Clasp Hands

Lyrics

Fall Heads Roll:  (1)


We're going down on N-ineteen
At 4:30 a.m.
And we grasped the hands
In N.Y.C.
It was Steve's song (2)
Clasp hands

Well perhaps it's so familiar
In a blue bus
It was a pleasure
The lads were wolverines (3)
A cuckoo was talking
So we clasped hands
We grasped hands

We're going down N.Y.C.
Steve's song
A woman named Pearl was talking to me

And we all clasped hands
It was clockwork tears
And we all clasped hands
It was one of the best shows ever seen
Ludicrous, majestic and exhilarating
Priscilla Chaos is a lustrous jewel

And we all clasped hands
In N.Y.C.

Peel:

We're going down to Skagastrond
NYC
And God put it here (4)
Clasp hands

Well, I went out the night before last
I saw a queue outside
Clasp hands
And they did
I was empowered

And the empowerment made me gentle
in my baldness
I was so glad
It was part of the job club (5)
Fulfilled, I was

Over the death march
of the one thousand
I looked across
I was well reflected
I knew we had to clasp hands
To clasp hands

Well, all the heads
Looked right to me
Well, the English men
with hands all clasped (hands)

Put it here
Clasp
Grasp
Hup!

Now eight is eight
and in French it's...
I didn't get past the six
In German it is sieben - the one after that
And ah, NYC
Well I'm going down to Skagastrond
And God put it there
And God put it there
There was a queue before me
And they all clasped hands
They all grasped hands
They all clasped hands

 

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Notes

1. Zack has some very plausible ideas, and good information, about the song:

"Clasp Hands" was first performed live in NYC in May of 2004 with Dave Milner on drums. Later in the year it would become one of the key songs by the Fall Heads Roll lineup. The album version was (likely) recorded in New York and The Fall had the support of Narnack Records, a Brooklyn-based label. The Fall spent a lot of time in NYC in 2004, playing no less than seven shows on three separate hops across the pond. My general impression of the song is that it is (atypically) about a sense of goodwill and esprit de corps in The Fall in 2004: "We all clasped hands in NYC". MES spoke highly of this lineup in interviews at the time, and I (rather foolishly, it turns out) believed that this was the final and definitive version of The Fall.

^

2. Bass player Steve Trafford, who wrote the music. According to Jim Watts on the Fall Online Forum, this is "Steves track that Mark married with a song of Ed's" [Ed Blaney, who plays on the Peel version]. Interestingly, he adds in regard to this session (Peel Session #24): "Me and the rest of the band were playing at our best but Mark is the one who pushed those recordings to perfection. I can't remember a single thing happening that Mark didnt either instigate or oversee."

^

3. Wolverines also appear in "Cary Grant's Wedding," "Service," "Arid Al's Dream," "Session Musician" and "Bury 1+3."  

^

4. Skagastrond is in Iceland, unless God temporarily put it in NYC. The Fall played in Reykjavik on November 17th and 18th of 2004; I'm not sure if they went to Skagastrond at this time, but it's 250 miles away.

The Peel version has a part that repeats the riff from "Elves," aka the riff from "I Wanna Be Your Dog." The interpolation has generally been credited to Ed Blaney, who played guitar on the session.  

^

5. Job clubs are groups of people who meet and compare insights about job hunting.

^

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Comments (12)

Martin
  • 1. Martin | 24/01/2014
Really no more than a question, this: does "N-ineteen" refer to 19th Avenue in New York City?
bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 15/02/2014
I suppose it certainly might.
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 15/02/2014
There's no highway 19 in that area that I can remember. On the other hand, MES is in Iceland all of a sudden on the Peel version, so who knows?
Zack
  • 4. Zack | 08/06/2015
"Clasp Hands" was first performed live in NYC in May of 2004 with Dave Milner on drums. Later in the year it would become one of the key songs by the Fall Heads Roll lineup. The album version was (likely) recorded in New York and The Fall had the support of Narnack Records, a Brooklyn-based label. The Fall spent a lot of time in NYC in 2004, playing no less than seven shows on three separate hops across the pond.

My general impression of the song is that it is (atypically) about a sense of goodwill and esprit de corps in The Fall in 2004: "We all clasped hands in NYC". MES spoke highly of this lineup in interviews at the time, and I (rather foolishly, it turns out) believed that this was the final and definitive version of The Fall.
Zack
  • 5. Zack | 20/07/2015
"The lights were wolverines"? I hear this as "The lads were wolverines"; "Lads", of course, being MES's affectionate term for the non-wifey members of The Fall.
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 24/07/2015
Oh yeah, that's much better...I buy it. That was a legacy from Lyrics Parade...
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 18/07/2018
Definitely "lads".

I think it's "A cuckoo was talking - fits with the tense of the rest of the lyric.

But I wonder if that line references this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cuckoo_(song)
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 18/07/2018
The notes and comments mention that The Fall played New York several times in 2004, and recorded Fall Heads Roll there in January 2005, but not that they played two gigs in Iceland in November 2004. The Peel Session version, with its Icelandic reference, was recorded in early August, so perhaps the trip to Iceland was on their minds at that point.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 22/07/2018
Cuckoo: maybe but that's tenuous, although there's probably a little echo
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 22/07/2018
Good with Iceland, I don't know why I didn't point out anyway that that's where Skagastrond. Do we know where they recorded and if it was anywhere near there, or if they went there?
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 22/07/2018
Oh sorry two gigs. Late again, it is. I'm checking the gigography.
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 22/07/2018
Oh I see I did, I just waited for God. Damn, it's again late.

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