red roses for me

After Robert Forster's "Danger In The Past" album ensured that The Go-Betweens split wasn't a total tragedy I waited with some degree of baited breath to what path Grant McLennan , the bands other songwriter, would take. From the press interviews after the band had ceased it appeared at the time it was instigated more by Robert than the others but the following months proved Grant hadn't wasted the time afterwards. Two albums, one under his own name and one with Steve Kilby from The Church, appeared and some production work meant you were left feeling you were getting double the amount of fine songs as you did with The Go-Betweens but in the same period of time.

The songs he produced were for an Australian band called Club Hoy who were centred around the talents of Penny Richardson and Julia Flanagan. One of the these songs surfaced on a double 7" only released in Australia entitled "Water My Toes" it's a lovely sun kissed ballad with perfect harmonies that deserved a much wider audience.

After this, and while recording his own album, Grant was approached by Steve Kilby to write a few songs together. Fourteen days later they'd written and recorded a whole album. The songs on this self titled album are firstly remarkable because apart from the opening Church like affair "Every Hour God Sends" and the perfect "Thought That I Was Over You" which was straight from The Go-Betweens songbook the others sounded totally unlike their past endeavours. Not all of them hit the mark but with those two songs, the short acoustic story "The Trapeze Boy" & the gentle breeze of "Providence" it was a successful experiment that they repeated later with the "Snow Job" album.

Almost immediately after finishing the Jack Frost album, Grant went back into the studio to record his first solo album which duly appeared with the title Watershed. If Robert Forster's Danger In The Past album was a return to the more sombre tones of mid period Go-Betweens than Grant's was much more of a natural progression from their last 16 Lovers Lane. It brimmed over with bright arrangements without losing the simplicity of The Go-Betweens at their best. As previously Grant had written songs with an almost poetic edge while at the same time injecting that little something marked pop into them. This was especially true of "When Word Gets Around" and "Easy Come Easy Go" which harked back to "Streets Of Your Town" in that it sounded like the dawn of a summers day and was never the hit it deserved to be. Elsewhere the album veered between styles with the narrative of "Black Mule" and the countrified swing of "Just Get That Straight" featuring the immortal line "I know you've been seeing your boyfriend the actor, sometimes I want to run over him with a great big tractor" There's even the punchier sound of "Putting The Wheels Back On" which reverted to the territory The Go-Betweens occupied with "Cut It Out" and your view on that depended on what you thought of the latter.

Who knows, maybe either or Grant or Robert may get a hit and that would lead to people discovering their past in much the same way as Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield but until then The Go-Betweens and their former members remain an uncharted map for far too many people.

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