Hurricane Edward


(taped narrative):
Awake at 5am
Mr Hughes was right in retrospect
He knew the climate
I was a farm hand in Ross County
Then he came
The Hurricane (1)

This cleanliness won't take your brass
Mr. Hughes was right in retrospect (2)
He knew this climate
I'm not an ordinary guy,
Am I?
I held yellow thick ropes
So died before him (3)
I was a farm hand
Then came
Then came
Asleep at twelve thirty
In cosy cots
I get up early
I plough the land
Then came
My ears are rushed
My ears are rushed
There are characters in my brain
Hurricane rushed
Come at will

I was always awake from 5 am
Mr Hughes was right in retrospect
He knew this climate
Ross County town
Bank is closed
Then come


1. This sounds like a recording from a movie or television program, but it's apparently just a part of the lyrics. According to Julia Nagle, the narrator at the beginning and end of the song is Seb Lewsley, a sound tech at West Heath Studios. According to The Story of the Fall, "It starts with a clip from a TV/radio show or something delivered by 'a farm hand in Ross County.'" But there's no evidence that Lewsley's narration is based on a TV or radio show and, unless it is from something so obscure as to leave no traces on the internet, this can be dismissed. 

There is a Ross County in Ohio and one in Scotland (County of Ross or Ross-shire); the latter is probably intended, or at least Lewsley's accent seems, to my untrained ear, more likely to be Scotch than Midwestern. 

Reformation speculates that the lyrics have something to do with Crooks' band Farmhand Organisation (possibly "Organization"), but no reason is given and I'm not sure why this would be the case. Note that the tinfoil-masked (or -headed?) individual on the cover seems to be a recurring character from guitarist Tommy Crooks's art called "The Farmhand" (thanks to Antoine).

The track "Interferance" [sic] is largely put together from a tape of this song.

Zack reminds us that MES's middle name is "Edward." The name doesn't appear in the lyrics.

Martin points out that in 1996, a Hurricane called "Edouard" began in Africa in mid-August and crossed the Atlantic, grazing New England in early September.

"4 1/2 Inch," also on Levitate, makes reference to a "depressive gale." From a NASA web site: "A tropical depression forms when a low pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce a circular wind flow with maximum sustained winds below 39 mph. An upgrade to a tropical storm occurs when cyclonic circulation becomes more organized and maximum sustained winds gust between 39 mph and 73 mph."


2. According to the Lyrics Parade, it is "Mr. Greaves" who was right in this verse, but MES very clearly says "Mr. Hughes" here, and there is no Greaves mentioned on the recording. 


3. "Him" is probably the aforementioned Hughes, whose acuity availed him nought. The narrator was presumably trying to secure something on the farm, and narrates the song from beyond the grave.


Comments (18)

  • 1. Edward | 15/03/2015
The voice of George Galloway in the middle?
  • 2. Edward | 04/06/2015
Having listened to a live recording (circa '97 - '98) of the Fall playing this live, I think the George Galloway reference was a red herring - it is surely Tommy Crooks both initially speaking and, later on, bellowing.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 3. Joseph Mullaney | 22/03/2016
As on The Quartet of Doc Shanley, if it is Tommy Crooks at the start then he must have a pretty good talent for impersonation. The accent is one from the west country of England (i.e. around Bristol way) and although similarly rhotic to a Scottish accent it doesn't otherwise sound anything like Crooks's harsh Edinburgh tones.
  • 4. Martin | 12/04/2016
I interviewed Tommy Crooks via email for The Pseud Mag. There was a follow-up question which I asked him that to my memory never made it into publication. The question was:

"By the way, re your answer on the tracks you play on Levitate, you also feature on vocals (at least) on 'The Quartet Of Doc Shanley', singing these lines: "If you're like me you're a complete and utter pranny you'll know what I
mean when I say recipe"...dunno what's it like to have to sing stuff
like that!"

His reply:

"That was that Julia Nagle that sang that.I sang and played on Hurricane Edward."
  • 5. Zack | 07/11/2016
Whilst listening to the most chaotic song from the most chaotic album from the most chaotic era of The Fall, it's worth noting that the "E" in MES stands for Edward.
  • 6. Martin | 10/10/2017
Is this significant at all?

The hurricane was formed on 19 August and ended on 7 September 1996. The first live appearance of the song was on 27 September 1996.
  • 7. dannyno | 11/10/2017
Note 6: nah. I did the Daily Mail test - see if there was any coverage. And there is no mention at all of either Hurricane Edward or Hurricane Edouard not only in 1996 but in the entire history of the newspaper.
  • 8. dannyno | 11/10/2017
... er, except for an article on 20 September 1995.

"Names That Go Down a Storm", p.52.

It's a "coffee break" feature - "Answers to Correspondents". And the question is:

Who names hurricanes, and how? Is there likely to be a hurricane Stephanie?

The answer, from Michael Brooks of the Met Office, points out that lists of names to be chosen from are produced every 6 years, and lists the names which would be chosen for the forthcoming years, for the remainder of 1995, and up to 2000. "Edouard" is in the 1996 list.

Seems unlikely that MES would have saved the Anglicised version of that for a year, even had he read the piece.
  • 9. dannyno | 11/10/2017
Note that the name "Edward" does not appear in the song, only in the title.
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 04/11/2017
I'm not convinced that something from a year prior wouldn't show up in a song. Not much reason to think that's what happened, though.
  • 11. dannyno | 27/05/2018
Note 2:

I assume this must have come from one of the Fall lyrics books,

It doesn't.
  • 12. dannyno | 27/05/2018
I'm feeling more spiritually open to the "Hurricane Edouard" link now, in case anyone cares.
  • 13. Antoine | 29/05/2018
The tinfoil character on the Levitate cover seems to be called "The Farmhand" and it looks like he's a recurring figure in Tommy Crooks' art. it's not the easiest thing to find online but here's a few:

Farmhand House:

A different Farmhand House in the Tommy Crooks section of this E-reader thing:

And Farmhand Walking in the Woods at Ormiston Hall:
  • 14. dannyno | 30/05/2018
According to Julia Nagle, posting as invisiblegirl on the FOF, the opening taped voice is that of Seb Lewsley, who work(ed) at West Heath Studios.

He has a website:
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2018
""I assume this must have come from one of the Fall lyrics books,""

"It doesn't."""

I must have writ that before I had the text...
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2018
Wow, two great scoops! (the Farmhand, and Lewsley)
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2018
OK, so Greaves is gone...I hope no one grieves his passing. Where the fuck did he come from, though? Is there a live version or early take with "Greaves"?
Mark Oliver
  • 18. Mark Oliver | 01/09/2023
Just want to point out that Ross County is also the name of a football team, currently in the Scottish Premiership....their mascot is a stag named 'Rosco'...stretching this thin connection even further, could the non-existent 'Mr. Greaves' be ex- goal machine football pundit Jimmy Greaves?

Add a comment