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From: owner-chalkhills@sgiblab.sgi.com
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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-86


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 86

                  Monday, 24 April 2000

Topics:

                            DC
                Ore and jizz and LEM ends
                       Test of time
        i know, i know...but i've got to chime in
                       $tagefright
                  Nigel on BBC Radio 4 !
              Nonsuch and other such matters
                CAGE MATCH: Floyd vs. XTC
                 'That Wave'/ "Outside"?
                       Re: Nonsuck
             "Are you mental?" (episode 324)
                     Superstore Plot
                        Correction
                 silly, silly arguements
               Fano Guitars Website Update
                    Gold Line Express
                   MY EASTER CONFESSION

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There's a message up in China.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 21:55:04 +0900
From: "John Boudreau" <aso1@mocha.ocn.ne.jp>
Subject: DC
Message-ID: <000201bfac64$7828a560$755791d2@johnboud>

Some folks wrote :

> Billy Bragg is another artist who owns the copyright to his own records <

>>The most obvious example I can think of is Roy Harper, who has
>> bought back
>> the rights to all his albums

Dave Clark ( Dave Clark 5  ... 1964 ... British Invasion ... for all you
young pups out there in Chalkland who might not know to whom I am
referring ) was a clever businessman . At the ripe old age
of  20 - and new to the business - he negotiated his own record deal . He
not only got double the the royalty rate anyone else ( inc. The Beatles )
was getting at the time ; but he also did what they call a " favored nations
" deal , which meant that if any other artists on EMI got a higher royalty
rate than him , his would go up . And , at the end of a three year contract
period , all the masters reverted back to Dave . He was leasing the masters
to the company , so if they didn't promote the records straight away , he
could take the songs off the label . He had creative control over his career
. Not only was he a shrewd businessman barely out of his teens ; he was also
drummer , the band's chief songwriter , and producer ! A tip of the hat to
dear old Dave ( and his red sparkle Rogers drums ) ...

sushiman

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 12:52:13 EDT
From: StucoHomes@aol.com
Subject: Ore and jizz and LEM ends
Message-ID: <a1.44d7465.263332bd@aol.com>

In a message dated 4/22/00 11:50:11 AM US Eastern Standard Time,
<owner-chalkhills@chalkhills.org> writes:

>   I personally find Oranges And Lemons overrated. If it had been the first
>  XTC album I ever heard I wouldn't be as into them as I am now. However, the

O&L WAS the first XTC album *I* ever heard, and I'm as into them as I am now.

So there.

- - -
Reverend Jody L. Barnes
"Being disabled has never really interested me very much.  It's very serious,
like plumbing is serious, but I'm also not interested in plumbing." - Robert
Wyatt (paraplegic)

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 15:08:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Thomas Long <thlong@interchange.ubc.ca>
Subject: Test of time
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.21.0004221437100.7152-100000@inch.interchange.ubc.ca>

Mr. Powerpoop:

First off, I'd agree with your comments about Nonsuch. It contains some of
my favourite & least favourite XTC tracks... I dunno whether it's the
production or what, but it seems a difficult album for me to get
passionate about. It helps with the household chores (*now there's a
thread for ya*), but I just don't really dissect it with the same
fervour as the other albums. Not to say I dislike it, because it's still
XTC and blah, blah, blah.

As for the XTC albums that'll stand the test of time (and those who'll say
"All of them!" please proceed to Waco in an orderly fashion), I believe
their most innovative are Drums & Wires and English Settlement. These
albums haven't dated one jot... their weird & wonderful, and something
else that begins with "w". Skylarking and Oranges & Lemons, on the other
hand, appear to be their most popular, but they are (guns pointed down
please) derivative. Not to say I dislike them, because it's still XTC and
blah, blah, blah.

Your friend & mine,
Thomas

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 14:13:22 -0400
From: arthur james virgin <audio@one.net>
Subject: i know, i know...but i've got to chime in
Message-ID: <B5276407.2689%audio@one.net>

Chalkhillians,

Napster:  i'm shocked Napster wasn't stopped earlier, but it's a product of
the RIAAs, and brick and mortar businesses in general, failure to accept and
intervene in an technology they so blindly considered a "non-factor."
well'p the Genie is out of the bottle now.

this is hilarious:  http://www.paylars.com
yep, someone set up a site that is taking DONATIONS to give to Metallica
because of the MP3 Napster debacle.  (hilarious!!!)  its almost like a
confessional for all the people who have downloaded their songs on Napster.
you select from a list of all of their music, enter your credit card, and it
sends the donation to Metallica (i believe Lars is the name of M's drummer).

a must visit site for anyone wishing to witness how downright surreal this
issue has become.

XTC content: someone please stand up and say, "OK, it was all a joke, we all
love Nonsuch, and YOU fell for it!"  i don't get it.

regards,
aj

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 17:12:26 -0500
From: "Jamie Lowe" <jamielowe@email.msn.com>
Subject: $tagefright
Message-ID: <00af01bfaca7$fa0f8420$4336113f@unlpm>

Chalkholders:

"Wiencek, Dan" wrote in Chalkhills 6-85,

Those artists made their bread and butter
on stage, not on record royalties, and were probably only too happy to
turn up, play some tunes (incidentally pocketing a nice fee) and, with
luck, sell a few more tickets to their next show than they would've
otherwise.

If XTC wants to make a lot more money they should hit the road and tour.  I
have not been to concert in years but I would happily pony up big bucks to
see them perform live again.   Just a couple of mates with their instruments
playing some of the worlds best music.  Dave Gregory might even come back
for that.  Hell the Rolling Stones last album stunk yet they managed to
gross Millions by touring.  And the Stones are just one example, Jimmy
Buffet hasn't had a great album for years but he sells out a tour every
summer.   It is a simple formula but it works.  We all know of Andy's
legendary stagefright, and he probably realizes that a couple of sold out
performances would put more than a few bucks in the bands accounts.   So it
is really up to Andy  to decide how bad they need the money.  And what about
merchandise sales?  Music isn't the only thing bands can sell.  In reality
it seems to me that the bucolic English life suits him just fine and he is
quite comfortable doing his thing in his shed.   Just as long as he keeps
the tape machine rolling and sending us the fruits of his labor we should
all be delighted.

BTW I have a CDR of WS and its great!  It gets better with each listen in
classic XTC style.  Thank you Mr. X  you know who you are.  I promise to buy
a real copy 5/23 honest!  Even though I can get the lyrics from the
Chalkhills site...

"Remember COMPUTERS ARE A CON..........a fucking good con but a con all the
same." Karl Wallinger.

Cheers,

Jamie

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 22:04:40 +0100
From: "James McRae" <james@jimbly.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Nigel on BBC Radio 4 !
Message-ID: <001901bfac9e$8043cb00$6b21989e@jamesmcrae>

Hi, everyone - first time post so forgive the gush that's coming....

------Intro blurb about why I am here...
Since English Settlement (as a spotty teenager), I have liked XTC - but not
bought the albums except by chance - you could probably say that I never
really listened to the music.  When AV1 came out and I happened to buy it -
I'm a cover art sucker - I fell for all of their music I could get my hands
on.  The last few months have been great, as I've reacquainted myself with
allbums I have on vinyl (my son broke my turntable), but have since replaced
with silver.

I came from Devon in the west, and pretty rural for England, (much further
west than Swindon, for our transatlantic chums) but now live and have a
family in London and have lived here for 10 years, gradually getting me more
dislocated from my origins.  It's hard to explain and probably sounds
cheesy, but I now have really listened to the music and boy, does some of
AV1's especially hurt.  It reminds me horrifically clearly how much we have
left behind by moving to town, and how much London has eroded my sense of
belonging.  Belonging where? I don't know, - the songs don't speak much of
London, but I can't tell you how similar to Harvest Festival one stage of my
life was (down to the recorders and peaches).
I listened to this music, finally, and through the tears that it brought
out, a hole has been filled.

My wife just thinks I'm a sentimental old fool - but she now sings along
with AV1, Nonsuch, Drums etc and English Settlement.....  Not bad from a
North London Jewish girl...

-----Meanwhile on Radio 4......
Sad but true, I was listening to BBC Radio 4's (also know as Radio Bore by
friends who can't understand why I listen....I listen to go to sleep...)
night time news programme on Thurs last (20th April), slightly drugged up
with a potent home remedy for throat lurgies, when crawling into my
consciousness came the first section of Nigel.  It was being used as a sound
backing for an article about parents who overload their kids with stuff to
do - It woke me up completely and I was bouncing off the walls - Radio 4 is
not know for playing the music of "popular beat combos".....  Quite a nice
suprise really.

If only we could get the boys a bit of airplay over here - I WANT TO HEAR
THIS ALBUM - all these spoilers are busy whetting my appetite.............
anyone up for a little Email request blast to John Peel?

Lurk Mode re-engaged - I probably won't be bothering you again, unless my
post to peelie bears fruit..

Love to you all
Jim in dank, dark, London on St George's day Eve...

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 22:10:51 GMT
From: "Nathan Mulac DeHoff" <xornom@hotmail.com>
Subject: Nonsuch and other such matters
Message-ID: <20000422221051.59124.qmail@hotmail.com>

Let's see here.  I made a few posts here some time ago, and then I pretty
much shut up for a while.  I have been reading the Chalkhills digests,
however, and I have a few insignificant comments to make.

I don't have Wasp Star.  I'm anxiously anticipating its release, but I don't
think I'm going to download it or anything (well, maybe one or two tracks,
if I can get convenient links (I don't have Napster), but CERTAINLY not the
whole thing; I want some new material when I buy it).  I don't have anything
against other people downloading it, as long as they buy at least one copy
when it DOES come out.  All of this has been said before, though, so I'm not
sure why I'm bothering to say it, aside from the fact that I like to see my
own typing.

My favourite XTC logo is probably the one for Drums and Wires.  English
Settlement has a good one, too.  For overall cover, Go 2 and Apple Venus
Volume 1 both rank pretty high (but for different reasons).  English
Settlement's Uffington Horse is pretty cool, too.

Okay, now to comment on a few other people's comments:

Rob:
>Personally, I do not feel "Nonsuch" is overrated. It's one of my very
>favorite XTC albums. It features one of Colin's two best songs, "Bungalow"
>(the other being "Frivolous Tonight).

As I think someone already mentioned, Nonsuch seems to play a bit more like
a collection of songs, rather than a cohesive whole (sort of like the
Beatles' white album in that respect).  Most of them are GOOD songs, though,
although there are a few spots that are lower than others.  "Wrapped In
Grey" is really one of my favourite XTC songs; it's just so beautiful.
Other great ones include "Rook," "Omnibus," and "Then She Appeared."  As for
the Colin songs, I didn't like "Bungalow" much at first, but it grew on me
after I learned the idea behind it.  (I AM an ignorant American, after all,
and seaside bungalows aren't that common here.)  I've never minded "War
Dance," and "My Bird Performs" is good.  I'm not quite as fond of "The
Smartest Monkeys," though; the lyrics are clever, but it doesn't really
excite me musically.  I really think Colin's Nonsuch songs are better than
his contributions to Oranges and Lemons, though.  "One Of The Millions" is
great, but I'm not so fond of "King For A Day" (I know it was a single and
all, and it's the only XTC song I've ever heard played in the grocery store,
but I find it kind of boring) or "Cynical Days."  I'm tempted to say I
prefer faster stuff, but that's not really true; XTC has some great slow
songs ("Wrapped In Grey" and "Bungalow" among the rest).  I guess I'd have
to say what I really prefer is enthusiasm.  It's certainly possible to be
enthusiastic on a slow song, but "King" and "Cynical" don't really
demonstrate this.

Anyway, I guess that's all for now.  Maybe I'll start posting more
frequently now.  And maybe I won't.

Nathan

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 10:06:57 -0700
From: "Randy Posynick" <randy.posynick@isiresearchsoft.com>
Subject: CAGE MATCH: Floyd vs. XTC
Message-ID: <20000422170657.GLDG12856.mail.rdc1.sfba.home.com@[24.7.201.216]>

Driving home from the store last night, I flipped on the radio and tuned in
to KFOG, one of the San Francisco Bay Area stations that plays XTC. I
figured I might luck out during the five minute drive by hearing the new
single. Well, they were just starting one of those shows where they pit two
new songs against each other and have the listeners vote on the best one:
The Cage Match. The DJ introduced the first song: Pink Floyd's "Another
Brick In The Wall (part 2)" off of a new CD from some concerts in 1980-81.
Then he introduced the second song: XTC's "The Man Who Murdered Love"!

What a fluke! I couldn't believe my luck...

Of course, I had to sit and listen, turning my quick trip to the store into
a much longer journey. This was the first time I'd heard "The Man Who
Murdered Love" and I think it sounds pretty good. Very "Mayor of Simpleton"
like.

Anyway, then the votes started coming in. You have to understand that KFOG
has quite a Classic Rock following and the early callers were all big Floyd
fans. I called in and voted for the boys, but unfortunately, I missed the
final tally. I doubt XTC came close.

Regardless, it's getting airplay here. Featured airplay even. I guess that
was my point.

RP

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 19:00:44 -0500
From: "Joe Funk" <twosheds@mindspring.com>
Subject: 'That Wave'/ "Outside"?
Message-ID: <001301bfacb7$2b945fc0$7721fea9@user>

Greetings Chalkling!!!

  Roger,  OMBEAN1@aol.com had this to say about 'That Wave':
>Sorry Wes, I think That Wave is the weak link. Not a bad song, just not
that good.

You know... I used to think this was a brilliant song, but your comment got
me thinkin..  Just your run-of-the-mill love song: Andy's weak metaphors,
Dave's lame Guitar work (especially the solo), the non-atmospheric
production.....  very weak

                                                              SARCASM

"That Wave" is one of the best pieces of music
(Pop,Jazz,Rock,Classical,etc.) to have ever filtered into my brain. I will
not get into an argument over it's merits, I merely don't understand how
some people
JUST DON'T GET IT!!!
                                                *SPOILER  ALERT*
And this comment from fagnello@ascap.com about "The Wheel and the Maypole":
>...Thought they took it a little too "outside" in the long fade, though...

Outside?!!  My dear friend, 'outside' is the harmonica on "Reign of Blows",
the pluck-n-shuck guitar on "Scarecrow People", the piano on "Prince of
Orange"......  I didn't find anything vaguely "outside" on the fade of
"Wheel".. This album is actually more "Inside" than anything they've ever
released before...and
I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!   Kevin Gilbert couldn't have said it any better:

(excerpt from "Smash"):  It's got more hooks than a tackle box!
                                     It's got REALLY LOUD GUITARS!

I will save further observations until after the Spoiler Alert Alarm has
been lifted..  If I can....?

"Standing in for Joe" Funk

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 23:10:23 EDT
From: Nudeants@aol.com
Subject: Re: Nonsuck
Message-ID: <a2.3629342.2633c39f@aol.com>

While no XTC album is perfect, they're all wonderful, and Nonsuch is
the most wonderful of them all, with 'That Wave' being the most
wonderful song on it.

Actually, take away War Dance and Nonsuch would be as close to perfect
as XTC albums get, I'd say.

matt mitchell

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 00:24:19 PDT
From: "Duncan Kimball" <dunks58@hotmail.com>
Subject: "Are you mental?" (episode 324)
Message-ID: <20000423072419.9675.qmail@hotmail.com>

Dearest Chalklets

I am not someone who plays "Emperor's New Clothes" with bands I like,
including XTC; I have my own opinions about the quality of the various
albums and singles, and I am not blind to the faults of each. Nothign is
perfect, after all (except "Black Sea" and "English Settlement" of course).

I am continually puzzled, bemused and rather saddened by list members who
dislike what seems to me to be self-evidently some of the band's very best
work.

I am frankly dumbfounded that people do not like "Oranges & Lemons" or
"Nonsuch", or indeed any of the other albums.

I think, that if one had to be nominated, I'd name "Go2" as the weakest of
the lot, an opinion which (I think I've read) Andy shares. However, from
"Drums + Wires" onwards ....   what, as they say, is not to like? They're
like a string of natural pearls. Thye're not flawless, but they're no less
precious or beautiful for it.

In my arrogant opinion, XTC are one of a very small group of artists (e.g.
Peter Gabriel, Prince, Kate Bush, David Byrne, the dreaded Monsiuer Le
Sting, etc) who consistently release good, - and often great -  music and
who always strive to change and advance with each new record. The fact that
we have to wait three, four, five, even seven years between records is
regrettable, but in virtually every case it's been worth the wait.

We should be falling down on our knees and thanking providence that we have
such wonderful people among us, making beautiful music. Not griping about
which album is "overrated".

Exampla gratia:

>From: Powerpop10@aol.com
>Subject: The Nonsuch Debate etc

>Would I be wrong in suggesting that Nonsuch is a lumpy cumbersome beast?

Yes (but does this also mean you don't like it?)

>Would I also be wrong in suggesting that after seven years wait AV1 was not
>the great meisterwork.

Yes, you would. TOTALLY wrong.

>I look forward to Wasp star but being a fan of xtc since 1981 I have
>learned not to get too excited with anticipation re: new
>albums.

WHAT?? I mean, do you actually really like this band, or what?

>I may risk lynching but for me only Settlement, Skylarking and perhaps
>Oranges and Lemons stand the test as being great albums. Three in 21 years.
>Not a great return.

I wouldn't waste the rope, you ungrateful wretch.  I thought about using it
on "Robbeach" or whatever his name is. But on further consideration, I
realised that anyone who has the temerity to criticise "English Settlement"
deserves a death far crueller and more lingering than mere hanging could
provide.

Yours punitively
Dunks

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 14:53:13 +0100
From: The Larsons <MereBrian@larson4.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Superstore Plot
Message-ID: <3.0.6.32.20000423145313.007f99e0@pop3.demon.co.uk>

John Relph wrote:
>Actually, it's "superstore plot".  Which makes much more sense.  The
>usual Wal-Mart or Target massive lowbrow superstores driving the local
>mom-and-pop stores out of business (what are the English equivalents?).

Well, Wal-Mart bought ASDA, a UK grocery/superstore, so the
"equivalents" are pretty much the same guys.  There's still a lot more
vitality in the typical English town centre than its American
counterpart but the prevalence of the automobile and out-of-town
superstores are straining that vitality to the fullest.
Visit the Larson Family Web Page at:
http://www.larson4.demon.co.uk

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 19:23:20 -0400
From: Frank Agnello <agnello@inx.net>
Subject: Correction
Message-ID: <390385E8.D205088E@inx.net>

Hello Chalksters:

          "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love" is still in the Key of D
major.  My car cassette machine's running a little fast.  In the words
of Gilda Radner (as Emily Littella,) "Never Mind..."

Cheers,

F.A.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 16:50:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: "brenan w. campbell" <chartsandsharks@yahoo.com>
Subject: silly, silly arguements
Message-ID: <20000423235019.16333.qmail@web3405.mail.yahoo.com>

	Greetings Chalky-folk,

Sorry, I haven't posted since my introductory letter. The
play, school, work and having a girlfriend who lives in Iowa
can be quite time consuming, though I do read your posts
periodically. I've noticed that there seems to be a whole
spark of conversation floating around about whether Nonsuch
is either lousy or an absolute masterpiece. Well, I
personally am not the biggest fan of Nonsuch, though there
are certain tracks that are absolutely delicious, how ever I
feel that the flow of the album is irregular and tends to
give me a headache for some reason. But all of that is
besides the point. I think that sometimes people have a bit
of difficulty admitting that people they admire make mistakes
or are not always perfect in everything they do. I'm not
saying there's a lot of that going on on this board, I'm just
putting this thought out into the atmosphere before the
conversation heads that way (it usually has a tendency to do
so). For instance, I really like the film-maker Gus Van Sant,
he's directed movies like Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private
Idaho, and Good Will Hunting. Those are all great, original
movies. If he directs a movie, I go to see it. I think he's a
fantastic, terrific director. However, he directed "Even
Cowgirls Get The Blues." A terrible, terrible film. I hate
it. But I still always cite him as one of my favorite
directors. David Lynch had his "Dune." Stanley Kubrick had
his "Eyes Wide Shut." But a lot of people may like those
movies that I hate. The wonderful thing is is that we both
like the same directors, even if not for the same reasons.
That's why it's so wonderful that artists change their
styles, they can appeal to more people. Just because I think
that Nonsuch isn't very good, that doesn't mean that I'm
terribly distraught if someone says it's their best work
ever. That's ridiculous. If someone hears AV2 and says it's
terrible, so what? My girlfriend and I both like XTC but we
like different albums. It's such an interesting phenomenom. I
just think that while the opinions of others are important,
that you shouldn't let them be as influential as if you like
it or not. That's what it comes to down to for me. Anyway,
that's my piece. By the way, does anyone have any more
information on why Andy refuses to learn how to drive? Does
that mean Colin would be driving the flat-bed truck?

		love and smiles,
            Mr. Brenan Campbell

http://brenan.isonfire.com

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 17:06:29 -0700
From: From Name <meridith@fanoguitars.com>
Subject: Fano Guitars Website Update
Message-ID: <200004240006.RAA19627@bob.newdream.net>

Hello!
Some new features have been added to fanoguitars.com.  Click on the
Andy Partridge Artist Page to hear "I'm Playing My Fano", written and
performed by Mr. Partridge with his Fano Partridge guitar.  Click on
the Dave Gregory Artist Page to hear "Dates" by R. Stevie Moore with
Mr. Gregory playing his Fano Satellite guitar.  Also, for those who
have not yet done so, please join our mailing list by submitting your
email address on our home page. We hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks!

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 21:10:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: pancho artecona <partecona@yahoo.com>
Subject: Gold Line Express
Message-ID: <20000424041027.10106.rocketmail@web221.mail.yahoo.com>

Hey all,

Just a quick question.

Does anyone know wether the Geffen Gold Line
re-releases are just that or are they in any way
remastered?
I recently acquired a Gold Line The Big Express and
could swear it sounds different than my other copy but
I am wondering wether this is just placebo and wishful
thinking.

Thanks

Pancho XPRXTCFAN
wasp star is either the rat's paw or la estrella
Abispa

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 00:57:14 PDT
From: "Gary White" <garwhite@hotmail.com>
Subject: MY EASTER CONFESSION
Message-ID: <20000424075714.13060.qmail@hotmail.com>

Resistance is futile

And so I begin my first post by thanking all of you - or at least most of
you - for providing me with countless hours of pleasure over the course of
the last two years, all at the expense of my naive and trusting employers,
who shall remain nameless.

I had always been a fan of XTC's music but so much time had passed since
NONSUCH, that I guess I had given them up for dead. (The first of 3 major
sins I am about to confess!)

I discovered the internet, and, shortly thereafter, Chalkhills and I began
lurking about three months before the release of AVI.  I devoured, with
fascination, news of the band's struggle with Virgin Records, and eventual
release and signing to TVT. I learned of the publication of Song Stories and
ran to my nearest bookstore to special-order a copy.  I read, with
anticipation, the digests that foretold of the imminent release of AVI - and
skipped work on that glorious day.

As I listened to that first raindrop of ROO building to an orchestral
crescendo of delight, I could only compare the feeling to the discovery that
a dear and treasured friend, thought to be lost at sea 8 years ago, was back
from the dead.

Recently, digests have been heating up with news of WS (AVII), as well as
the Napster/MP3 controversy, and the "spoilers" debate, which leads me to
confess my second, potentially mortal sin.

Having read the countless previews of those chalkers in possession of promo
copies of WS (AVII) I caved in, downloaded Napster, and set off on my search
for the truth. Please note that I plan to atone for this particular sin by
purchasing several additional copies on launch day - to be foisted upon
unsuspecting friends and lovers of good music.

Here comes the third sin

SPOILER ALERT - SPOILER ALERT - SPOILER ALERT

I intentionally downloaded only 6 songs  - wanting to save some surprises
for the 23rd of May, but based on those 6 songs - detailed impressions to
follow - they've done it again!

PLAYGROUND - Instantly hummable, chunky, thick and jangly. The little girl
voice (is this the famous Holly???) in the bridge is perfect.

ITMWML - More of the same. Unlike many of Andy's songs, these first two pull
you in immediately, yet they hold up well upon repeated listening. Life
ain't fair, but if it was, both of these songs would be all over the radio
for the next 6 months.

***HEY IT'S THE MIDDLE OF THIS POST!!!!***

CHURCH OF WOMEN - This one is more in keeping with what I've come to expect
from Andy. It took a few listens to begin to reveal it's brilliance, but
I've learned to be patient. The dissonance of the verse melts into the sweet
melody and cascading harmonies of the chorus. And the guitar solo!!!! After
the first few tentative notes I can almost imagine Andy looking up, cocking
one eyebrow (can you smell what the Rock is cooking?) as if to say - "Oh,
you of little faith" and the rest is history. I will pause at this point to
wipe the drool from my chin.

YOU AND THE CLOUDS - I've read posts where this has been negatively compared
to the work of Sting. I have nothing at all against Sting, but he could only
wish to someday write a song this good. By the way, this one features some
of the best drumming on an XTC song sincewell since Terry packed it in.

THE WHEEL AND THE MAYPOLE - Like they say in the old Certs commercial - Two
- two - two songs in one!!! Neither of them remotely similar, like trying to
cross breed a giraffe with an aardvark - AND YET IT WORKS! "Hey you got
chocolate in my peanut butter!!!! Oh yeah? You got peanut butter in my"
Anyway, you get the picture.

WE'RE ALL LIGHT -Very modern drum/percussion sounds and more great rhythmic
playing. I'm dying to know which songs are Prairie Prince and which songs
are Chuck Sabo. This one features a delicious pseudo-electric- banjo guitar
part. And am I totally crazy, or does the final vocal chorus remind anyone,
in the least, of "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band?

STUPIDLY HAPPY - Only Andy Partridge could write a one-chord song that could
easily have stretched on for another 7 minutes without getting tiresome.
Colin takes some of the credit for this one by stealing the key of the song
when he finally makes his entrance in the second verse. And his slippery
-slidy exclamations points during Andy's second distorted-vocal rap section
are sheer bass bliss. And am I totally crazy (again) or do those distorted
vocal sections remind anyone, in the least, of "Word Up" by Cameo?

CLOSING ARGUMENT (NOT A SONG TITLE, BY THE WAY) - Taking into account I've
listened repeatedly to only 6 of 11(?) songs - none of them Colin's -to my
ears this is unlike any other XTC album to date, and I mean that in the most
positive sense. Ignoring lyrical content for a moment, the six songs I have
listened to sound - in a word - happy. In two words - stupidly happy!!! Hand
claps feature prominently in Church of Women, Stupidly Happy and Standing in
For Joe (which I've only heard 30 seconds of) and last time I checked hand
clapping was an expression of joy.

I wish I could tell you that I missed Dave's playing, cause I've enjoyed his
immeasurable contributions in the past - but it just isn't the case. This CD
should prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Andy's guitar playing is
original, innovative, quirky, and concise. Assuming all the guitars I'm
hearing on these 6 songs (and trust me they are layered thickly) are played
by Andy, he is a force to be reckoned with.

I could go on and on, but I can hear those MP3 files calling me back. I hope
I haven't bored anyone with this first post. I'll come back again soon if
you'll have me.

And I'll sign off:

Repenting in Montreal

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End of Chalkhills Digest #6-86
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