Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-87

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 87

                  Tuesday, 25 April 2000


           I, Drum-Running, Am Clobbered Round
                    XTC? It's All Good
                      Who Hits Which
                Gotcha by the napsters...
             Overrating to the Slagging Cycle
                    Ultimate Fan Test
            Andy mention in Goldmine magazine
                   re: "are you mental"
                   xtc on kfog website
                      Re: That Waif
                   That ( second ) wave
                        XTC on DVD
               None suck, because it's XTC
                     Enough Nonsuch!!
          Not quite nonsuch, but still very good
                        Five Star


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Bouncing off an ocean liner.


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 12:09:40 EDT
Subject: I, Drum-Running, Am Clobbered Round
Message-ID: <>

>Subject: Napster Implications?

>        -- A good friend of mine had dinner last week with a fairly
>prominent record producer, who offered his opinion on the
>implications of Napster.  He said that all record label music
>will soon be free and available on their websites.  When one
>downloads a song, he/she will receive it with a commercial
>before and a commercial after, similar to network television.
>The labels will make their money from the sponsors.

This simply won't work. Under this model, the record labels can expect
exactly *one* download per song published. That download would go to one
single rudimentarily equipped pirate, who would feed the song to an editor,
strip the commercials, and re-publish the song on Napster--or whatever
pirate system pops up after the RIAA gets through ravaging Napster.

John Hedges' comparison of digital music to fonts is an apt one, and has
rather profoundly sobering implications. Whatever its faults (and they are,
it goes without saying, legion) the "system" in place in the recording
industry, whereby labels serve as a kind of Darwinian selection process,
recording and distributing only those musics it perceives as potentially
profitable, does serve as a kind of quality control. However you personally
may feel about one given act or style of music published on a conventional
label, somebody *somewhere* who controls a budget and who is answerable to
an owner or a stockholder, felt that the music had enough merit as to be
profitable. It doesn't mean it's good, doesn't mean everybody's going to
like it, *certainly* doesn't mean it's "quality" music, it only means that
enough people will buy it to justify sinking enough expense into it to make
a professional recording.

To continue the digital-type comparison, when the bottom fell out of the
type-foundry industry and Fontographer turned everybody into junior Eric
Gills, the desktop publishing industry was suddenly buried under thousands
upon thousands of hackneyed, buggy, indecipherable, crappy knock-off fonts.
It became a watchword among DTP professionals that unless you knew and
trusted the origin of a font, you should never rely on it. The really
tragic result of this radical democratization was that truly talented and
educated type designers were no doubt lost irrevocably in a deluge of
mediocrity. No one has the time or the incentive to wade through mounds of
low-rent crap to find one diamond, when the diamond is intrinsically

I fear that the same will happen in music. I don't think I'm being
particularly elitist if I observe that true musical talent is a very rare
beast, and the ratio of excellent musicians to talentless hacks is low
indeed. When we destroy a system (however corrupt and imperfect) whereby
talent *tends* (note qualifier) to bubble to the surface, and whereby
mediocrity *tends* to be excluded, and replace it with a radical
egalitarianism, where everything is just as good or as bad as everything
else, where *all* publishing is vanity publishing, we do terrible harm to
the very people who can afford it least: the artists.

And think for a moment: Who *benefits* from all this? Yes, we've removed
power from distasteful record company types and mobbed-up
middlemen. Fine. So now who performs the absolutely necessary function of
weeding out the diamonds from the huge mounds of crap? I admire the Ian
Stewarts of the world as much as anybody, I love the work they do, but how
long can they continue to be independent voices when Rolling Stone is
trolling exactly the same waters as AUTOreverse? When some clown with a
drum machine and a bootleg copy of Pro Tools is exactly as credible as The
Chemical Brothers, how long will it be before the temptation to take
corporate Payola becomes irresistible? I trust Ian not to be on the Time
Warner payroll. Can I say the same of *every* music-recommending web site
or download portal or "indie" zine? Can we foresee in the not-too-distant
future a scenario where highly paid web-design firms are hired by major
labels to make portals with "street cred," deliberately creating amateurish
layouts and UI schemes to more closely resemble indie sites? Who's to say
this hasn't already happened? Who do *you* trust?

I'm sorry to all the folks who are bored by the debate over the
implications of Napster and digital music. I'd rather not be arguing about
it either (I find myself utterly astonished that I'm siding with the
hitherto evil RIAA), but this is the most important development in the
history of music since the invention of radio. XTC and indeed all musicians
are profoundly affected by it, and (as evidenced by F.A.'s friend's
comfortably clueless producer/dinner companion) I'm afraid that the
chicken-coop will be empty and the foxes long gone before they're even out
of bed.

Harrison "What a *strange* metaphor..." Sherwood


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 10:33:03 PDT
From: "Ralph Simpson DeMarco" <>
Subject: XTC? It's All Good
Message-ID: <>


What is going on here? With a new album out, why are we attacking each other
over which XTC album is over-rated? There is no such thing as an over-rated
XTC album: they are all great. Yes, we all have our favorites, but really, I
found myself defending Mummer when I first started posting on this list
because I had no idea what XTC fans thought of it - in fact I had really
never met another big XTC fan until I found this list. I was shocked by the
attacks on what was my favorite XTC album at the time (still ranks in my top
three). I still love Mummer and feel that it has been criminally under-rated
by folks on this list.

So, yes, Nonsuch is a great album. Remember, you all had seven years to
listen to it over and over. No other XTC album has had so much time to prove
its worth. For me, it contains the most mature song writing Andy and Colin
have released. My Bird Performs and Bungalow are some of Colin's best songs
(better I think than his AV1 songs). Andy's Rook and Wrapped in Gray are
minor masterpieces as far as I'm concerned.

You folks have to stop having so many expectations. I love TMBG's John
Henry. I don't think it's any worse or better than the early albums - just
different! The songs are less silly and more traditional pop. What's so
wrong with that?



Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 17:38:02 -0400
From: "Todd Bernhardt" <>
Subject: Who Hits Which
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Enterworks, Inc.


Gary White confessed:
> I'm dying to know which songs are Prairie Prince and which songs
> are Chuck Sabo.

Okay, here goes:
Playground: CS
Stupidly Happy: PP (actually, it's a loop of his playing -- very edited
In Another Life: PP
My Brown Guitar: PP
Boarded Up: Neither (it's Andy and Colin walking around, knocking on
the back of guitars, etc.)
I'm the Man Who Murdered Love: CS
We're All Light: CS
Standing in for Joe: CS
Wounded Horse: CS
You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful: CS
Church of Women: CS
The Wheel and the Maypole: PP

In addition, a programmer named Matthew Vaughn provides the percussion.



Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 16:46:38 -0500
From: "Robert Kulick" <>
Subject: Gotcha by the napsters...
Message-ID: <>

Ok so I'm a Napster felon and downloaded several (not all) of the tunes
from WaspStar and I must say it made my morning a lot more delightful.
Of course by the afternoon the balance of the songs had mysteriously
disappeared so I only got to hear 6 of the new tunes....but guess what?
I'm still gonna buy the album!!!!

The great thing about Napster is this...when you're sitting at work
with your T1 line and idle sound card, and suddenly "Sausalito
Summertime" pops into your head, you can go to and by gosh
you can download it and listen to it (if its there, of course). I think
the technology that enables you to hear a song from two decades ago on
demand on your computer is amazing, and since neither or even has a listing for Diesel, how in the hell would I find
the record (forget cd) if I wanted to buy it. Napster naysayers should
re-examine their constipated view and let the free music live.



Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 14:07:57 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <>
Subject: Overrating to the Slagging Cycle
Message-ID: <>

Well, the "overrated" thread lead (inevitably, I suppose) to XTC albums,
particularly those that were perceived as being overrated here on the list.
It seems to me that this has lead us back to what is really a fairly regular
cycle, if checking the back issues is any indication. Adrian Ransome said
"Nonsuch" was overrated, and I initially replied that it seemed that this
was an album that already received more than its share of slagging. On
second thought (this is something that occurred to me when replying to a
private e-mail Adrian sent me on the subject), I now recall that right
around the time I first subscribed (or shortly thereafter) it was just
Nonsuch's "turn" in the natural "slag-defend-slag-defend cycle" that seems
to come around fairly regularly, so that gave me a kind of first impresssion
that it was not one of the more well-loved albums around here. At any other
time, I could have tuned in when some other album was being called in for a
dressing-down. Some get this treatment fairly regularly, with the "usual
suspects" being Mummer, GO2, Nonsuch and Oranges & Lemons. The latter two
tend to have more fans to defend them (I don't even want to get into the
"early stuff fans vs. later stuff fans" issue, though that could be a
factor), which could make them better candidates for seeming "overrated"
(Mummer and GO2 seem to be more or less considered underdogs anyway, even,
for the most part, by their defenders). All of their albums, even the more
"inviolate" ones, like English Settlement (which can't be given too much
praise - but that's just my opinion) come in for this treatment sooner or
later, from what I can tell. It's just the frequency at which they turn up
in this "slagging cycle" that distinguishes them (though I don't think I've
ever seen anyone say a bad thing about "Black Sea"). People tend to leave
"White Music" alone, perhaps it's just considered too easy a target (or
maybe it's just that the "later stuff fans" can't relate, and the "early
stuff fans" are afraid it will make them dance too fast for someone of
advanced years & cause a heart attack...:) ). Big Express also pops up
fairly regularly, the usual gripe seeming to be "It's got drum machines in
it! Eeww!"
I'm not really saying that there's really anything particularly wrong with
any of this, as this is a fan's mailing list, and we're all here to share
and debate opinions, just that this isn't really the "overrated" thread
anymore, but a recurrence of a phenomenon that seems to be as natural to the
list as tides & seasons... (and no, I'm not bitching resentfully because I
started the overrated thread, it's just an observation...)
Personally, there's not an XTC album that I dislike, though of course at any
given time I might not be in the mood to hear one or another. Luckily, with
such a varied career, there's usually something for any number of moods...
In conclusion, I'll just say some wishy-washy crap about how it's all
opinions anyway, etc....
Ed K.

PS: This whole "Andy sounding like Sting" business. This is something that
just mystifies me. Last year, when I was still lurking and everyone was
still buzzing about AV1, this kept cropping up. People would describe
playing "River of Orchids" to people who'd say "is that Sting?" What's
worse, a lot of people on the list seemed to think that this was perfectly
reasonable, and I even recall people saying "yes, it does sound a bit like
Sting". Well, I personally can't hear it. Not in the slightest. As far as
I'm concerned, I can't see how anyone could possibly mistake Andy for Sting.
Their voices are totally different, and I can't see a fan of either (I
assume Sting still has fans somewhere, though I haven't come across any for
some time) confusing the two. "River of Orchids" did not sound like Sting at
all, and although I haven't heard the final version of "You & the Clouds", I
have no doubt that it doesn't sound anything like Sting either. The demo
definitely didn't.


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 15:08:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: Thomas Long <>
Subject: Ultimate Fan Test
Message-ID: <>

1.  You have a post that is contained within Vol. 1 of the Back
    Issues of The Chalkhills Digest (+30 points)

2.  A post within Vol. 2 (+20 points)

3.  A post within Vol.3 (+10 points)

4.  You've never posted (-30 points)

5.  You're unaware of the existence of either XTC or Chalkhills
    (-40 points)

6.  You've visited Swindon (+50 points)

7.  You've knocked at Andy's door (disqualification)

8.  You've seen an XTC gig (+50 points)

9.  You've lied about seeing an XTC gig (+55 points)

10.  You've seen a Rush gig (-55 points)

11.  You've lied about seeing a Rush gig (disqualification)

12.  You've attended an XTC convention (+40 points)

13. You've attended an Amway convention (-40 points)

14. You own every legitimate release put out by XTC (+75 points)

15. You own every legitimate release put out by Rush (-75 points)

16. You've converted at least 2 other people to the band (+40 points)

17. You've argued with your spouse about the merits of XTC (-40 points)

18. You have an XTC tattoo on your right buttock (+80 points)

19. You have an XTC tattoo on your left buttock (+75 points)

19. You have a child named Andy (+75 points)

20. You have a child named Getty (-75 points)

21. You own a copy of the Wrapped in Grey single
    (disqualified - I hate you!)



Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 18:33:59 -0400
From: "Michael D. Myers" <>
Subject: Andy mention in Goldmine magazine
Message-ID: <>

Chalksters and Chalkettes;

I just received my copy of Goldmine magazine (May 5 issue).  Goldmine is a
North America-focused magazine aimed at the album collector's market. This
issue has quite a few articles about independent record labels.  On page
26, during an article about Steve Feigenbaum and his Cuneiform Records,
there is the following paragraph:

"The inaugural release for the label was R. Stevie Moore's "What's the
Point?", an experimental pop record released during the summer of 1984.
The album found an audience, but it was not exactly indicative of the
direction in which Cuneiform would ultimately head.  Moore, the son of a
former Elvis bassist who was being "groomed to become a country/pop
musician" rebelled against his fate and began experimenting with what
Feigenbaum deemed "generally accessible music, but twisted enough that
critics think , 'I don't understand why the world doesn't get it.'  But of
course, the world doesn't get that kind of stuff.  The world doesn't get
Andy Partridge, either.  I'm not sure he's Andy Partridge, but he's
basically a twisted pop guy."

Now, this is not the best-written paragraph I've ever read, but isn't it
curious that R. Stevie blasted in here a few weeks ago, essentially putting
down the new XTC album, then bugging out because someone asked him what his
motivation was?  Next thing you know, here's this article linking him with
Andy.  Wow, it's like cosmic, man!


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 18:20:31 EDT
Subject: re: "are you mental"
Message-ID: <>

Well, well,well it's always fun to have a proper debate. And by jove have we
got one with regards to xtc's music.
    Oh dear Mr Dunks. I do apologise if i upset you so by daring to suggest
that though xtc are a good band, a great band even, they are as guilty as
anyone in producing dud albums, of which I would have to say Nonsuch is one.
    You seem to have a problem with Go2 but as you so rightly stated that's
alright cos Andy doesnt like it either, so it's ok to criticise that I
    With regard to Apple Venus I was merely stating that after seven years
wait I expected a bit more than a couple of twee Colin Songs (his
masterpieces were on Skylarking) and three gems (the opening tracks)  by Andy
followed by mediocrity.
     Maybe I expect to much.  I dont know. But I do think it's perfectly
normal to criticise a bands output while liking the majority of it. Mummer
and Big Express have some cracking tracks but some pretty average stuff does
rear it's ugly head.
(liarbird, reign of blows, wonderland etc)
    I love xtc. maybe not to the scale of others present but they have been a
very important part of my musical life. Indeed if it wasnt for them i wouldnt
have discovered Martin Newell, The Lilac Time, Mutton Birds. etc etc.
    So what I'm trying to say is.......oh I dont know but it's been fun.

    power de pop pop


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 16:48:47 -0700
From: Kurt Muehlner <>
Subject: xtc on kfog website
Message-ID: <>

Howdy folks,

To all you poor sods who (like me) have no mp3s, no demos, no promo
releases bootleg or otherwise, a very brief snippet of I'm The Man Who
Murdered Love is available from the KFOG website at:

I'm guessing this will only be up through Thursday.



Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 16:37:40 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <>
Subject: Logo
Message-ID: <>

For the "what's your favourite logo?" question, I'd definitely have to go
with English Settlement. I also recall a pretty cool logo associated with
"Black Sea", although that may have just been on the bags that used to come
on early issues of the vinyl. It might also be on the inner sleeve (I'm at
work right now & can't check), but it's definitely not on the CD, which just
has a very plain "XTC - BLACK SEA" rather uncreatively slapped over the
cover photo (I'm surprised that there weren't more complaints about Black
Sea's repackaging during the whole "putting the bonus tracks in the middle
of the album sucks" thread, as they put it out with the "contains bonus
tracks" blurb PRINTED RIGHT ON THE FRONT COVER/BOOKLET, rather than as a
sticker you could get rid of).
I'm also rather fond of the one on "Oranges & Lemons" (that's the one on the
bass drum in the cover art, not the plain one above the art next to the
title, of course).
Ed K.


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 20:14:26 -0400
From: "Todd E. Jones" <>
Subject: Re: That Waif
Message-ID: <>

Joe Funketh thusly:

>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

Whew!! Your disclaimer came none too soon. Everyone else in my family
(including the teenagers, whose tastes run from Mexican Hip-Hop to
Backstreet Boys) loves the Rook-Omnibus-Then She Appeared segue but
dislikes dat wave. I find its swirling ominosity(?) so compelling; its mood
so seamlessly woven; its sorrowful guitar just begging my limbs to imitate
Dave's licks in adolescent splendor.

You want a lame song from an otherwise brilliant Nonesuch? How about "War
Dance?" What a brick to the head! It is so detestable, that I have grown to
love it, in the same way Styx, Manilow and Hootie survive the hate/love

Todd Jones
Manager, Producer, Insect Massage Therapist, Janitor
HUGE sound generation and capture facility
Cape Fear River Basin, NC


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 20:24:39 EDT
Subject: That ( second ) wave
Message-ID: <>

  Joe Funk wrote:

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


"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
       OOO!!   Joe FUNK POP A VEIN!
  Its not that I hate or dont get the song , I just happen to like pop songs
better. Songs that I can  bop my head to. Try that with "That Wave". CRACK!!
I have to say though, the transition between "Wave " & Then She Appeared" is
one of THE highlights.
  I was trying to fit " I dont give twosheds" in this post somewhere,but I
The cassette I made for my car of Wasp Star has broken. Too much play. It
STILL F'n  rocks!!                 Roger


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 19:26:28 -0700
From: "John Keel" <>
Subject: XTC on DVD
Message-ID: <002501bfae5d$aacfcd40$>

Hi kids!

I'm trying to get through about two weeks of digests but until I finish that
and respond where necessary, I wanted to tell you about a find I made this
weekend.  Most of you probably already know about it and have discussed it
here, but just in case . . .

So, I'm looking around various used CD stores here in L.A. on Saturday, and
I'm at House of Records on Pico and am looking over the used DVD's.  Mostly
crap with the exception of the "Wallace & Gromit" collection but then I see
this title that I don't really recognize but a little voice says to take a
look, so I do and it's this thing called "Circuit" and it has this hip-hop
band called "The Roots" on the front but then at the top in small letters is
"XTC" and I'm like all "Whoa!" and I flip it over and scan the back and I
see "Shave and a haircut with British legends XTC" and there's a small
picture of Andy playing a classical guitar.  So, I immediately buy it , rush
home, throw it in the player, find the right menu and hit play.

Okay, now the theatrical trailer for Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" starts
playing and I'm like "Huh?" and it keeps going and I figure out quickly that
that's the catch - you have to watch an advertisement before the segment and
this must have come out when the Stanley Kubrick boxed set was released last
year which I bought the very first day at Best Buy for $99 which saved me
$50 off the price later.  Anyhoo . . . So then the trailer's over and then
there's a wonderful 10 to 15 minute piece shot here in L.A. with Andy &
Colin in a barber shop somewhere talking about Apple Venus Vol. 1 as they
get their hair cut (Andy doesn't have a lot to work with in the first place)
and their shoes shined (they never actually get a shave in spite of what it
said on the box).  It's really great and Andy is very funny and not quite
what I expected never really seen him talk before.  Plus while Andy is
getting his boots shined he plays around on this classical guitar, even
playing a verse from "I'd Like That" while changing the lyrics to "I'll be
your Clinton if you'll be my Lewinsky, oh gee".

So, I'm totally excited at having found this even though, like I said, a lot
of you probably already knew about it.  But if there's anyone else out there
who didn't, I hope you can check it out.  I think I've seen these DVD's at
(ironically enough) the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood, but never paid much
attention to them.  Check it out.

Thanks for listening!


"The world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through."
Tom Waits


Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 08:38:23 -0400
From: "Brian" <>
Subject: None suck, because it's XTC
Message-ID: <004701bfaeb3$28211920$50e49cd1@Brian>


All this 'Nonesuch' talk...

I thought I'd post my list of XTC albums in order of their favoriteness (is
that a word?) for me, and maybe this'll start a new thread... or maybe this
has already been done here... I don't know, just read or scroll:

From most to least fave:

1) 'English Settlement'
2) 'Oranges & Lemons'
3) 'Black Sea'
4) 'Skylarking'
5) 'AV1'
6) 'Nonesuch'
7) 'The Big Express'
8) 'Mummer'
9) 'White Music'
10) 'Drums and Wires'
11) 'Go2'

If I had to include any Dukes, I'd probably shove it in right after 'Black

Did I forget any?

-Brian Matthews


Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 15:09:12 +0100
From: Adrian Ransome <>
Subject: Enough Nonsuch!!
Message-ID: <497FEA72C392D3118AE700508B7311770707E9@NT4SERVER03>

Jane Spencer-Davis wrote:
>*Hello!* Books Are Burning, That Wave, Then She
>Appeared, The Dissapointed! cut it out- I hardly believe you guys feel this
And I say; *Hello!* Rook, Smartest Monkeys, Wardance, Peter Pumpkinhead! -
That's why I feel this way!

Programs Temp (can I call you Prog?) wrote:
>It's actually more painful to read the post from the guy who hates
>Nonesuch. *Whew*. Someone hurt you as child, and I'm so sorry.
Are you talking about me?!? And why are you so sorry- was it YOU who hurt me
as a child? Actually I didn't say I hated Nonsuch- I think someone else did,
I just pointed out that I thought it was overrated on Chalkhills. However, I
DO hate Rook.

BUT having given Nonsuch a serious listening over the Easter weekend I must
admit it's not as bad as I remembered. I still can't listen to Rook or Peter
Pumpkinhead, but the highest high points on the album are as high as the
highest high points on any other XTC release- and that's as high as a very
high thing, say, a sunflower. It's just the only XTC album (apart from the
CD release of Mummer with the extra tracks in the middle) I skip tracks on.

****Ronnie Corbett style digression*****

I seem to recall my first hearing of Mayor of Simpleton was on John Peel's
show, he followed it with quite a positive remark about it being one of the
best tunes he'd heard for ages (or the best XTC song he'd heard in ages). I
think I'll email him a Wasp Star request too. Good idea, James! wrote
>When one
>downloads a song, he/she will receive it with a commercial
>before and a commercial after,
So Sigue Sigue Sputnik were right all along? That's a frightening thought!

Adrian "US bombs flying ovehead..ed..ed..ed" Ransome


Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 14:50:23 -0400
Subject: Not quite nonsuch, but still very good
Message-ID: <>

Hello Chalksters:

          Only when I think about it, I realize Nonsuch is about the 7th
best  XTC album.  Skylarking is #1; Drums and Wires #2;  #3-#6
a tossup among Black Sea, the 2 Apple Venuses and Oranges
and Lemons.   Nonsuch is one of my favorite XTC lps in terms of
sound; everything is clear and simple.  But, after 8 years, I just
think it's about half great, and about half a pleasant collection of
B+ songs.  The Apple Venus and Oranges and Lemons songs
are much more substantial.  Still, Nonsuch has more than its
share of fine material. "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" is the
rare, coverable Andy Partridge; "Books Are Burning" a majestic,
rocking ode to free press;  "Wrapped in Grey" an affecting Brian
Wilson homage; "That Wave" a wild, progressive stunner;
"Omnibus" a celebration of the opposite sex Andy would continue
with "Church of Women"; "Then She Appeared" a paisley treat;
"The Disappointed" a cinematic everyman shuffle; "Humble Daisy"
a gorgeous meditation. That makes 8 out of 17.  Just about
everything else here is pleasant, though a cut below (except the
nadir, the dreary "Rook"), including the 4 Colin Moulding songs. His
weakest here is "The Smartest Monkeys."  How that got on the album
over the spooky "Car Out of Control" I'll never know (maybe that was
too modern an image for those woodcuts.)  Imagine, if you will, a
single-album-length Nonsuch made up of the following songs:

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
My Bird Performs
The Disappointed
Then She Appeared
Humble Daisy
I'm the Man Who Murdered Love
Car Out of Control
That Wave
You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful
Wrapped in Grey
War Dance or Bungalow (your choice)
Books Are Burning

All the above were written, if not demoed, by the time of the
Nonsuch recording sessions.  IMO, a stronger album. Still,
it's nice to have clean stereo versions of those other songs.




Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 09:56:46 -1000
From: "Jim Smart" <>
Subject: Five Star
Message-ID: <>
Organization: 3Tripper


Since Dame Fortune smiled on me and I have a copy of Wasp Star, I tried
something Sunday morning after surfing in Waikiki. I filled my 5 CD
changer with Skylarking, Oranges and Lemons, Nonsuch, Apple Venus I, and
Wasp Star and hit the shuffle button. Partly I was inspired by recent
discussion about the pros and cons of these albums. And partly I did it
just for the sheer pleasure of it.

A few observations:

1. These are 5 outstanding albums. I am trying to see it from the
various doubters' points of views, but really, how many other bands have
made 5 albums *this good* in a row?

2. Andy's voice sounds it's very best on Wasp Star.

3. Whoever noted that Wasp Star has no reverb is right on the money. It
sounds WAY different than Nonsuch and Oranges, which seem to absolutely
drip with waves of wetness. The Wasp songs jump out and grab. It sounds
very different.

3. Shuffle mode is most irritating with O and L and Skylarking. Those
albums are sequenced so well, I automatically expect the next song. The
other three do not have that quality, for some reason.

4. Wasp Star rocks!

(settle down, Beavis) "OK"

5a. The band sounds really really different without Dave Gregory. Not
really better or worse, just really different. Andy's moment in the sun.

5b. Colin was just awesome all the way through Nonsuch. I don't agree
with any of his detractors. Those are ALL great songs, except maybe
Bungalow, which by the way goes very nicely with the tracks on AVI. But
I think Colin is the one whose work is missing Dave Gregory the most.
His songs on the older 3 albums have all this cool, interesting guitar
work. I love King For a Day, partly because of that weird backwards
sounding stuff. My Bird Performs has that sweet riff intro thing. Now,
I'm just guessing here, but it seems like DG really helped Colin's songs
a lot. Andy may have outgrown his need for Dave, but I'm not so sure
about Colin.

5c. Andy is exploding out in all directions nowadays, while Colin seems
to be focusing in on a fairly narrow area, which is a sort of music hall
Kinks/Penny Lane sort of thing.

6. I have often stated that the Mayor of Simpleton is the best of the
best, but now I'm not so sure.  In this shuffle, the arrangement didn't
seem as perfect to me. Maybe I've heard it too much.

7. It's the drummers, stupid! (That's me calling myself that) They are all
different. The stand outs are Pat M on Oranges and Lemons, and both
drummers on Wasp Star. Great feel drummers. And yet, do any of them
measure up to Terry? He's actually more fun to listen to than all of
them. How different these 5 albums would haver been with Terry on them....

8. Dang, I feel lucky.



End of Chalkhills Digest #6-87

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