Saturday, August 30, 2008

Unfinished Business

This post is dedicated to the memory of one of my all time musical heroes, the late, great Grant McLennan. Together with Robert Forster, Grant founded The Go-Betweens in Brisbane in 1977 and over the next 28 years they recorded nine of the best albums you'd ever hope to hear. I had the great pleasure of seeing The Go-Betweens live in the mid-80s - standing right at the front of the audience in a small venue looking up at Robert Forster singing 'Part Company' is one of the greatest experiences I have ever ... err ... experienced at a live gig - the moment will stay with me forever.

The particular reason for posting this now (other than the tenuous hero link) is a comment made by nilpferd a couple of weeks ago in which he referred to 1988's 16 Lovers Lane as the last Go-Betweens album. Which, of course it was - until they reformed in 2000. They then went on to record three more albums (including some of their best work) before Grant's tragic death (as a result of a heart attack) in May 2006.

So nilpferd, this is for you - the rest of you are allowed to listen in of course. A small selection of tracks from the final three albums - three from each but in no particular order - which I hope will convince you to take the plunge and invest in the recordings themselves.

If any of you don't feel up to listening to all nine tracks, please at least listen to Crooked Lines, The Statue and Unfinished Business - the latter, considering what happened soon after he recorded this beautiful song, has to be one of Grant's most poignant lyrics.

Further reading:

Free downloads

Robert Forster's new album

More on Robert's new album


nilpferd said...

Cheers for that, I'll look forward to checking it out on Sunday.

CB said...

Toffeeboy.Thanks for posting those. I am a big fan. I still prefer the work on the first 6 albums but maybe I should get out the latest 3 and give them a few more plays. My big memory of the GBs is seeing them on the reform tour 10 or 11 years ago in London (the Forum??) and standing right up the front singing along (in my flat out of tune way) being aware of 100s of fans around me doing the same. It felt like a big family gathering. I still find myself looking forward to another night like that occasionally before realising with a jolt that it can never happen again.

nilpferd said...

Having spent Sunday cleaning I'm Audacity-ing the playlist to take with me tomorrow on the train, dipped in while recording and it sounds good...

CB said...

Ahh - how disappointing. I interpreted 'The great 'Bye Bye Pride' from Tallulah - The Expanded Edition.' as there being an expanded version of Bye Bye Pride. Imagine my disappointment. I see you are Scot Toffeeboy. Is my memory playing tricks or did the GBs have one or more singles on Postcard records? Way back I used to be an Orange Juice and Aztec Camera fan. I am guessing that you too found great pleasure in your countrymen's intelligent pop as well as the antipodean's. Did the Muttonbirds ever make it onto your radar?

ToffeeBoy said...

@ cb - 'I Need Two Heads' was released on the Postcard label in 1980. I have it somewhere in my attic along with a couple of the early Orange Juice singles.

Orange Juice were my favourite band for quite a long time in the early/mid '80s. I saw them live several times (including their last ever gig - a Miner's Benefit at Brixton along with Aztec Camera, Everything But The Girl and The Woodentops - I think I have the poster for that gig in the attic as well!). I would rate 'You Can't Hide Your Love Forever' as one of the greatest pop records ever recorded.

Edwyn was certainly the main creative force behind the band but James Kirk's influence shouldn't be underestimated - OJ were never the same after Edwyn and he split and his 2003 solo album 'You Can Make It If You Boogie' is well worth checking out.

No, I haven't come across the Muttonbirds - I will investigate.

nilpferd said...

Just back from my long train trip, the new Go-betweens are indeed exquisite; there's a relaxed, worldly wiseness to the tracks in comparison to the earlier albums, lots of echos. Both Robert's and Grant's voices have mellowed wonderfully. I saw posters for a Robert Forster concert in Berlin last week, coincidentally. The Muttonbirds were big (in NZ) while I was a student in Wellington, a good band with a nice balance of whimsy and seriousness.
Try Dominion Road..

CB said...

Speaking of Wellington. I heard a nice story when I was there about 2 weeks ago. My god-daughter, Kate, and her brother, Luke, and a friend stopped to watch two buskers in Cuba St. As they were watching two men in their fifities with long hair and raybans came along and borrowed their guitars and started playing. A crowd soon gathered as it became apparent that it was Gene Simons and Tommy Thayler from Kiss. They played for about 20 minutes and then passed around the hat for the buskers they had borrowed the guitars off. Kate reckoned the buskers made 2 or 3 hundred dollars. There is a clip on youtube. Apparently Kate and Luke are in the clip but I couldn't spot them.

nilpferd said...

Nice. God, I remember swapping KISS bubblegum cards at primary school.. not that I ever heard the band's music, but the cards were extremely desired for a year or so.
Thanks a lot for the post Toffeeboy, I'll definitely look into the post- 16 L.L. albums in more depth now. (And hopefully not claim the Go-betweens ended prematurely again!)