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Totale's Turns (It's Now or Never) is a (mostly) live album by the Fall, released on 5 May 1980.

Totale's Turns (It's Now or Never)
Totale's Turns.jpg
Live album by
Released5 May 1980
Recorded27 October 1979 – 29 February 1980
LabelRough Trade
The Fall chronology
Totale's Turns (It's Now or Never)
Grotesque (After the Gramme)


Recording and releaseEdit

The first of the band's many live and part-live albums, it was mostly recorded at gigs in the north of England, but the track "New Puritan" was recorded at Mark E. Smith's home and "That Man" is a studio recording, an outtake from the recording sessions for the "Fiery Jack" single.[1]

Rather than record themselves in front of a receptive home crowd, the Fall chose to use recordings made in working men's clubs and other less obvious settings;[2] Side 1 of the album was recorded at a leisure centre near Doncaster[3] while the first two tracks on Side 2 are from a February 1980 gig in Bradford. It is clear on the recording that the reception the band received ranged from indifferent to hostile, the enmity between band and audience evident from Smith's introductory statement "The difference between you and us is that we have brains".[4] Friction within the band is also apparent, with Smith apparently chastising one of the musicians during "No Xmas for John Quays" with "Will you fuckin' get it together instead of showing off".[1]

Smith said of the album in his 2008 book Renegade:

"Nobody wanted to release it, because nobody played the sort of venues that you hear on it – places like Doncaster and Preston. The North was out of bounds; it might as well have been another country. We just pieced a load of tapes together. In the band's eyes it was commercial suicide releasing this dirge; they couldn't see the soul that lay behind it. That's musicians for you."[5]

The album was released on 5 May 1980, the band's first release after signing to Rough Trade Records.[6]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [4]
The Austin Chronicle     [7]
Robert ChristgauB[8]
Q     [9]
Sounds     [1]

Dave McCullough in Sounds gave the album a five star rating, calling the band "a living reminder of the failure of Punk and the almost solitary exponents of the directions in which it should have gone".[1] Robert Christgau gave the album a B rating, describing himself as "a sucker for the overall sound, maybe even the attitude".[8] AllMusic reviewer Ned Raggett gave the album three stars, stating that it saw the band in "a hilariously aggressive mood", and delivering "some brilliant performances".[4] Martin Longley, in a 1998 review, gave it three stars, calling it "a terse, brittle classic of cranky Mark E. Smith ranting".[9] A 2002 review of the reissued album was given two stars by Marc Savlov in The Austin Chronicle, describing it as "live with God-awful acoustics and utter crap recording that renders it barely there at the best moments".[7] Trouser Press described the album as "Jagged, largely recitative and nearly oblivious to musical convention, Smith's witty repartee carries the show as the band lurches and grunts along noisily."[10]

The album was chosen by Luke Haines in 2011 as one of his favourite thirteen albums.[11]

The album topped the UK Independent Chart in 1980, spending a total of 31 weeks on the chart.[12]

Track listingEdit

Side oneEdit

  1. "Intro" (Mark E. Smith) – 0:46
  2. "Fiery Jack" (Smith, Marc Riley, Steve Hanley, Craig Scanlon) – 4:27
  3. "Rowche Rumble" (Smith, Riley, Scanlon) – 4:50
  4. "Muzorewi's Daughter" (Smith, Kay Carroll) – 3:42
  5. "In My Area" (Smith, Yvonne Pawlett, Riley, Scanlon) – 4:31
  6. "Choc Stock" (Smith, Scanlon) – 2:33

Side twoEdit

  1. "Spector Vs Rector 2" (Smith, Mike Leigh, Scanlon, Hanley) – 5:54
  2. "Cary Grant's Wedding" (The Fall) – 3:35
  3. "That Man" (Smith, Riley, Scanlon) – 1:43
  4. "New Puritan" (Smith, Scanlon, Riley, Hanley) – 3:21
  5. "No Xmas for John Quays" (Smith) – 7:43


The album has been issued on CD several times, in 1992 by Dojo, in 1998 and 2004 by Castle Communications, and in 2017 by Westworld Recordings. The 2004 Castle reissue included the Fall's third Peel session as bonus tracks. It was reissued on vinyl in 2004 by Earmark, and in 2017 by Let Them Eat Vinyl.


  1. ^ a b c d McCullough, Dave (1980) "Society's Scourge: The Fall 'Totale's Turns (It's Now or Never)'", Sounds, 17 May 1980, p. 35
  2. ^ Smith, Mark E. & Middles, Mick (2008) The Fall (Updated Edition), Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-1-84772-416-8, p. 114
  3. ^ The Fall Online Archived 2011-08-19 at WebCite
  4. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned Totale's Turns at AllMusic. Retrieved 6 March 2018
  5. ^ Smith, Mark E. (2008) Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith, Viking, ISBN 978-0-670-91674-0, pp. 84–5
  6. ^ Buckley, Jonathan (ed.) (2003) The Rough Guide to Rock (3rd edn.), Rough Guides, ISBN 978-1843531050, p. 358
  7. ^ a b Savlov, Marc (2002) "The Fall Reissues", The Austin Chronicle, 13 December 2002. Retrieved 6 March 2018
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert "The Fall: Totale's Turns", Retrieved 6 March 2018
  9. ^ a b Longley, Martin (1998) "The Fall - Totale's Turns", Q, July 1998
  10. ^ Azerrad, Michael; Wolk, Douglas; Pattyn, Jay "Fall", Trouser Press. Retrieved 6 March 2018
  11. ^ Turner, Luke (2011) ""Rock & Roll Has Nothing To Do With Lists": Luke Haines' Favourite Albums", The Quietus, 5 November 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2018
  12. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4, p. 84