The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004 -The Fall
Whenever I purchase a boxset by a band, I am always a bit daunted by the amount of music that is contained therein. The question I pose to myself is; Will I play it all? This boxset was no exception as I left my local record emporium.
You see, The Fall aren't am 'easy' band to like. They have always been on the edge of the Indie scene. Hugely respected, definitely, but they go their own, or rather maverick frontman Mark E. Smith's own way. You'll either love the ragged angular sound and Smith's unusually delivered vocals or you don't. I can't really imagine anyone 'sort of liking' The Fall.
This collection of 24 sessions recorded between 1978 and 2004 is on six cd's and has over seven hours of music on it. You need commitment for a thing like.
I needn't have had any commitment fears mind because this is a superb collection. The Fall's many guises recorded more Peel sessions than any other band and were John's favourite band. He once said "If I drop dead tomorrow, I'll have nothing to complain about- except that there'll be another Fall album out next year". No band could be paid a higher compliment. The music here is quite brilliant and deserving of that unusual praise.
As it says on the tin, this set captures all the Fall Peel sessions. Right from the first, broadcast on 15th June 1978 until the final bonus track that was broadcast on John's 65th birthday on 31st August 2004. It is fascinating to be able to track the development of a band over it's 25 year plus life cycle (they are still going strong as I write). Smith is the only surviving member from the first session, in a band that has had in excess of 40 members over the years (including Mark Riley aka Radio One DJ Lard. As someone once quipped. "There are more people who have been in The Fall, than haven't".
The quality of this set is quite astounding. There is barely a sub-standard track in the ninety-seven on view here. Although is reportedly a difficult man to work with, Mark E Smith can sure pick a band. There is so much energy in these recordings and they rae as good on the later recordings as they are on the earlier ones. Sadly, there will be no more Peel Sessions following ohn's death in October 2004 but there will be a new Fall album and that is something to celebrate.