Errors-To: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
Reply-To: chalkhills@presto.ig.com
Sender: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
Precedence: bulk
From: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
To: chalkhills@presto.ig.com
Subject: Chalkhills #97


                  Chalkhills, Number 97

                   Friday, 15 June 1990
Today's Topics:
                     KFJC XTC special
                    Proving Liz wrong
                   Re:  Chalkhills #96
                  XTC CDs and Favorites
                   Why I don't love O&L
          Yeah, but what about The Big Express?
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

From: stewarte@sco.com
Subject: KFJC XTC special
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 13:18:04 PDT

John Relph lists a bunch of interesting things played on the recent
XTC special on KFJC.  Can anyone tell me where these things come from?

>    Agony Andy
>    Quicksilver
>    Pearl
	(I assume these two are demos, I've heard "Quicksilver" -- early XTC)
>    Holding the Baby
>    Train Running Low on Soul Coal (acoustic)
>    Fit of XTC: ``My Mother Called Me Andy Partridge''
>    Mayor of Simpleton (demo)
>    Across This Antheap (demo)
>    One of the Millions (demo)
>    Gangway Electric Guitar (demo)
>    Drunken XTC does Led Zep
>    This is the End (demo)

All information appreciated.

-- Stewart

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

From: stewarte@sco.com
Subject: Proving Liz wrong
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 90 16:53:32 PDT

>From: eboneste@bbn.com
>
>I think Go 2 is worth the effort; but then, I think I'm the only
>person on this list who likes White Music better than Go 2 (somebody
>prove me wrong!), so you probably don't want to listen to me.

Okay, I'm proving you wrong.  I like White Music better than Go 2.
In fact, Go 2 is probably my least favorite album.  Despite that,
I think Go 2 is worth the effort, too; but less worth the effort
than their other albums.

>I, too, am puzzled by the apparent majority's dislike of O&L.  It's
>probably because it followed a great album, Skylarking, and critics
>have a difficult time admitting that a group did two great albums in
>a row.  The usual complaint against O&L was that it was overproduced,
>and critics cite the "reverb" in the lyric to Mayor of Simpleton:
>
>        What you get is all real,
>        I can't put on an ***act***,
>        It takes brains to do that anyway...
>
>The reverb on "act" sounds fine.  It just emphasizes the sentiment of
>phoniness in putting on an act.  Clever.

Eh.  Yeah, I'm one of the critics of that particular piece of production,
and I still think it sounds like the kind of self-concious cleverness I
associate with, say, Blancmange, rather than XTC's usual wit.   However,
it's by no means my main complaint about O&L.  I have to agree with Liz'
comment that there's just too much stuff on it.  By the time it's over,
I'm tired of it, instead of thinking "what a great album".

>XTC collectors can look forward to a couple of interesting CDS this summer,
>both boasting archive recordings.  "Explode Together (The Dub Experiments
>1978-81" will include material from Andy Partridge's solo album, plus
>tracks from the "Go Plus" e.p., originally issued free with the band's
>"Go 2" album.  A second disc is likely to concentrate on general rarities,
>like the "Three Wise Men" 45, Colin Moulding solo material and hard-to-get
>'b' sides.

Yow!  Sounds nifty, but they would wait until after I'd spend $12 on the
Colonel's single before releasing it...still, I'd love to get my hands
on "Thanks for Christmas", and considering that the single was selling
for more than the price of the average import CD last time I saw it,
that disc will be a real bargain.

-- Stewart

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

From: dhgpa!dhtpa!adkoning@hvlpb.att.com
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 90 09:03 MDT
Subject: Re:  Chalkhills #96

In Chackhills #96, <Liz> answers to <Alan Perry>:
>I think Go 2 is worth the effort; but then, I think I'm the only
>person on this list who likes White Music better than Go 2 (somebody
>prove me wrong!), so you probably don't want to listen to me.

You've got company!!
I started out with XTC early 1979 with both White Music and Go 2 (Just after
the free Go+ disks where gone. I Had to buy the re-issue years later.).
I agree with you: White Music is better than Go 2.
I don't want to say that Go 2 is no good, only that it has a few lesser
songs for me (it should have stopped after "Jumping in Gomorrah" and not
include "My Weapon", "Super-Tuff" & "I am the Audience").
The rest of Go 2 is very good, I wouldn't want to miss it...

Remember, Go 2 was released 9 (nine!) months after White Music! So they:
1. Didn't have enough time to write new songs (and used leftovers)
2. Wanted to cash in on the succes of White Music (nah...)
3. Had problems with Barry Andrews (ergo "My Weapon", "Super-Tuff")
4. Were under pressure from their record company (a tour, a contract?)
Use whichever reason (you think that) applies.

But maybe <Stewart> is right:
>I think that most people will always have a soft spot for whatever album
>first turned them on to a particular favorite band.
>...
>I think this phenomenon is partly caused by sentiment and the fact that
>the first album you hear sounds fresher than the others;

And I DID buy White Music a few weeks BEFORE Go 2. So there.

-- Andre de Koning

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 90 07:43:47 CDT
From: oconnor!keaton!jtl@oddjob.uchicago.edu (Joe Lynn)
Subject: XTC CDs and Favorites

nobody@kodak.com (John White (x37690)) wrote:
> What's the story with that frigger Compact XTC which was going to be
> coming out? Is the release date known?

Nope.  I remember reading this in ICE about four months ago, but nothing
has happened yet.

Geffen Records was recently purchased by MCA:  this may be the source of
trouble.  There were supposed to be a whole bunch of CD reissues from
Siouxsie & The Banshees as well, but those seem to have been put on hold, too.

Andre de Koning asks about the extra tracks on XTC CDs:
> Who decided that these extra tracks should be between side1 and side2 ?
> (The obvious place is at the end of the CD...
> ...
> What I am trying to say is: are these meant to give a "rest", before side2
> begins? Have they actually THOUGHT about it?)

I feel that sticking the extra tracks between sides 1 and 2 was a good
move;  that way, the feeling you get at the end of the CD is the
same as what was intended on the LP.  Of course, you could say that
it ruins the continuity of the side 1/side 2 relationship, but you
could always program the extra tracks out (I usually do when I want to
listen to the 'album' version).  Then again, if the extra tracks were
on the end, you could program those out, too.  So there goes my
argument.  I just know it works for me.

Alan F. Perry <perry@devnet.la.locus.com> offers us his opinion on _O&L_:
> My Favorite XTC Album.
> ...
> Is there something wrong with me?  It seems like most people on this mailing
> list don't like "O&L" that much.  What's up?

The first XTC album I bought was _Waxworks/Beeswax_, after having seen
the video for "Senses Working Overtime" on MTV, so my first exposure
to the band was pretty wide-ranging.   The first 'real' XTC album I
bought was _Skylarking_.

I enjoyed _Skylarking_ so much that my next purchase was _Mummer_,
then the Dukes, followed by the rest of the albums.  When I first
heard "The Mayor of Simpleton" in February of '90, I was knocked out.
_O&L_ was released a few weeks later, and I was first in line at
my local record shop.  I really like the album, but I agree
with eboneste@bbn.com who says:

> Bits of it are wonderful.  Bits of it are annoying.

But there *very* few albums that I like all the way through.

The reason I gave all this background is to illustrate how I arrived
at the opinion that each XTC album has to be looked at under a different
light;  the band has undergone many changes since "Science Friction",
so I really can't compare albums like _Go 2_ to _Mummer_.

In the final analysis, _O&L_ is a pretty cool album.

Alan goes on to discuss _Go 2_:
> I wish I found the album as interesting as the cover.  Fortunately, any music
> that I listen to long enough I will eventually start to enjoy, so it just a
> matter of time.

I have to say that after multiple listenings, I still prefer _White Music_
to _Go 2_ (Hi, Liz!).  I've tried and tried, but I just can't bring
myself to enjoy this record.  *Sigh*  Maybe one more listen...

Finally, Mr. Perry on _Skylarking_:
> On my copy of "Skylarking" I managed to scratch the CD so that "That's Really
> Super, Supergirl" skips on a couple of my CD players.  It is worth it to
> buy another copy of the CD for that one song?

As pointed out, it's a matter of opinion.  If you have the Geffen version
(without "Mermaid Smiled"), you may want to replace it with the Canadian
version of _Skylarking_, which has the original album in its 'proper'
running order, and "Dear God" tacked on the end.  I swapped some CDs
with a Canadian guy from Usenet last year:  it worked out great.  I now
have four copies of _Skylarking_:  the current Geffen/US version on LP and
CD, a promotional copy of the original Geffen/US LP (no "Dear God"),
and the Canadian CD I just mentioned.

Michael Schoonover <michael@hpfcma.fc.hp.com> brought up an old issue:
> The usual complaint against O&L was that it was overproduced, and critics
> cite the "reverb" in the lyric to Mayor of Simpleton:
> ...
>	I can't put on an ***act***,

I'm not going to rehash the Chalkhills arguments of a few months ago;
I just wanted to bring it up to see what happens... ;-)

stewarte@sco.com puts things succinctly:
> I think that most people will always have a soft spot for whatever album
> first turned them on to a particular favorite band.
> ...
> I think this phenomenon is partly caused by sentiment and the fact that
> the first album you hear sounds fresher than the others

I agree completely.  I can still remember where I was and what I was
doing when I first heard "Senses Working Overtime" and _Skylarking_.
To this day, I can't listen to those tunes and not associate them
with certain memories.

There _is_ a certain 'je ne sais quoi' with XTC; they really don't sound
like any other band out there.  It's when that 'difference' hits you
for the first time that a sensor goes off in your brain that says: "Hey,
this is good!" and you make that association from that point on.

(This happens to me all the time:  other recordings that do this for
me are Duke Ellington's '57 recording of "Solitude",  Joe Jackson's
_Night and Day_, Renaissance's _A Song For All Seasons_,  and
Roxy Music's _Avalon_,  just to name a few.)

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 90 09:34:11 EDT
From: lee@quincy.cs.umass.edu (Peter Lee)
Subject: Why I don't love O&L

     Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 12:37:19 mdt
     From: Michael Schoonover      <michael@hpfcma.fc.hp.com>
     Subject: Re:  Chalkhills #95

     >Date: Thu, 7 Jun 90 12:20:59 PDT
     >From: Alan F. Perry <perry@devnet.la.locus.com>
     >Subject: Misc. Ramblings and Chalkhills #94
     >
     >Is there something wrong with me?  It seems like most people on
     >this mailing list don't like "O&L" that much.  What's up?
     >
     >alan perry

     I, too, am puzzled by the apparent majority's dislike of O&L.  It's
     probably because it followed a great album, Skylarking, and critics
     have a difficult time admitting that a group did two great albums in
     a row. ...

Actually, I think English Settlement, Mummer, and The Big Express are probably
their three best albums and they were released in sequence.  In fact, I think
that Drums and Wires and Black Sea were brilliant also.  My problem with O&L
is mainly that (a) they've tackled most of the themes before on previous
albums, usually more adeptly, and (b) I find several pieces to be much less
interesting musically than I expect from my favorite band (esp. "King For
A Day").  Despite that, it still has several songs on it that I think are
great ("Across this Antheap", "Hold Me, Daddy", "Pink Thing", "President
Kill", etc) and it IS an album by my favorite band...  I still also have
some qualms with "Skylarking", mostly because I hear the influence of
Todd Rundgren overshadowing the band to a large extent, but that album has
continued to grow on me anyway.  So, draw whatever conclusions you will, but
I certainly have no problem accepting that XTC can put out more than one
great album in a row.

Oh yeah, on the "first album is the favorite" front, I started listening to
the band when "Drums and Wires" was released and although it does hold a
dear place in my heart, it is not my favorite XTC album...

					Burning with Optimism's Flames,
							-Peter Lee

lee@cs.umass.edu or
fuligin@umass.bitnet

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 90 10:14:02 EDT
From: nobody@kodak.com (John White (x37690))
Subject: Yeah, but what about The Big Express?

	One of the things I like most about XTC is the volume and
variety of material they have. You can make yourself sick of one album
by having it glued to your turntable a bit too long and then wake up
the next day and pull out one that you don't listen to m uch and
rediscover them. Most of the albums have their own sound. I'm sure
that having a different producer each time doesn't hurt.

	The album I make myself sick of most often is English
Settlement. The album that pulls me out of XTC-O.D. most often is The
Big Express. This was the second album I owned by them (after Black
Sea) and at the time I didn't like it. I bought it for This Wo rld
Over, but the rest of the album was so complex and had such heavy
rhythm that I was put off. As a result, I wrote it off until after I
had English Settlement, Skylarking, and Drums and Wires.

	By this time I was becoming a slavering lunatic for their
music (sound familiar?) I got D&W and said, "Yuck." Going back in time
to find more good stuff seemed a mistake, so I decided to fill in the
gaps. I already had The Big Express, so I started there . I figured
now that I understood the context it fit into, I'd know what to expect
from it. Wrongo! It was every bit as shocking and different as the day
I got it.

	Coming on the coattails of their two biggest albums, I figured
they knew what they were doing, so this time I wasn't put off by the
shock. The songs are all so strong that they stand by themselves
better than they mix together. It's the lyrics that got m e to love
the songs. Seagulls Screaming (Kiss Her, Kiss Her) has good word-play.
The Everyday Story of Smalltown has a quiet, peaceful story under a
bouncing song that hardly matches the sentiment. If you still don't
like that album, read the lyrics as yo u listen.

	Thanks, (whew), I just had to get that off my chest,
		John White (white@serum.kodak.com)

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

For all administrative issues, such as change of address,
withdrawal from the list, discography requests (last
update 3 June), back issues, etc., send a message to
the following address:

	<chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org>

Any and all views expressed in Chalkhills are those of
the individual contributors only.

Go back to the previous page.