Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Day 29: Beach bums and politicians.

Here's an excellent Leadbelly cover, renamed from Bourgeois Blues to Bourgeois Town, the theme of the song fits with MES's less-than complimentary view of class and it clatters along like the original, as fast as a freight train.

Song: Bourgeois Town
Album: Are You Are Missing Winner?

Year: 2001

So this is less a cover, more a thematic tribute with lots in common with the original blues song, which follows a simple blues riff and some lovely vocals from Leadbelly, The Fall's reworking still has an essence of the rhythm there, but obviously sounds more Fall-like, trashy, repetitive and nonchalant.

The Fall's song begins with some excellent sampled noise from some sort of arcade machine (I presume) which kicks off the song as a modern update. Mark's vocals are cool, clipped and sound almost sung at points, the lyrics are great, he uses the refrain from the Leadbelly song, but has come up with his own lyrics which ring with a dissatisfied air. Talk of sitting on buses, trains and walking to the park are combined with some measured hate for beach bums, politicians and the like. I like the way he pronounces the word 'bourgeois', as in 'booj-wah' brilliant.

It's a simple song, but again, as I've been alluding to constantly through this blog from the very first day, the music hides the venom behind its quirky and often upbeat manner. This is something I love about the band, the music takes on an almost haunting quality as a result, no mean feat when you are playing 2-3 riffs a song. Some friends of mine say it must be really dull to be in The Fall, playing music that repeats itself so fervently, often for a full five minutes at a time, but I'd argue that this must take discipline and reaching that level of accuracy and to keep it sounding fresh is amazing. As MES often says, he almost gets people to 'unlearn' their instruments, or takes people who have never picked an instrument up before, hence this simplistic sound, but it has hidden depths, krautrock bands like Neu! and Harmonia remind me of The Fall, hypnosis and deeper meaning through almost sound therapy, its a vast spectrum hidden behind a few notes.

I've included the original by Leadbelly below, listen to both and you'll see where MES is coming from with his affectionate tribute here.

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