Wed, Oct. 15, 9pm EDT - 'The Friends of Rachel Worth' by The Go-Betweens

I must confess that I've never heard this album before, or for that matter, any of the other albums by this Brisbane formed band.  When an album is recommended to me by someone who's musical opinion I respect however, I am eager to dive in.  Thus is the case with The Friends of Rachel Worth by The Go-Betweens.  Although I now have the album in my possession, I am holding off listening to it until the 15th of October when "Album Night" kicks off for its 14th installment.  It's often nice to have something to look forward to, isn't it?

Performing some basic research, primarily to satisfy my curiosity, has left me intrigued as to what I will find on this album.  From a chronological standpoint this album comes 12 years after their previous effort.  Reunited after splitting up and pursuing solo careers, The Friends of Rachel Worth (released in September 2000), must be a fascinating reunion of previous bandmates who have had more than a decade to mature and hone their crafts.  To reunite after such a break is, if nothing else, a compelling story in its own right.  And there must have been positive factors encouraging such a project to come together, presumably both by creators and fans.  So I guess you could say I have some pretty loft expectations for this record.  I don't think it will disappoint me. And what really fascinates me is the fact that it will be something totally new to me.  In what way it will impress me is yet to be determined.  But therein lies the excitement!

Whether or not you've heard this album before, I hope you can join me on Wednesday, October 15 for The Friends of Rachel Worth by The Go-Betweens. Happy listening!

44 comments

  • John T

    John T NY

    As a long time fan of the Go-Betweens I wanted to make a few comments before tonight's session. The Go-Betweens were an Australian group formed in the late 1970's, broke up in 1989 and then reformed in 2000. They were led by two people - Robert Forster and Grant McLennan - who were both the group's primary singer song writers and constant inspiration over its numerous configurations during its on again/off again existence. Grant died suddenly in 2006 which ended the group's final comeback. I had the opportunity to visit Brisbane, the group's hometown, several years ago and while there made a special point of traveling across a bridge that was constructed and named in their honor. It is a fitting tribute to a great band. As I listened to their music over the years I always tried to identify who was the lead singer - Robert or Grant - since they both sounded the same to me. I will try to post who I think is singing as we listen tonight but my rule of thumb is that Grant's songs often deal with heartbreak and personal loss while Robert tends to be more optimistic and lighthearted. Friends of Rachel Worth was the first album they made after they re-grouped in 2000. It is my personal favorite but most of their fans will point to Tallulah or Spring Hill Fair from the 80's as their peak. I won't argue as they are both also great. For me Grant was the true genius of the Go-Betweens. When I was in Brisbane I was able to track down a special 2 CD Australia only version of his solo album Horsebreaker Star. You can still find the abbreviated US version and I recommend it highly. Robert continues to make excellent music with his solo career and if he ever comes your way try and get to see him. I regret never seeing the Go-Betweens when they made their few US appearances. I hope you all enjoy the album.

    As a long time fan of the Go-Betweens I wanted to make a few comments before tonight's session. The Go-Betweens were an Australian group formed in the late 1970's, broke up in 1989 and then reformed in 2000. They were led by two people - Robert Forster and Grant McLennan - who were both the group's primary singer song writers and constant inspiration over its numerous configurations during its on again/off again existence. Grant died suddenly in 2006 which ended the group's final comeback.

    I had the opportunity to visit Brisbane, the group's hometown, several years ago and while there made a special point of traveling across a bridge that was constructed and named in their honor. It is a fitting tribute to a great band.

    As I listened to their music over the years I always tried to identify who was the lead singer - Robert or Grant - since they both sounded the same to me. I will try to post who I think is singing as we listen tonight but my rule of thumb is that Grant's songs often deal with heartbreak and personal loss while Robert tends to be more optimistic and lighthearted.

    Friends of Rachel Worth was the first album they made after they re-grouped in 2000. It is my personal favorite but most of their fans will point to Tallulah or Spring Hill Fair from the 80's as their peak. I won't argue as they are both also great.

    For me Grant was the true genius of the Go-Betweens. When I was in Brisbane I was able to track down a special 2 CD Australia only version of his solo album Horsebreaker Star. You can still find the abbreviated US version and I recommend it highly.

    Robert continues to make excellent music with his solo career and if he ever comes your way try and get to see him. I regret never seeing the Go-Betweens when they made their few US appearances. I hope you all enjoy the album.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T - Thank you very much for your insights into tonight's record as well as your personal experiences as they relate to The Go-Betweens. I'm very curious to listen to the album tonight since I've never heard any of their material. Admittedly when doing some reading on The Friends of Rachel Worth, I did come across a couple of not so glowing reviews. People pointed to the aforementioned Spring Hill Fair as their peak, and hinted at some not so fantastic lyric writing on TFORW. Those were only a couple of reviews however, and there were certainly a number of positive reviews to outweigh those who were less than enthusiastic about this comeback effort. Ultimately, as with anything, I will keep an open mind and make my own decisions about the record. If I were to guess, I think I am going to enjoy it, though I realize it may take numerous spins to really get capture the entire essence of it. I'm definitely looking forward to tonight though. The inaugural spin has to happen sometime, so why not during "Album Night"? Could this be the beginning of a new obsession with The Go-Betweens for me? We shall soon see.... See you at 9!

    John T - Thank you very much for your insights into tonight's record as well as your personal experiences as they relate to The Go-Betweens. I'm very curious to listen to the album tonight since I've never heard any of their material. Admittedly when doing some reading on The Friends of Rachel Worth, I did come across a couple of not so glowing reviews. People pointed to the aforementioned Spring Hill Fair as their peak, and hinted at some not so fantastic lyric writing on TFORW. Those were only a couple of reviews however, and there were certainly a number of positive reviews to outweigh those who were less than enthusiastic about this comeback effort. Ultimately, as with anything, I will keep an open mind and make my own decisions about the record. If I were to guess, I think I am going to enjoy it, though I realize it may take numerous spins to really get capture the entire essence of it. I'm definitely looking forward to tonight though. The inaugural spin has to happen sometime, so why not during "Album Night"? Could this be the beginning of a new obsession with The Go-Betweens for me? We shall soon see....
    See you at 9!

  • Baby John

    Baby John NY

    I'd also like to mention that Friends of Rachel Worth contains backing music and vocals by members of Sleater-Kinney, which I think is one of the only times the Go-Betweens invited guest musicians to perform with them for an entire album.

    I'd also like to mention that Friends of Rachel Worth contains backing music and vocals by members of Sleater-Kinney, which I think is one of the only times the Go-Betweens invited guest musicians to perform with them for an entire album.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Interesting note Baby John. Thanks for the info and for joining the discussion. The revelation of all these facts and backstory has me eager to get started. 9pm can't come fast enough!

    Interesting note Baby John. Thanks for the info and for joining the discussion. The revelation of all these facts and backstory has me eager to get started. 9pm can't come fast enough!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    My usual reminder: Make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. Furthermore, here's the lyrics for tonight's album: http://www.go-betweens.net/gb/lyrics/forwlyrics.htm 1 hour away...

    My usual reminder: Make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted.

    Furthermore, here's the lyrics for tonight's album:
    http://www.go-betweens.net/gb/lyrics/forwlyrics.htm

    1 hour away...

  • John T

    John T NY

    You bring up an interesting controversy regarding TFORW amongst many Go-Between fans that it doesn't belong in the top tier of their albums. I frankly disagree but I will say the album does grow on you the more you listen. As always, the lyrics are the key with Go-Betweens and many of these songs may sound slight on first listen but gain power over time.

    You bring up an interesting controversy regarding TFORW amongst many Go-Between fans that it doesn't belong in the top tier of their albums. I frankly disagree but I will say the album does grow on you the more you listen. As always, the lyrics are the key with Go-Betweens and many of these songs may sound slight on first listen but gain power over time.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Good point on the backing band Baby John. Not the usual Sleater-Kinney sound you would expect but some really subtle playing which adds to the album's overall contemplative atmosphere.

    Good point on the backing band Baby John. Not the usual Sleater-Kinney sound you would expect but some really subtle playing which adds to the album's overall contemplative atmosphere.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'The Friends of Rachel Worth' by The Go-Betweens. Share your thoughts right here as you listen! Excited for my first listen of this one!

    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'The Friends of Rachel Worth' by The Go-Betweens. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

    Excited for my first listen of this one!

  • John T

    John T NY

    The first track is all Grant. The opening notes set the understated tone for the album. Reflective, unfettered - it gets me every time.

    The first track is all Grant. The opening notes set the understated tone for the album. Reflective, unfettered - it gets me every time.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T - in relation to your earlier comments, does the author of the song indicate who the singer is (like Lennon-McCartney)?

    John T - in relation to your earlier comments, does the author of the song indicate who the singer is (like Lennon-McCartney)?

  • John T

    John T NY

    Magic In Here is a good example of Grant's very personal songwriting. A certain honest prevails I think.

    Magic In Here is a good example of Grant's very personal songwriting. A certain honest prevails I think.

  • John T

    John T NY

    John - most likely but not always. On this album I would say yes. Spirit is definitely Robert's.

    John - most likely but not always. On this album I would say yes. Spirit is definitely Robert's.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Great start with "Magic in Here". "Spirit" comes at you with a very different approach. Very personal too. I think the acoustic guitar further promotes the intimacy

    Great start with "Magic in Here". "Spirit" comes at you with a very different approach. Very personal too. I think the acoustic guitar further promotes the intimacy

  • John T

    John T NY

    The Clock rocks out a bit and picks up the pace. Again Grant - "the rainbow turns black", "stains in my window with pictures of sin". Suffice to say his personal relationships are complex.

    The Clock rocks out a bit and picks up the pace. Again Grant - "the rainbow turns black", "stains in my window with pictures of sin". Suffice to say his personal relationships are complex.

  • John T

    John T NY

    During their 90's hiatus Robert lived in an isolated German countryside wanting to get away from the insanity of the music scene. This is his tribute to that period of his life.

    During their 90's hiatus Robert lived in an isolated German countryside wanting to get away from the insanity of the music scene. This is his tribute to that period of his life.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, good point John T. I guess that further illustrates the point about the album being deeper than just the surface. The song rocks out but yet has substance to it within the lyrics. A bit of a new sound on "German Farmhouse" too now

    Yeah, good point John T. I guess that further illustrates the point about the album being deeper than just the surface. The song rocks out but yet has substance to it within the lyrics.

    A bit of a new sound on "German Farmhouse" too now

  • Steve P

    Steve P Jacksonville

    Never heard of these guys before but I'm digging what I'm hearing. Not your usual stuff but makes you want to listen closely.

    Never heard of these guys before but I'm digging what I'm hearing. Not your usual stuff but makes you want to listen closely.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Great intro to He Lives My Life - Sleater-Kinney backup kicking in. Robert back to back songs now.

    Great intro to He Lives My Life - Sleater-Kinney backup kicking in. Robert back to back songs now.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Interesting backstory on German Farmhouse. The lyrics certainly indicate he was very happy there. Glad he left and made more music though!

    Interesting backstory on German Farmhouse. The lyrics certainly indicate he was very happy there. Glad he left and made more music though!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, I did really like that intro to "He Lives My Life". It was a really big sound with the acoustic guitars. Btw, Steve P, thanks for joining too!

    Yeah, I did really like that intro to "He Lives My Life". It was a really big sound with the acoustic guitars.

    Btw, Steve P, thanks for joining too!

  • John T

    John T NY

    Another great intro to Heart and Home. More heartbreak for Grant. "Ice around your hear my home". So conflicted don't you think?

    Another great intro to Heart and Home. More heartbreak for Grant. "Ice around your hear my home". So conflicted don't you think?

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    So far I would say that of the two, I'm leaning more toward the Robert songs. But that's obviously a very preliminary assessment

    So far I would say that of the two, I'm leaning more toward the Robert songs. But that's obviously a very preliminary assessment

  • Steve P

    Steve P Jacksonville

    Surfing Magazine seems like a pretty funny song for them then I remembered these guys are from Australia.

    Surfing Magazine seems like a pretty funny song for them then I remembered these guys are from Australia.

  • John T

    John T NY

    John - Robert vs. Grant. Sort of like John vs. Paul. An argument that will never be resolved.

    John - Robert vs. Grant. Sort of like John vs. Paul. An argument that will never be resolved.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah. And I can see what John T was talking about when he said many of Robert's songs were more lighthearted. "We used to get our kicks reading surfing magazines"

    Yeah. And I can see what John T was talking about when he said many of Robert's songs were more lighthearted.

    "We used to get our kicks reading surfing magazines"

  • John T

    John T NY

    Orpheus Beach is the song that TFORW detractors say is the album's low point. So devastatingly personaI you might find it difficult to listen to. I think it is the best song on the album and one of Grant's many masterpieces.

    Orpheus Beach is the song that TFORW detractors say is the album's low point. So devastatingly personaI you might find it difficult to listen to. I think it is the best song on the album and one of Grant's many masterpieces.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    dang, only two more songs after this one ("Orpheus Beach"). Great opening for this one. Phat bass on it

    dang, only two more songs after this one ("Orpheus Beach"). Great opening for this one. Phat bass on it

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Orpheus Beach" immediately feels like a highlight of the album. I don't see how folks can say it's the low point. John, I'm definitely leaning toward your assessment

    "Orpheus Beach" immediately feels like a highlight of the album. I don't see how folks can say it's the low point. John, I'm definitely leaning toward your assessment

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    wow. "Going Blind" definitely snaps you out of the trance

    wow. "Going Blind" definitely snaps you out of the trance

  • John T

    John T NY

    Grant back to back now. A nice feel to Going Blind with welcome backing harmonies for a change. I have no idea what this song is about even though I've listened to dozens of times.

    Grant back to back now. A nice feel to Going Blind with welcome backing harmonies for a change. I have no idea what this song is about even though I've listened to dozens of times.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    its hard to choose a favorite track on the album. Going blind is a fantastic song. I love the backing vocals during the chorus.

    its hard to choose a favorite track on the album. Going blind is a fantastic song. I love the backing vocals during the chorus.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Who is "When She Sang About Angels" about? I read it somewhere but can't remember

    Who is "When She Sang About Angels" about? I read it somewhere but can't remember

  • John T

    John T NY

    The last song is a great way for Robert to close out the album. A rather ominous tone but I loved the line about Tom Verlaine. When I heard this for the first few times I was convinced Grant wrote it.

    The last song is a great way for Robert to close out the album. A rather ominous tone but I loved the line about Tom Verlaine. When I heard this for the first few times I was convinced Grant wrote it.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Not sure what it is about John. There was so much time between albums at this point it was almost as if they were trying to catch up with each other's lives.

    Not sure what it is about John. There was so much time between albums at this point it was almost as if they were trying to catch up with each other's lives.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    just looked it up. It is a tribute to Patti Smith

    just looked it up. It is a tribute to Patti Smith

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    when she sang about angels has one of my favorite go between lyrics "I thought what a shame it wasn't about Tom Verlaine "

    when she sang about angels has one of my favorite go between lyrics "I thought what a shame it wasn't about Tom Verlaine "

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    The first song I'm going back to listen to is "Orpheus Beach". From the first time through, I would say that it's my favorite track. But the album certainly warrants many more entire listens. But first I want to play "Orpheus Beach" again. John T- great pick

    The first song I'm going back to listen to is "Orpheus Beach". From the first time through, I would say that it's my favorite track. But the album certainly warrants many more entire listens. But first I want to play "Orpheus Beach" again.
    John T- great pick

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yes, Baby John. Great lyric. Kinda sounds like something Daniel Johnston would write

    Yes, Baby John. Great lyric. Kinda sounds like something Daniel Johnston would write

  • John T

    John T NY

    I agree Baby John. As a postscript the GB's would record two more albums. Their last was Oceans Apart and is excellent. Grant died shortly thereafter. He had recently some peace in his life and was about to get remarried. They found him with no wallet, watch - not a cent in his pocket. A true bohemian to the end.

    I agree Baby John.

    As a postscript the GB's would record two more albums. Their last was Oceans Apart and is excellent. Grant died shortly thereafter. He had recently some peace in his life and was about to get remarried. They found him with no wallet, watch - not a cent in his pocket. A true bohemian to the end.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T and Baby John - what should be the next Go-Betweens album I listen to? Any recommendations?

    John T and Baby John - what should be the next Go-Betweens album I listen to? Any recommendations?

  • John T

    John T NY

    I would go next with Tallulah which most consider their masterpiece and then Spring Hill Fair and Oceans Apart. Best may be the greatest hits CD "1978-1990" which unfortunately is no longer in print and very difficult to find.

    I would go next with Tallulah which most consider their masterpiece and then Spring Hill Fair and Oceans Apart. Best may be the greatest hits CD "1978-1990" which unfortunately is no longer in print and very difficult to find.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I definitely want to dig deeper on this one and listen again. It was a treat to be able to sit down and really listen to this for the first time, not simply have it on in the background while doing something else. After just one listen, I understand the hype about The Go-Betweens. I sense that feeling will be intensified. John T, thanks again for choosing this album for "Album Night" Baby John, John T, Steve - thank you all for joining in the event tonight!

    I definitely want to dig deeper on this one and listen again. It was a treat to be able to sit down and really listen to this for the first time, not simply have it on in the background while doing something else. After just one listen, I understand the hype about The Go-Betweens. I sense that feeling will be intensified. John T, thanks again for choosing this album for "Album Night"

    Baby John, John T, Steve - thank you all for joining in the event tonight!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Thanks John T. I think I rather go the album route anyway, so no big deal if they've mysteriously made the greatest hits disappear. It is strange though

    Thanks John T. I think I rather go the album route anyway, so no big deal if they've mysteriously made the greatest hits disappear. It is strange though

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    By the way, "Album Night" will return on Wed, October 29 with 'Exile in Guyville' by Liz Phair

    By the way, "Album Night" will return on Wed, October 29 with 'Exile in Guyville' by Liz Phair

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