Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #309

                  Chalkhills, Number 309

                 Monday, 6 December 1993
Today's Topics:
              andy's solo record/big express
                 Andy from XTC goes solo!
          regarding stuff in #308 and then some
                   Re: Chalkhills #308
                  Aimee Mann in Atlanta
                      Psunspot girls
                     new/old groupie
                   Re: Chalkhills #308
             The Big Express, and a big Hello
                    partridge doodles
                    First impressions

Organization: SLAIS, UBC
Date:         2 Dec 93 16:22:24 GM+5
Subject:      andy's solo record/big express

Yeah, everyone will answer this but here's my version; the Andy
Partridge "solo record" is called "Take Away/The Lure of Salvage" and
is actually a collection of remixed and revamped XTC tracks (often
beyond recognition) with new lyrics/instruments laid over them.  It's
available along with an earlier experiment in this vein, "Go Plus," on
the CD "Explode Together: the Dub Experiments 78-80."  I'd say its
really for fans of the band's very early music, which I'm not.

About the Big Express; I didn't say it was a bad album, it's just not
one of my favourites.  The strange thing about that album for me is
that when I think about the songs individually, I can think of
several that I really like, and yet for some reason the album as a
whole just doesn't feel right.  I think it's a bit overproduced and
is too synth-drum machine dependent; I prefer XTC more organic.
Also, I find "I Remember the Sun" awkward and tuneless, and have
never liked "This World Over" despite its apparent popularity and
Andy's own fondness for it; it's very early 80's-slick and Andy's
lyrics are too obvious.  Still, I'll agree that "Seagulls Screaming,"
"Train Running Low," "You're the Wish," "Liarbird" and "Smalltown"
are all great songs.  By the way, what does the title refer to?  (I
think they should have used the working title "Shaking Skin House")

I'm a new subscriber, so I'm probably asking an old question, but:
does anyone agree that XTC are not great judges of their own material?
I'm always amazed when I hear new B-sides and demo tapes by the songs
that just get thrown away or never even considered.  What gets
people's vote for the best unused XTC demo?  I'd vote for several;
"My Paint Heroes," "Everything," "This is the End," "The Good
Things," "Young Cleopatra" and "Always Winter Never Christmas" spring
to mind immediately as songs that would have been as good as or
better than tracks that appeared on the albums in question.  The song
selection on O&L seems to have been particularly amiss.  I wonder
what this has to do with the evil record company we keep hearing so
much about.

My friend Kent wonders if Andy is trying to reincarnate John Lennon by
leaving his wife in the English countryside and moving to New York
with a strange woman.  Let's hope an assassination isn't in the works.


From: (Ned Raggett)
Subject: Andy from XTC goes solo!
Date: 1 Dec 93 02:29:39 GMT
Organization: University of California, Irvine

I did an interview with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants for our
school paper today about the Hello Recording Club, which is this outfit
he runs that puts out a series of 4 song CD singles by bunches of cool
types that contain material you can't find anywhere else.  So far he's
released stuff by Frank Black, the Nelories, Scott McCaughey, the
Residents, Eugene Chadbourne, etc.

Anyway, he mentioned that besides upcoming releases by fellow Giant
John Linnell and Mac from Superchunk, Andy Partridge will have a release
out next year!  Just a little tidbit for other XTC fanatics.  For info,
contact Hello, PO Box 551, Palisades, NY, 10964.  It's a subscriber only
deal, but it's great value for money!


Date: Thu, 2 Dec 93 23:24:44 EST
From: (Patty Haley)
Subject: regarding stuff in #308 and then some

John says:

I still do not understand what people do not like about _The Big
Express_.  It's by far the best XTC album ever made.  Although Dave

I respectfully say:

Now, looksee here!

While I am fully aware that it's differences of opinion that make
the world go 'round, etc.  Calling "The Big Express" "by far the
best XTC album ever made" is certainly going to warrant some dissention.
So, let me be the first to dissent.  I once saw a review that said the
album should receive two grades for each side (remember vinyl, kids?):
A+/F.  And, while I feel the "F" for side two was a bit harsh, "Reign
of Blows" and "I Bought Myself a Liarbird" don't pack nearly the wallop
that "Seagulls. . ." or "Wake Up" or "All You Pretty Girls" do.  And
"This World Over" is worth the price of admission alone.  Yes, the
closing song, "Train Running Low on Soul Coal," does have its moments,
but, pun intended, as "The Big Express" went on, it began running out
of steam.  It's still a wonderful album, but if all the songs on the
record were as terrific as the first half-dozen, this would be right up
there for me alongside "Black Sea" as best XTC LP.  This has some truly
superb songs on it, but "The Big Express" isn't one of the XTC records
I reach for the most frequently.

And, it also appears that the news of Colin and Dave's day jobs is old news
according to Will's post in Chalkhills #308.  As far as Will's comment
about "no one blinking an eye" when artists change record companies and
sue their old ones" my comment is:  Oh, really!  Seems to me like more
often than not, even though changing record companies can turn out alright
in the end, the beginning and middle parts of all this can be pretty nasty:
time-consuming and expensive.  Unless, of course, Will knows a lawyer or
two able to work miracles very cheaply, in which case can he please provide
names and phone numbers? :-)

As far as XTC calling it quits, I doubt it.  Somehow it seems to me like
as long as the records keep selling, and as long as Dave and Colin would
rather make music than drive cars for a living :-), XTC will remain with
us for awhile.  I think there's just too many unwritten songs waiting to
be shared for the three of them to pack it in.  I could understand them
breaking up if they were bored with it all, but on the contrary, it seems
like the ugly business aspects are what's troubling them (and, Andy's not
too happy about his baldness, but that's another story).  I also admit I
don't think they'll break up simply because I'd go off my head if they did,
so I'm not going to worry about it in the meantime.

Also, can anyone confirm the post I saw on that
Andy has a solo effort coming out early next year, or haven't I been
reading this newsletter closely enough? :-)



Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1993 01:15:13 -0500 (EST)
From: Derek C Miner <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #308

> From: Steve Levenstein <>
> Subject: unusual XTC stuff
>    To Derek Miner, who wanted to know about any "unusual XTC" material;
> may I suggest: "The Drunken Studio Sessions" (unreleased fooling
> around by an inebriated XTC doing Hendrix & Led Zep covers),
> Saeko Suzuki's "Studio Romantic" CD from 1987 which includes Andy
> playing guitar & singing back-up vocals on a few tracks, and
> the always hilarious "Bags of Fun with Buster" by "Johnny Japes and
> his Jesticles" (really Andy & Dave with John Otway doing vocals)
> which is a 45rpm single released by "VIZ" magazine (very rare!).
>    I married a Japanese XTC fan, so we've combined our huge hoards
> of XTC stuff. Tokyo is THE place for rare XTC vinyl and strange
> 3" mini-CDs.

        Well, those sound interesting. I had heard about the "Johnny
Japes" single because its in the discography of "Chalkhills and
Children". The "Drunken Studio Sessions" sounds good too, but I wouldn't
really want the Saeko Suzuki CD.
        My problem with XTC material is that I can't find any. I have
seen a few LPs, but hardly any (ahem) imports or rare old stuff (at /any/
price). What makes me feel bad about a band like XTC (and others such as
the Beatles) is that there are a lot of rare and unusual releases out
there, but just to /hear/ them requires buying them. I really just want
to hear stuff like the Andy Partridge demos that The Little Express puts
out and the rare B-sides. Tracking them down, however, is something I
have neither the funds or time for.
        I'd like to convince Virgin that they need a /second/ Rag&Bone
type CD with extra tracks. I have a list of 30 or so oddities and
B-sides that haven't been collected. Many of them were released before
Rag and Bone Buffet.

        Derek Miner


Date: Fri, 3 Dec 93 11:18:21 EST
Subject: Aimee Mann in Atlanta

Hey Chalkhillians,

I noticed upon looking into the Creative Loafing this week that
Aimee Mann (presumably with Dave Gregory on board) will be playing
at The Point in Little Five Points here in Atlanta on Sunday, December
12. The time of shows at the Point is usually about 10 or 10:30, but
I would call to make sure. No word on the cover charge or who is
the opening band (if any).

So, if any of you live in the vicinity, it might be worth a trip down.
I will be there, I'll be the tall guy with a WREK cap on, so if you see me,
come say hi.

BTW, the other night I had to pull an all-nighter writing a term paper,
so I did an XTC marathon: I started with White Music, and made
it all the way to Skylarking by the time I was done and had to go to
school. It was a great way to keep my spirits up through the night.

Put your knuckles down,

-Markus De Shon


Date: Fri, 3 Dec 93 12:26:56 -0500
From: (Tim Connors)
Subject: Psunspot girls

A note on the whispering girls and other between-track noises
>from _Psonic Psunspot_:

While I don't have the foggiest notion what they're saying on
most of those little snippets, I should point out (for the
young ones among us) that those noises are the band's little
homage to a very trippy record called _Ogden's Nut Gone Flake_,
by the Small Faces, from 1968.  _Flake_ has goofy between-track
hijinks of a similar sort.  It also has the songs "Afterglow"
and "Lazy Sunday," among others.  You can find it on CD but if
you check the cutout bins you may find it on vinyl for .89
like I did.  Look for the round cover, it's worth more.

Anyone who has heard the Dukes but not the bands they tip their
hats to ought to check out this album, and also late Beatles,
Yardbirds, Byrds, Love (especially _Forever Changes_), Hollies,
Beach Boys (particularly _Pet Sounds_), and Kinks (the era
covered by the Kinks Kronikles collection.)

I assume most of you old-timers and music buffs know all this,
but I get the sense from some of the posts that others
could benefit from this info.

Sheesh, I sound like an old hippie.  I was only four when
_Ogden's Nut Gone Flake_ came out!

TJC     "Surprisingly tasty..."
                The Jazz Butcher ("JB v. Prime Minister")



Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1993 17:41:00 -0800 (PST)
From: Helchick <>
Subject: new/old groupie

I first heard XTC during the summer of '85, when I was working a mindless
summer job between my sophomore and junior year in college.  I was
spending eight hours a day looking at one-page surveys and circling
little numbers with a red felt-tip pen (don't ask), while sitting
elbow-to-elbow with about a dozen other students my age.  The boss, who
felt sorry for us, brought in his extra tape-deck and encouraged us to
listen to "whatever we could agree on".  After a couple of weeks, we had
settled on some favorites, including "English Settlement" and "Waxworks",
both of which I later bought for my own collection that fall, when I
returned to school.  You see, I couldn't be without them--the music had
gotten into my blood.

So, that was my introduction to XTC, and I've had a few other encounters
over the years with other people who are fans, too...but I'll save them
for later.  I found out about chalkhills by downloading a copy of the
"list-of-lists" from via anonymous ftp.

One more thing--to the person who sent a message saying he has the three
latest XTC albums, but wants to know where to go from there:  DO NOT pass
up "Mummer".  It has a couple of low spots, but it's perfect
listening for this time of year.  It was supposed to be a summer album,
but it's got a quintessential sliding-into-autumn/falling-into-winter
sound (why IS that?--or is it just me?).

Signing off,
-Maria Tomchick


Date: 03 Dec 93 10:57:41 EST
From: Kyle Skrinak <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #308

Re: John Relph
>>I still do not understand what people do not like about _The Big Express_.
>>It's by far the best XTC album ever made.

Re: Jules
>>I'd suggest Mummer or Black Sea.  If you continue backwards through the
>>catalogue you'll get to them, but you'll fell better for skipping Big
>>Express and going straight to Mummer.

These comments prompt my big hands back into action. How dare you suggest to
skip Big Express for Mummer!? In fact, I pride myself in ~not~ owning a copy
of either Mummer or White Music. I find I appreciate XTC's genius much better
without these two ~horrible~ albums.

Here's my "Kyle picks the hits" list (in order of my compulsion to listen):

 1) English Settlement.
   "Snowman" (Andy's best song ever) makes me collapse and wish I was sad
    about something...
 2) Drums and Wires
   "Scissorman" I like to dance with my dog to this one...
    Oh, alright, digression... this album was instrumental in my life. Many,
    many torrid years ago I was listening to "Complicated Game."  My THEN
    girlfriend and I were driving to finish some suburban chore, and she
    cried, "All he's doing is screaming! How could you ~like that.~" Sigh.
    I knew it was over for us.
 3) Skylarking
    Except for the last two songs (which are OK,), I like the "whole damn
 4) Dukes of Stratosphere (CD compilation of both albums)
   "Collideascope" Colin's best song ever? Could be. "Brainiak's daughter"
 5) Big Express
    John Relph: You're right on the mark about "Seagulls" and "You're The
    Wish You Are I Had." I hold my sweetie tightly to "Seagulls."
 6) Nonsuch
    Read the older listings for these comments...
 7) Go 2
    I love "Red" It was the first and last XTC song I slam danced to (ah,
 8) Explode Together
    Read the older listings for these comments...
 9) Black Sea
   "...with Optimism's Flames" "Sergeant Rock" and any Colin's songs save this
    attempt at commerciality
10) Oranges and Lemons
    %50 pain (Love Thing, President Kill, among others >:-b ), but more
    importantly, %50 PLEASURE.

Here's a question to ponder: Could you go through life with a significant
other that DOESN'T like XTC?

Re: Venverloh Jeff" <>

>> I heard Andy Partridge is hanging out in NYC. If he drops in on you,
>> tell him I said "Hi."

Where in NYC? Please, oh please, where does your friend bump into him????
(I'm an optimistic NYC resident...)

One last tangental thought: get the Fall--The Infotainment Scan. You wont be

Kyle Skrinak "Never met a flounder I didn't like"--next door neighbor


Organization: BMUG Boston
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 1993 17:29:05 EDT
Subject: The Big Express, and a big Hello

        In response to another letter John Relph wrote:
        I still do not understand what people do not like about _The Big
        Express_.  It's by far the best XTC album ever made.

Here Here! A few years ago I decided that thee is only one album ever made to
compare with the Big Express: The White Album by the Beatles. The musical
diversity of the album, and the overall musicality of the album are
phenomenal, although-you have to have a mature musicla ear to get it.

But that is why XTC is my favorite band among my favorite bands: They dont
consider their fans dummies. They include lots of interesting things in their
music: Ever here the whispering voice in "Making Plans for Nigel?" So soft,
so eerie, so big brotherish-genius. I started listening to XTC in 1982-Drums
& Wires, Black Sea and English Settlement were the first albums I was into.
Then, god bless them, they came out with consistent album after consistent
album. Mummer, Skylarking, Oranges & Lemons, Nonesuch, wow! At some point
along the way I discovered their back catalog-even better.

Someone mentioned they liked Fly on the Wall (on the CD of English
Settlement). I love that song. The guitar kicks and the fuzzed voice comes
off well. But I can see why it wasn't on the original.

That's it for today: I am writing from BMUG, but my world address is the one
on which I subscribe to
Am I allowed t do that? By the way, Im cranking Cracker right now.

-BMUG Boston 617-721-5840, East Coast BBS of The World's Largest Mac User Group


Organization: SLAIS, UBC
Date:         5 Dec 93 17:27:01 GM+5
Subject:      partridge doodles

Does anyone know where those little songs of Andy's, "Nicely Nicely
Jane" and "Susan Revolving" come from?  I have them on a mix tape and
the guy who gave it to me says he doesn't know either.  They sound
like they were recorded on a dictaphone or something at 4 in the
morning, and were ideas he never came back to.  What's the story?


Date: Mon, 6 Dec 93 17:18:52 GMT
From: (Jim Davies)
Subject: First impressions

On the Newell/ Partridge effort: The Greatest Living Englishman.

Brief: worth buying.

More XTC than Cleaners from Venus.  The title track is superb.  You'll
think that the Kinks could have been really good.  For XTC fans, it's
somewhere between English Settlement and Skylarking.  For Cleaners fans,
it's a postcard from another world.


On the Retrospective: Golden Cleaners

Brief: worth buying.

There was an album once.  It was called "Going to England" by a group
called "The Cleaners from Venus".  It was the greatest album anyone had
ever made.  It had the five greatest songs anyone had ever recorded.  It
had the best cover you will ever see.  Everyone you played it to fell in
love with it.  And, if you were lucky, they'd fall in love with you.

And did this record sell?  No.

Almost all of the tracks from "Going to England" appear on "Golden
Cleaners".  It's no substitute for the real thing: tracks from the first
and third albums break up the flow and "You Must Be Out of My Mind" is
missing.  But think of it like this.  Buy "Golden Cleaners".  Create a
demand for Martin's work.  Then maybe.  Just maybe.  You'll get to see
"Going to England" for yourself.


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