Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #7-27

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 7, Number 27

                 Thursday, 19 April 2001


            Re: Kingstunes responds! Ahhhhhh!
                     chocolate sharks
                Aeolian Cadence Nevermore
                       Re- Masters
                    More on remasters
           Touring, Touring, It's never boring
                         That Boy
                  Re: The Horizontal Bop
          It was twenty years ago today........
           Re: I Want This! And I Want It NOW!
                   Cutting and Pasting
  Welcome to the machine Andy McCartridge & Paul Partney
               Wrapped in Earthly Delights
              Does Computer Belong In Music?
                       Yer Beatles
            cars (not ric ocasek's either...)
                         XTC Mode
           Samrtest Monkeys (I just read #7-23)
                   Don't let me bug ya
     You say you want a substitution, well, you know!


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Ah! she's nowhere she thinking this is 1967?


Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 21:58:42 -0400 (EDT)
From: Joe Hartley <>
Subject: Re: Kingstunes responds! Ahhhhhh!
Message-ID: <>

<> wrote:
> Hoh - kay.  I stirred this one up, so here we go.
> First off, I want to say to Mr. Drude sorry for the music terminology
> overkill, but there's a clear point to make about Lennon's ability as a
> song writer and the influence that Paul had on him.

I don't mean to belabor the musical theory here, but I want to make a
point or two further here.

> For me, one of the most fantastic things Lennon ever did harmonically was
> the deceptively simple opening to If I Fell.  (I'll try to keep this as
> close to layman's terms as possible.)  The song starts in the key of Db
> major (which is weird enough, as most rock/pop songs from the 60s were
> guitar based and usually in open keys like C, G, D, E, and their relative
> minors.  And no capo was used in If I Fell.)

The Beatles often tuned their guitars down a half step.  Whether this was
to better suit their vocal range or to just give them a more unique sound
isn't something I know, but it makes playing a lot of Beatles songs
much tougher with a guitar tuned to the standard pitch!

>  *But* it doesn't start on the chord Db, but on the II chord (the chord
> based on the second note of the Db major scale), which is Eb minor.  Now,
> the *normal* thing to do (for reasons I won't get into here) would be a
> II-V-I progression (Eb minor, Ab7, then Db major).  But *instead* of
> playing the V chord (Ab7), he plays D major, which has no relation at all
> to the key!

"If I Fell" is an example to me of a song that probably started as a
few noodling strums on a guitar and acted as a springboard for more

> So it goes:
>          Ebm                             D (should have been Ab7)
>     If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true
>          Db       Bbm
>     And help me understand

The "odd" Ebm/D/Db sequence makes a lot of sense to a guitar player.  The
chords are either the A or Am fingering on the 6th, 5th and 4th frets,
respectively.  It's something that someone writing from a music theory
background might never come up with, but someone strumming a few chords
and descending a fret at a time down the neck could hear something worth
developing fairly quickly.

> Now the really *cool* part is that the second time the D comes around
> again ("and I *found* that love is more), he blows off the key of Db which
> he started on, and uses a transitory chord in Db, a chromatic
> substitution, no less, (the D major) as the root chord of the new key, D
> major!  Em (which comes next) is the II chord and A7 is the five chord of
> the key of D, which becomes the key of the rest of the song!  The D is a
> pivot chord form the old key to the new (a half step higher), and a
> devilishly clever one at that!

Again, I think music theorists at the time cringed over this!  It's
not intuitive at all from a theory standpont.  To me, it's a great example
of John's innate musical instinct.  I'll bet that he hadn't a clue
about the theory of this, but just knew how to put the chords together
to get the feel for what he wanted.

> Excuse my French, but it's fucking BRILLIANT!   And totally John!   Paul
> *never* did anything like this.  And this was written in early '64!

I agree with the first part of this completely :)  I've always felt that
at times you could really hear Paul trying to reason out how things would
theoretically work in some of his songs, especially later on.  Compare,
for example, Strawberry Fields Forever (John) and Penny Lane (Paul).
They're both songs that go beyond the "guitar combo" but John's is more
experimental, more of an oddball when dissected theoretically.  Paul's
song is a much more theoretically "correct" composition.

> (Hope all you gee-tar players got you axe handy and tried that!  Killer,
> ain't it?  And you thought "hold my hand, yeah, yeah, yeah, yadda yadda!"
> Ha!)

"Hold my hand and I'll see you home!"  Uh, no, wait - wrong band :)

> As for your assertion that he didn't *intend* what he was doing, that it
> just sort of happened, that's incorrect as well.  He knew what he was
> doing.  He just didn't have any way of describing it.  He intuitively knew
> on that opening of If I Fell, for example, that he was playing new twists
> on the II-V-I progression.  He had too!  You don't just plop your fingers
> down on the strings and have something like that come up!  He thought it
> out!  Based on his experience!  Maybe Paul turned him onto music with that
> progression, but he *never* showed John how to do that!  Just inspired.

I'll disagree; that particular progression _is_ something a guitar player
could discover just noodling about.  The genius is in knowing what to do
after the 3rd chord!

How to tie this to XTC?  I always felt that Andy wrote a lot more by
feel than theory, just like I felt John did.  Sorry to possibly bore you
with more of this, but as a person with no musical talent myself, the
process of songwriting fascinates me.  I've played guitar myself for 20+
years, and whatever songs I've learned to play relatively well have come as
a result of sheer repetition; as I say, I lack any talent for playing!
Likewise, the art of songwriting has always eluded me.  I've never been able
to "feel" what that next chord should be the way Andy or John have.


Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 22:11:37 -0700
From: "Jamie and Martin Monkman" <>
Subject: chocolate sharks
Message-ID: <000901c0c6fc$e1b88b40$f9763cc7@new>

It's been a long time--did anybody miss me?

In 'Hills 7-25, Robert C. Miner <> (under the subject "Look
look") asks:

>Just bought 'Transistor Blast' and 'Chips from the Chocolate Fireball' last
>night to tide me over as I wait for the remasters to come out.  Has anyone
>made any attempt to connect the songs from *Chips* to their particular 60's
>ancestors?  I mean, some are blatantly obvious (e.g. 'The Mole from the
>Ministry'), but some are not.  At least to me.

a) the XTC book "Song Stories" is the best place to start, but then check
b) my humble little Dukes site, under the heading "What in the World??...",
which contains a detailed assessment.
Comments are always welcomed.

Two other recent threads, both of which are long past their "best before"
dates, also got my attention.

Zappa:  my starting point, circa 1976/77, was the "Apostrophe" and "Overnite
Sensation" pair.  I have little time for the late 70s/early 80s material
("Shiek Yerbouti" and "Joe's Garage", for instance), but feel that the
early-mid 70s fusiony albums ("Hot Rats" and "The Grand Wazoo" in
particular) are the best of the bunch...except for what might be considered
Zappa's last album, "The Yellow Shark".  Here you get some of Zappa's best
compositions, old and new, played by Ensemble Modern, a first-rate European
classical group.

Apple computers:  Mr. Moderator, I thought that religious discussion,
particularly evangelism, was forbidden on the list.  Please tell 'em to take
it off list.

Until next time,


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 01:44:34 EDT
Subject: Aeolian Cadence Nevermore
Message-ID: <>

> In fact, I made a mix tape once of the best material from their earliest
> solo records, as well as Harrison's and Ringo's, and called it the
> Beatle's Last.  It was pretty strong!  What I think occured was not so
> much that they didn't have each other to compete with...

How did we get on this topic? Oh well, it is one that is near and dear to my
heart. Have to agree with some of it in that Lennon had an innate ability as
a musician and songwriter. Interestingly, a comment made in one book or
another made it plain and simple for me-- (paraphasing quite liberally) both
were very unconventional thinkers when it came to their songwriting. Since
they didn't know what they were supposed to do they followed their musical
instincts. McCartney's musical background and exposure to a variety of
different types of music created a foundation that meant he had a somewhat
different songwriting style than Lennon (likewise Harrison).

For those who are progressive fans...Octopus by Gentle Giant has been
reissued in Japan in a duplicate of the original album cover (i.e., cardboard
sleeve for those of you who must know).  I've heard it (although I don't have
it) and it does sound stunning (this tangent was inspired by the discussion
quoted above).

Anyhow, this is Chalkhills, darn it so I'll move on to things Xtc...
Anyone here received their copy of Homegrown yet? Mine has been on backorder
and I'm seriously debating if I should even get it (I have most of the demos
in one form or another except Colin's thanks to Veetube and a couple of other
folks). Yes, I know it would line their  pockets but I'm more concerned with
lining my pockets at present.

I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to wait for the remastered CDs to show up
stateside. Anyone have any idea if Geffen is doing this (or perhaps Virgin)
and what the time frame would be. Hey, I love the Japanese imports but they
are damned expensive!

I'm just curious what inspired Virgin to decide and put together the boxed
set (besides Andy and Colin's activity and potential biz). Was this something
they had up their sleeve prior to last year?

Hello I must be going (but before I do I'll give a good plug to Lloyd Cole's
fine new album The Negatives and Josh Joplin's Useful Music).



Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 10:43:48 +0100
From: "Stephen Jackson" <>
Subject: Re- Masters
Message-ID: <001001c0c722$edb8ca60$d11217d4@default>

Bought the first 5 albums today (next 5 are out in May). Beautifully
packaged in the original vinyl sleeve art (and it looks like the packaging
of the Big Express is going to be circular, like it should be). Extra tracks
are rightfully tacked to the end of the CD, so as not to disturb the
original flow of the songs. The extra tracks are obviously not listed on the
sleeves, but instead on the Japanese insert. No barcodes on the sleeves.

But best of all is the *sound*- I played "Yacht Dance" to my father (who
doesn't have the best ear for fidelity) on both my original CD, and the
re-master and even he could hear the vibrancy. Anyone who has a half-decent
hi-fi is going to love these recordings!



Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 11:26:12 +0100
From: "Stephen Jackson" <>
Subject: More on remasters
Message-ID: <000301c0c728$d4d93d80$d91217d4@default>

After sniffing about the Amazon site, I'm wondering whether I've purchased
my remasters prematurely. Is there going to be a box set? Will there be cds
exclusive to such a set? Will I have to fork out *again*?

Ths Cds I have bought are Japanese, were remastered by Ian Cooper and are
described as the 'original paper sleeve collection' which I believe to be a
limited edition.

Can anyone clarify exactly what is being released?

They use the head and not the fist.


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 12:08:12 +0100
From: "andy miller" <>
Message-ID: <000501c0c72e$ce56ec40$f39a86d9@pbncomputer>

Hello all,

Well, the first batch of Japanese remastered albums (White Music to English
Settlement) are here. Thought you might like a quick rundown.

All albums have been remastered by Ian Cooper at Metropolis Mastering -
November/December 2000. Presumably the mastering on the UK and Japanese
editions therefore is one and the same. All come with "original packaging"
(see below for joy, praise and a bit of nitpicking). All come in plastic
bags with OBI strip and a foldout insert with lyrics and credits in Japanese
and English. Each insert also features a short essay by Koji Wakui in
Japanese only, and a different one for each album - anyone care to translate
these? General reproduction quality of artwork, photos etc. is _perfect_
across all five albums.

Sound varies from album to album but in all cases is an improvement over
current editions. All bonus tracks are now found at the end of the original
running order, listed on the OBI and insert, but not on the CD or cover.

White Music - unbelievably accurate. CD label is blue and red Virgin logo
etc., like the first issue. The title is correctly printed on the cover,
white on white. There is a black, logoed inner bag (double tick!). Even the
writing on the spine, as with all these albums, is as close to the original
as they could get it. Sounds great too, very punchy.

Go 2 - Cover, insert, cd label (typed on red and green) all present and
correct. Sound good but then so is the current CD. One oddity - we don't get
an inner sleeve (white with a red rubber stamp saying something like "This
is the inner sleeve" if I remember rightly) but we do get a mini facsimile
of the cover of Go + (but no disc). A mistake?

Drums and Wires - sounds fantastic. I think the original master tapes have
been used for this one (they may not have been for Go 2 IMHO). Evidence? Ten
Feet Tall contains a previously unheard spoken intro by Colin and bit of
guitar. Cover, lyric insert and label all spot on. Listening to this for 20
years and still love it.

Black Sea - My favourite. Sounds absolutely amazing, the insert is just
right, the label is as beige as it oughtta be AND it even comes in green
paper bag, just like the original. What a great album this is, especially
when heard LOUD like this and with the correct running order. NB. Only has
the standard 14 tracks, not the hundreds listed on :)

English Settlement - compared with BS and D&W, a little disappointing. The
cover is great, textured and embossed, with the title in green rather than
white (another first edition double tick) but one of the inner bags is
printed as a fold-out for some reason and the original label designs have
been abandoned, for obvious reasons (there's only one disc). More
annoyingly, the sound is a bit muted (to my ears anyway). As has been noted
on this list before, the original vinyl sounds superb and I was hoping for a
real improvement over the current CD. This version is better than that but
it still doesn't leap out of the speakers like the original vinyl or, well,
BS and D&W.

I apologise for the nitpicking but ES is my favourite XTC album and this is
the, oh dear, fifth time I've bought it. Given that these editions are aimed
at the more trainspotterish fans like myself (and yourselves perhaps) and in
total are going to cost well over #100, it's a bit annoying that they almost
got it right, but not quite. But only a bit.

The inserts also feature the web address:, "for further
information, competitions and music". This is the Virgin site. The XTC page
concerned doesn't currently exist. Keep watching.

Also featured is an ad / discography for all ten remasters, but no mention
of 25'o'Clock, Psonic Psunspot, Rag and Bone Buffet or any other
compilations or best ofs. Shame.



Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 08:24:51 -0400
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Touring, Touring, It's never boring
Message-ID: <l03130302b701e6082c93@[]>

> and yes it is true that all members of the Soft boys did end up touring
>throughout the eighties, including Matthew Seligman who played with Bowie
>and the Thompson Twins, although he got fired from the last one when they
>downsized (I really know nothing about the thompson twins so don't point any
>fingers at me just yet..), while not one member of XTC toured ever again
>(unless you count Barry of course, which would once again be splitting
>Seth Frisby

  Didn't Dave tour with Aimee Mann in the early 90's?(and get to shag her
as well, lucky guy) And I believe he did a short tour with Steve Hogarth of
Marillion more recently as well.

Christopher R. Coolidge
"The bad news is, there is no key to the universe. The good news is, it has
been left unlocked."
-Swami Beyondananda


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 05:09:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Al LaCarte <>
Subject: That Boy
Message-ID: <>


Mr. Sherwood interrupted my golden slumber with the

>and that McCartney, technically a better
singer (I said *technically*, Mr. LaCarte!)<

What I love about John Lennon's singing was his
ability to convey emotion.  When he sings:

"Oh and this boy
 would be happy
 just to love you
 But oh my hi hi hi

 That boy
 Won't be happy
 'til he's seen you cry hi hi hi"

it still sends a chill up my spine 37 years later!

He was a brilliant singer, songwriter, arranger and
musician.  Different than Paul, but his equal.

Great post Harrison.


Ayn Rand made some good points in her books, but what
the hell could she have said about The Beatles?


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 09:34:23 EDT
Subject: Re: The Horizontal Bop
Message-ID: <>

<<Maybe this is why "Wounded Horse" holds so little appeal for
me...but its heaviness and musical in-jokes wear thin after a
while. I'm a melody junkie. What can I say?>>

And I put "Stupidly Happy" in the same category; not that it's BAD but
that it just doesn't seem as melodically creative as their typical
work and the other selections on WS, particularly "Wheel & The
Maypole" which for me has more ideas brewing in it than most writers
spit out in an entire record!

Certainly don't mean to snub WS, which was one of my faves from last
year and which still gets much airplay in the car & abode.

And since I don't post much, a general thanks to all for a most
enjoyable and intelligent digest!

On another note, I'm currently divesting myself of vinyl, and will be
e-baying it all away. I have LOTS of XTC 45's, EP's, & LP's to unload,
and I'll be glad to give youse guys first picks. So if there's
something you've been looking for, lemme know and I'll send you my
list o' XTC!



Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 09:46:34 EDT
Subject: It was twenty years ago today........
Message-ID: <>

 Andy Partridge taught the band to play.
  April 17, 1981. Emerald City , Cherry Hill , N.J.
 Memories, Like the corner of my mind......
  Yes, I have a square head.
          Back to reminiscing. ( sp.? )     Roger


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 10:51:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alex Stein <>
Subject: Re: I Want This! And I Want It NOW!
Message-ID: <>

>>On Tuesday April 16,2001 The XTC 'Black Sea Box Set'
>>comes out. 153 songs! On ONE CD! British Sterling #10.99!
>> Now *that's* what I call 'value'!

Yeah, but it's only one CD... which means that each song is only about
29 seconds long!


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 12:28:55 -0600
From: "Steve Johnson" <>
Subject: Cutting and Pasting
Message-ID: <>

In response to my earlier post regarding computers and music, Harrison
Sherwood wrote:

"There are, however, *many* things wrong with letting the computer
make the music *for* you, and unfortunately, many people who use
computers to make music don't make this distinction.

I can cut and paste like a motherfucker, but I don't consider cutting
and pasting to be a musical skill."

Actually, when equipped with the software, computers can almost make
music for you, but certainly not anything I'd want to listen to.  But
they are really lousy at singing and writing lyrics.

However, while cutting and pasting may not reflect "musical skill" in
the sense of playing an instrument, they are certainly important
skills in song-writing and arranging.  XTC did plenty of cutting and
pasting on Wasp Star.  I'm sure the drummers on ther album were quite
surprised (and hopefully delighted) to hear how their "cut and pasted"
drumming came out on the songs!

>From what I gather, Partridge and Moulding think that this new method
of song-writing (using extensive digital editing) is a very liberating
experience, because it avoids the tedium and drudgery of having to do
multiple takes of complete musical passages until you finally get one
right.  As Andy observes, it's no different than making a film--does
anyone really believe they just turn the camera on and film from
beginning to end?

A computer is nothing more than a tool, just like a paint brush.  My
friend Gary the house painter uses a brush, but that doesn't make him


Steve (and the home computer has me on the run) Johnson

P.S.-- I use Voyetra Digital Orchestrator Plus software, which costs a
fraction of Cakewalk and others, but works just fine for my purposes.


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 11:18:03 -1000
From: Jim Smart <>
Subject: Welcome to the machine Andy McCartridge & Paul Partney
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Kamehameha Schools

Randy Hiatt wrote:

"Some people use the computers capability to "correct" flaws in timing
and/or editing note values, this is where our ears might hear the
computer, and most don't like the sterile feeling/smell this gives off."

in response to:

"Is there anything wrong with
using computers to make music?"

I'd like to add that the thing that has killed a lot of feeling in music
is the click track. This is when you base your recording on a computer
click. It keeps you from changing the tempo. But in the "old days", there
was no click, and the musicians had to do it live, eyeball to eyeball, and
just stay together and give a tight performance. That's why many
recordings by the Kinks, Beatles, Who, et al don't keep perfect time but
have the right feeling. They just performed the song as a band, then added
overdubs to that. That's why a lot of music made after the seventies can
sound "made by machine", methinks.

Disclaimer: Though I prefer that old way of working, all of my recordings
are made to the click. It's only practical in my situation, not having
Ringo and Paul or Dave and Colin around to perform my song over and over
with me until we get a take that's just right.

And there's one more similarity between Andy P and Paul M: They both enjoy
putting their band into an imaginary situation where the band is playing
the part of a different band. The concept for Sgt Pepper and the Dukes of
Stratosphear seemed to make the most sense to (and to have been thought up
by) Andy and Paul, and other band mates seemed a bit mystified or less
than committed at times.

Correct me if I'm wrong,

Jim "and I'm sure someone will" Smart


Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 00:42:31 +0200
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Subject: Wrapped in Earthly Delights
Message-ID: <>

Dear Chalkers,

Today i'm in a glorious mood as i have already achieved one of my
primary goals in life... please excuse my shouting but I'VE FINALLY

A long, long time ago i foolishly set out to collect all Their UK
releases. Hah, little did i know indeed !
I had absolutely no idea at the time that this would involve finding,
and somehow acquiring, a couple of the rarest releases ever.
And to be frank, i almost lost heart during those long lost pre-internet
years. But now, almost twenty years and several lifetimes later, i've
finally got the last missing link (a.k.a. the WIG cdsingle)

But wait a minute... i've just realized that i've still got to cover the
rest of the world, right? i mean, i hardly have any Brazilian releases
and i'm desperately seeking a South-African ES and i really really
need a mint German Science Friction single with picture sleeve !!!
Aaaarggghhhhh !!!! The torture never stops

> >I love Garden of Earthly Delights, too. [snip]
> > PS- Who played the lead, Andy or Dave?
> Dave; according to "Song Stories":  "...Gregsy's extraordinary
> high-speed  harmonized guitar.."

and he loves this particular solo too. interesting side note: Dave
agreed that this was perhaps not the best and most effective
opening track one could have chosen. but of course one was
stubborn as usual :)

btw: don't forget to surf over to the Pick of the Month section @ to read DG's reply to the allegations of
culinary torture during the Skylarking sessions. The story behind
Song Stories as it were... get it while it's hot !

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos


Date: 17 Apr 2001 19:01:40 CDT
From: Mor_Goth <>
Subject: Does Computer Belong In Music?
Message-ID: <>

>Why all the ballyhoo about computers making music? Why is that particular
>tool such a problem? If you think about the history of music, all along >the
>way there have been new instruments, new technolgies, and when these
>advances occurred, there were probably curmudgeonly (is that a word?)
>bastards complaining that music as they knew it was lost.

I agree. Granted some techno/synthesised music does come off as sterile and
mass produced.  But then, so does some thoroughly "low-tech" music. I think
the talent of the artist make a much bigger difference than the medium the
artist chooses to work with.  In fact.. advancing technology should
theoretically IMPROVE an artist's ability to express him/herself exactly as
they want.

For instance think of it this way: You could say electric guitar is "less
authentic" than an acoustic, it adds "artificial" electronic elements such as
distortion and feedback.  But is anyone really ready to argue that working in
that medium made, say, Jimi Hendrix less able to put genuine feeling into his
music?  Quite the opposite in my opinion.

To offer an XTC related exaple: I for one think "We're All Light" is one of
the best songs on Wasp Star, and probably one of my all time favorite XTC
songs.  And I think the little synthesized warble in the background is perfect
for the feeling the song is trying to convey.

"All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open-hearted.
Not so coldly charted, it's really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah, your honesty."
- Spirit of Radio, Rush



Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 17:45:05 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <>
Subject: overdue
Message-ID: <>

Argh! I just realized, my first de-lurk post was a year ago back in
February! I was going to gush about how much I've enjoyed myself since and
all that, and I do still feel that way, but... Ah, well. Seems too late.
Still, thanks everyone who welcomed me back then, and who I've corresponded
with since (you know who you are).

Recent (I've already chopped out a pile of dead thread stuff, this post
having sat around untouched for so long) things:

Paul vs. John: Lovely. A lot of this reminds me of the old,
now-totally-discredited (I hope) John=words Paul=music distinction that lazy
rock writers used to get away with, admittedly with more work and thought
involved. I used to be a total John partisan, especially around the time of
his death, when I practically had a shrine of posters & such in my room
(hey, I was 16), but I've drifted towards Paul in the years since,
especially as I've become a bigger and bigger fan of the bass more than any
other "rock" instrument (thus the way Colin's bass contributions can totally
save what would otherwise be XTC's lesser songs for me, not least due to the
noticeable Paul influences in his sound). In fact, in the years since, I've
found myself disagreeing more and more with some of the pronouncements taken
as gospel from the Lennon interview canon (which he'd probably be just as
scornful to see written in stone) much of which now seems to me to be a
little too off-the-cuff and "of the moment" to be accepted uncritically. I
used to feign scorn for Paul's cornier moments, while inwardly bopping my
head with a goofy smile; I like to think I've grown out of that type of
bogus cool.
Among other things, Tom the K said:
"One of the trickiest myths to lance is the idea that Paul, being the most
well rounded and best musically trained of the Beatles (fact), was the
better songwriter as a result of that fact."
Strangely enough, this is a new one for me. I'm much more familiar with its
mirror twin; the one that goes: "John was more visceral, rockin', and, like,
REAL, man, making him better". Both have holes big enough to sail a yellow
submarine through, so it doesn't make much difference. I'll agree that
they're both myths, and crap.
Liked Harrison's observation regarding Andy showing a strong Paul influence,
but with the example of his mistakes to avoid. I think "Skylarking" was the
first XTC album to make me go "why isn't McCartney doing McCartney songs as
good as this lately?" ("Ballet for a Rainy Day" in this case). As far as
"Wounded Horse" goes, Colin's bass makes all the difference again; think of
a weird meeting between "Oh, Darling" and "No Language in Our Lungs".

Speaking of Yellow Submarines, I bought that "Songtrack" thing, in order to
have a CD version of "Hey Bulldog" for my "Fat Fingers" tape (it's done & it
came to 300). These remixes... I think I hate them. The bass part of Hey
Bulldog, which I've always loved, seems all buried and weakened. I'll have
to go back and get the "regular" version as well now.

Macca's "Tug of War": when this came out, I was impressed in terms of it
being the "Paul's gets real" album (whatever the hell that really means, in
retrospect), but very disappointed by the "reunion with George Martin"
aspect, almost as disappointed as I was by the production on Double Fantasy
(an album that's been almost synonymous with "artist I love makes album with
production I detest" ever since it came out, though I was too much the
fanboy to admit it at the time). Maybe I shouldn't have had so many
preconceptions and expectations of "Beatlyness" for a Macca-Martin reunion,
but disappointed is how I felt by the sound & texture of the thing.

Saw the Soft Boys when they came through town. Fantastic. Gig of the year,
for me. Never thought this would happen. Seeing this band play these songs
was definitely something I thought belonged in the "unrealistic gig fantasy"
file (you can probably guess what else that file contains). I also have a
great recording of the show that I've been playing ever since almost
non-stop (except when I'm listening to Kimberley Rew's "Tunnel into Summer"
that I bought at said gig; what a happy guy!).

Hey, remember when I fished for recommendations here as to what Richard
Thompson albums to try? Well, despairing of being able to follow up on
everyone's leads, I went and saw him about a month ago when he came through
town. Funny, charming, and I left with a good impression of what I like of
his, and picked up a couple of things. (that's not to sound ungrateful to
those who sent me recommendations, hopefully you know how it is...)

Where's this Neil Innes list someone mentioned, where people are arguing
over Eric Idle's alleged assholitude? I'd like to check it out.

I'm sure all those of you out there who count "Black Sea" as their favourite
XTC album are thrilled by that box set; imagine, every other song on every
other album is just a Black Sea bonus track! I wonder how long it will take
to fix that page (don't tell them, let's just see!)

What's happening with the shirts?

Oops, time to go,
Ed K.


Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 21:57:02 -0400
From: "Ellerd, Christopher" <>
Subject: Yer Beatles
Message-ID: <000701c0c7aa$dcb9b660$>

To me the interesting thing about Paul and John is that they had different
musical influences. John was such a witty bastard, god bless him. Paul, what
a genius. I watched a snip on TV of him performing "Hey Jude" recently. It
must've been from Trippin' I guess. I said to my roommate "what a great
voice". Much more can, is and has been said about him. I leave off on that
for now. Where John's Teddy Boy cruel thuggishness is concerned, I have a
soft spot for Paul's charming sophistication. Where Paul's cultured
musicality is concerned, I long for John's intellectual, raucous edge. In
the early years, the years that counted, the edge belongs to John. "Thank
you all, you've got a lucky face."



Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 23:28:02 -0400
From: Virginia Rosenberg <>
Subject: cars (not ric ocasek's either...)
Message-ID: <>

Hi Wes-

Geez, you're absolutely right about the Chalkhills car showroom. Not just
Tauruses, but lots of Beetles too. Mind, I've always thought that Wings was
convincing evidence for the 'Paul is dead' theory. Let's see if I can't get
more flames than Mr. Matthews, who is so vigilantly seeking  to expurgate
any references to occultism which might contaminate his oh-so-very-rational,
21st century mind.

XTC references? Well, I've got an iMac too{great  for printing up horoscopes
; ) }. Am getting nervous about all this forthcoming (and forthcome) stuff.
If anyone has any surefire plans for robbing banks or such, please contact
me offlist (I believe discretion is usually advised in such cases): I  could
drive the getaway CAR-can we rent a TAURUS? Seriously, I don't know how else
I'm going to be able to afford my XTC habit. Actually, wasn't sure how I was
gonna pay for the green tights either...

Best regards,


Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 09:11:46 +0200
From: Bergmaier Klaus <>
Subject: XTC Mode
Message-ID: <>

Hello, you all!

On discussing XTCesque McCartney compositions and stuff, I just found a very
XTCesque song by Depeche Mode (well, with the exception of the bass). I is
called "Surrender" and is on the 1998 CD single of "Only when I lose
myself". To me Martin Gore is a very good songwriter - I know not many of
you want to read this here - and Depeche Mode do extreme good 2-part
harmonies. DM and XTC are not that far from each other as you may assume. I
like them both, although XTC are my top favourites. Is there anyone else
here who likes both XTC and DM? I know we already had the same thread with
Yes and Rush...

But there is one Depeche-modal XTC song too: CMs "Dying" sounded like a
little DM parody for me right from the very start. Even the (not really very
naturally sounding) clarinet outro reminds me a lot of the synth clarinet
sound in "Everything Counts" (BTW a DM song I don't like much). My favourite
DM songs musically are "Shake the Disease" and "A Question of Lust", lyrics
are quite good in many, many DM tunes.

But there are some major differences between DM and XTC as well. First and
foremost of all, I was able to see DM in concert twice (I would have been
able to see them 5 times, but it's enough by now) and XTC have an excellent
bass player. DM have an Austrian as live drummer. XTC have no live drummer
at all...sadly.

Please visit me at - there is XTC content!
Barry's organ plus links!!!

I hope Homegrown will be available someday here in Austria.



Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 10:36:24 +0200
From: Bergmaier Klaus <>
Subject: Samrtest Monkeys (I just read #7-23)
Message-ID: <>

Hey you, who dislike Smartest Monkeys!

I have to post this now:

What's wrong with that song? It was always my favourite on Nonsuch. If I
think it over quickly, for me it is XTC's best song ever (and I've heard
them all!), closely followed by "Standing In For Joe". We GOTTA found the
"Defenders of Colin" soon.

Visit me at



Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 13:25:57 +0200
From: "Gary Nicholson" <>
Subject: Don't let me bug ya
Message-ID: <001701c0c7fa$79daaea0$c083883e@oemcomputer>

Hello Chalkland,

A brief plug for an event with XTC content if you'd bear with me:

I'm directing a version of The Insect Play (A Bug's Life with added satire
and death) by Josef and Karel Capek (who brought the word 'robot' to the
English language, thrill-seekers) at the Chesil Theatre, Winchester
(Hampshire, UK) from May 21st-26th. Apart from music by Tom Waits and Blur
(instrumentals only), it also contains the first instrumental 1 minute and
30 seconds or so of 'River of Orchids' as the background to a few mayflies
celebrating life in general...rather briefly.

Tickets are available at #7 from Music at Winchester on +44 (0)1962 877977
and there's a website at:

And, yes; I did get the idea from the Neta production. It's not worth
busting a gut to fly over from Pitsville, Arizona to see it; indeed, it may
not be worth a whimsical jaunt down the M3 from Basingstoke; but if you're




Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 01:33:51 EDT
Subject: You say you want a substitution, well, you know!
Message-ID: <>

Folks, just wanted to thank the many of you who contacted me offline on my
last post!   I thought I'd share my response with one offline contact, as
many of you expressed an interest in the subject.  I submit this as a
followup, but beyond that I don't want to get into music lessons dominating
my Chalkhills posts.  I hope those of you who are non-musicians find this
helpful when some of this stuff turns up.  Those of you who are musicians
will find this not too exiting, as I am trying to distill harmonic theory for
the layman.  Of course, there's much, much more to it.  But this should

Any, a fellow Chalkhiller wrote,

>While I am a completely untrained musician, I can appreciate the intricacies
which >you so lucidly described. However, I would just like to add that, for
me, the most >brilliant part of "If I Fell" is Lennon's transition into the
middle eight: "Don't hurt my
>pride like HER". I don't know how to dissect it in theoretical terms, but it
>sure makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!

My reponse:

Actually, the middle eight is a simple standard trick, where the I (one)
chord, which is not really a dominant, is turned into a dominant by adding a
seventh.  That leads it into the IV chord like a new key.  Called a secondary
dominant, in this case the V of IV.  (I know, Greek to you!)  Basically it
means that the chord was changed, with one note, and that changed it's role.
It's a simple trick, used many times before and after the Beatles.  But it's
the intensity with which they do it and how the melody flows as well.  Very

Like this:   D    Em F#m         Em        A7                             D7
(or D9)
        If I trust   in   you   oh please,   don't hurt my pride like her

                                   G             Gm                         D
        'cause I couldn't stand the pain  and I would be sad if our new love
was in

        A7           D       Em    F#m
        vain.   So I hope   you   see

The easiest way to explain it to non musicians is this.  All music is built
on scales, or sequences of notes that repeat as they go higher.  Each scale
has 7 notes, the 8th being the repeat of the 1st.  The 1st note is the one
the scale is named after, and is the tonic, or home base, that everything
wants to return to.  The nature of music is for notes to wander away from
home, then return.

Chords, also known as harmony, are compatible groups of notes from the scale
used.  There's a chord for every note in the scale.  They are numbered (Roman
numerals are used) like this:  I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII.  VII is rarely
used in a major key, so the first six are the common ones.

If I Fell (as an example) is in the key of D major, meaning the notes are
derived from the D major scale.  (Don't worry what *major* means now).  The
notes of the D major scale are:  D, E, F#, G, A, B, and C#, repeating higher
with D again.  (Don't worry about the #s (sharps).  Not necessary to
understand for this explanation).  The corresponding chords are:

D,  Em,  F#m,  G,  A7,  Bm  (Plain letter- major; "m"- minor; 7 - dominant
I     II       III       IV   V    VI   (Don't worry about VII).

Music relies on tensions and resolutions.  Each chord in a key falls into
three groups:   Tonic (home, or resolved),  sub-dominant (passing from home
to tension),
and dominant (highest tension).  Dominant chords ALWAYS want to resolve (go)
to tonic chords.  (Go home, in other words!)  In the key of D, the tonic is
D, the dominant is A7, and the rest are the tension builders.  So the I chord
(the tonic) and the V chord (the dominant) are the polar opposites.  V is
total tension, I is home.

What happens going into the middle of If I Fell is the tonic (D) is
temporarily made into a dominant, by adding the 7th (an extra note that
creates tension).  This makes the D, which is normally home, want to go to G
as if the G was home.  That's what creates that cool tension at that point in
the song.  This is called a false dominant, or more correctly a secondary

Any chord used in a song that is not in the key is called a substitution.  A
secondary dominant is a substitution.   The Gm at "And *I* would be sad if
our new love..."  is a different kind of substitution (called a borrowed
parallel minor, for what it's worth), like the next to the last chord in
Wounded Horse, as Harrison Sherwood pointed out.
There are several different kinds of substitutions besides secondary

One of the most incredible songs Lennon wrote featuring substitutions is In
My Life.  It's like a textbook!   (BTW, that same sub-dominant minor pause
from Happiness Is A Warm Gun turns up at the end of In My Life.)

  Substitutions can create dramatic emotional effect on the song.  Lennon was
a master of substitutions.  He revolutionized the harmonic language of Rock &
He also understood all this, he just didn't have the training to be able to
apply the labels.  And here's an important fact I should have put on my first
post -he had played for years before he started writing.  *The Beatles were a
cover band long before they penned originals.*  Like most groups, as many
musicians here can testify to.  So he had played countless songs before he
applied his fertile imagination to actually writing one, soaking up the
patterns and learning the rules, if not the spelling.  The same with Paul.
*This* is what Mr Drude does not account for.
XTC content - next post!

Thanks for your indulgence,
Jeremy Hillary Boob, PHD %-)


End of Chalkhills Digest #7-27

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