The Glasgow School
The story of Postcard Records is one that is yet to be written.
Born in the wake of punk's demise, yet retaining that era's DIY
ideals, enthusiastic Glaswegian maverick Alan Horne formed the
label in 1980. Fuelled with a love of the Velvet Underground,
Vic Godard and his Subway Sect, Chic disco, and soul, the dozen
or so records that Postcard released are essential. One album
and four singles by Josef K, a single each by Aztec Camera and
the Go-Betweens, and, maybe most importantly, four seminal singles
by Orange Juice.
The early Orange Juice 45s ("Falling and Laughing",
"Blue Boy", "Simply Thrilled Honey", and "Poor
Old Soul", all featured on The Glasgow School) are
a beautiful mess. Poppy yet raw and shambling, like a group of
punks armed with Al Green and Maxine Brown records, that had grown
sick of watching Sid and Johnny making fools of themselves on
television. Punks that wore schoolboy uniforms and had stolen
Roger McGuinn's haircut. Perhaps as a result of increased musical
competence, Orange Juice moved away from the androgynous, stumbling
punk, and into perfect pop territory, as vocalist and front icon
Edwyn Collins' voice seemed to drop a tiny bit for every new song
Also included on The Glasgow School is Ostrich Churchyard,
an album which was intended as the band's debut LP on Postcard.
But as Orange Juice sought a proper recording deal and Postcard
started losing steam (and fizzled out in 1982), the album was
scrapped and never saw the light of day (not counting a now scarce
reissue in the early-'90s by a briefly resurrected Postcard).
The tracklisting is very similar to that of You Can't Hide
Your Love Forever, OJ's eventual major label full-length,
but the recordings are quite different. These versions are rougher
and without a brass section, and personally I prefer them over
the smoother sounding Polydor takes. Possibly the best album that
never was. Additionally, The Glasgow School includes a
few unreleased tracks and comes in a luxurious flipbook style
package, complete with extensive liner notes by original Orange
Juice drummer Steven Daly.
All in all, an essential purchase for anyone interested in the
history of pop music. As the saying goes, you gotta hear Orange
Juice, to dig Jesus & Mary Chain, the Smiths, and Franz Ferdinand!