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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from The Go-Betweens...
Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express is my favourite Go-Betweens album and probably their greatest work (they have released other great albums, both before & after this). Liberty...is now reissued in a definitive edition over two discs- the first being the original 1985 LP; while the second disc includes b-sides, alternate versions, remixes and demos of such tracks...
Published on 4 July 2004 by Jason Parkes

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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dated and very ordinary.
"The greatest album of all time" ?? - Someone's having a laff. It's very ordinary and very dated, unless you think that early Smiths stuff is still contemporary (Morrissey does: he's still doing the same song twenty years later.)
Dull arrangements don't help the limited songs on this album and , despite the eulogies of other reviewers, it doesn't get better on...
Published on 13 April 2005


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from The Go-Betweens..., 4 July 2004
By 
Jason Parkes (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express (The Expanded Edition) (Audio CD)
Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express is my favourite Go-Betweens album and probably their greatest work (they have released other great albums, both before & after this). Liberty...is now reissued in a definitive edition over two discs- the first being the original 1985 LP; while the second disc includes b-sides, alternate versions, remixes and demos of such tracks as Apology Accepted, The Life at Hand, Little Joe and also video clips of Head Full of Steam and Spring Rain.
The bonus elements are great for fans- Go-Betweens fans especially seem to want everything & here they get it! (Tallulah and 16 Lovers Lane are also reissued alongside Liberty); but truthfully, it's just great to have that classic original LP available again. Liberty...easily stands out alongside such classic 1980s releases as Hallowed Ground, Fire of Love, The Smiths, This Nation's Saving Grace, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word, [insert choice here] & of course warrants inclusion on any best LP of all time ever ever ever!!! list. The Go-Betweens have also influenced people like Belle and Sebastian, Sleater Kinney and Luke Haines & I think they probably pip The Birthday Party, The Saints, & The Triffids to greatest Australian band of all time (ever ever ever recurring...).
Forster and McClennan's songwriting is equally brilliant here- how did this band not have a hit with the catchy Head Full of Steam, or possibly the greatest song ever, Spring Rain? Ah, Spring Rain- I first heard this on the soundtrack of the film Something Wild (thought it was Jeffrey Lee Pierce solo as I couldn't read the credits at the end): it opens with that killer guitar line, then the song bursts in with Forster's truly poetic lyrics drifting across, "standing on the lawn with cousins & child-brides...falling down like sheets...driving my first car, my elbows in the breeze, with all these people that I never never need..."(the Dylan comparisons are valid & here The Go-Betweens sound much more significant than a band like REM, who managed to become the next big thing- unlike the GB's, Husker Du & The Replacements...).
Every songs a killer really- though I have to mention two other highlights, Twin Layers of Lightning (a song The Smiths must still be depressed they didn't write- very Withnail & I, as Andrew Mueller noted in the NME Cult Albums thing which this featured in 10-odd years ago)& the string-drenched The Wrong Road- a song that fights with Cattle & Cane as McLennan's greatest composition.
Liberty Belle...is an all-time classic and this version is an obligatory purchase for anyone looking for intelligent rock & roll. Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express- another masterpiece from The Go-Betweens...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great albulm, 5 Dec. 2001
I lacked any knowledge of the Go-Betweens except 'The Friends of Rachel Worth' when buying this CD. 'The Friends Of...' displays a major thaw since 1986; 'Liberty Belle' on the other hand is a melancholic, painful and driving meditation on love and its consequences. It includes moments of raw genius; the highlight must surely be the closing track. Here mournful piano combines with vocals that seem to wrench every last shred of emotion from the pit of Forster's stomach to remarkable effect. But the real strength of this albulm is its overall cohesion; everything seems to fit together, lovingly assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, producing a sound uniquely the Go-Betweens' - hard-edged, yet very beautiful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forster & McLennan Go Forward With Heads Full Of Steam, 23 Jan. 2007
By 
Iain (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express (The Expanded Edition) (Audio CD)
This has got to be one of the best alternative/indie albums of the 1980s. Superior to the much over-rated 'The Queen Is Dead' by the Smiths, which was released in the same year and crucially (unlike many contempory releases of the era and to be frank, other Go-Between albums), it has stood the test of time well. Anybody familiar with the band knows the score - Five songs written and sung by Forster, five written and sung by McLennan, no slack, no filler. The two songwrtiters compliment each other well, while at the same time offering something different. As lyricists, both like telling a story or setting a scene. Named after a famous book, it's no surprise that the lyrics by both writers seem literate & clever. McLennan's highpoints include the wistful string-laden ballad 'The Wrong Road' - one of those of songs that intrigues but doesn't give up its air of mystery. Forster's, the driving, melodic jangly rock ot the opener, 'Spring Rain'. The group's sound on this album is tastefully embellished with strings, accordian, piano and woodwind. The Go-Betweens rave reviews never translated into huge record sales: one way of defining a cult band unfortunately. But like all good cult bands their musical legacy lives on for good reason. So buy this album and spread the word. PS Grant McLennan RIP Melodic Dude
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Greatest Album of all Time - I'm serious, 10 Oct. 2000
By 
Mr. D. J. Matthews "Professional Dropout" (Blackburn , Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
My house creaks under the groaning mass of vinyl inside , but if a fire broke out and I could grab just one record on my way out , no question this would be it. This is the soundtrack to my life. Every track is perfect and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. From the wild abandon of "Spring Rain" , through the perfect songcraft of "Reach Me" to the desperate open hearted "Apology Accepted?" Forster & McLennan prove themselves beyond doubt the finest songwriting partnership since Lennon & McCartney. This is actually the finest record ever made. Revolver , Hunky Dory , OK Computer .... Bow Down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 24-Carat Classic, 8 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
All The Go-Betweens albums are fantastic but this may well be their most 'consistent' LP. It has a woody, almost jangly feel that gives it a slightly unique feel to their other albums. I've been playing it now for 15 years and have never tired of it. The standouts are, well all of them really. Most reviewers namedrop the singles 'Spring Rain' (upbeat cool-pop) and 'Headfull of Steam' along with the stately 'The Wrong Road' and the closing 'Apology Accepted'. However you won't find 'To Reach Me' (for example) on any of their 'Best-Of's' which is understandable because it is so subtle as to be a complete non-single. You barely notice it first time round snuck away towards the end of side one yet with repeated plays you start to discern the interweaving guitars playing crisp, complementing melodies. The lyrics are fantastic highlighted by the line 'and Ruth said, she said, that you once disapproved.... how can anyone disapprove of ME'. Forster delivers this with deadpan touching the line between self-depreciation and romantic arrogance. I could babble on for years but it's only music so buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a diamond indeed, 29 May 2006
By 
god, even just buy it for robert forster's "twin layers of lightning"...subtle, yet dramatic piano and shimmery guitar and forster sounding out of tune, very australian and damn sexy all over the top.

and the wrong road...with a line like "when the rain hit the roof like the sound of a finished kss, like a lip lifted from a lip..." (a legendary line from the late, great romantic grant mclennan) nobody does love, romance and the wonder of light, everyday magic and unspeakable things like the go betweens. the only way you'll find this dull is if you don't give it time. let it grow and it'll do strange things to you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Go-Betweens at their best, 19 Nov. 2012
OK. I'm a Go-Betweens fan; and would say that they never put out a bad album. But when considering which of their nine main albums is the best, this one always makes is into my top three, and is a good contender for the best of them all. It's not as polished and immediately sing-a-long poppy melodious, like most of "16 Lovers Lane"; it doesn't rock out like "Oceans Apart" does in places. It's a little bit more understated than those two other greatest Go-B's albums, a little bit more subtle, and perhaps requires a few more listens before it sinks in.

While the slow and melancholic "The Wrong Road" and the fairly instant "Spring Rain" are obvious entry-points to this album (and, as such, both earned their place on the "1978-90" retrospective), there's really not a bad track here. "Twin Layers Of Lightning" shimmers, as does "In The Core Of The Flame": "Palm Sunday (On Board The SS Within)" is as introspective (and almost as nautical) as its name hints it should be: none of these are really pop songs, they definitely aren't (and weren't) singles; they are rather superior, subtle, intelligent, literate combination of guitar and lyrics, the more flamboyant style of Robert Forster complimenting the melodious sensibility of Grant McLennan. "To Reach Me" is more enigmatic still, and its melodious melancholy takes a while to sink in. "Head Full Of Steam", which was a single, is the nearest here to a straight pop song, but the lyrics are rather quirker and more digressive than would really fit that genre. And "Apology Accepted", the final track, is a stupendous climax, ane nakedly emotional, tying up the themes of regret and lamentfulness that have run through much of the album.

Seriously, this is one of the finest albums of the 1980s. Just a pity that so people have heard it or even know about it. It's a thing of skill and beauty, a top-quality band on top form.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Greatest Album of all Time - I'm serious, 10 Oct. 2000
By 
Mr. D. J. Matthews "Professional Dropout" (Blackburn , Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
My house creaks under the groaning mass of vinyl inside , but if a fire broke out and I could grab just one record on my way out , no question this would be it. This is the soundtrack to my life. Every track is perfect and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. From the wild abandon of "Spring Rain" , through the perfect songcraft of "Reach Me" to the desperate open hearted "Apology Accepted?" Forster & McLennan prove themselves beyond doubt the finest songwriting partnership since Lennon & McCartney. This actually the finest record ever made. Revolver , Hunky Dory , OK Computer ....Bow Down.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How could it be less than 5 stars?, 17 Jun. 2005
Amazing album! Ignore the other review from Northern Ireland! (People over here don't really have a taste in music, as such, they just listen to what is cool in the musical press). An album of beautifully crafted songs from a band that continues to impress me. Buy it, love it.
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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dated and very ordinary., 13 April 2005
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"The greatest album of all time" ?? - Someone's having a laff. It's very ordinary and very dated, unless you think that early Smiths stuff is still contemporary (Morrissey does: he's still doing the same song twenty years later.)
Dull arrangements don't help the limited songs on this album and , despite the eulogies of other reviewers, it doesn't get better on repeated listening. On the back cover it says that the band " wondered constantly if they would ever be famous." I can tell them why they were not: they simply weren't very good, and there were a lot of better bands around at the time.
Believe your ears and not the hype; listen to it before buying it.
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