You have to get them all

You Gotta Get ‘Em All – The Fall On Record by Steve Pringle

Itinerary

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You Must Get Them All is the first book to capture the entire incredible story of The Fall, from Live At The Electric Circus to New Facts Emerge. It covers every single release – album, EP, single, compilation, live album – every line-up change, every setback and every triumph. This is a comprehensive timeline of the life and times of Britain’s most notable band, based on contemporary accounts, the memories of Fall members and the experiences of the Fall community – fans of gigs, record buyers, critics, forum contributors. , lyrical analysts and factual obsessives.

It’s a book that challenges clichés, lazy assumptions, and common misconceptions about the fall. But above all, it celebrates the amazing and significant work the band has created over its 40 years of existence.

You know the saying, “push against an open door?”. Well, in book review terms, that sums up that sentence perfectly. Most will know that a number of us at Louder Than War are fans of The Fall, and this powerful tome has been highly anticipated for some time.

The love and encouragement shown to the author on social media by fellow devotees and former band members is unparalleled. Fittingly, Paul Hanley contributed the striker. You Must Get Them All is a valuable addition to the “Fall Library” which includes the first-hand accounts of life in the band by Paul Hanley, Steve Hanley, Si Wolstencroft and Brix Smith. It’s also a companion piece to Tommy Mackay’s 40 Odd Years of the Fall, fans’ illustrated song-by-song take on the extensive back catalog as well as Graham Duff’s guide to singles, The Futures Here To Stay. It would be rude at this point for me not to mention as well the works of Simon Ford, Mick Middles and Dave Simpson. Indeed, as with the recorded output, you have to get them all.

A fraction of Steve’s book content has been available in some form online via his excellent blog The Fall In Fives, however, this has been massively updated and expanded for immortalization in print. Given the book’s subject matter and premise, it should come as no surprise that You Must Get Them All weighs in at 656 pages. It documents the legendary Manchester band’s recorded output with additional appendices covering radio sessions, compilations, live albums and almost 20 pages of ‘Who’s Who’.

In some ways the book is overwhelming, where to start? I first started at the beginning, but after Dragnet I wanted to read what Steve had to say about my favorite Fall album, The Frenz Experiment (unpopular choice maybe, but you never forget his first). Then I switched to Re-Mit as I remembered someone online saying they thought it was underrated and a flurry of voices agreed. I’m sure many readers will be the same and twirl like they’re reading a ‘choose your own adventure book’. In a way, that’s the beauty of this book. While telling the story of The Fall’s musical production, it doesn’t have to be a linear path, it can be your journey; after all, with over 40 years to go, there are different starting and ending points for most of us.

The chapters are uniform in their approach. A black and white image of the album cover; details of check-in and check-out dates; a breakdown of key personnel and guests before a Steve adds context and summarizes the era and significant events, including single releases, leading up to the recording of this particular album. After an overview of the album, we then get a track-by-track review/breakdown with facts thrown in along the way followed by a review (including comments from the music press at the time) and a rating . There are also footnotes. Countless footnotes and commentaries that add another layer of richness to the proceedings, explaining where influences come from in tracks, or notes on bootlegs, just general points to note; like the low budget for Grotesque which was only £300 or that The Fall sampled Daft Punk on the track Cowboy George.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank Steve for undertaking this most challenging project and near impossible tasks which I think were a complete labor of love. This book will be one I will come back to again and again. I hope he finds the time to produce similar work possibly covering his ‘Suddenly It’s Tuesday’ and ‘And Guess What I Found’ blogs which cover David Gedge’s recordings through The Wedding Present and Cinerama, but for the moment…

As the press release says, the book challenges clichés, lazy assumptions, and common misconceptions that the casual listener may have. Although indebted to the genius of Mark E. Smith, the recorded output of The Fall is the sum of its parts, or rather the musicians and the book celebrates each of them. Chances are you won’t always agree with Steve at times, but Fall fans, like their former leader, are contrarian bastards and are often never happier than when they disagree. ! You Must Get Them All is the standard by which all future books of the group will be judged and the bible for those who worship in the Church of the Fall, past, present and future.

Buy it-ah

Steve Pringle can be found via The fall by five blog, through Twitter and on thefallinfives radio program

All words by Iain Key. See his author profile here author archive or on Twitter like @iainkey.

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