60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #25


Will I Ever Be Inside Of You – Paul Quinn & The Independent Group (1994)

There are just so many reasons as to why this album means so much to me.

You’ll all probably be bored reading my opinion that Paul Quinn is the best vocalist ever to emerge out of Scotland. He’s the great lost voice of a generation, one whose potential, it now seems from the outset, was fated never to be realised.

His legacy isn’t substantial in volume, but quality wise, it’s hard to beat, as was evidenced by the contents of Unadulterated, the lovingly curated limited edition box-set that brought together the two Independent Group albums alongside unreleased live and studio tracks.  It was so tempting to include the box-set in the rundown, but given how limited a release it was (just 300 copies were pressed), I ended up going back to the two studio albums from the 90s and choosing from them.  Oh, and for what it’s worth…..if I had included the box-set in the rundown, it would have come in at #1……

Alan Horne resurrected Postcard Records in 1992, partly to release some old stuff by Orange Juice, but also to give a home to Paul Quinn & The Independent Group.

This truly was a legendary Glasgow ‘supergroup’ – James Kirk (ex Orange Juice), Campbell Owens (ex Aztec Camera), Blair Cowan (ex Lloyd Cole & The Commotions) and Robert Hodgens (ex Bluebells) were just some of the members, with much of the music underpinned by the guitar work of the largely unheralded Mick Slaven who has appeared on stage  over the years with just about everyone who is significant in pop music from Scotland over the past 40 years.

The first album, The Phantom and The Archetypes, came out in 1992.  It’s an excellent album, but one which really benefits from repeated listens rather than having an ability to make an immediate impact.  On the other hand, the second album opens with this:-

mp3: Paul Quinn & The Independent Group – Will I Ever Be Inside Of You

The title track.  More than nine minutes long, but there isn’t a single second wasted. The talents of the musicians (who doubled up as the producers) are very much in evidence, but it really does all boil down to that voice, supplemented in this instance by a contribution from one of the country’s leading opera singers of the era.

It sets the scene for a quite extraordinary album, one that, if circumstances had allowed, would be much more than a cult classic.  The tragedy being that, within a short period of time, Paul Quinn would be struck down by a truly debilitating disease that left him unable to perform. There was very little done in the way of promotional activity, and all too soon Alan Horne brought an end to the second incarnation of Postcard Records.

Some of us kept the flame burning in our own ways.  The original version of The Vinyl Villain featured a lot of Paul Quinn, going back to the Jazzateers and Bourgie Bourgie days, as well as the short-lived solo career on Swampland Records in the late 80s.   The postings attracted the attention of a few other fans, but none more so than Rob Fleay, who was in the process of opening, in 2009, the Punk Rock Hotel, a fan site dedicated to the music of Paul Quinn.   We were soon exchanging emails on a frequent basis, and I was always excited when Rob got in touch with news of the latest piece of treasure that he’d unearthed.

I think it is fair to say that Rob’s work was something of a catalyst for the eventual release of Unadulterated, a project on which Alan Horne and Paul Quinn brought him on board as ‘Technician’.   Those of us who are fans owe him a huge thanks.

Will I Ever Be Inside Of You remains a difficult album to track down, although there are some copies, particularly on CD, out there on Discogs and e-bay.    Digital copies can be found here. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.


7 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #25

  1. I enjoyed this gushing appraisal – sometimes feelings will out, they have to – unrestrained. I only really know Bourgie Bourgie and the breathtaking collaboration with Edwyn Collins. I used to see Paul quite a bit – in the local streets and local park and always wanted to tell him how appreciative I was of his work (limited as my knowledge was) – I never did. He ALWAYS looked as though he had just fallen out of the 1950s – a look I was envious of.

    After Billy Mackenzie I’d say Paul was next in line as best Scottish male vocalist but… No 1 as a dapper pop icon.

  2. Am lucky enough to have the debut on lp , this one on cd and the box set .
    It’s all a truly amazing body of work

  3. A masterpiece of an album.
    I concur with FFF, the greatest voice out of Scotland is/was Billy MacKenzie. Paul is close though.

  4. I was lucky enough to see Paul with The Independent Group at the RAF Club off Woodlands R, Glasgow. Paul, seated, in the most pristine starched white shirt I’ve ever soon, smoking, and crooning…buy, could he sing. almost religious experience.

    I do slightly favour The Phantoms & the Archetypes album

  5. What a song! Is it Mick Slaven playing guitar? And who is the female vocalist? Damn!

  6. Yes, it is Mick Slaven on guitar. And the female vocalist is opera singer Jane Marie O’Brien. I’ve e-mailed you!!

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