Sunday, May 07, 2006

RIP Grant McLennan

Sad and unexpected news that Go-Betweens co-principal McLennan died yesterday. At the very least, he could be proud that with the group's 2000 reunion, the Aussie group was getting some of the recognition that it didn't get during its initial run in the '80's, not just with new product and shows but also with the lovingly expanded reissues of their entire back catalog.

As good as the GB's records were (some of the best indie pop ever), McLennan's post-GB solo work is definitely worth investigating also. Heresy though it may be, I sometimes thought the give-and-take trade-offs he did with Robert Forster on GB records slighted his songwriting gift sometimes. If you're more of McLennan fan like me, who sees him as the sweet Paul in their Beatle-ish relationship, then his own albums are definitely the best place to experience his gift.

While 1995's Horsebreak Star (seemingly out of print now) was almost too much of a good thing, a double record cut down to a lengthly single, it was still filled with wonderful little vignettes ("Lighting Fires," "Put You Down," the title track). His first solo record is a total gem though it also seems to be unavailable now. 1991's Watershed (with its wonderful contrary cover of GML mid-shave with a San Fran sports hat) has his engaging, dream, sweet style on full display. Songs like "Stones For You," "Black Mule" and "You Can't Everything" aren't the types to sweep you off your feet but to stay with you for a long time with their haunting melodies

As nice as it is to have the GB's catalog full available to enjoy, a nice tribute to McLennan would also be to have his wonderful solo work also available again. Somebody get to work on that!


Blogger M said...

Both Watershed and Horsebreaker Star (in its 2CD version) are available on eMusic, FYI.

3:54 PM  

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