The Fall Live At Deeply Vale Festival, 1978

"A Terrific Document of early Fall" is what the Fall website have said about this forthcoming "Fall Live At Deeply Vale"CD out June 2005.

Ozit Records kindly sent me a preview CDR of the July 22, 1978 Deeply Vale festival gig they're releasing later this month. I'd not heard this gig before and I was delighted to hear that a tape had surfaced, since decent-sounding recordings of pre-Dragnet Fall gigs are not particularly common.

Although the sound is not perfect (there's tape hiss, a murky rumbling sound during the first couple of tracks, and on the whole the sound's a bit "thin"; you might want to play around with your EQ settings on playback), this is a terrific document of the early Fall. I'd guess the CD was sourced from a master or first-generation audience tape made on a handheld recorder. Mark is on fine, belligerent form, and fortunately the vocals are clear and upfront throughout. There's plenty of Mark's sarky between-song banter (e.g. "We like to be in tune, this being our first experience of open air festivals" and "A song of contrasts, for my mother and my sister." He also adopts a piss-taking American accent for three of the song intros.) I wouldn't describe the Fall as a particularly tight outfit on this afternoon performance (Yvonne's keyboards in particular are not always in time) but it hardly matters, since this show is all about Mark's vocals and Martin's scratchy guitar (Karl's drums and Riley's bass are somewhat buried). The highlight for me is a haunting, sinister ‘Frightened’. The tape sounds to me a little too fast during ‘Music Scene’ and finally runs out at the end, so we're missing the second half of this song.

There's a little bonus track tacked onto the end -- a medley of snippets of studio or rehearsal versions of ‘Psycho Mafia’, ‘Dresden Dolls’ and ‘Industrial Estate’. These might have been extracted from the ‘Dresden Dolls’ bootleg single, although I don't *think* I've heard this version of ‘Dresden Dolls’ with un-Fall-like funky keyboards before. Anyway, it's short (2:16), sweet, and has very good sound.

Thanks To Stefan from the Fall website for this advanced review!

A tumultuous marriage, perhaps... The Fall and Deeply Vale seemed perfectly matched. Both ferociously idiosyncratic young institutions, both fired by a heart of intelligence, both ramshackle and aloof. No other band quite like The Fall, no other festival quite like Deeply Vale. The former governed by the ebbs and flows of Mark Ј. Smith’s despotic nature, the latter governed by, among others, Chris Hewitt's unshackled enthusiasm. Both band and festival seemed beyond genre and, incredibly for the time, seemed to make the daft barriers between hippie and punk wholly invisible. Deeply Vale was an experience. A 'free' festival and a lovable swirl of low budget insanity - arguably the complete antitheses of latter-day Glastonbury - where the currency was embryonic talent. Can't say it was entirely ego-free, no festival could claim that. Any clashing of bands would provide friction, and, in particular, this is applicable to one of the bands, named The Fall, so ably managed by the gloriously tempestuous Kay Carroll, feisty to the point of an art form. And so to The Fall and the performance; Fall fans have long since championed this fiery 1978 appearance, citing misty memories of Mark's angst-laden 'Repetition' and the ad-lib growling preamble. Loved it back then... strange thing too. When I heard this set, 27 years later - while lying on the floor of a suburban house in Northwich, I swear I recalled every sullen mumble, remembered it as it was, word for word! Really? No, of course not, but that's how it seemed to me. The tape contained no dulled surprises, it is as good as nostalgia recalls; good enough to set the Fall fans chunnering away on their extraordinary website ( Is there a Deeply Vale CD coming towards us, hurtling out of that nostalgic fog? Yes, here it is. A big fat brash set, courageously poetic and - remember - set against the backdrop of a national music scene seemingly stuck with the kind of Mickey Mouse polemic spouted by The Clash and a zillion dim detractors.

Nothing dim about this Fall. Living proof of the fire and spice of high-level working class intelligence. Backed by a gorgeously unfolding band, too, so good, in fact, that the relationship between The Fall and producer Grant Showbiz - on tour with Here And Now at the time - would be cemented by this set.

What do we all remember? Sitting on a hillock with a mushroom head and a can of beer. Myself and a jumble of lads laughing as Mark spits his way through 'I Like To Blow', itself a conciliatory statement to the hippie elements of the crowd. It wasn't all so easygoing. 'It's the New Thing' was the hook-laden single that took a spiteful swipe at high-flying Buzzcocks. And my favourite moment of The Fall on record - right here, right now, as the young band dips into the paranoia-inducing 'Frightened'. Knew then that this band would attain such unlikely longevity. Knew they were going to be around. Knew that both band and festival would emerge as a triumph of a sheer talent that stretched way beyond the sycophantic forces of the music biz. It was what it was. Great band, great festival, great memory.

Mick Middles 2005