29 January 2014

THE FALL : I Am, Romeo Romantic (The Steal Record Co., 1981) (Cassette recording)

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Continuing The Fall theme, here's a Grotesque-era curiosity of dubious provenance, generously donated by the tirelessly prolific - & heroically unrepentant! - Johnny Zhivago of Die Or DIY infamy. Merci, monsieur...

I Am, Romeo Romantic purports to be a semi-legit promotional release, but it's scrappy ad-hoc construction suggests otherwise. Reputedly "produced" by longtime Fall consort Grant Showbiz, it's actually a (rather good) soundboard recording, slightly resequenced & with riotous looped applause of no-fixed-origin posthumously beamed in by the mysterious "Nick S." - very odd! Recourse to The Fall's on-line gigography suggests that most of the typewritten info is equally misleading: the performance actually dates from 11th May 1980 & took place at London's Rainbow Theatre. Finally, disregard the puzzling track titles, the set-list is as follows: New Face in Hell, English Scheme, Rebellious Jukebox, A Figure Walks, City Hobgoblins, Rowche Rumble, New Puritan, & Fiery Jack.

"Lost in our vaults until now", claim The Steal Record Co.'s disingenuous sleeve-notes. The plot thickens-uh.

13 January 2014

THE FALL : C.R.E.E.P. Show (Schlick Yarbles Revisited, 1985) (Vinyl bootleg)

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If you've ever wondered where the monstrously strung-out live version of "Neighbourhood of Infinity" that graced The Fall's Palace Of Swords Reversed compilation originated - "It was the time of giant MOTHS", etc - well, now you know. C.R.E.E.P. Show is a vinyl bootleg of dubious origin that I'd occasionally spy while thumbing though the racks of a better class of record shop back in the mid-to-late '80s. Sadly, I never owned it myself as copies never hung 'round for very long &, frankly, they were always far too expensive.

C.R.E.E.P. Show was taped at Munich's Alabamahalle on Wednesday 4th April 1984, 6 months prior to the release of The Wonderful & Frightening World Of... (still one of my all-time favourite Fall albums), with Brix on board, & a surfeit of exceptional new songs to show off. A brief synopsis: the classic "double Hanley" are line-up are on rattling fine form, Grant Showbiz invokes poltergeistian clouds of lysergic reverb via the mixing desk, & sound quality is superb as the L.P. is sourced from a public service Bayerischer Rundfunk broadcast.

Despite the reels (presumably) still sitting on a shelf in a West German radio archive somewhere, & taking into account the superabundance of sub-par semi-pirated live Fall albums that have surfaced since the '90s, C.R.E.E.P. Show has never been licensed for an official release. Worse yet, allegedly only 200 copies of the original L.P. were ever pressed. There's no accounting for taste, eh?

You don't last long on a diet of tea & toast

29 December 2013

THE FLYING LIZARDS : Money (1979) (Dutch T.V. performance)

Until it's re-appearance on Youtube earlier this year, this marvelous Dutch television performance by The Flying Lizards hadn't been seen for a startling 34 years. Originally broadcast by TopPop in November 1979, the ensemble's ever-shifting line-up was, on this occasion, Deborah Evans-Strickland (vocals), David Cunningham (drums, etc), & Steve Beresford (piano, etc). Watching it now, the budgetary differences between TopPop & our own, somewhat dilapidated Top Of The Pops are immediately apparent: shot on film, amongst attractive sets, before a seated audience, & devoid of narcissistic medallion-bedecked hosts, it makes the Beeb's Smashie & Nicey show look like a crude provincial outside broadcast by comparison.