'm a Mummy', 'A Day in the Life', 'Kimble' & 'White Line Fever.'
The early singles once found on 'Early Fall 77/79', 'In the Palace of Swords Reversed' & 'Hip Priests & Kamerads' crop up here on the first disc: 'Rowche Rumble', 'Fiery Jack' (featured on the upcoming 'Rip It Up & Start Again'), 'How I Wrote 'Elastic Man', 'Totally Wired', 'Lie Dream of a Casino Soul' (a big hit in NZ!), 'The Man Whose Head Expanded' & 'Kicker Conspiracy.' All fantastic, as is the sole-track from 'Live at the Witch Trials' ('Industrial Estate') and 'Hex Enduction Hour's abrasive-opener 'The Classical'- though gripers may gripe about the absence of such tracks as 'Leave the Capitol', 'Psykick Dancehall', 'City Hobgoblins', 'It's the New Thing', 'Look, Know' or 'Fantastic Life.'
The latter part of disc one heralds the Brix-era, 'Eat Y'Self Fitter' one of their great moments (memorably picked by Peel as one his Desert Island Discs), while 1984/85 when Brix's poppier-input became more apparent is represented by an edited 'C.R.E.E.P', 'No Bulbs', 'This Nation's Saving Grace's 'Spoilt Vitctorian Child' & the classic 'Cruiser's Creek'-single. Hard to fault any of these selections, though it should be noted that '...Saving Grace' has a wealth of possible selections that could have made the grade here...
The second disc opens with the blend of Krautrock'n'goth that is 'US 80's-90's', the sterling cover of The Other Half's 'Mr Pharmacist' & one of MES's most touching moments, 'Living Too Late' (replete with a wonderful psychdelic section courtesy of producer John Leckie)The one-off single 'Hey Luciani!' showcases the more melodic Fall and is a welcome inclusion, as is the classic single 'Hit the North'which defines baggy or Madchester soundwise a year or so before 'WFL' or 'Fool's Gold 953'...It should be noted that the most obvious track from 'The Frenz Experiment' ('Victoria') is included (no 'Carry Bag Man', 'Guest Informant' or 'Oswald Defence Lawyer') and there's nothing from 'I am Kurious Oranj' ('Wrong Place Right Time', 'Big New Prinz' or 'Jerusalem' would have seemed obvious candidates), and no 'Dead Beat Descendent' either!
The Fall's collaboration with Coldcut 'Telephone Thing' is a welcome inclusion, a perversion of 'My Telephone' with MES hailing about Gretchen Franklin! There's nought from 'Shiftwork' ('Idiot Joy Showland' surely should have been selected!), though we do get the 'High Tension Line'-single and the following year's 'Free Range' which ranks as one of their finest single moments. The Fall have a poppier moment or two with 'Grudgeful' & 'Behind the Counter' (no '15 Ways' sadly) and their more avant side is exposed with the inclusion of 'M5' and 'Feeling Numb' (the patchy mid 90s problems advancing...) An edited version of the classic 'Chiselers' single is included and the bizarre 'Powder Keg', which was seen to predict the IRA bomb in the Arndale centre in the 90s (as 'Zagreb' predicted the problems in the Balkans earlier). 'Levitate' was an album accorded mixed reviews is represented by the excellent 'Masquerade', which suggests that the 'Levitate'-reissue might be one to check out. The famous ad-song 'Touch Sensitive' still sounds fantastic, while 'Crop Dust' is one of the better moments from the patchy 'Are You Are Missing Winner?' (2001), which reminds you that nought from 'The Unutterable' is here!!! The compilation ends on the fantastic 'Green Eyed Loco-Man' from the major return to form that was 'The Real New Fall LP - Formerly Country on the Click' (though 'Theme from Sparta FC' might have been a more obvious choice).
Anyone unfamiliar should probably start with this and their latest classic 'Fall Heads Roll' (2005), which demonstrates the new Fall is as great as the old Fall and you don't have to be a look back bore-