The history of popular music decrees that Edwyn Collins enjoyed a number 1 hit in the mid-90s with 'A Girl Like You', over ten years after he chalked up his first top ten hit as part of Orange Juice with 'Rip It Up'. Still, at least he enjoyed a shot at fame whereas other bandmates remained a largely cult concern, beloved only of those who saw fit to investigate further, either at the time or after hearing of their influence. Make no mistake, Orange Juice were a very unusual proposition when they released their first single in 1979. Britain was caught on the cusp of punk/post-punk so the last thing it asked for was a group of Scottish rockers with a love of soul and funk music (more Al Green than Iggy or Ziggy) and a slighly fey way about them. No matter, their timing was immaculate.
'The Glasgow School' collects those first few singles and B sides plus session recordings for their first album. With top level producers not readily available, these first shoots of progress are heroically lo-fi and often heroically off-key in both guitars and vocals, though it has to be said that Collins' vocals were always an acquired taste anyway. Yet the warmth of delivery and talent were undoubtedly there and even "experiments" such as their theme for the Moscow Olympics or a band medley in the style of early-80s staple 'Stars On 45' are not without charm. Of more lasting appeal are the versions of future album tracks 'Nutshell' and 'Consolation Prize' and their cover of Vic Godard's 'Holiday Hymn' is another highlight. It's fair to say that the rather primitive nature of these songs are for fans rather than beginners but anyone with ears can deduce that if their was a Hall Of Fame for indie rock, Orange Juice would be amongst the founder members.