The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

April 29, 2005


The Fall: The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004

The Fall: "28 years, 24 studio albums, 22 live albums, 41 singles, 31 compilations, 10 record labels, around a thousand gigs, 48 members, three Top 40 hits, 14 Top 75 hits" (according to Daryl Easlea's liner notes to 50.000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong). However, this may be their most significant release to date.

In fact, despite a slew of other great re-releases and band reunions I'm pretty sure that this may well be the historically most significant record release this year (and all you Van Der Graaf Generator fans calm down for a moment): finally, the complete collection of The Fall's twenty-four radio sessions for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 are available to buy as an extremely handsome 6-CD box set.

This is significant not just because John Peel, the UK's most influential radio DJ who died unexpectedly last year, was perhaps the band's most ardent — and certainly most influential — fan; it's also not just because the sessions span almost the band's entire career; it's mostly because on these tracks that were especially recorded for the radio show, the Fall often play with an immediacy and direct approach that they barely ever managed to achieve on any of their regular album or single releases. The Fall's Peel sessions were always raw, uncooked, sometimes under-rehearsed, but steadfastly unrelenting.

Last year's compilation 50.000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong was the introduction for beginners; this is now the real thing, a chronicle of musical genius and musical failures. It may not always be pretty, but it's as close to the group's essence as you can get: it's essential in more than one sense of the word. It's a document of almost three decades of Fall-ness, the essence of a band that, according to John Peel is "always different, [...] always the same".

Admittedly, the six discs (97 tracks) are a bit of a tour-de-force, but then you don't really have to listen to all of them in one go. But then on the other hand, if after seven hours of listening you finally arrive at "Blindness", the stand-out track from their last session, and it blows your brain out (figuratively, of course), you'll be thankful. Seriously.

Available from Amazon, Action Records, or (perhaps) a dealer near you.

Posted by Horst on April 29, 2005 11:59 PM to reviews | Tell-a-friend

dieter said on May 1, 2005 12:24 AM:

Stronger than a pan galactic gargle blaster?

Horst said on May 1, 2005 12:31 AM:

I assume that this is a reference to 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'? Sorry, I strongly believe it's a film that should never have been made. I also believe that, contrary to The Fall, the Hitchhiker books are vastly overrated.

Saying that, "Blindness" is definitely stronger than a gargling blaster.

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