JOSEF K – ” Sorry For Laughing / The Only Fun in Town ” Re-Issues

Posted: January 25, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Josef K the Scottish post-punk band, active between 1979 and 1982, who released singles on the Postcard Records label. The band was named after the protagonist of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial. Although they released only one album while together and achieved just moderate success, they have since proved influential on many bands that followed.  Josef K were formed in Edinburgh in 1979, originally as TV Art, by Paul Haig (guitar/vocals), Ronnie Torrance (drums),Malcolm Ross (guitar/vocals/violin/keyboards) and their ex-roadie David Weddell (bass) replacing original bassist Gary McCormack. The band all knew each other from the city’s Firrhill High School.

After recording a ten-track demo, their first release was the “Romance”/”Chance Meeting” single on Orange Juice drummer Steven Daly’s Absolute label in December 1979. They were then signed to Postcard Records, the label founded by Daly and Alan Horne, releasing a string of critically acclaimed singles in 1980 and 1981. Josef K were always far more downbeat and austere than Orange Juice, and were never to match Orange Juice’s commercial success. They were also described as sounding similar to Joy Division but “less doomy”.

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Josef K – Sorry For Laughing

The first ever vinyl release of Sorry for Laughing, the legendary first album by cult Scottish guitar group Josef K, recorded for Postcard Records but destined to become the great ‘lost album’ of the post-punk era. Recorded at Castle Sound Studios (Edinburgh) in November 1980, Sorry for Laughing should have been issued as Postcard 81-1, but was shelved after the band and label boss Alan Horne decided the 12-song set sounded too polished. Perhaps two dozen white-label copies in unmade sleeves exist, and have sold for as much as 1,000 pounds amongst collectors. Josef K issued their second stab at a debut album, The Only Fun in Town, in July 1981 – only to split after completing a promotional tour.

This remastered vinyl-only edition of Sorry for Laughing replicates the original Robert Sharp artwork (a solarised portrait of the band atop Calton Hill, printed in silver pantone), with detailed sleeve notes on the inner bag, and the added bonus of a 12 track CD, the TV Art demos, featuring all tracks from the band’s very first recording sessions in 1979.

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Josef K – The Only Fun in Town

Crepuscule presents a brand new remastered edition of The Only Fun In Town, the influential debut album by iconic Scottish guitar group Josef K, originally released on Postcard Records in July 1981. It was their only album release while together, and while it placed well on the UK Independent Chart, but it received a poor critical reception.

Speedily recorded in a small studio in Brussels, The Only Fun In Town was a defiantly abrasive, serrated long-player in the mould of the second Velvets album, Josef K having already shelved a more conventional recording. Sharp-edged pop singles abound – It’s Kinda Funny, Sorry For Laughing, Revelation– along with rattling Haig / Ross twin guitar classics such as Fun ‘n’ Frenzy, Heart of Song, Forever Drone and The Angle. The Only Fun In Town topped the independent charts on release and remains a canonical post-punk album.

CD – New 2014 remaster comes housed in a handsome trifold digipack with 12 page booklet, and by way of a bonus also features all 12 tracks from Sorry For Laughing, the shelved debut album recorded at Castle Sound (Edinburgh) in November 1980, and apparently abandoned because it was thought to sound too polished.

2LP – New Double Black and Gold Vinyl Version housed in a handsome Gatefold sleeve, and by way of bonus tracks also features several Postcard single A and B sides including Radio Drill Time and Chance Meeting. Side 4 features all four tracks from JoKay’s celebrated John Peel Session in June 1981, including Heaven Sent and The Missionary.

The history of Josef K is covered in 2015 documentary film “Big Gold Dream”, with Malcolm Ross featuring prominently as an interviewee. They didn’t play encores. They were a bit existential. They were dark. They wore suits. And they never recorded anything with saxophones.

Paul Haig – Guitar, vocals
Malcolm Ross – Guitar, Violin 
David Weddell – Bass
Ronnie Torrance – Drums

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