18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The Fall - Play them and lose your girlfriend
, 16 May 2009
This review is from: 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong: 39 Golden Greats (Audio CD)
Playing "Fiery Jack" at the start of a romantic evening was in hindsight a bit of a faux pax particularly when she asked whether I had any Simply Red. My first Fall album was "Dragnet" which was also a mistake since I still hate Side 2 and find it unspeakably awful. Yet this is the health warning that comes with all Fall albums. There are tracks you really despise. Others you love so deeply that if given the choice of your favourite Fall songs or having your cat tortured unfortunately the moogy gets it. In Dragnet's case I loved "Psykick Dancehall" but it is sadly not included on this, neither are some other Fall favourites particularly "Oswald's Defence Lawyer", "the Mixer" "Glam racket", White Lightning, Sparta FC and the deconstruction of Sister Sledges "Lost in Music". Frankly any one that tries to compile a Fall compilation is on to a hiding to nothing and I suspect that this is as good as it gets.
Mark E Smith has spent a whole career not just swimming against the tide but polluting it with his caustic attitude, outpourings and rants. He is at best obnoxious. You really wouldn't want him as friend and he certainly wouldn't want you. He has treated this band like Stalin dealt with the Russian peasantry but this totalitarian approach has worked. The Fall never stood still and has Smith himself has fought a constant battle to resist any attempts to make the band more palatable. Brix Smith, Martin Bramah and Craig Scanlon have been "in and out" more times than your front door key. Smith has also been free with his opinions on just about every other band on the planet such as contemporaries "The Sex Pistols in the space of one single went from being great to being AC/DC" or listening to Pavement is "just The Fall in 1985, isn't it? They haven't got an original idea in their heads". You haven't got to agree with him, just recognise that he is a loud mouth who still delivers the goods.
There are Fall albums which are highly commercial of course not least the seminal late 1980s early 90s pairing of "Extricate" which included the brilliant Bill is Dead which was followed by the equally wonderful "Shiftwork" where Smith was almost tender on Edinburgh man. But the Fall that everyone loves is that of the Psychobilly shouters so well captured on "Touch sensitive" and of course "Fiery Jack" which clearly is a better song than "Money is too tight to mention"!
This is therefore a great compilation. All the bona fide classics are here not least of all Rowche Rumble, Free Range, How I Wrote 'Elastic Man', Eat Y'self Fitter, Mr Pharmacist and Susan Vs Youth Club. As for girlfriends get a copy of Carole Kings "Tapestry" they always seem to like it and keep your Fall albums to yourself.
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