red roses for me

I suppose these things have to happen but when a band you love splits up it brings up feelings like the end of any relationship. In the case of The Go-Betweens there's regret that they never got anywhere near the attention they deserved, that so many people will never get to hear them and that I never got to see them live. It did highlight the honesty and dignity of the band though, no revamped line ups, no never ending farewell tours. Just a decision between Robert Forster and Grant Mclennan that it was time to stop before they started making records as The Go-Betweens just for the sake of it.

Even the obligatory compilation album "1978-1990" wasn't a shabby cash-in. A double album one half of which contained mostly singles while the other featured Robert and Grant's favourite songs with sleeve notes on each and two unreleased gems. This makes either a perfect introduction or a treasured souvenir. A six song video of their later singles perfectly captures the humour of the band including Grant in drag and Robert in an outfit Prince would have second thoughts over (Head Full Of Steam) and one of the best simple but wonderful videos I've seen in "Right Here".

In January 1990 Robert left Sydney and moved to Bavaria. There he got married and started writing his first solo LP. With some help of various Bad Seeds including Mick Harvey producing it was recorded in Berlin during that June. The first fruits of this was a 7" only single "Baby Stones" An organ driven tale of love gone wrong with Robert sounding more resigned than hurt adding another twist to a favoured Go-Betweens topic.

The album, Danger In The Past, when it appeared soon after earned masses of praise and was even compared to Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" which seems a bit unfair as Robert can sing! On the whole "Baby Stones" was probably the only obvious single from the nine songs as the remainder stepped back from the bright tunes of '16 Lovers Lane" returning to the darker pastures of "The Clarke Sisters" and "Liberty Belle" album. The songs relied heavily on the acoustic guitar and gentle organ with the bass and drums sitting in the background. There are times when it was highly reminiscent of The Bad Seeds especially on the title track. Most of the songs were also full of yearning and written as self contained stories, a perfect example being "Leave Here Satisfied" where the tale of returning to a deserted house is echoed in a tune that throws up sepia images of bare boards and dusty shelves.

It's unlikely this album got Robert a greater degree of recognition than The Go-Betweens did as a band but for previous converts it's was almost enough to mend a broken heart.

Main Menu