THRICE FALLEN

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They once looked like this…

 

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…as well as this…

 

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                                                  …and later this.

 

 

Old before his time,  Mark E. Smith died of cancer. He was the heart, lungs and brain of Manchester’s premier rock group The Fall.

Over the decades The Fall’s line-up had a huge turnover. Members came and went, were fired and rehired, changed roles, drifted in and drifted out. Somebody calculated multi-instrumentalist Karl Burns had nine separate stints with The Fall.

Smith – comfortable as a curmudgeon – remained the only constant member. He called all the shots. His ex-wife (and ex-Fall guitarist) Brix Smith described him half-jokingly as the Mancunian Castro. None of this bothered the man: “If it’s me and your granny on bongos it’s [still] The Fall”.

The group’s live performances were of variable quality, especially after Smith’s health problems intensified. By then he was making increasingly erratic decisions which he often came to regret once he snapped out of it. But The Fall’s studio albums could be inspired.

To paraphrase John Peel , they really were quite magnificent, you know.

If they only let me pick three tracks…

 

(a) BILL IS DEAD

 

 

 

 

(b) PAINTWORK

 

 

 

(c) THE LEAGUE OF BALDHEADED MEN

 

And of course from The Fall’s Golden Age we shouldn’t forget

Big New Prinz

and Hit The North

and Powder Keg

and Frenz

and Telephone Thing

and Shoulder Pads #1 and #2

But as stated earlier, I’m only permitted to choose three tracks.

 

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Those were the days

 

 

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THE PERFECT BALANCE

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TWO SONGS

The first song is PURPLE HEATHER by Van Morrison (1973).

The images are by the Belgian photographer Luc Boonen.

 

 

The second song – SWEET THING – was originally recorded by Van Morrison in 1968. This here cover version by Hozier is a real humdinger. It didn’t get over 3.6 million views for nothing.

If there’s better evocation of the sheer joy of being in love then I’ve yet to hear it.

 

 

 

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TWO ETHEREAL SONGS

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The first is Dylan’s original version (which he recorded in 1964 but only released 45 years later in the Bootleg series) of I’ll Keep It With Mine. There’s a brief fragment of Dylan playing that original version on a piano somewhere on YouTube.

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The stuff just poured out of him

 

The song was later recorded by several individuals and groups, but this version – by Dean & Britta – for me is the most satisfying :

 

 

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And It Tango – an analysis of what “it” might mean – is by Laurie Anderson………..

 

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………pictured here.

 

 

It Tango is from her first album BIG SCIENCE (early 1980’s).

 

 

 

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