The Quartet of Doc Shanley

Lyrics

(1)

(Julia): I'm fed up with this world
Pentangle nine
Iadomine penternine (2)

(MES): Question eight Dentist November

(Julia): Question, you...

(MES): The guardian [garbled]

(Julia): If you're like me you're a complete and utter pranny
You'll know what I mean when I say recipe (3)

(MES): Pseudo Hark

(Julia): If you're like me you're a complete and utter pranny
You'll know what I mean when I say recipe

(MES): B.C. Rich Bich guitar    (4)
When I was...

(Julia): Question, you need someone to stay with you all the time... You only come round for... I'm fed up with this world... Pentangle nine... Iadomine penternine

(Julia): If you're like me you're a complete and utter pranny you'll know what I mean when I say recipe
Recipe  

(MES): Electronic simulations... Anyone who has recent..

(Julia): Iadomine penternine

(MES): That's a rich...

(Julia): If you're like me you're a complete and utter pranny you'll know what I mean when I say recipe

(MES): ...astute question

(Unidentified Male): If you're like me you're a complete and utter pranny you'll know what I mean when I say recipe (5)

(MES): Wired for the weird (6)
Little wonder
Danny Saber of course
Chris Carter has recently...
...another series Millenium (7)

(Julia): Iadomine penternine

(MES): I must feel like starting on page one-hundred and fifty-four

Notes

1. This song has lyrics, but really what it is about is the bass line played by ("Doc") S. Hanley. Although nobody knew this at the time, this was to be his final album with the band, and a worthy end to a spectacular career with the Fall. And the bass line has one of the oddest sources for a Fall song on record--as Hanley has recently confirmed, and as will be evident to a careful listener, the source is the psychedlic, unhinged, and gloriously ridiculous "Crazy Horses" by the Osmonds...

Mountainoaf points out that there are several layered bass lines which occasionally get out of sync.

Apparently there was an obscure (5 career games in the bigs) shortstop with the St. Louis Browns in 1912 named Harry Root "Doc" Shanley (thanks to Dan). It seems very unlikely that MES knew of him, but it is possible he came across the name and thought of Hanley.

^

2. According to Julia (Nagle) Adamson, "iadomine penternine" names "ingredients from sudafed or benylin packaging" although I haven't couldn't find anything with that name. Bob J cracks the case: "Iodamine Penternine doesn't exist. After a bit of googling I found Ionamin (Phentermine) which is a stimulant similar to amphetamines."

^

3. Initially I assumed "pranny" meant something like "foodie," deriving from "prandial" or something, what with the word "recipe" appearing in the next line and all. However, "pranny" is UK slang, probably a portmanteau of "prat" and "fanny," referring to female genitalia and, less literally, meaning an idiot. "Recipe" may be reference to the short spoken-word track "Recipe for Facism," which, according to one report, was originally slated to be the title track of the album we now know as Levitate but was ultimately dropped from the album.

^

4. BC Rich guitars, named for their designer, luthier Bernardo Chavez Rico, are said to be based on the shape of a toilet seat, although this is not entirely evident...the usual BC Rich features humbuckers, do not produce a sound generally associated with Fall guitarists...the "Bich" is in fact a model of BC Rich guitar.

^

5. I'm unsure about this one. According to Martin, Tommy Crooks (who had the original attribution from the Lyrics Parade) denies contributing the vocal here (see comments below). But this repetition sounds like a male voice, and not Julia. It does not sound like the same voice as the narrator of "Hurricane Edward" (i.e. Crooks), however.

^

6. Note the allusion to "Totally Wired, " which plays on these words, for instance "You don't have to be weird to be wired." Also, according to Dan "'Wired for weird' was the title of a section on the Fortean Times website in the mid-late 1990s. I don't know whether this is significant." Oh, it is, it is...(cue ominosity of all kinds)...nah, probably not, but you never know. (I don't know that "ominosity" is actually a word but "cue ominous music" seems like a cliche so I kind of swerved there)

^

7. Danny Saber is an American musician and record producer who was for a time a member of Black Grape, which included former members of the Manchester band Happy Mondays. He produced a "Dance Mix" of Bowie's 1997 song "Little Wonder," hence "Little Wonder/Danny Saber of course..." (thanks to the27points for pointing this out!).

Chris Carter was a founding member of Throbbing Gristle, a band that pioneered Industrial music. MES said that 4 1/2 Inch from the same album is so named beacuse it sounds halfway like Nine Inch Nails, a later Industrial band. At the same time, however, another Chris Carter created the television program Millenium, which seems to be the more immediate reference here, so perhaps the Industrial theme is a dead end in this case, but it is possible that MES meant both references to be at work in this line.

Chris Carter is best known for creating The X-Files. According to MES,

"A couple of years ago I got this commission to write six episodes of what was going to be like an X-Files thing. I said I'll do six 25 minute stories. So I spent all this time doing it, and the music, and got all these people to help me with the scripts, got them all ready, went to the TV station, and they said, 'Oh we've changed our minds,' the new directors. It was like four or five months hard work up the spout. Then the last thing I heard was The X-Files had been in contact with the TV station and they said to me could we have a look at your scripts again because we can't find the ones you submitted. I said, 'No fucking way. You'll send them to The X-Files, rip all my ideas off, and then send them back and say you're not interested'. So I burned half of them," he says, laughing, "and I used the ones that were left for bits of [solo album The Post] Nearly Man." 

It's not clear what seriesMES is talking about, or if it was ever aired. The implication seems to be that he was commissioned to write scripts for an X-Files knock-off. 

^

Comments (27)

Mark
  • 1. Mark | 01/07/2014
The "other" Doc Shanley: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Shanley
Mark
  • 2. Mark | 01/07/2014
<pedant> There are actually several bass lines played simultaneously - every now and then, one of them will get out of synch with the rest. </pedant>
Zack
  • 3. Zack (link) | 09/11/2014
Chris Carter (the TV guy) is best known for creating "The X-Files" and in the Wire interview linked above, MES claims to have been asked to contribute some material to "The X-Files." Some of this rejected material ended up "The Post-Nearly Man."
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 16/11/2014
What Wire interview? Sorry if I'm missing the obvious but I can't find a reference to a Wire interview on this page.
Zack
  • 5. Zack | 19/11/2014
Does the link in my previous comment not work for you?
http://thefall.org/news/990526.html#wire
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 23/11/2014
Sorry, the link is in a weird place I never suspected existed...
the27points
  • 7. the27points | 07/02/2015
B.C. rich bitch - Levitate was partly recorded at West Heath Studios, the studio partly owned by Edwyn Collins. In 1997 Edwyn was heaping the financial rewards of his international mega-hit 'A Girl Like You'. So I think it's 'E.C. rich bitch'. The dedication on the rear cover says 'thanks to grace and ec'.

Millennium - after all these years I still don't hear 'Millennium'. I hear 'Palladium', as if MES is deliberately getting the name of the TV show wrong.
Martin
  • 8. Martin | 13/02/2015
Of perhaps minor interest is the fact that the words "Doc Shanley" are sung by MES on the only two known performances of the song but not, strangely enough, in the recorded version of the track.
the27points
  • 9. the27points | 15/02/2015
Little Wonder
Danny Saber

Bowie's Little Wonder single from early '97 included a Danny Saber remix
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 18/03/2015
In a recent podcast interview, Hanley has admitted that the riff for this song is inspired by the song "Crazy Horses" by the Osmonds.
Bob J
  • 11. Bob J | 29/04/2015
Iodamine Penternine doesn't exist. After a bit of googling I found Ionamin (Phentermine) which is a stimulant similar to amphetamines. Must be it surely. http://www.drugs.com/mtm/ionamin.html
nairng
  • 12. nairng | 30/06/2015
No-one seems to have pointed out that B.C. Rich is a make of guitars & bass guitars...apologies if this is stating the bleeding obvious!
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 17/07/2015
Naring,

Sometimes things that aren't obvious to everyone get by me if they're obvious to me, and this was one such.
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 04/10/2015
"Wired for the Weird".

"Wired for weird" was the title of a section on the Fortean Times website in the mid-late 1990s. I don't know whether this is significant.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 15. Joseph Mullaney | 22/03/2016
Whose is the other male voice speaking on this track? It isn't Tommy Crooks, unless he's putting on an accent.
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt | 24/03/2016
Yes, I do not know, anyone?
Martin
  • 17. Martin | 12/04/2016
[Copied from the same comment I made on the entry for Hurricane Edward]

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."
bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt | 19/05/2016
This is a mystery, as it doesn't sound like Crooks, as Joseph says, and it is seemingly a male and not Julia.
Martin
  • 19. Martin | 01/06/2016
Right, a couple of things:

It's claimed above that MES had been asked to contribute some material to the X-Files series. A link is given. This is the relevant extract:

"A couple of years ago I got this commission to write six episodes of what was going to be like an X-Files thing. I said I'll do six 25 minute stories. So I spent all this time doing it, and the music, and got all these people to help me with the scripts, got them all ready, went to the TV station, and they said, 'Oh we've changed our minds' the new directors. It was like four or five months hard work up the spout. Then the last thing I heard was The X-Files had been in contact with the TV station and they said to me could we have a look at your scripts again because we can't find the ones you submitted. I said, 'No fucking way. You'll send them to The X-Files, rip all my ideas off, and then send them back and say you're not interested'. So I burned half of them," he says, laughing, "and I used the ones that were left for bits of Nearly Man."

It's unclear - to me at least - from this quote whether MES's scripts for meant for a new show unrelated to the X-Files series, or how the X-Files people got hold of the scripts if the first part of the sentence is true. Also, MES talks about 6 25-minute episodes when the average length of an X-Files episode (commercials not included) were 45 minutes.

In any case, MES was evidently watching more than his share of The X-Files back in 1997, as can be seen from these ad-libbed lyrics during a different song:

7 December 1997: Junction, Cambridge:

- "Agent Mulder. Raspberries in tins and strawberries." (amended lyrics to "Spencer Must Die")
bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt | 28/06/2016
Cool, Martin, that was definitely an oversight on my part, you're right. The implication, while unclear as you say, is that he was commissioned more likely for an X-Files knock-off or something like that, rather than the Files itself. I'll try to clean that up.
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt | 29/06/2016
Episodes of Millenium are 60 minutes, according to the internet, so if he's right about the length it isn't that either.
Zack
  • 22. Zack | 14/02/2017
This review - http://www.furious.com/perfect/fall/levitate.html - is where I first encountered the theory that "pranny... recipe" is a reference to "Recipe for Fascism." I myself do not believe this theory. Can anyone provide evidence that "Recipe for Fascism" was planned to be included on the album proper, then dropped? I have only read speculation which over the years has been treated as fact.
bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
No, Zack, no idea. Check out the modification I made (note 3, obiuI made the same on "Recipe" itself http://annotatedfall.doomby.com/pages/the-annotated-lyrics/recipe-for-fascism-1.html) and I think that will do for now, we'll see if anything else comes in.
bzfgt
  • 24. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
ha, I see Zack and I had the whole "hidden link" conversation in 2014...I must be going senile...
Al
  • 25. Al | 08/11/2017
This might be stating the bleeding obvious, but 'Shanley' is of course a contraction of S Hanley.
dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 09/11/2017
Al, comment #25. So obvious it's already noted in note #1!
bzfgt
  • 27. bzfgt (link) | 02/12/2017
Yes, sorry, I took it to be noted too when I say "the bass line played by ("Doc") S. Hanley" but of course it could be made more explicit (although I don't think it needs to be?).

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