Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #314

                  Chalkhills, Number 314

               Wednesday, 22 December 1993
Today's Topics:
                        Mail Call!
                        Andy's EP
                    My two cents......
                Introduction to Chalkhills
              Garden of Earthly Delights II
                   re: last line quotes
                   Re: Chalkhills #312
                 Rampant fig kills 10...
                  holiday shopping tunes
                   settlement selexions

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 93 11:49:49 PST
From: "John Relph" <>
Subject: Mail Call! tapped his two fingers thusly:
>I've been an XTC fan since "Drums and Wires," and Andy Partridge is the only
>musician I've stood in line for an autograph from.

Let's see.  I've stood in line for autographs from Lene Lovich
(because my roommate HAD to go), They Might Be Giants, Andy Partridge,
and Dave Gregory.  Not bad, 50% XTC.

J Ross MacKay <> pops his quiz:
>OK kids, it's the "Relph's Last Line Pop Quiz" time!

I suppose I can't enter.  Oh well.  Many of these last lines were
topical at the time.  I think one or two were quotes from interviews,
but I may be wrong.

        -- John


Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1993 16:14:21 -0600 (CST)
From: "Wade J. Campbell" <>
Subject: Andy's EP

I dug through my mail and came up with a release from Hello CD of the
Month Club.  I've never heard of them, but the service sounds
interesting.  Evidently someone pulls some stings and they release solo
work to club members.

Coming this year is Andy Pargridge, John Linnell of They Might Be Giants,
Mac from Superchunk, and the Minus Five(Peter Buck from REM, Tom and
Jerry of NRBQ).

I don't work for this company or know anyone who does, but it sounds
fun.  Last year was the first year(according to the mailing) and they
released special disks from Frank Black, the Residents, Eugene Chadbourne.

The cost is $45 for 12(?) disks. 1-800-HELLO-41.
A sampler disk is available, Jim Richmond (201)795-9424.
These are exclusive recordings for Hello CD of the Month Club.


Date: Mon, 20 Dec 93 16:37:54 MST
From: (James Robert Campbell)
Subject: My two cents......

Been looking on of late and thought I'd throw in my
two cents about some of the albums.

Black Sea- Definitely the most brash album.  Not as clever
         as other albums but much more straight-forward.
         Personally its my second fav.

English Settlement- Alot of good songs.  Not great ones but good
         ones.  The most consistent XTC album.  It has some
         spectacular moments but sometimes it gets sort of dull.

Mummer- Underrated.  It isn't superb my any means but knowing what the
         group went through to make it, it doesn't rub me the wrong way.

A quick sidenote here.  As we are now just over half way through our
three year wait for a new album, I believe that albums like Mummer
should be more appreciated.  Since I am more or less a quantity not
quality XTC fan (going under the assumption that any XTC music is
better quality than most of the trash out today), I can look at Mummer
and think 'hey at least they were making albums with regular occurence'.

The Big Express- While I can undertand the fuss of late involving this
         album, to me its simply adequete.  Some highlights and some
         lowlights.  Its most important feature is simply how some
         of the songs ('Your The Wish..', 'I Bought Myself...' and
         especially 'The Everyday Story of Smalltown') really seem to
         foreshadow the happenings on the next album.  Anyone else think

Skylarking- To me the best album musically.  However, I do agree with
         Dave Gregory that the instruments sound terrible.  Too many
         great songs here to not love, though.

Oranges And Lemons- My first and my favorite.  'Mayor of Simpleton' is
         the greatest XTC song in the catalogue.  Also, Paul Fox is my
         favorite XTC producer.  This album (and many of his others)
         sound damn good all the way around.

Nonsuch- As the 'new album' effects have worn off on this one, I now
         think that it is simply adequete.  Similar to TBE.  However,
         I do believe that there are some hidden treasures on this disc
         unlike TBE that you have to dig for to find.

O.K my two cents turned into $1.50, but its nice to have posted for the
first time in a few months.  As for now, back into hiding!

Merry X(TC)-mas to all Chalkhillians and may the new year bring a Little
Express to our doorways soon, and a new album in the near future!!!!!



Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1993 19:05:43 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jason C. Langley" <>
Subject: Introduction to Chalkhills


I've just been added to Chalkhills.

First an introduction: I've been a fan of XTC since around  1983 when I
discovered _Drums and Wires_, _Black Sea_, and the _English Settlement_
(US)  album.  I'm not sure which one I heard first, although it might
have heen _English Settlement_.  I later picked up White Music and G02.
along with the others at a used record store.  Since then XTC has proven
to be one of the few recording artists that I anticipate each new release
with great enthusiasm, and I've been rarely disappointed.  I have a large
appetite for new music and discovering older music (quite expensive with
the deluge of cd re-releases in the past five years).  Outside of XTC
here's some favoritess: Byrds, Kinks, Monkees, Nick Drake, Brian Eno, Gram
Parsons, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson, Big Star, Feelies, Mission of
Burma, Scrawl, Wire, and Yo La Tengo to name a few.

How did I find out about Chalkhills?  I joined the Little Express earlier
this year (why I didn't join earlier I'll never know) and saw a letter
>from John Relph about the XTC Nonsvch Album Release Party with e-mail
names of people who attended (strangely no mention of Chalkhills).  I sent
an e-mail to them and received a reply from Dennis Higenberg and Jon Drukman suggesting I try

_Mummer_:  As strong as _English Settlement_ (not to mention _Drums And
Wires_ and _Black Sea_) was, I  was hardly let down by "Mummer".
As a matter of fact I remember reading a review at the time likening the
"English Settlement" to "Mummer" progression to the Beatles "Revolver" to
"Sgt. Pepper" progression (what ever that means!).  I still thoroughly enjoy
"Mummer", I think the lp holds up well with the others, not to mention the
cd version with bonus tracks (yes even the instrumentals).  By the way Steve
Nye who has production credits for "Mummer" is a member of the Penguin Cafe
Orchestra.  Penguin Cafe Orchestra creates a charming sort of chamber
new-age vibe (in a Brian Eno sense).  The music is arranged for piano,
harmonium, cello, viola, ukelele, violin, guitar, etc.  As an intoduction I
would highly recommend  "when in rome..." recorded live at the Royal
Festival Hall, EG records 1988.

Bonus Tracks: Considering that "White Music", "Go 2", "Drums and Wires",
"Black Sea" and "Mummer", and "Rag & Bone Buffet" were not originally
available domestically on CD, having to shell out over 20$ (how was I to
know Geffen would release them for half the cost each) I greatly
appreciated the inclusion of bonus tracks and goodies (even if most of them
were found elsewhere).  I think "White Music" benefits greatly from the
bonus tracks (especially Science Friction, She's so Square, and Hang on to
the Night).  I'm still fuming about Life begins at the Hop being left off
of the Virgin "Drums and Wires " CD (I've since bought the Geffen CD also)
that I find it hard to get excited about the bonus tracks.  I think the
bonus tracks fit in nicely on "Black Sea" and "Mummer", but agree that the
"Big Express" bonus tracks are a bit of an interuption.  I'm surprised
"Heaven is paved with broken glass" and "Tissue Tigers" had to wait for
_Rag & Bone_ they are both excellent.

Quantity vs Quality:  The comment that _Oranges & Lemons_ and _Nonsvch_
could have used some editing, I would argue that _English Settlement_
(which many regard along with _Skylarking_ as XTC's best) has songs
that while being enjoyable are in the same category as _O & L_ and
_Nonesvch_ lesser tracks, "Leisure", "Knuckle Down", "Fly on the Wall", and
"Down in the Cockpit".  However I wouldn't mind if "Cynical Days" and
"Smartest Monkeys" were not included, the lyrics are a tad bit to obvious.
 I'm also surprised with some of the comments on _Nonsvch_.  Andy's songs:
"The ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead", "Dear Madam Barnum"(clever), "The
Difappointed", "Holly up on Poppy"(charming, my four year old loves this
one), "Rook", "Then she appeared", and "Wrapped in Grey" are worthy
additions to the Partridge canon; Colin: "Bird Performs" is excellent.
I'm glad the Little Express released _The Bull with the golden guts_, my
four year old also loves "goosey goosey".  Speaking of the Little Express
how are the other releases?  Is anyone willing to dub _Window Box_ or _Jules
Verne_ for me?  Quantity vs. Quality in XTC's case I'll take both.

Videos: A few years ago I bought a "XTC - STUDIOS SONGS 1-11" video.  On it
are videos for this is pop, statue of liberty, are you receiving me?, life
begins at the hop, making plans for nigel, towers of london, repectable
street, generals and majors, all of a sudden (it's too late), ball and
chain, and senses working overtime.  At the beginning there is a Virgin
Video logo, but suspiciously no mention of Virgin on the tape case or
tape.  Does anybody know if there is a second tape for the newer stuff?

Martin Newell:  I picked it up last week, and recommend it also.  Besides
XTC and the Dukes, I detect the Soft Boys not to mention some of the
circa '66-'67 references previously mentioned.

That is all!

     Jason C. Langley                  (508) 370-1522
     Member of Technical Staff         (508) 370-3211 Fax
     NYNEX Science & Technology
     350 Cochituate Road Room 206
     Framingham, MA 01701


Date: Mon, 20 Dec 93 23:34:58 EST
From: (the dark saxophone)
Organization: fegmaniax anonymous
Subject: wfmu

Kyle Skrinak <> sez:
>One of the best radio stations ever to exist, WFMU, out of Upsala College, E.
>Orange NJ, has a catalog out of various stuff. Within you'll find various
>rare XTC and Partridge releases that I haven't seen elsewhere.

i just paged through said catalog (it's been buried on my desk for the
past month or so) and the only xtc entry was the ernest noyes brookings
disc with the xtc tune on it. the _golden cleaners_ disc is available
for $21 as an import and martin newell's _greatest living englishman_
is listed for $15 domestic.

wfmu does seem to have some strange relationship with xtc though. wfmu
was the first place that i heard any of the demos for _nonsvch_ (on the
order of half a year before the albumcame out, as i recall). rumor has
it that the demos were delivered to the station by andy himself, though
i believe that some record company intermediary performed the actual
transaction. wfmu also had one of the first interviews with andy about
the new album, wherein the demo of "rook" was played with andy's
permission (i believe that john relph transcribed this interview for me
a while back and is in the archives somewhere - if memory serves, it
was in june of last year).



Date: 20 Dec 93 23:49:17 EST
From: Dave Franson <>
Subject: Garden of Earthly Delights II

The Garden of Earthly Delights Part II, or Mummer, Mummer, Mummer...

Proposition I:  Does the first XTC album one hears more often than not
become one's favorite XTC album?

Proposition II:  Does the sequence in which one becomes acquainted with
XTC albums determine one's favorites and less-than-favorites?

As we near the close of 1993 with the future of XTC in doubt, it may be
interesting to reflect back on early 1983, when similar fears were loose in
the land.

"English Settlement" had come and gone in early '82.  The band's
unwillingness to tour was clearly known.  January, February, and March '83
came and went and no signs of a new XTC album.  Ah, but they had been so
dependable!!  Good for an album every 13 months or so, if not sooner!!

I had better things to do that keep up with all the latest music rags, so
the first sign I had of XTC's continued existence was in April, when the 12"
U.K. pressing of "Great Fire," "Gold," and two more contributions to the
Homo Safari series surfaced.  "Great Fire"-- great tune, but what's with the
production?  What happened to the Lillywhite/Padgham lineage?  "Gold"--
dismissable.  And the two new Homo Safari pieces were nice to a fan of Mr.
Partridge's "The Lure of Salvage," but hardly an indicator that songwriting
was a brewin'.  What's with all that brass??

June brought the "Wonderland" 7-incher into my hot little hands.  Great
tune, a Moulding winner, signal ad: commerciality, somethin's a happenin'.
"Jump," the b-side, weren't no slouch, either.  (Of course, one couldn't
fully enjoy it due to the Van Halen hit of the same name abusing the airwaves
at the time.)  Two singles in three months-- surely an album was imminent!

The October, 1983 "Trouser Press," which hit the newstands in August,
promised much with its cover blurb: "XTC-- Alive and well."  "Oboy," I
thought... "my Gods are preparing a new platter of ear candy."
Unfortunately, I read the article only to find that "Mummer" was complete
but in danger of never being released.  The article quoted Andy saying that
the future of the album hinged on the success of the "Wonderland" single,
"Great Fire" having gone nowhere.  All I knew beyond that was that the only
place I was hearing "Wonderland" was on my stereo!

Ecstasy, XTC, ecstasy, XTC... less than a month later, the U.K. import of
"Mummer" fell into my hands (well, they did insist that I pay for it).  Like
a rocket from a bottle shot free!  Complete with the Virgin-rejected sleeve
art inside.  (Check it out-- it's in the archives as mummer.gif.)  This was a
singular moment in my career as an XTC fanatic.  Never had I anticipated an
album as much, nor do I think I ever will.  September was upon us, the
semester had just begun, and I had just the mindcandy I needed.  This was
also the last XTC album I bought B.C., i.e. before computers, before the
deadly bug of bits and bytes and parallel and serial and assembly and
disassembly and motherboards and daughterboards and blitters and bobs and
sprites and CPUs and BASIC and PASCAL and C, oh my!  Before my
conciousness was sped up, never again to slow down, and my reverance for the
digital future began.

So you see, Mummer just has to be my favorite XTC album.  It's that ol'
innocence lost thang.  When I ponder the big question of whether it might
really be "The Big Express," "Black Sea," or "Drums & Wires," I have to
remember which XTC CD I shelled out $20.00 for before the Geffen reissues,
the first CD I ever bought to "update my vinyl"-- Mummer.

--Dave (obviously, with Language In His Lungs)



From: J Ross MacKay <>
Subject: re: last line quotes
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 93 7:28:36 EST (Patty Haley) says:
>Yep, I've been enjoying reading the last line quotes, but tell me,
>is J. Ross going to identify them all for me?

Who me?  I'll compile all the returned answers, squeeze them into a bell
curve, and flunk anyone below 3 sigma.  Just like a *real* teacher would.
Only King Relph knows ALL the sources.  But I suspect that half of them
came from old Kinks or Beatles tunes anyways.  I just wonder how that guy
sleeps at night with that GANGWAY guitar tune bouncing around in his head
all the time;-)


Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1993 09:45:35 -0500 (EST)
From: Bryan Askew <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #312

Okay folks:

I've read mention of The Cleaners, and The Cleaners from Venus...but I
don't know who The Cleaners are/were.  Could someone clue me in?

A band one of XTC's members was/is in?  A band one of XTC's members has

Bryan Askew
Department of Client Services
Computing and Information Systems
University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Date: 21 Dec 93 09:25:47 EST
From: Kyle Skrinak <>
Subject: Rampant fig kills 10...

Oh boy, bombs away on me for a recent mistake of mine. I said that Colin's
attempt at using jazz influences were less successful. Whoops! "Blame the
Weather" "I Remeber the Sun" are among my favorites. However, his ~recent~
attempts have been less successful. Please be kind to me for this one...


Date: Tue, 21 Dec 93 13:19:24 EST
From: (Mark Glickman)
Subject: holiday shopping tunes

A few weekends ago when I was shopping at the Livingston Mall
in NJ, I went into Chess King to look at some clothes.  All of
a sudden, I notice they have "Thanks for Christmas" playing
over the PA in the store!  I was astonished!  I went up to the
cashier and asked who chose to put that on the tape, and they
said that Chess King's central office sends the tape to their stores.

So someone in their central office must know something about XTC...

         - Mark


Date: Tue, 21 Dec 93 17:40:27 EST
Subject: Introduction

My name is Bob DeGrande and I discovered XTC pretty much by accident.  I
might have heard "Making Plans for Nigel" a few times on the radio, when I
discovered that XTC was playing at a local club a few blocks from where I
lived.  I went, loved the show (this was around the time of Drums and Wires),
taped the following night off of the radio,  and have followed them since.  I
thought they were a great live act (Mr. Partridge obviously disagrees).  I am
mostly interested in live music, but continued to buy the albums, and my wife
got very interested in XTC around the time of Oranges and Lemons, eventually
working her way back to the earlier stuff.

Forgive me if there are any breaches of Internet etiquette here - I'm new at
this stuff.  I'm curious as to what sort of mail I will get and anxiously
await America Online's implementing FTP so that I can look at the archives.


Date: Wed, 22 Dec 93 9:11:08 EST
From: Jeff Rosedale <>
Subject: settlement selexions

As "one of those millions" who feel that English Settlement represents
XTC's crowning achievement to date, here come my two cents again, this
time about which tracks off that album are my favorites (thank god I
don't have to pick just one!).

        Where to begin?  You could easily start with "Runaways"-
although much of the reason I like it is because it introduces you to
the ambient sound of the whole "album".  Surprising how bad this song
sounds on all my live tapes...

        Another great beginning, that silvery sound, is on Snowman.
For a while the philosophy of my entire life was "people will always be
tempted to wipe their feet/on anything with Welcome written on it"...

        And I really love "All of the Sudden".  The song actually
sounds hollow.  It's near perfection in the songwriting, and it's my
favorite XTC video as well (not much talk on this list about videos-
what's your favorite???).

        Fly on the Wall is a great track.  For terrific contrast in
style, think about the fact that English Roundabout (XTC meets the
English Beat without Saxaphones), No Thugs in Our House (Great
destruction song, XTC's Won't be fooled again), and It's Nearly Africa
(and it nearly is) are all pulled into one comprehensive work.

        And yes, Yacht Dance is a killer as well.  All right, I like
the entire damn album!  I think Dave should play Rickenbacker (sp?) 12
string all the time.  It sends shivers up my spine.  Also Andy on
(semi-) acoustic simply kicks ass.  There is no polite or sublte way to
express this.

                                Stop this record!           --Jeff


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