It would be easy to say that Josef K had better days ahead of them when leader Paul Haig decided to close that chapter in his life, because there's simply no telling. Despite that train of thought and despite the reservations of bandmembers and critics over the way the Scottish quartet's limited studio output was recorded, and despite the fact that the bandmembers thought they did their best work on-stage, there is still no denying that there is some brilliance apparent in their lone studio album and this compilation, Young and Stupid. Three versions of it are floating around, with each successive edition improving on the one that preceded it. It was originally released on vinyl by Supreme in 1987 with 12 songs that mined their singles; though the tracks were selected by the band and the LP was released by their former manager, it didn't exactly fulfill its duty or exhaust the vaults -- vaults that contained substantial recordings that had been out of print for some time. When the label issued the title on CD three years later, it was significantly bolstered with the addition of several tracks: a session recorded for John Peel's BBC program in 1981, another smattering from 7" releases, and some previously unreleased material that included a demo version of "Radio Drill Time." This thankfully brought a full close to the CD issuing of Josef K's studio legacy, as it completed the unfinished job done by the original pressing. (So the CD version of Young and Stupid and the Only Fun in Town/Sorry for Laughing pairing rounds up everything the band made in a studio.)
It's also probably worth explaining that a number of songs from the original version are not included on the two versions that followed; those songs -- which could be found on the CD release of The Only Fun in Town/Sorry for Laughing anyway -- were extracted to make room for all the goodies mentioned above. And when LTM reissued the disc in 2002, they remastered the sound to great effect and added a superfluous live rendition of "Adoration" to the end of the second version's running order -- so that's the one to own. The fantastic BBC session is a key inclusion, not only for the fact that it was the last material recorded by the band prior to its breakup. "The Missionary," which was laid down for the session and would later be released as the A-side to a posthumous single (with vocal and instrumental takes on "The Angle" -- a hot tune in its own right that displays their Talking Heads influence more than anything else they released -- as B-sides), is proof positive that Josef K didn't pack it in because they were running on fumes. A speedy, dexterous number that showcases each member's locked-in precision, it's easily one of the best songs they committed to tape, right up there with the classic "Sorry for Laughing," which is also found here in its single version. They were smart, stylish, and jerky, but they were in every sense a pop band -- and an excellent one at that.