Today marks the second anniversary of the death of Mark E. Smith, and the end of any of the various and sundry assemblages of his seminal band The Fall. He is still missed and mourned by his legions of fans worldwide, with the Fall Forum "In Memoriam" page still regularly receiving heartfelt remembrances and tributes...
,,,Which is a lot more than can be said for other parts of Fall-world. The Fall Online website, once my go-to source for band news, is almost completely dead - the last update to this site is dated December, 2018. Other group news outlets are also gradually growing quiet as well, although a handful (like Reformation Post TPM) are still fighting the good fight, striving to remain up-to-date and relevant. You might recall that last year this time, I was lamenting the dearth of new/archived Fall music I anticipated being released in the wake of Smith's death; that situation hasn't improved over the past year. The Cog Sinister label put out a series of live sets from the group's many UK appearances over the years - I've already said my piece regarding how much I value these soundboard LPs (to summarize: I don't). And Cherry Red released (1982), a compilation of band music (both studio and live) from that year - but I already owned most of the stuff on it (taken from sources like Hex Enduction Hour, In A Hole, and Room To Live), so I didn't find it worthwhile to acquire.
In the past year and a half, the band released two more albums, 2018's Breaking State and last year's Super Blood Wolf Moon. At least these two LPs have dispensed with the Fall covers... and the musicianship is marginally better. But in my opinion, this band has become little more than a Brix Smith "look at me, world!" outing. Practically EVERY song and lyric uttered on these releases refers in some way to her life and how she views it - how 'nobody believed in her' ("Going Strong", "Vanity", etc.), how 'much she's changed' ("Unrecognisable", "Hustler", etc.), and how 'rough and tough and resilient' she is ("Dinosaur Girl', "Wolves", etc.) - and that kind of crap gets old hella-quick. The latest album covers are both stylized illustrations of what a "badass" she is now, to wit:
Check out how the heads of the other band members are just tiny appendages/ trophies attached to the fierce, roaring beast that is Brix... I wonder how they reacted to THAT......and:
Note that all of her latest albums were released under her own private label, Grit Over Glamour Records (sheesh! REALLY?). If I had to hazard a comment, it would be that Ms. Smith-Smart is trying just a wee bit too hard to reclaim some sort of rock credibility, and in the process it's hurting her music. This band has devolved (as if it had that far to fall in the first place) into a vanity project, and I'll be damned if I fund Brix's public therapy sessions to make her feel good about herself. I know that sounds harsh... but that's the way I see it.
Still, it's sort of sad to see how quickly Mark and his group are being forgotten. Therefore, I continue my endeavors to keep the Fall flame alive and burning! Here's the latest:
Back in the mid-1990s, while I was still in grad school in Virginia, a couple of Arizona-based fans, Jonathan Kandell and Andy Halper, gathered up a number of Fall songs covered by various bands from around the world, and put it up for sale on their website. I think I heard about it through the Fall Forum or some other web page dedicated to the group; either way, I couldn't send them my money fast enough!
The cassette-only comp arrived in my mailbox a couple of weeks later. Below is a copy of the liner notes, with details on each song and the band that covered it:
Kandell provided a few more details on how this compilation came to be in an interview in the ninth issue (August 1997) of The Biggest Library Yet, a fantastic Fall fanzine published quarterly from 1994 to 2000 - here's a link to it. Not a lot of info here, but no matter... Some of the covers here are fantastic, others are merely interesting... and some really aren't that good. But this collection displays the global reach and influence of The Fall. And all in all, this was a longtime labor of love by dedicated and motivated fans. Some of my favorites include The Gosh Guys' version of "Paintwork" and Eventide's lo-fi "Terry Waite Sez".
The original site for this compilation has long been inactive, so nowadays these tunes are somewhat hard to find. Fortunately, that's why I'm here!
In memory of the late, great Mark E. Smith, I hereby provide to you Good Evening, We Are Not The Fall, a fan-assembled comp of twenty-five Fall covers from across the globe, released in the fall of 1996. This set is burned off of my own personal cassette copy (sorry - it's currently in .mp3 128; when I get the time, I'll kick it up to 320... not that it'll matter, I think - it IS a tape, after all). Have a listen, spend a moment or two communing with the spirit of Mr. Smith... and as always, let me know what you think.
Please use the email link below to contact me, and I will reply with the download link(s) ASAP: