Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-120

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 120

                  Wednesday, 5 June 1996

Today's Topics:

                rethinking The Big Express
            Chalkhills' Children Tape Details
                 More production comments
                     Female Producers
                       Blyth Power
                    Re: Tribute Albums
                Poundcake Compared to XTC
                Been a while in lurk-land
                    Kevin Gilbert/TBE
                     RE: Colin, Belew
                 Me, Colin, Curt & Roland
       Re: The world is full of angry young men....
                 When Coney was the World
                         Big Day?
                       CDNow tidbit
                How about this for a poll?
              Bassists, producers, tributes


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Things got more and more absurd.


Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 19:51:25 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Subject: rethinking The Big Express

> I used to hate the Big Express too, but now I love it.  It's an even
> better concept album than Skylarking IMO.  Does anyone else have that
> hatred turned to adoration syndrome?  Our great leader John Relph is
> absolutely right about spending time every day listening to something you
> hate.  Maybe this means I'll eventually love those Barry Andrews ditties
> on Go 2.  Nah, I doubt it.

Yes, I suffer from the syndrome - in fact, concerning the same album!  I
want to make a public thank you to all you Chalkhillians for forcing me to
"rediscover" The Big Express.  I was already an entrenched XTC fan when TBE
came out, but for some reason it rubbed me the wrong way.  Our Lads were
changing quite a bit from album to album in those days and while I loved
Mummer when it came out, in spite of the "pastoral" motif, for some reason
I couldn't stomach TBE.  But the combination of seeing so many TBE songs on
Testimonial Dinner with reading so many "testimonals" here made me think I
had it wrong concerning TBE.  Yep, I sure did.  It is also probably true
that I can now compare TBE with pop albums in general instead of the
considerable higher standard of XTC albums!  Anyhow, it's a great album
through and through.  So go back and give a listen to that Swindon Beatles
album you gave up on before.

BTW - how can you *not* like Super-Tuff?



Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 16:48:22 -0700
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Chalkhills' Children Tape Details

CHALKHILLS' CHILDRENS TAPE 1996  (A long posting!  Scan for relevant headings.)

The song list (which will inevitably change) will be sent to Chalkhills soon.

To the guy from the recording studio that offered to dub the copies, please
contact me immediately at the email address below.  I lost all my email
address in a tragic system upgrade!  Thanks.


Tapes can be in Analog Compact Cassette, 7.5 or 15 ips 2 track Reel-to-Reel
or Digital Audio Tape format in stereo or mono.  DAT is preferred, R2R,
indicate if you have used DOLBY B or C Noise Reduction.  I essentially have
no access to DBX or other noise reduction equipment.

The head of the tape should contain a reference tone five to twenty seconds
in length.  Longer is fine, shorter is not.  For Analog Tape: ZERO VU tone
For Digital Tape: -12db tone

If this tone is not provided, I cannot ensure the BEST possible sound
transfer.  It'll be good, just not perfect.  Then again, if you're
recording on an old Dictaphone machine with the air conditioner running, it
is quite likely pointless.


If you miss out on contributing to the tribute tape this time around, roll
with it.  If this turns out to be a positive experience for me, there will
be more.  I have truly been inspired by the enthusiasm!  I'll be interested
in doing another as long as this doesn't turn out to be a poison

Master tapes should be sent to me during the month of July.  That's after
June 30 and before August 1!  No tapes will be included if space on the
tape has not been previously secured.  I REPEAT!  IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY
exclusively for my dining and dancing pleasure)!  Tapes arriving after July
31 will have to wait until the next tape.  If there will be no next tape,
they will not be returned.  I will dine and dance along.


If you are interested in ordering an analog compact cassette (this is a
standard music "cassette") copy of the tape, submit your order to the
U.S. Mail address below with the shipping address, number of copies AFTER
AUGUST 1 and BEFORE AUGUST 17 and the check.  The price and "Payable to..."
will be posted on Chalkhills or email me directly (AFTER AUGUST 1) for the
details with the following subject line:


If you must snail mail me for the price include a SASE.


I will not produce DAT or CD copies.


THIS IS A ONE TIME OFFER!  Hey, if this turns out to be a regular routine,
I might be inclined to reissue some...  WHAT THE HELL AM I THINKING?!  THIS
IS A ONE TIME OFFER!  If you decide you want a copy in September, get
someone to dub a cassette for you.  I'm not trying to be nasty (I know, I
know... it comes naturally) but I am not equipped to be a dubbing house,
nor a warehouse.  Order an extra tape... MAKES A GREAT GIFT FOR THAT


My acoustic address:  (hee, hee, hee... I like that... acoustic!  I crack
myself up sometimes!)
Audio Syncrasies
3389 Creighton Place
Santa Clara, CA, USA  95051-1501

My electric address:


I need a "central" (between San Francisco and San Jose) location to have a
tape release party.  The only place that I have found that will allow a
sound systems brought in is Barley & Hopps Brewpub in San Mateo.  The room
may cost some money so, logistically, this could be a mess but we'd have it
to ourselves.  If any of you NorCals have a public location that would
allow us to hook a DAT player into their sound system and play two hours
worth of alien sounds (for most), then chirp!  I would guess maybe 20 to 30
people but this may get slashed because the party would be on a weeknight.

The tape release party would be mid- to late-August.  Picture this if you
can...  introductions and small talk, a brief announcement and ... the tape
rolls.  The crowd goes silent and patiently listens to two hours of music.
XTC never had it this quiet!  What business wants this scene?!  It may not
go this way but trying to picture it, cracks me up!

Also, if you live in an apartment building that has one of those Recreation
Center-kind of rooms, that could work just fine.  I can probably scrounge
up a PA system.  Email me directly if you have thoughts, ideas or visions.

Cheers, Richard

p.s.  Cancel the request for visions.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Simon Knight" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 10:54:08 +0000
Subject: More production comments

>As long as we're really tossing ideas around, can you imagine the
>results with Kate Bush?

>ICE reports that Kate has one song on a Celtic album coming out this
>year and *nothing* at all scheduled for next year.  I guess she
>likes her time off.  She also now composes her songs in her studio
>and look how long it takes for her to do an album of her own stuff.

Actually, Kate has a new single due out next week, with a new album
to follow in a month or so.  Her albums are seem to be now spaced
about 2 1/2 years apart, and if i'm not mistaken that's shorter than
the gaps between the last three XTC albums and only six months longer
than the gaps between They Might Be Giants albums!  And who says Kate
spends that entire time recording?  Believe it or not, some people
like to have lives in between the recording slog of each album to
spend with their family, which is why i think, like Andy, she refuses
to tour.

It was just a suggestion anyway.  I mean, someone suggested Prince,
which i think is an extreme and frankly bizarre pairing, but i still
would like to hear the results.

I just thought it was interesting that no female producer was named
in the poll.  I mean, is Rook such a stretch from the material on
Jane Siberry's excellent last album, Maria?  And as for variety,
check out her work on the preceeding album, When i was a boy.  I
noticed in EVERY review i read of that album the production "by Brian
Eno" was applauded for it's inventiveness and excellence.

Brian co-produced the first track with Miss Siberry.  The rest was
all her own work.  Do i smell sexism at work here?

>I've noticed no-one has suggested that XTC produce themselves.  Do
>people think the guys need a strong hand in the studio?  Their production
>work for other people shows they have the capability to do it themselves.

>Sure they could do it.  All they have to do is avoid the "three
>headed monster" problem.  It's just easier to have a "producer".

So it becomes a four-headed monster?  Given XTC's constant producer
problems i think they should just bite the bullet and do it
themselves.  At least they only have themselves to blame if things go
wrong, and it would make a nice change from the constant
"buck-passing" that seems to go on in these discussions.

Have you noticed whatever someone likes about an album is because of
the artist?  Conversely, whatever someone hates is always the fault
of the producer?

>Remember back when the boys suffered a bit of a slump with "Mummer" and
>"Big Express"?

That's a slump???  The wild and sassy "Big express" with it's offbeat
inventiveness and unusual arrangements beats the cold restraint of
"Nonsuch" hands down, IMHO.  (Though ask me a week from now and my
opinion will probably be reversed.  It's the problem with XTC, you
keep falling in love with each album over and over again).

But how i wish my songwriting slumps could lead to songs like
"Ladybird", "Funk pop a roll" and "In loving memory of a name"!


Message-Id: <>
From: "Simon Knight" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 11:54:41 +0000
Subject: Female Producers

Whoops!  Just remembered someone suggested Joni Mitchell as a
producer.  Still, one woman out of twenty-something men is not that

Though i'm sure some wag will suggest Mary Margaret O'Hara.  ;^)
And no, not Mr Eno in a dress either!

Just one other thing:

>Derek, not to sound like the snide insider, but I don't know if
>you've heard any of Andy's new stuff.  If not, never fear . . the
>quality of this stuff is probably his best ever (IMHO) and continues
>the progression that makes XTC one of the few bands to still follow.
>Amazing, melodic, mature and narcotic . . this should cement, once
>and for all, how brilliant he really is (as if that were in doubt.)

There's no way of saying this without sounding like a snide insider!
You lucky &^*&*&$&(#@!  :-(


From: 7IHd <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Blyth Power
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 03:43:41 +0100 (BST)

Hi all,

I've just received, for a friend in the US, an advance copy of the new
Blyth Power CD "Out From Under The King" (Downwarde Spiral Records
DR004CD, 1996), on which is a track called "Battle Of Nations" which has
just given me a near-religious experience which I feel the need to share.

And what was this? Well, in the fade from the song (which was the 10th
out of 11 tracks, none of which had smitten me much until this point),
the following immortal words are uttered: "1,2,3,4,5 Senses Working

Well I was impressed. :-)
 |_)|_ *|
 |  | )||


Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 23:08:37 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: Joshua Hall-Bachner <>
Subject: Re: Tribute Albums

>Analyzing the concept from a record company viewpoint made me conclude that
>the function of a (commercially released) pop or rock tribute album is not
>so much for fans of the celebrated artist but fans of the contributors,
>i.e. Testimonial Dinner is ideally not for XTC fans but for fans of
>F. Johnston, Ruben Blades, Joe Jackson, etc.

I concluded that long ago. Why? Because most covers reflect the style of the
coverer *much* more than the style of the coveree. Take, say, Toad The Wet
Sprocket's cover of "Rock And Roll All Night" (from Kiss My Ass) which turns
the song into, of all things, a happy acoustic campfire song...or Marilyn
Manson's "Sweet Dreams"...
/----------------------------Joshua Hall-Bachner----------------------------\
|    |
| "I spend too much time raiding windmills. We go side by side, laugh until |
\-------it's right." Toad The Wet Sprocket, "Windmills"---------------------/


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon,  3 Jun 1996 23:11:26, -0500
Subject: Poundcake Compared to XTC

Greetings, Chalkaholics!

After a year or so of lurking enjoyment, I hope my first post to the
list is of interest. Last Friday, in the Asbury Park Press, Pop Music
columnist Kelly-Jane Cotter described a new band called Poundcake as
" hints of XTC, circa 'Skylarking', but without the psychedelia".
Sounds like Ms. Cotter might not be that knowledgeable about XTC, but
her comparison does make Poundcake a band to look and listen for. She
doesn't mention anything about available recordings, but does mention
that guitarist Clayton Scoble has done session work with Aimee Mann.
IMHO, they may be worth a listen. Hey, in these days of slim pickings,
 you gotta take it where you can get it.



Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 16:05:37 -0500 (CDT)
From: Kim E Williams <>
Subject: Been a while in lurk-land
Message-ID: <>

Hi, Folks!
I've had a friend ask me why I haven't posted to the list lately, so I
thought I'd just write in and add my thanks to Mitch Friedman and Yazbek
for keeping us informed about the contract negotiations and the wonderful
news of XTC finally getting free from an unbearable situation.

I do have a small gripe about some of the other posts, though.  This is
only my opinion and hopefully will be taken as such...a few months ago we
had a problem about the top ten list of everyone's favorite XTC albums.  I
have the feeling this thread about Colin's songwriting ability is turning
into another one of those.  I agree that Andy's songwriting tends to
overshadow Colin's, but let's just agree that Colin's songs definitely
compliment Andy's and that he deserves as much recognition and be done with

Thanks for letting me air that out.


Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 14:38:36 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: Scott Kennedy <>

I was happy to hear Simon mention Prefab Sprout as a pop music force, and I
hope all chalkhillians have gotten a chance to check out some of  Paddy
McAloon's tunes. I know that Thomas Dolby produced a lot of Prefab Sprout,
which is funny because I understand him to be a big XTC fan... I think he
actually asked Andy to join the band as a keyboard playe but was rejected.
Maybe Dolby would be a good collaborator/producer for the next album?


Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 17:08:30 -0500
Message-Id: <>
From: (Christopher Kasic)
Subject: Kevin Gilbert/TBE


     In case it hasn't been repeated here (and I've missed it in the
     digests somewhere), Kevin Gilbert, of Toy Matinee died on the 17th of
     May. The web page I checked out
     ( says death at latest
     report was "accidental asphyxiation". As an admirer of Toy Matinee
     (and 3rd Matinee), it's sad indeed to hear it.

     XTC content:

     As some chalksters do, I began backfilling my XTC collection. I
     finally bought The Big Express yesterday, Working backwards
     (Everything from Skylarking to Nonsuch) Altho I usually tire of more
     than two or three offerings from any one band (guess that doesn't make
     me a fan), I am proud to announce--Most excellent! Black Sea is next.
     The fave? Washaway. But I like Omnibus too, so that figures.(smirk)



Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 18:19:00 -0500
From: Dik LeDoux <dik@ICON-INC.NET>
Subject: RE: Colin, Belew

More about Colin Moulding and his bass playing.  The greatest player is
not always the best musician.  While CM may not be flashy, the parts he
comes up with are just RIGHT.  Probably comes from the fact that he
writes as well as plays.  Check out "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul"
 - where the bass and drums completely miss each other for specific
sections and then come together to make the choruses cruise along.  Or
better yet - just try to play "Mayor of Simpleton" - worth the effort for
any bassist.

Thomas Long  mentioned Adrian Belew as a producer - YEEAAAHHH.  That'd be
interesting.  Belews sound-trick-bag mixed in with the ever atmospheric
XTC would give them all a kick.

Dik \:)


Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 18:57:15 +0200 (MES)
From: Klaus Bergmaier <>
Subject: Me, Colin, Curt & Roland
Message-Id: <>

Hi again!
After a long break and someone mentioning me on Chalkhills, here I am. I
did not post for some four or five weeks, because I finished my Masters
in musicology and communications at the University of Vienna / Austria. I
feel great.
My statement about being the only Austrian acquainted to the Swindonians
is not really true, there are ten or twelve other people in this 8
millions state that do know about XTC being something more important than
just a drug or an energy drink, but I feel 80 % of them were turned to
this great band via my struggle. I can say that I am the die-hardest fan
in Austria (any other opinions?).
What I liked most about the last few editions is your praising CM. I can
subscribe to this, totally. I even dare saying that I prefer his songs to
Andy's. Actually Bungalow is great, the line "Standing prime position..."
drives me to tears everytime I hear it (not too often, because I got 3500
other CDs, too). But there are even better songs IMHO like Smartest
Monkeys, I Remember the Sun, Cynical Days, Day In Day Out, Sacrificial
Bonfire, Dying, World Is Full... and many others. He is the most gifted
songwriter I know (and I know loads of them) besides being a truly great
bass player.
I am still sad about not being allowed to do one of Mr. Moulding's tunes
for the tribute tape.
BTW right from the very start it was clear that Curt & Roland are TFF;
maybe they are included just for some inspiration or maybe really for
lending some equipment??? Maybe someone definitely knows.
Best wishes to all of you and I'm very thankful for not being the only
person on this planet who knows about XTC (I almost thought so before
starting to surf the net!)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 04 Jun 1996 22:46:30 -0700
From: "Charles Lee Lovingood, Jr." <>
Subject: Re: The world is full of angry young men....

Greetings, Chalkhillians!
          Just got digest #116, and thought I should respond to the
  responses I got from my last posting"Who Cares!" I'll try to keep this
  one considerably shorter.
          First, my apologies to those of you who took offense at the
  things I said. It may be hard to believe, but my malice wasn't aimed at
  any of you or the group as a whole. If not for you guys, (and girls), I
  wouldn't have the chance to vent my frustrations on occasion.
          dgershmn wrote that I was being a bit high and mighty in
 relating a rather personal tale for you all. Again, sorry if that is how
it was read. I was trying to illustrate the effect an artist,
particularly XTC whom I love no less than anyone on this list, could have
on a persons life. I suppose I could have been a bit more anonymous and
given you a fabricated tale, but I didn't think that was the thing to do
in this forum.I thought a bit less anonymity would be better. I mean, now
 everyone who read that post knows not only who I am, but where I grew
 up, my background, where I live, what I do and that I am married with a
child, and that was just my second post! What do I know about most of
you? Well, lets see, you like XTC! If being personal is high and mighty,
I stand accused. As for the simple country girl, I am certain she is
better off. I feel as though I am too.
   Quickly, on the question "Do you not want other people to hear their
music"? I think, the people who need XTC will find them. I did, and
probably most of you as well. I dare say not many of us discovered them
  because they were popular. I hate to say it, but unless the boys
compromise somewhat on what we consider to be the soul or structure of
  their music, chances are better than not that they will never be more
  popular commercially that what they are or have been. Think about it,
do you hear anything nearly as melodic or creative as XTC on the airwaves
 often these days? Their music forces you to listen, and that is
something the american public, speaking generally, don't have time for
anymore. Mr. Yazbek probably understands what I am saying. If not, I fear
he will soon. He has made a delightfully rich album, but I dare say he
isn't going to find great success here in the states. Americas public are
too caught up in themselves to do themselves a favor and listen to music
such as this.
   My point here, as it was in the last post although it apparently
  got covered up in the muck of my frustrations, is that it seems to me,
  wishing the boys were more popular is like wishing they would go away!
  That is but my opinion, however. Just wanted to give you something to
  think about! Read the lyrics to "Funk Pop A Roll". This should give you
  an idea of how Andy feels about popular music!

  Obviously, the XTC song of the day is "The World Is Full Of Angry Young
  Lee Lovingood


Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 02:05:10 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Subject: When Coney was the World

I thought I would offer my fellow chalkhillians some further insight on
Coney Island, as I happen to live in the area.

Though the "salad days" of Coney Island are long gone, there is still some
haunting evidence of a bygone era hidden under the glitz and sheen of
modern commercial amusement. While there is still an amusement park on the
grounds (AstroLand), and there are still millions of visitors to the park
each summer, Coney Island is an incredibly incongruous mixture of old and

For years the rusted steel-framed skeleton of the deserted structure known
as The Parachute Ride (long held by Coney affectionados as the scariest
ride of all time), stood motionless overlooking the Atlantic before local
residents raised enough money to convince the city that the ride was worthy
of the term, "national monument". (Of course, it still stands motionless,
but at least it's since been painted a bright red and is maintained on a
regular basis). Elsewhere, a stroll off the beaten path can lead down a
deserted alleyway where barely legible wooden signs describing bath houses,
wax museums, and carousels from the 30's and 40's hang just beyond a
nostalgic cleptomaniac's reach.

Remember the film, Annie Hall? Remember Woody's childhood reminiscence of
growing up under a roller coaster at Coney Island? Well, the now-vacant
house is still there right under the rusting roller coaster, and up until
about five years ago an old women still resided there while the roller
coaster freely ran right over the top of her house! (She moved out
somewhere in the midwest, claiming the neighborhood went downhill).

The Coney Island preservation society, a non-profit organization dedicated
to keeping the infamous history of Coney alive and well, maintains an
incredible museum right on the boardwalk which houses unusual artifacts
from Coney's early history as well as daily sideshows featuring such
eccentric performers, contortionists, escape artists, "The Human
Woodblock", (a guy who nails 6" spikes into his nostrils) and "Cigar Man"
(an armless and legless wonder who lights rolls and lights cigarettes
solely with his mouth). Just a few weeks ago, The Human Woodblock married
the sword swallower. Please note: Cigar Man is the only handicapped
performer in the show, and his performance stresses his ability to overcome
his handicap, not exploit it.

 The museum was recently forced to relocate because MacDonalds bought out
the building from their landlord (even though there is an already standing
macDonalds not 10 feet away).

Surprisenly, the older rides such as the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel have
maintained relatively low casuality rates since there introduction back in
the late 1930's, while the newer rides continue to make headlines. Last
week one of the coasters derailed, while last summer a few people were
mangled in the appropriately named, "HellHole".

I strongly recommend you visit Coney Island if you ever get to New York, as
it represents a tragic yet fascinating piece of neglected Americana. Let me
know if any of you will ever be in the area, and I'll give you a tour!


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 18:08:06 +0000
Subject: Big Day?

Dear Chalkies,

On the subject of producers:

>I've noticed no-one has suggested that XTC produce themselves.
Well, I did...
At least, I suggested the tried & tested Padgham/XTC team

> Sure they could do it.  All they have to do is avoid the "three headed
> monster" problem.  It's just easier to have a "producer".
I'm pretty sure Colin & Dave would agree

>  I love Todd's pop albums but he can't engineer his way out of a wet
> paper bag. 
My sentiments exactly.
The drums on Skylarking sound like a heap of old cardboard boxes.

> The English Settlement vinyl has long been held up as an example of what
> a rock recording should sound like.
And I'm STILL holding it up!
Seriously, I can't think of a better sounding pop album; certainly
not on vinyl.
Even our 'gods' took several years until they surpassed with Nonsvch

> I can only think of one other bassist from the Class of '78 who has shown
> the same brilliance - Bruce Thomas, from Elvis Costello's Attractions...
Geez, I almost forgot about him ( as did EC i believe... )
He's a very good melodic bassplayer but i don't really feel he has
a unique, personal style as Colin does.

On Curt & Roland:

>  BTW, does anybody happen to think that that train
>  impersonation is the best simulation of a railway train ever created?
Great! Musical trainspotting... :)
Yep, I do.
And before the Big Express it was by Larry Fast's impression of a
train on Bowie's "Station To Station".

Today has really been a weird day...
This morning I happened to see a TV programme about Swindon
and this afternoon I "scored" the Budd/Partridge CD for a few bucks.
Can't wait to see what the evening brings...XTC "unplugged" in my living
room maybe? :)
bye 4 now,


<- XTC quote for today  ->
Snipping, snipping, snipping goes the scissor man


Date: Wed, 05 Jun 96 11:21:45 CDT
From: "Bernhardt, Todd" <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: CDNow tidbit

     Hi, Chalkaholix:

     Just came across this XTC-related tidbit in, of all places, _Inc._
     magazine. There's an article on CDnow, which, as most of you probably
     know, sells CDs and such over the 'net. It was started and is run by
     twins Jason and Matthew Olim; the brief profile of Jason is as

     "Jason Olim, 26, president. Graduated from Brown University with
     computer-science degree. Favorite music: XTC, Bach."

     You gotta admire the guy's taste in music!

     (BTW, I am in no way affiliated with them, blahblahblah...)



Message-Id: <v01510100addb8ec02089@[]>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 12:15:48 -0800
From: (Mitch Friedman)
Subject: How about this for a poll?

Hey everyone!

While I did hear from Andy again the other day and he basically said that
they were out of the Virgin contract and have received lots of offers but
they'll be going over them carefully and it should take a little while and
he's busy doing new demos, I would like to report that he sounded as
relaxed and content as I have heard him in quite a long time. I'd also like
to report that run-on sentences are not very attractive.

The real reason for this posting is that I would like to conduct a poll
that really simplifies and condenses polls on such topics as everyone's
favorite albums or groups . . . how about a poll in which we try to
determine everyone's favorite songwriter/composer/writing team? The way I
imagine it working is that any and everyone who wants to participate can
submit a list of up to 10 names, in no particular numerical order. You may
choose people based on who are your favorites or merely who you think are
the best, and from any time in history (so classical composers are
welcome). Please email me your list directly and if you feel the need you
can also post it on Chalkhills, but that's really up to Mr. Relph. My email
is I'll post the results in a few weeks or sooner depending on
what kind of response this gets.

The thing I'm most curious about is just how homogeneous or eclectic XTC
fans really are in their musical tastes. But mainly, I'd like to see if
Andy does in fact top the list.

Here are my ten:

Andy Partridge
Ray Davies
Elvis Costello
Noel Coward
R. Stevie Moore
Raymond Scott
The guy from The Residents (I know his real name but I'm not gonna tell)
Martin Newall
John Linnell
Le Roy Sheilds (music from The Little Rascals/Laurel & Hardy)


	[ please send your faves to <>.  Mitch will summarise. ]


Date: Wed, 05 Jun 96 12:37:54 CDT
From: "Bernhardt, Todd" <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Bassists, producers, tributes

Hi, Chalkholios!

From: Simon Sleightholm <>:
>After adding my support to "Bungalow" as a song of greatness, I must
>balance this by sharing my opinion that "Wardance" and "The Smartest
>Monkeys" are, by and large, absolutely bobbins.

Now, I'm not going to jump to the defense of "Wardance" but "The Smartest
Monkeys" is one of my fave Colin tunes. Granted, the lyrics seem a bit
forced and shoehorned into the song, but man, what a rhythm section! I love
the way Colin and Dave (Mattacks) lock-in together, and the staggered
rhythm guitar part reminds me of "Wake Up." I included this on a tape of
the world's great bass players for a friend of mine as my representation of
Colin (I would have picked "One of the Millions" but it reminds me too much
of Peter Gabriel).

On a related note, IMHO Colin and Tony Levin are the world's greatest
bassists.  One of Colin's gifts is that he seems "approachable" musically
-- I wouldn't be afraid to jam with him, while my palms would probably
sweat too much for me to hold on to my sticks if I tried playing with
Mr. L, nice as he is purported to be. Has anyone else sensed this
"friendly" quality in Colin's playing, or is it time for my medication

In 2-118 Simon Knight wrote:
>I've noticed no-one has suggested that XTC produce themselves.  Do
>people think the guys need a strong hand in the studio?  Their production
>work for other people shows they have the capability to do it themselves.

I was going to keep quiet on this one, but since people have begun to bandy
this about, I think the band -- or Andy, at least -- should produce the
album.  After all, wasn't their "need" for an outside producer always in
fact foisted upon them by Virgin? Now, if Dave and Colin want an outside
voice to balance Andy's strong opinions and influence, then that's another

From: Bob Estus <>:
>A.P. describing the set progression in the "BBC Live" liner notes:
>"'ve swerved into 'Making Plans for Nigel". Up goes the rocket.
>Down comes a shower of burning 'Are You Receiving Me' sparks."

>  Have you noticed what pyros these guys are? Always lighting, torching,
>burning something or someone.

Ah, that gets us into the fire metaphor ... "Great Fire," "I'll Set Myself
on Fire," "Burning with Optimism's Flame" ...

That ought to get us started...

Phil wrote:
>One other thing: Someone made a remark along the lines that they never
>expected to like Barry's songs on Go2; I can't argue this, as I've always
>loved them, but to be honest I think they fit in well with the rest of
>that album, I wouldn't single them out (though 'Super-Tuff' is something
>very special, IMO). Well, just defending Mr. Andrews as the fine songwriter
>which he was (and still is).

Gotta agree with you. And to combine it with the Colin thread going on, the
thing I've always loved about "Super Tuff" is the bass line.

>From Mark Fisher:
>(It's just occurred to me that "crap" might be one of those words like
>"wanker" that doesn't translate in the international world of e-mail. If
>anyone wants help with British rude words just shout . . .)

Ah, Mark, we're well acquainted with crap here in the U.S.  In fact, we're
just entering the political season, so it's probably going to get pretty
thick here...

From: Thomas Long <>:
>Subject: plank spankage

Ha ha! Cut it out, yer killin' me!

>Mayor of Simpleton is the one that stands out for me... holding that
>fine line between melodicism and anchoring the song... it's like
>that bass literally takes you for a walk through the song... offhand,
>I can only think of one other bassist from the Class of '78 who has shown
>the same brilliance - Bruce Thomas, from Elvis Costello's Attractions...
>his work with EC is superb, and the stuff he does on Suzanne Vega's last
>album (much like Colin's playing on Sam Phillips' last album) is
>outstanding... both show a nod to McCartney in their style, but they've
>taken it and run...

Colin's lucky in that he has Andy writing great bass lines for him, and I
think that's the case in Mayor of Simpleton. One of the nice things about
hearing the demos is hearing how "complete" the parts were when they were
presented to the other members in the band. This is not to take away from
Colin, mind you, I just think credit for "Mayor" has to go to its writer.
And I agree with you completely about Bruce Thomas. Too bad he and Elvis
hate each others' guts...

>Verve Pipe fans may buy T.D. because Verve Pipe is on there, like what they
>hear and want to explore their influences, hopefully making more XTC fans.

I agree with your point, but it also works the other way -- I bought albums
by The Verve Pipe and Sarah Maclaughlin (sp?) because I thought they were
impressive on the tribute album.

Enuf from me. ByeBye!


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-120

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