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Subject: Chalkhills #297


                  Chalkhills, Number 297

                 Friday, 22 October 1993
Today's Topics:
                        A QUIZ!!!
                       a few chords
                     Nonsuch-ratings
                      XTC and speed
                   MACHINES and others
                      Time Magazine
                   Re: Chalkhills #295
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Date: Mon, 18 Oct 93 17:52:15 PDT
From: robg@fossil.berkeley.edu (Robert Guralnick)
Subject: A QUIZ!!!

        After thinking about it, I realize that there are two extremes
to XTC music, with most people just falling in right about middle.
The one extreme is the knock me over the head with the song, I
hate the subtlety.  The other extreme is the "it better be REALLY
esoteric and obtuse or else I am not satisfied". I have been
thinking of ways to test what type of listener you are... given again
that most will fall squarely in-between.  However some might
lean one way or the other.
        My first idea was to just ask one simple question ---
Do you like Jason and the Argonauts?  If the answer is yes, you
are an "obtuse lover" (I must admit that I am definetly a fan
of the more obtuse, lyrically odd songs... especially so Jason
and the Argonauts, so my test is biased.)
        Then I thought that maybe liking songs such as
"Wrapped in Gray" and "Books Are Burning" proves that you are
the "gimme the message straight up" type, since both those songs
have the subtlety of a rhinoceros in a library.  Whatever the
case, I THROW THIS ONE OPEN TO DEBATE!!!  Is there a way to tell
what kind of fan you are.

Robert

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Date: Tue, 19 Oct 93 10:39:25 EDT
From: glickman@figaro.med.harvard.edu (Mark Glickman)
Subject: a few chords

Fueled by both a lack of posting on chalkhills for ages,
and by my foolishly strapping on my acoustic guitar this weekend
and setting the amp volume to 11 ("you can't actually *crank* an
acoustic!"), I was playing around a bit with "Towers of
London" and "Ball and Chain".  For those of you who are
practicing musicians, here's a sanity check...

Towers of London:  This was mostly prompted by XTC play-at-home.
When Dave plays the F chord during the chorus, I believe he's
not playing a straight F (as the tablature on the XTC
archives at net.bio.net suggests).  Instead, I think he is
playing:

   F F F F/G F F F/G  etc...
E--1-1-1-1---1-1-1----------
B--1-1-1-1---1-1-1----------
G--2-2-2-0---2-2-0----------  the G string opens every 4th beat...
D--3-3-3-3---3-3-3----------
A--3-3-3-3---3-3-3----------
E---------------------------

   T e o L   d     W
   o r f o   o     h   etc...
   w s   n   n     e
   -     -         n

Even more interesting is what I think happens during the verse
("Pavements of gold...").  Again, I don't think the chart is correct.
Watching Dave play on "Play-at-Home" leads me to believe that the
right way to play this is:

   C                           F/Bb
E--0-----------------------------X--
B--1-----------------------------6--
G--0-----------------------------5--
D--2-----------------------------7--
A--3-----------------------------8--
E--------------------------------7--

"Pavements of gold
leading to the under............ground"

The idea is to play a "C-chord form" at the 5th fret, but on the low
E string play a Bb instead of an A.  Also, it sounds better
if you don't play the A on the high E string, but it's not essential
if this doesn't get dampened.

Ball and Chain:  I was in a band a few years ago that played this,
and it was my suggestion to use the following chords at the beginning
of the song.  I want to check if I was on the right track:

   C         Csus  C/Bb C/F C
E--8---------8-----10---8---8-
B--8---------8-----11---8---8-
G--9---------10----10---10--9-
D--10--------12----8----10--10
A--10--------------8----10--10
E--8---------------8----8---8-

   |____________|
   repeat 3 times

Feedback is welcome!

           - Mark Glickman

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Date: Tue, 19 Oct 93 09:45:56 MET
From: E.Roos@buro.kun.nl
Subject: Nonsuch-ratings

Hi all.

Like to read the ratings of the songs on Nonsuch. Now try to rate the songs
NOT with the other XTC-albums in mind. Try for a moment to forget all the
other XTC-songs you heard before. And now compare the songs on this album with
everything you hear on your radio:  grunge, hip-hop, heavy-metal,
neo-psychedelica, middle-of-the-road..... There is only one conclusion: XTC?
Nonsvch!

Eric

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Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1993 16:07:06 -0500 (EST)
From: MOWDER@acfcluster.nyu.edu
Subject: XTC and speed

        During the course of the "live vs. studio" debate, someone
        mentioned musical tempo as an integral component of XTC's
        individual compositions.  Not only is this a very keen
        observation, but I would think that the Boys From Swindon
        would concur.  I'm thinking of an album like _The Lure of
        the Salvage_, wherein Andy created many entirely new tracks
        thru' "destructed" tracks off _Go 2_, _Drums &_ etc--speeding
        up and slowing down of the tapes as a key device--

        I also want to emphaisize the importance of everyone out there
        taking the time every once in a while to play your old 33-1/3
        albums at 45 speed--tends to bend and shape familiar musical
        recordings into surprising cool and insightful new events--
        I can, report, for example, the following discoveries:

        "Ladybird" played fast becomes the young, young Michael Jackson
              fronting the Sesame Street band--
        "Me and the Wind" becomes--a Kate Bush song.  Exactly.
        "Deliver Us from the Elements" = Gary Numan--
        "Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" = Spyrogyra on cocaine--
        "Somnambulist" becomes something off of Joy Divisions's _Closer_
             album (BTW, Joy Div. LP's stand up particularly well to
        being played at 45 speed all the way through--much of New Order's
        current sound is right there already--), and lastly,
        "Battery Brides", when played at *78* RPM's, becomes an X-Ray Spex
        song!  Try it, it's true!

        It should also be pointed out that another reason to resent the
        imposition of compact disc technology is its wresting from our
        hands this very kind of autonomously-determined and very tactile
        relationship with the stuff we buy and own (also eliminates
        possibility of "scratchin'", playing records *backwards*, etc.).

        All that time so cheaply spent,
        Jamie in NYC

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Date: Thu, 21 Oct 93 13:41:35 MDT
From: pmartz@dsd.es.com (Paul Martz)
Subject: MACHINES and others

Hello folks. I recently got the urge to drag my vinyl collection out
of the basement, catalog everything, and get it appraised. Yes, I'm
going to have a real appaiser look at things, but I wanted to get the
expert opinion of Chalkhills readers on a few XTC related items.

John Relph informs me the group as a whole keeps no online record of
the potential value of XTC-related collectibles. However, WOW, what a
discography, and I was able to identify each item I have on that
sheet.

So anyhow, here you go. The big one first, if anything is of
collectible value it's this one:

  12" LP           Virgin       V 2177       Various artists, "Machines"
            with XTC ("The Somnambulist"), OMD, Human League,
            Public Image, John Foxx, Gary Numan, and others.

...and then there's some other stuff:

  7" single 45rpm  Virgin       VS 490       "No Thugs In Our House" /
            "Chain of Command" "Limelight" "Over Rusty Water"
            (has the really fun diecut sleeve)

  7" single 45rpm  Virgin       VS 613       "Love On A Farmboy's Wages" /
            "In Loving Memory Of A Name"
            (with 2nd single: "Toys" / "Desert Island")
            (has "wallet style" gatefold sleeve)

  12" LP           Virgin International
                                VI 2095      "White Music"

  12" LP           RSO, Virgin  UR-1-1000    "Black Sea"
            (with green outer wrapper intact)

  12" LP (2)       Virgin       V 2223       "English Settlement"
            (with green textured cover and white lettering)

All are in "excellent" to "good" condition except for the 45s, which
are in "poor" condition (the sleeves are still like new, just the disc
themselves are quite dusty).

Do I want to sell anything? Mmmm, probably, but maybe not quite yet.
I'm really more interested in knowing what this stuff's worth, if
anything. And if it's worth nothing, then let me know that as well.

Thanks much...

   -paul        pmartz@dsd.es.com
                Evans & Sutherland

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Date: Thu, 21 Oct 93 15:26:31 MDT
From: jrcampbe@mines.utah.edu (James Robert Campbell)
Subject: Time Magazine

Latest issue of Time Magazine features a story on the
alternative music scene that has, of late, become so
darn popular.  Anyways, on page 64 there is a table
attempting to assign certain labels to bands of the
60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.

Example:

Label       60's        70's        80's        90's

Hard Rock   Ld Zeppelin AC/DC       Def Leppard Living Colour
            Eric Clptn              Gns 'N Rses Stne Tmpl Plts

Well our boys actually made this chart as:

Tunesmiths  Beatles     Eagles      XTC         Soul Asylum
                        Steely Dan  Squeeze     Cranberries

(Sorry about the bad abbreviations)

Pretty good company to be in all things considered.  However
I think it also points out that our fab three are quickly
becoming a thing of the past in most circles.  It seems that
XTC is more or less remembered (??!!??) for thing that they've
done instead of being looked upon for good things in the future!
I don't care how many times I've read Andy state that he
wishes he could do an XTC album every 6 months.  It's about
time we start seeing something!  While the Martin Newell project
does count, it's not XTC!  This whole album every 3 years is
completely depressing.

Anyways I guess we can all hope for the best.  Hey, and
maybe the forthcoming Little Express will bring good news.

--James

"Stealing away all our memories"

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Date: Thu, 21 Oct 93 20:32:08 EDT
From: Jeff Rosedale <rosedale@columbia.edu>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #295

Hi all.  A little repartee for Kyle Skrinak, and some explanation:  I
find absolutely no fault with any studio version XTC tune.  I know how
exacting Andy P. is in particular, and what's on the vinyl is in most
cases very close to exactly what was intended.

This is funny but it's true- the very first XTC I heard and loved was
Drums and Wires on an *incredibly* bad turntable with a fast motor!
Probably about 37 RPM!  Now of course I've heard different things like
a demo of Real by Reel that has a noticeably *slower* tempo that I
really like, but I don't hold early XTC to "art rock" standards.  How
much clearer a message can there be than "THIS IS POP"?

And if you heard an Elvis Costello & the Attractions show of the era
that XTC played live, you'd know that they also played at blazing
speeds.  This doesn't take away from the poetry of the lyrics, the
sharp cynicism and mockery of the clashing chords, or the tight fabric
of the arrangements.  Great post-punk bands fired metaphors, slicing
guitar riffs and crisp snare drums at express train tempos.  Most every
band I heard at that time sped it up live. A live version of Yacht
Dance that I heard *was* played too fast, and sounded quite silly.  But
the old stuff jumps out of the speakers and grabs you by the throat in
some of the live performances.

Have a listen to some of the Woodentops tunes that Andy P. produced (go
ahead and listen to all of them- they're pretty good!). I think
somewhere in the roots of XTC there is a mixture of adrenalin,
nitroglycerin, and rocket fuel that drives the dynamic early tunes
(also try Science Friction live off the Hope and Anchor set- although
I'm Bugged from the same set is *not* played fast, showing they knew
what they were doing).

Anyway, what am I babbling about?  They probably never will play live
again, so we can all analyze our tapes to death......

All I wanted to say is that there's something to appreciate in almost
every demo, live track, studio recording and interview of XTC that I've
ever heard.  Who was it that spoke of the "ludicrously wired brain of
Andy Partridge"?  Genius is not necessarily a "perfect" form.

                Cheers

                                        --Jeff Rosedale

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