Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Go-Betweens - Bellavista Terrace: Best Of The Go-Betweens


When Grant McLennan died in mid-2006, the world mourned the passing of not just a great songwriter and half of one of Australia's best song writing teams but also a damned nice bloke to boot.  His legacy began with one of Australia's finest indie bands, The Go-Betweens.

My first taste of this band was the much-discussed Cattle And Cane, the one with the 'weird' time signature (it's 5/4, folks, and not weird at all).  The discussions should have been about how wonderfully Australian the song is, how it challenged the pap called pop music at the time and why the hell this band never achieved the fame they so richly deserved.  It's frustrating to think that the template they developed was usurped and used so effectively by others (yes, The Smiths, I'm looking at you).

But enough of this bitterness.  I'm sure both Grant and Robert Forster would not begrudge anyone any success, such as the gentlemen they were, are and always will be.  This collection, cobbled together in 1999, includes a fair cross-section from their back catalogue and some of my personal favourites such as Was There Anything I Could Do, Spring Rain, Dive For Your Memory and the absolutely, shimmeringly sublime Streets Of Your Town.

As Mine says, we really should have more of this band in our collection.  It beggars belief we don't, considering some of the crap we do have.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and sing along.


The Go-Betweens - more affectionately known to me as the Gobs - gave me one of my most memorable rock moments.  Being a person of somewhat limited stature - OK I'm short, alright? - I'm in the habit of getting to the front of stages by being a Buffalo Gal and going around the outside, frequently ending up at one side or the other.  At this particular concert, it meant I was side-on, with an excellent view of the drums, the bass player of that time (probably John Wilsteed, thanks Wikipedia!) , and occasional glimpses of the late Grant McLennan.  But the rock moment I'm referring to is when the band took the stage and Lindy Morrison sat down behind the drum kit.  She was wearing a knee-length(ish) skirt, which promptly became a mini as she hiked it up so she could straddle the bass drum.  And looking around, I realised I was the only person who actually saw that.  A special moment.  No, not pervy.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

Both Tallulah and 16 Lovers Lane helped form a backdrop to a very thrilling part of my life - when I left my first husband, moved hundred of kilometres, started a new job and quickly jumped head-first into a new relationship.  This compilation does include some of my favourite songs, and has a surprise hidden track at the end  - their tribute to actress Lee Remick.  It's great as a sampler for their trademark jangly guitars with mournful-sounding lyrics.  Well worth a listen, and hopefully as a jumping-off point for purchasing more of their back catalogue.  Which I guess we should, or maybe we should just bite the bullet and get a proper turntable so we can play the damn black plastic again.  Whaddya say, YourZ?



  1. Great band. Never saw them live but caught Grant McLennan when he was touring Watershed. I only have that -91 compilation or whatever it's called. I've always meant to get more albums from this band

  2. I supported Cleopatra Wong years ago and met Lindy Morrison and Amanda Brown. Lovely, talented ladies... Never got to see The Go-Betweens or Grant, though.