The master songwriter’s lofty collection of books had been gathering dust since he passed away in May 2006 at the age of just 48. While assembling the anthology G Stands For Go-Betweens – Volume One, Grant’s son, Nathan, asked the group’s co-founder Robert Forster his thoughts on what should be done with the tomes. Forster figured a good read should always be passed on. And so the “The Grant McLennan Book Club” was launched.
The first 600 fans who order G Stands For Go-Betweens – Volume One will receive one of these books, along with a bookmark signed by Forster to certifying the authenticity of the books’ origins. There will be a virtual book club at www.go-betweens.net where recipients can chat about their lucky literary prize.
To get the project moving, some 30 boxes have been shipped from McLennan’s hometown Brisbane to the Domino warehouse in London. The collection numbers some 1,800 titles, including various hardback first edition novels, paperbacks, poetry books, biographies and art folios. A good number of the books bear an inscription in the front pages, often in the form of Grant’s signature along with the city and the date of purchase.
Slated for release through Domino Records in January 2015, G Stands For Go-Betweens – Volume One documents the band’s output from 1978 to 1984 in a boxed set that contains four vinyl albums, four compact discs (with rare, hard-to-find and unreleased demos) and a 112-page book featuring archival photos, historical liner notes and guest essays. The set also comes with a silkscreen of the Go-Betweens’ first promotional poster for their debut single, “Lee Remick”, and a reproduction of their first press release from their own Able Label. Click here for the tracklist.
Although praised by music critics at home and abroad for their melodic and bittersweet song-craft on such works as “Streets of Your Town,” “Cattle and Cane” and “Spring Rain,” the band established a cult fanbase and won-over critics at the New Music Express (NME) and swathes of British tastemakers. However they never achieved the matching chart success. The folk-pop group disbanded following McLennan’s death. A bridge in central Brisbane was subsequently named in the outfit’s honor.
In an interview earlier this year, Go-Betweens drummer Lindy Morrison told this reporter the classic line-up of the band was “such a unique group of individuals, a unique sound. We were very interested in culture, reading, film, galleries. Of course when we started we were very inexperienced on our instruments. And we grew together.”