The hard drive contains just the one song by The Prats, courtesy of it being included as part of the oft-mentioned Big Gold Dream 5 x CD boxset issued back in early 2019 by Cherry Red Records, with the sub-heading of ‘A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989’. Here’s what the accompanying booklet had to say about the band:-
The Prats’ barely pubescent original quartet of Paul McGlaughlin, brothers Dave and Greg Maguire and Tom Robinson used a cardboard drum kit and sang songs about disco popes. Having sent a demo to Fast Product, three Prats tracks, Inverness, Bored and Prats 2, appeared on Earcom 1.
The German-only release of Die Todten Reyten Schnell was co-produced by original Bay City Rollers vocalist Nobby Clarke. In 2004, fan Jonathan Demme put Prats track General Davis on the soundtrack of his big-screen reboot of The Manchurian Candidate. This in turn inspired the compilation, Now That’s What I Call Prats, while a documentary, Poxy Pop Groups – The Story of The Prats, is ongoing.
All of which got me intrigued and digging a bit further.
Now That’s What I Call The Prats was released on CD in 2007. As it turns out, the year after the BGD boxset was released, One Little Independent Records (the renamed and rebranded label formerly known for decades as One Little Indian) issued Way Up High, a vinyl 20-track compilation by The Prats, consisting of all ten songs that were ever released commercially in their short time together, two demos and eight tracks recorded for a couple of Peel Sessions, only one of which has actually been aired back in 1979.
I was also able to learn that the original line-up went through a couple of changes. First of all, Jeff Maguire came in on bass for Tom Robinson (and if you look at the back of the sleeve for Die Todten Reyten Schnell you will see he played on that release) while later on Elspeth McLeod was added to the ranks as an additional guitarist.
The frightening thing about it all is that The Prats were incredibly young when they were making this music. Earcom 1 dates from 1979 and the band members were still all at school in Edinburgh. Their final release, General Davis on Rough Trade Records, dates from 1981, the same year that the band called it a day as they were leaving school that summer.
I was also someone who left school in June 1981. At the time in Scotland, most folk left four years of secondary education at the age of 16, or you could stay on for a 5th or 6th year to the ages of 17/18 and take exams geared to getting you into college or university. The realisation now that a group of folk my age and with a similar background and upbringing to myself would have been attending lessons and taking exams while writing, recording, playing gigs and releasing singles, not forgetting the Peel Sessions in 1979, just beggars belief.
There is a sad postscript to the story in that Jeff Maguire passed away from cancer in July 2020 just prior to the release of Way Up High.
If anyone out there remembers The Prats from back in the day, or indeed has followed their story in recent years, I’d be very happy if you fancied pulling together a more detailed piece for a future guest posting.