The Supernaturals are a guitar-based indie pop/rock band from Glasgow. Fronted by singer-songwriter James McColl, they had a five top 40 singles in the late 1990s, as well as two hit albums – It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (1997 – #9) and A Tune A Day (1999 – #21).

The band announced they were taking a break in 2002, shortly after the release of their third album, What We Did Last Summer.  The break lasted ten years, during which time some members became part of other bands.

Their first new music in over a decade appeared in 2015 with the album 360, at which point they began to tour again, including a number of high-profile support slots with Sleeper and Embrace, as well as taking to the stage at various festivals.  They have continued to record and perform, with the album Bird Of Luck being released in 2019.  Most recently, they played a sold-out gig in Glasgow just before Christmas, with a 22-song set that had fans of all ages raving about the show.

I haven’t kept up with the more recent developments, and only have music from the era when they were chart regulars.  Here’s probably their best known song. It reached #23 in the singles chart and has also featured in a number of TV adverts over the years.

mp3: The Supernaturals – Smile

They also were responsible for writing and recording a tune that was something of my theme song back in the day.

mp3: The Supernaturals – I Wasn’t Built To Get Up

I’ve never been a morning person.




Today was meant to feature the latest in the series of singles by The Style Council but this is what I’d rather share with you today.

Some of you will know that this particular blog, which sprang into action in July 2013, is the descendant of The Vinyl Villain which ran with more than 1,000 postings (many of which were from guest contributors) between September 2006 and June 2013 when it was closed down by Google without any advance warning.

The one thing the two blogs have in common is the ability to bring total strangers together and turn them into close friends, even if they never ever get to meet in person. The common bond of course is a love of music and the fact that there are people out there who share similar tastes and whose fandom for certain singers, bands or even certain songs piques an interest.

It was a song that led to a blogger called Helpless Dancer (HD) to get in touch back in 2008, and after a very pleasant exchange of emails, this is what he ended up writing on his blog:-

Music and Dumbarton FC – Two Passions Collide

For a long time I have been searching through my boxes of stored CD’s looking for a CD Single by The Supernaturals which had a B-side entitled “High Tension At Boghead” to no avail.

Recently I have been checking out and enjoying the Vinyl Villain blog which features a massive amount of Scottish related music and as a last resort I posted a comment asking if by any chance they had the aforementioned track and to my great pleasure it has been posted today so many thanks VV!!

I should explain that the song is directly related to HD’s football team, which as you’ll have surmised from the title of his post is Dumbarton FC.

High Tension At Boghead is a strange but enjoyable wee number telling the tale of a young boy’s first venture to a ‘big’ football match, an occasion he found rather underwhelming but thankfully there was enough happening around the ground to keep him amused.

The picture at the top of this post is the rear of the main stand at Boghead, a ground I had the pleasure of visiting a few times and which has a particularly happy memory as being the place that I took a child to his first match – the son of my best mate (RIP) who at this point in time had left Raith Rovers to play for Ayr United at the tail end of his career.

Dumbarton FC left Boghead Park in 2000 and moved a few hundred yards away to a new ground by the banks of the river which flows through the town.  The old ground is now occupied by housing but it has of course been immortalised in song:-

mp3 : The Supernaturals – High Tension At Boghead

HD subsequently became a regular contributor to the blog via the comments section, as indeed did Son Of The Rock another music fan with a love for Dumbarton FC (or perhaps the other way round!!). I actually ended up going to a couple of Rovers v Dumbarton matches with SoTR, always thoroughly enjoying his company, but a couple of plans to meet up with HD fell through on my part.

HD’s blog came to a halt in mid 2011, some 18 months after the very sudden death of his wife at the young age of 49; it was clear to those of us who were reading his stuff that listening to a lot of his favourite music had just become too painful. He was the sort of blogger who wore his heart on his sleeve and the way he wrote about his love and adoration for his late wife was very moving. When he closed down the blog he indicated that archive postings would remain open which is why I’ve mean able to maintain a link over on the right hand side under the section ‘Old Friends No Longer Active In The Field’

The sad thing now is that HD himself has passed away at the age of 55 – very suddenly and very unexpectedly.

And it was only a week or so after his after his death that I’ve been able to join some dots and realise that HD was in fact not just a fan of Dumbarton FC, but one of those hardy souls who devote all their spare energy to their team. In this case, HD had risen from being a fan on the terraces to the position of Chief Executive at his club, a role that also saw him provide sterling service to the game in Scotland as a whole.

The realisation came from reading his obituary in a newspaper which mentioned that he had been widowed back in 2010 which was just too much of a coincidence for me not to delve a bit deeper. For the first time in ages I went back into his old site and there it was, just below the posting announcing he was closing down the blog, vital info that you could catch him on Facebook under his real name of Gilbert Lawrie.

The realisation hit me quite hard for the simple reason that on at least ten occasions over the past few years I will have been sitting a matter of yards away from him at football matches and had many an opportunity to introduce myself and say hello….and I really regret that it never happened. After all, over the years I’ve met a fair number of folk who I got to know initially through blogging, and to a man and woman they have been the most wonderful and warm people imaginable.  HD/Gilbert would have been no different.

The tributes for Gilbert Lawrie last week were many for he was incredibly popular in the small world that is Scottish football. At least one of the formal obituaries which appeared in a local paper made reference to his love of music and in particular that he was a fan and avid collector of all things by The Who. The conversation we would have had about Paul Weller would have been fascinating.

This one is for a good mate who I never ever met, but who I’m proud to say I knew.

mp3 : The Jam – So Sad About Us

RIP Helpless Dancer. The music and football worlds are poorer places without you.



Adapted from wiki:-

The Supernaturals were a five-piece guitar-based pop band from Glasgow, Scotland. Fronted by singer-songwriter James McColl, they signed to Parlophone in 1996, and had a string of singles which were taken from their three albums and four EPs. Other members included Mark Guthrie, Derek McManus, Gavin Crawford and Ken McAlpine.

Debut album It Doesn’t Matter Anymore received good reviews (8/10 NME and 4/5 Q) as did the follow-up A Tune a Day (7/10 NME and 4/5 Q). The band’s third album saw a change of musical direction into Europop and electronica and wasn’t as well received.

They were a band which enjoyed playing live, appearing at all sorts of music festivals in the UK and Europe (including four successive year at T in the Park between 95 and 98) and were happy enough to appear on the supoort bill for a number of better known acts and bands including Robbie Williams, Paul Weller, The Boo Radleys, Gene, Blondie, Dodgy, The Bluetones, Ocean Colour Scene, Texas, Sleeper and Tina Turner.

The band’s best known songs (Smile” and I Wasn’t Built To Get Up) were featured prominently in a series of television advertisements while The Day Before Yesterday’s Man was used on three occasions in film and TV in the UK.

Eight singles were released from the first 2 LPs, all of which went Top 50 in the UK, but only three made the Top 30 with none getting any higher than #23.

Here’s their first Top 30 hit from 1997:-

mp3 : The Supernaturals – The Day Before Yesterday’s Man

Listening now, it’s catchy enough and radio friendly (albeit I’m sure the word shit was edited out of the radio mix) but I was sad to discover that it hasn’t dated all that well…..

And here’s the two additional tracks made available on CD1 of the release:-

mp3 : The Supernaturals – Ken’s Song
mp3 : The Supernaturals – Honk Williams

The first few bars of the latter had me panicking as it felt as if Mull Of Kintyre was about to be played.  But stick with it as it is a fun little number about a spaceman who looks  and sounds like a dead country and western singer…..with a great wee singlaong chorus towards the end.