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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #8-69


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 8, Number 69

                Tuesday, 17 December 2002

Topics:

  Slang farts and giggles to belabor your easy breathing
                     Warbles (again)
            Re: Nickel Creek = ain't bluegrass
     Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and who else, now?
                      Re: Oops/Fuzzy
                Re: Old Grey Whistle Test
                      .co.uk vs .com
                   Things Bawl to Fits
              The Three Fuzzy Wisemen Warble
                     Etymology lesson
          How many times can the RIAA cry wolf?
      XTC new album 2003? =?ISO-8859-1?B?oDIwMDQ/?=
           Second edition of Chris Twomeys Book
            Roast Nuts Firing on an Open Chest
                      Grass, My Ass
                       sundry items
                      fuzzy dilemma
               re: proselytizing for an APE

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In a milk bar and feeling lost.

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

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 14:23:00 -0800 (PST)
From: Jeff Eby <jeffaeb@yahoo.com>
Subject: Slang farts and giggles to belabor your easy breathing
Message-ID: <20021216222300.44202.qmail@web11602.mail.yahoo.com>

Another steve wrote (too many steves in the kitchen, can't keep track):

>>...not being an expert on sixties lingo of the
british street perhaps it's a bit inaccurate to allow A Clockwork
Orange to harbor "fuzzy warbles" as the sole source reference?<<

Actually, since Clockwork Orange was set 'in the future' the writer,
Anthony Burgess, created his own slang for his futuristic teenagers,
hence the origin of the term does starts with it.

Neil Oliver wrote:

>>And as I have said before on this list, I'd prefer it if Andy would
stick to reasonably polished demos and not pad the discs out with
throwaway instrumentals and crappy work tapes. As much as I enjoyed
hearing pristine masters of the more recent demos, I was irritated to
be charged money for barely listenable things like "Complicated Game"
and "All of a Sudden." I feel a bit like Andy is taking advantage of
my fandom when he releases this kind of stuff.<<

I think it's obvious that Andy is taking advantage of our fandom to
make the most money and to give the really rabid fans what they want.
I understand the idea though.  Plenty people do want everything, farts
and giggles and all, but not necessarily everyone.  Andy wants just
about everything realeased though, that's obvious.  The only way to
get it all out, and to the most people, he has to jumble it all up.
If he broke it up chronologically or into type, you'd have people
saying "I don't need the early demos or instrumentals album"

Neil also noted:

>>I wish people would stop reporting "Tunes to Help You Breathe More
Easily" as the working title of XTC's new album. This was merely the
title of the news item they put up on the Idea site about Andy and
Colin's new songs. Nowhere does it say that this is what they are
calling the album.<<

Yes, this is silly.  Part of the problem there is that a couple music
news sources made this mistake and announced "Tunes to Help You
Breathe More Easily" as the album title, so it's been widely
circulated.  But really "XTC Compiling New Songs for Possible New
Album" is just as valid of a working title.

--
If only I could stop using self-deprecating humor I know that I could
be a much better person.

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 09:59:27 +1100
From: "Paul Haines" <prhaines@optushome.com.au>
Subject: Warbles (again)
Message-ID: <001201c2a556$c92aefc0$41e231d2@vic.optushome.com.au>

Hi All,

Just got my Warbles from the Idea site and nicely signed. To set things
straight about price (and they're not, they won't be, they can't, they...)
try dealing in the fabulously strong Australian currency. (For those who
don't know -- it's not!) I'm closing on more than $80 for these discs.

Sure, this makes the discs pricey, but down under we've always had the
extremely pricey 'imports' which make it into the better music shops. If
they make it all to this part of the world. I'd be paying this regardless if
I saw these discs in a shop. In fact, it's normal to pay that or more! (I
just received Cactus World New's remastered 'Urban Beaches' on cd too, and
this cost me $55 from their web site).

And I've got more than 5 cd's of XTC bootlegs (including at least half of
Fuzzy Warbles 1 & 2), and the Warbles quality far surpasses the bootlegs.
Worth every penny. Let's not hear another Warbles Whinge.

If you're on this list you're sort of fanatical about the band, aren't you?
Or is that just me.

Now, does anyone know a vol 3 & 4 release?

Paul Haines

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

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 23:14:15 +0000
From: "Calvin Goodale" <zip_up@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Nickel Creek = ain't bluegrass
Message-ID: <F11vN3qljWwY0VnkB4l00006537@hotmail.com>

"Nickel Creek = ain't bluegrass, or at least bluegrass as I understand it.
But I like em all the same ... except for the girl's singing voice. Too
breathy and pretentious...reminds me too much of Tori Amos."

Well, a good number of the songs they play on each of their albums are their
arrangements of traditional bluegrass songs...they do have some songs that
are more acoustic/folk, but they will always go back to their roots:
Bluegrass.  I don't know what your understanding of bluegrass is I
suppose...perhaps you haven't played enough of it.  At any rate, both of
their albums are incredible.

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

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 18:53:12 EST
From: Saints3Den@aol.com
Subject: Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and who else, now?
Message-ID: <16c.18aaace9.2b2fc168@aol.com>

hello people....
>
> From  Christopher R. Coolidge
>
> We Three Kings Of Orient Are
> Trying to smoke a rubber cigar
> But it was loaded, and exploded...
> :-)

   Speaking of 3 Kings, a born-again friend of mine at work tells me there
were NOT 3 kings.  The Bible says --wise men came from the east--.  No
mention of how many there were.

    So it got me to thinking, why 3, then. Why do people think there were 3
of them?
Must be because there were 3 gifts...gold, myrrh, frankinsence.

  Lets see, I guess if it says 'men ' in the Bible, there were between 2 of
them and an infinite number.  I doubt 2 men, since then one of them would
need to bring 2 gifts.

 3 would make sense, one gift per wiseman.

  Anything over 3, and either some would bring no gift, or, there would be
repeat gifts.

Neither is a proper way to  greet Jesus, i mean, come on you just cant show
up with no gift on such an occasion.

 Can you imagine bringing the same gift as some other wiseman?  That would
not be wise at all!

 I can see it now, lets say if there were 7 wisemen.

   Wiseman # 1... Hey guys, I brought gold... how about you?

   #2 Myrrh!

   #3 Myrrh!

   #4Myrrh!

   #5 Myrrh!

   #6  Myrrh!

   #7 Frankinsence... they were all out of Myrrh.

   This is why I think there really were 3 wisemen, and that my born - again
friend is wrong...

 eddie st.martin

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

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 16:25:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Brian Danks <bdanks@rocketmail.com>
Subject: Re: Oops/Fuzzy
Message-ID: <20021217002507.71253.qmail@web13907.mail.yahoo.com>

strwbrry wrote:

>not being an expert on sixties lingo of the
>british street perhaps it's a bit inaccurate to
>allow A Clockwork
>Orange to harbor "fuzzy warbles" as the sole source
>reference?

Let us not forget that the phrase "fuzzy warbles" came
from the pen of Anthony Burgess. Having read a good
number of his books and given his penchant for
classical music, the phrase to me seems a playful
Burgess poke at pop music.

Brian

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 00:58:55 +0000
From: Richard Hall <Whaley010861@netscape.net>
Subject: Re: Old Grey Whistle Test
Message-ID: <3DFE76CF.4030904@netscape.net>

 I believe there is a DVD
available of the Old Grey Whistle Test and XTC are on it but I'm not sure if
it's this performance.

Oh yes, and mighty fine it is....complete with one of the presenters
waxing lyrical about the swindonians....

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

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 17:08:20 -0800
From: "da9ve stovall" <da9ve@geek.com>
Subject: .co.uk vs .com
Message-ID: <161202350.61677@webbox.com>

>As a CD retailer will-be I would like to chuck in my 2 >pence/cents
worth.  Firstly Amazon has never been able to >organise itself
sufficiently to deal with the .com >or .co.uk scenario, if you
are in the UK and you order >from amazon.com it will come from
the USA, even if you >live in the UK and the product is also
available in the >amazon.co.uk website.

A fortuitous upshot of this division between .co.uk and .com
in the Amazon world is that some UK releases are considerably
cheaper to order in the US though Amazon.co.uk.  Amazon.com would
have been glad to sell me the Van der Graaf Generator box set
last year as an import - which would have run me about $72 US.
 I ordered it from .co.uk instead, and ended up paying about
$48 US for the same item.  No brainer, in my book.  For anything
that's not a US release, I *always* check on a couple Canadian
and a couple UK sites first, and frequently save a significant
percentage.

da9ve

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

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 21:35:34 -0600
From: "eriC draveS" <zoom98@mindspring.com>
Subject: Things Bawl to Fits
Message-ID: <004701c2a57d$5c826660$8881f843@XLZOOM>

(or, Use Your Warbles 1&2)

"Would you like some Disc Jerky with that? It's a wee bit CD, though..."

Enter our protagonist. He is an average, run-of-the-millions XTC fan, who,
through no fault of his own, went a-gaga over MOGO and the other misfit
tunes (only just been made) on Fuzzy Warbles, having not heard them, and,
being a Yank, having no idea if 8.50 pounds each round plastic thing was a
price too high, really high, like a really high thing, say a Dutch Tulip.
So, he ordered them, with a side order of cardboard box and air mail stamps.

Well, lookie here, it arrived in four days and appears to consist of a
couple more air mail stamps from the land of Brobdingnagia! Oh, wait, that's
just dem covers...

I must say, after listening, that this stuff is a real mixed bag, but we all
had ample warning it would be.

The first two tracks were nice. Then comes a DJ advert that is even more
totally out-of-place than "I'm Playing My Fano" combined with
"In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida". Definitely one segue to beware. "My heart's made of
wood" all right, but this really goes against the grain. Compare, if you
dare, Madness's "Terry Wogan Jingle". Or vocally anything from Tom Waits.

"Don't Let Us Bug Ya" is one I can listen to with relief. I was expecting
really sappy songs from Disney rejects. (I have always despised "A Whole New
World", for example, or indeed "It's A Small World" or even "We Are the
World". Anything with World in it.) That Wag was very funny, of course,
though I kept expecting AP to impersonate Kurt Cobain even though it was a
couple years too early. The Bob Dylan was spot on. Ironically I used to
remember singing another XTC gem in Bob Dylan style, because it fit better
that way, but AP's impersonation was so funny it drowned out my memories.

"Ocean's Daughter", and indeed all instrumentals, are very nice in FW 1&2,
mostly because I always liked the interesting noises bands try for when they
decided to chuck the verbiage and sail for the Realm of the Shadows. And
cool names like "MOGO" and "EPNS" and "RCMP", wait, scratch that last one.

So, the next one is "Everything". Do I prefer it to Nirvana's "Everything
and Nothing"? Yes. Does it repeat much like Nirvana's "Breed"? Yes. Maybe
this is the song that stole the memory of the Bob Dylan XTC song. (NOT "All
Along the Watchtower" either.) "Goosey Goosey" is very well sung, except for
the actual title of the song which I somehow can't stand. I suppose it grows
on you though. If it doesn't, I'll run it through some software and take the
line out, that'd be interesting. "Hey, I believe it's for having fun..."
makes even less sense.

As for "Summer Hot as This", there are several things to bring up.
Fortunately, my lunch is not one of them. First, the last word in the title
is actually an anagram, that was the easy one. Second, I can't see how this
song could be "too syrupy" given "Everything'll Be Alright" later on. Also,
it just isn't as suffocating as "Summer's Cauldron" or iconoclastic as "Dear
God". And finally, it'll never replace gems like "Summer in the City" or
"The Heat is On" or even XTC's "Heat Wave". But it's nice to hear something
fresh, if roasted.

Okay, "Liarbird" is about the old manager, and "Ship Trapped in the Ice" is
about the old corporation. We got that now. Is there a song about wigging
out or coming off the drugs? I mean, besides Def Leppard's "Stage Fright"
and the Dukes' "You're My Drug". Okay, that was mean, so I'll play nice and
say I liked the fuzzy mumbles of "Complicated Game" Demo. I like it when we
can get references like "Cassette the controls [for the heart of the sun]".
And anyway, the mumblings aren't worse than the whisperings of the Drums and
Wires '79 vintage.

"Wonder Annual", I suppose it groans on you. I keep thinking of some
demented comic book from the 70's that ran to 80 pages and contained 52
stories. What I get is pure disguised smut, which I guess is the essense of
a comic book really. But the cut's as rough as the deed. Could have been
somewhat better (How I bet Dudgeon was in high dudgeon over this...)

Loved both "Space Wray" and "Rocket". Liked reference to Joe Meek. Sad that
Joe Meek couldn't have been a part of this somehow (deceased, doncha know).
If you enjoyed "Wray" you might enjoy "Space Farm" by Primus. Or "Telstar" I
suppose (never heard that one yet, it doesn't get airplay in Chicago for
some reason).

On to Volume Two. Booklet Page Two: Oh no! Andy's getting younger as he
releases these things! Has he discovered the Fountain of Sonic Youth?

Cathy Dennis is right, "I Don't Want to Be Here" is too wordy. But so what?
Singers these days, I tell ya... they just want to save all their breath for
the bellowing of the last chorus of "I Will Always Love You [Or Else]".
Whoa, I need protection. Earmuffs might help. Or this song, which isn't
mello yelling.

Really liked "Young Marrieds", but the timing is awful (there's a film
coming out with that idiot from "That 70's Show" titled "Just Married"...
it's already formed an unbroken link that will sully this good song in
perpetuity! Ptooey!).

"No One Here Available" imitates "Nobody's Home", which is a song supposedly
done by the Beatles for the Anthology by just ripping off Lennon's old
answering machine, but was really an elaborate joke done on the Conan
O'Brian show. Now, if it were about the DJ or a Fano guitar, you'd have
something (probably a headache)!

Liked "Obscene Procession", but is this meant to be a pro-vegetarian song or
just anti-human in general? Anyway, I listened to this while digesting a
hamburger and still liked it. Followed with a keg of... well, "Miller Time"
is probably as embarrassing to AP as "Andrews Liver Salt" was to Barry. I'm
waiting for the Dr. Pepper song...

"Red Rocking Horse", both versions, is astounding. I liked the jaunty pianny
of the first one and the "Ersatz Beatles" lyrics. But it assumes a new
dramatic posture in the second when it becomes the band itself. He's right,
"no one backed [them]." In Surrealism, Dada is translated as "Rocking
Horse", though it really has no meaning, on purpose. This song has meaning,
purpose, AND the rocking horse. I guess "Hold Me My Dada" or "Holly Up On
Dobbin" were out of the question.

Next comes "Everything'll Be Alright", which sickens me. Ever see the
episode of Saturday Night Live where George Wendt plays a children's
singer-songwriter who releases an more adult-themed album? "I want to have
sex with you/ Just like the birds and the bees do..." This is what this song
reminds me of. If there weren't references to the bugs it might be a
straight pop song worthy of the Rembrandts or They Might Be Giants.

Finally, "Ship Trapped in the Ice" is too obvious. It also lacks real oomph,
because it begs the question of if they want out, why don't they just quit?
(I know why (breach of contract lawsuit), but the public would not know,
understand or really care.) I can just imagine a Virgin executive holding a
meeting... "Now Andy-man, we really grok your ice song, but it's a load of
ship and you know it. You really like working here, doncha? Sure ya do. So
we'll put it on the next album (you DO have a next album for us, right?),
but you have to change the last verse. Think of our image!" I get shivers at
this. Good thing it stayed unused.

Overall, I like what I heard (with some exceptions) and I'll probably buy FW
3&4 even if Colin isn't in it.

Notice the APE HOUSE logo looks like something else entirely? Nudge nudge,
wink wink, say no more!

eriC draveS

"Duh Duh Gibber verse..."

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 06:50:41 -0800
From: "Harry Strole"<hjstrole@earthlink.net>
Subject: The Three Fuzzy Wisemen Warble
Message-ID: <Springmail.0994.1040136641.0.14487400@webmail.pas.earthlink.net>

<...not being an expert on sixties lingo of the
british street perhaps it's a bit inaccurate to allow A Clockwork
Orange to harbor "fuzzy warbles" as the sole source reference?>

The thing is Steve that many of the phrases from "A Clockwork Orange" were of
the imaginary, futuristic slang from the book (didn't the book include a
glossary).  To my knowledge, a phrase like "fuzzy warbles" was the invention
of the author, along with the band name "Heaven 17" who are not a bad listen
after a few hours of Ludwig van.

Molly, if you cannot find "Rag & Bone Buffet" anywhere (and knowing the fan
you are you WILL own this fine collection one day, the achingly beautiful
"Blame the Weather" needs to be in everyone's XTC collection an I think you'll
be hard pressed to find a "Senses..." single right now) there was a Rhino
collection called "Have an '80's Christmas" or something like that an it
includes "Thanks for Christmas" along with some real nice ditties from Kate
Bush, the Ramones and more.  You can usually find it pretty cheap at major
record chains.

Harry

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 16:20:02 +0100 (CET)
From: rappard@dds.nl
Subject: Etymology lesson
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.43L0.0212171608230.19511-100000@shell.dds.nl>

strwbrry@tidepool.com asked in the last digest:

"not being an expert on sixties lingo of the british street perhaps it's a
bit inaccurate to allow A Clockwork Orange to harbor "fuzzy warbles" as
the sole source reference?"

I think it is, at least I've never come across it anywhere else and I'm
fairly well-versed in English literature. And bear in mind that inventing
words is a fairly well-known aspect of sixties lingo (also, I couldn't
find either word in my slang dictionaries).

According to my Webster warble is "a melodious succession of low pleasing
sounds" - surely an accurate description of XTC's music.:)

You can viddy more on ACO's slang and etymology at:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/1974/nadsat.html
http://www.clockworkorange.com/nadsat.shtml

Martin

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 07:53:57 -0800 (PST)
From: Todd Bernhardt <beat_town@yahoo.com>
Subject: How many times can the RIAA cry wolf?
Message-ID: <20021217155357.2203.qmail@web41107.mail.yahoo.com>

Hi:

Just read some interesting articles, which I thought I'd pass along. Here's
a quick synopsis of the issue, quoted from The Register:

"Research by George Zieman gives the true reason for falling CD sales: the
major labels have slashed production by 25 per cent in the past two years,
he argues.

After keeping the figure rather quiet for two years, the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) says the industry released around 27,000
titles in 2001, down from a peak of 38,900 in 1999. Since year-on-year unit
sales have dropped a mere 10.3 per cent, it's clear that demand has held up
extremely well: despite higher prices, consumers retain the CD buying
habit."

You can find the article above at:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/28588.html

Zieman's original piece is at:
http://www.azoz.com/music/features/0008.html

-Todd

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 11:15:42 -0500
From: Centerpond@aol.com
Subject: XTC new album 2003? =?ISO-8859-1?B?oDIwMDQ/?=
Message-ID: <38D0E4F9.4FFC9DEF.0ACBB7EA@aol.com>

Chalksters and Chalkettes;

Many, many thanks to Smudgeboy (David Smith) for transcribing the UK Channel
4 Teletext interview with Andy.  It was very interesting to read, and I
am pretty suprised that no one has commented on one part of the interview,
as follows:

***Partridge gestures vaguely towards another XTC album -"maybe next year,
maybe not" - but is happily involved in a plethora of side
projects.  "I'm releasing an album I've recorded with Peter Blegvad early
next year and I'm doing a record with Robert Schneider of Apples In Stereo,"
he says.***

So, as of now, here is direct word from the band that creation of the new
album is going slowly, and we could be 12-18 months away from a new XTC
album.  So, I'm going to raise an issue that I've discussed briefly
before, and I'd sure like for us to dialogue on this instead of endless
discussions about commerce, trading, etc in the music industry.

Here's my premise:  XTC has now firmly established itself as a cult band
that's going to push enough product so as to remain viable.  The "XTC
brand" is such that an XTC album will contain 9-10 songs by Andy, and 2-3 by
Colin.  So, in order to have a new album in the future, there's some
songwriting to be done.  Mr. Prolific (Andy) seems to be able to produce
his share of the load with the appropriate effort;  we've heard reports
from members of this list that he's working on his contributions.  What I
believe is going to be a problem is that Colin seems to be suffering from
long-standing writer's block.  Why do I make such a claim?  Well, how
many songs has he written since 1993 (right after Nonsuch was released)?
 I believe the answer is approximately 4.  On AV1, he contributed
"Frivolous Tonight" and "Fruit Nut".  On Wasp Star, his new songs were
"In Another Life" and "Boarded Up".  ("Standing in for Joe" was written
for the "Bubblegum Album" concept back in the 1980's). !

 "Didn't Hurt a Bit" was a B-side, but that's a Nonsuch out-take.

I love Colin's material, and I wish he would (could) write more;  his
songs provide an incredible counterpoint to Andy's, and the band has done a
great job of sequencing the material so that this counterpoint adds to the
experience of each XTC album. But all evidence points to the fact that he's
written 4 songs in 9 years.  I think that's the real reason that Andy
knows it's going to be awhile until the new XTC album is possible, so we
need to accept that and be happy that he's releasing the Fuzzy Warbles
series so that we have this stuff to listen to.

I hope you guys realize that I'm not trying to slam Colin; I only wish him
the best.  But it appears that he's facing some issues insofar as a part
of his job (writing songs).  I welcome any comments if I'm off-base with
my premise.

Thanks,
Mike

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 13:30:15 -0500
From: "Joe Jarrett" <joe.jarrett@tel.tdsb.on.ca>
Subject: Second edition of Chris Twomeys Book
Message-ID: <fc.0118c6e9005a0c3f0118c6e9005a0c3f.5a0e85@tel.tdsb.on.ca>

Has anyone read the updated version of Chris Twomey's Chalkhills and
Children? Does anyone know where to get a copy? Idea said they would be
selling copies but that has yet to happen. Thanks.

By the way both Fuzzy Warbles discs are excellent and well worth the cost
(even in Canadian dollars). It's great to have digital quality copies of
songs only heard on fuzzy cassettes.

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 14:08:04 EST
From: Hbsherwood@aol.com
Subject: Roast Nuts Firing on an Open Chest
Message-ID: <f4.265c4f5d.2b30d014@aol.com>

So I don't know what it's like for you, but here in the Washington DC area
this winter weather's been dippier than Whitney Houston. We've yo-yo'd from
hounds of spring to winter's traces and back so many times our collective
necks are sore (there's a run on Collective Ben-Gay down't the Safeway, so
stick that in your Thracian ships, Mr. Swinburn). One day you're abandoning
your car because it's buried in snow, and the next because the forecast calls
for melt. Wednesday I abandoned it just on general principles.

Along about Thanksgiving, when I should have been raking the last of the
late-falling oak leaves off my lawn, I was instead preoccupied with other
things (I believe I was searching for my car, which I'd abandoned because the
Redskins lost again), and so when the big snowfall came a couple of weeks
later it buried my lawn under not only the frozen stuff but a thick layer of
spongy vegetable matter as well. It's customary in this most tradition-bound
of regions for neighbors to pitch in and help each other out in times of need
-- we have more barn-raisings and witch-shunnings than any other major
metropolitan area on the East Coast -- but when my leaf-blanketed lawn cried
out in need after the melt, not a chinstrap beard or Mennonite wimple was to
be found. Off at the dog-track, gambling away their hard-earned profits from
roadside sales of shoo-fly pie and fake antiques, I make no doubt.

Knowing I couldn't foist it on the youngster -- he's only nine and doesn't
appreciate good old-fashioned wheedling yet -- it fell to me to rake the
damned leaves.

But you know, there's nothing like backbreaking, thankless, repetitive,
boring labor -- particularly the kind that aggravates the bursitis and
stiffens the sacroiliac -- to stimulate the old musical ganglia. As I worked,
a melody began to play in my head. Its timeless beauty and haunting lilt gave
me a suspicion that, like Paul McCartney with "Yesterday," I was channeling
some atavistic classic of the past, once heard and forgotten and now reaching
across they years to me, perhaps through the mysterious mechanism of racial
memory. As the tune played I began to fill in the words with seasonally
appropriate lyrics, and the whole thing began to take on a midwinter glow of
rare beauty and grace.

Delighted with my half-finished song, I began mentally filling in the missing
pieces with lyrical... with... erm, I say, Jeeves, what was I filling in
with...?

["I believe 'lyrical _bijouterie_' were the words for which you were groping,
sir."
"Oh, top-hole, Jeeves! You move in a mysterious way your wonders to perform!"
"One endeavours to give satisfaction, sir."]

...with lyrical _bijouterie_ and whatnot. The whole job was trolling along
nicely, I was nearly done with the methodical removal of the brown and
crackly and was just getting ready to duck inside and jot down my new
creation for future submission to the Lilting Seasonal Air Hall of Fame, when
my neighbor, Hoot Halloran, hailed me. "Workin' hard or hardly workin'?" was
his jocular hail to me. Gritting my teeth and humming harder, I tried to
drown him out with my song, but he persisted. "Heard about Judy Carlson? She
abandoned her Chevy Suburban in her own driveway, 'cos she heard it was gonna
snow up in Massachussetts!" Desperate to get inside, away from this lummox,
to a piece of paper and pencil, I made a face of curt appreciation for the
jest, and for the phlegmy guffaw Hoot eructed. "Glad to see you're finally
getting around to those leaves. I was gonna talk to the Homeowners
Association about that." "Glad to oblige, Hoot," I gritted, posing with my
rake as my garage door descended, the very spit and image of Grant Wood's
American Gothic husband.

Inside, it was hopeless. My beautiful tune, once so vivid in my mind, was now
irretrievably gone, victim of the Person of Porlock Lane. In its stead was a
series of memories, the merest impression of a song rather than the work
itself.

("And this is a TRIBUTE to that song..." No, no. That's not where I'm going.)

No, what I was left with, when I had written down what I could remember, was
the lowliest sketch, a skeleton of a Christmas song. As John Wilkes Booth
observed on a similar occasion, "Useless, useless..."

But you know, it's an ill wind that makes everyone abandon his car, and
perhaps my loss is Chalkhills' gain. Reproduced below are my notes from that
frustrating afternoon. I know we have musical talents on this list whose very
sandals I am not fit to carry (nor would I really *want* to, which is a New
Testament poser I want to take up with any pastoral types floating about --
why *sandals*, for all love?), and maybe one of you budding Sibeliuses or
Hindemiths might like to take up the challenge and complete my song.

I recall it being in B flat:

Yum-de-diddly-doo-de-dum-dum Christmas
Dee-de-dum, de-doo-de-Bethlehem and stars...
Dum-de-dum-de hounds of spring
Dum-de-dum-de winter's traces
We're happy to abandon all our cars!

Oh, the dum-dum children go
Dum-de-dum-dum mistletoe
And the yum-de-dum-de fireplace aglow
And we rake up all the leaves
Just like bringing in the sheaves
Though we should have done it weeks and weeks ago!

Christmas Day
All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh I believe in Christmas Day

 (Sad, minor-key bit):

Dum-de-dum-de-dum-de snow
Dum-de-dum-de frosty glow
Dum-de-dum children below
Dum-de freezing!

Dum-de-dum-de Christmas Day
Dum-de-dum-de all away
Dum-de-dum, and all our honeys we'll be squeezing!

 (Back to happy bit)

Oh! Dum-de-dum-de-diddly-dum-de-Christmas!
Everywhere I go!
Dah-de-de-dee the Panamanian Isthmus
Santa even visits there, you know!

Dah-de-yiddly-bum-de-da-dah reindeer
Dippy-doodle toys in his sleigh
Every face will glow alight
(Ritard)
On this happy Christmas niiiiiiiiiight
Will keep us out of trouble till the next holiday!

With Gear New Year till the cows come home,

Harrison "Look out, Oiving Berlin!" Sherwood

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 15:03:56 EST
From: Hbsherwood@aol.com
Subject: Grass, My Ass
Message-ID: <171.18b693bc.2b30dd2c@aol.com>

>From: "Xteve X" <xteve@hotmail.com>
>Subject: Nickel Creek, What's Bluegrass, Angel Trumpets & Devil Trombones
>
>OK, I'll admit up front, this might be a bit pedantic, but characterizing
>Nickel Creek as "bluegrass" is bound to cause an uproar on any list devoted
>to the music.
>
>Of course, you ask 5 different people who play bluegrass to define what
>the music is, you'll get 5 different answers.
>
>Personally, I'd call Nickel Creek country or "new acoustic". They
>definitely are bluegrass-inspired, and Chris Thile is a hell of a mandolin
>player, but they don't have that high lonesome sound I associate with
>bluegrass and guys like Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, the Dillards, the
>Kentucky Colonels, etc.
>
>Maybe a few of my pickin' brethren like Relph & Harrison can comment on
>this.

Back in the Earlies when I was participating in bluegrass festival contests
(Big Building Trio, we sucked), contest organizers had some pretty stringent
rules about what constituted "bluegrass" and what didn't. You could have
quite a lot of variation in your instrumentation, mandolins and guitars were
optional (though rarely absent), but the one instrument without which you
were not allowed to call yourself bluegrass was the five-string banjo. And
that banjo had to be played with three-finger rolls, like Earl Scruggs, Don
Reno, Ralph Stanley and their descendants. Frailed or clawhammer banjo were
not allowed, and electric instruments (except bass when unavoidable) were
out. Drums would get you killed.

It's probably also best if your songs talk more about trains, tragic death,
wild horses and American Evangelical Protestantism, and less about that
Hobbit crap.

There has been a break historically between trad-grass and so-called
"progressive" bluegrass bands that began to emerge in the Sixties. On one
end of that spectrum was Bill Monroe, rest his cranky soul, who raged almost
comically against anything that didn't sound pretty much exactly
like... Bill Monroe. On the other hand you had your David Grismans and
Newgrass Revivals and Tony Trischkas, who explored grass-jazz fusion in
fascinating ways. But (almost) always with a banjo.

Me, I still think that if you remove the Scruggs-style banjo, you've left
Bluegrass Country and are now exploring...something else. Nickel Creek is
very good indeed, very inventive, fine band, great buncha kids. But not
Bluegrass. *Heavily* grass-inflected, no question (tons of flatted thirds
and sevenths in there, in all the right places), but... "New Acoustic"?
Sure.  "Newgrass"? Mmm, maybe. But Bill Monroe would shit a brick.

Oh, and one other point: Absent Ralph Stanley's stunning a capella "O
Death," there ain't a single lick of bluegrass on that "O Brother Where Art
Thou" soundtrack.

----

>From: blushift1@attbi.com
>Subject: Under Cover XTC?
>
>[snip]
>
>Anyway, the song listing mentions Moonshine Willy doing a bluegrass version
>of the XTC classic "Complicated Games".  Interestingly, both the article
>and Amazon.com have the song title in plural, so I'm wondering if the
>article is in error with the XTC reference.  Has anyone heard this yet or
>had occasion to read the song credits?  If I get past the holidays with a
>few dollars left, I may pick it up.

The article and Amazon are in error. Just one Game.

Chalkite John Morrish once sent me a small snip of an interview he did with
Andy in which Andy mentions this bluegrass version of "Complicated Game." To
judge from Andy's voice as he imitates the song ("Eeeeyut's just a
Complercayyyyted Gayyummm, wee-deedle-deedle-twing-TWANG"), he thought it
was pretty amusing.

If you do pick it up, shoot me a dupe, willya?

----

>From: "Neil Oliver" <squealyneily@hotmail.com>
>Subject: Pricy Warbles

>On a totally unrelated but also irritated note: I wish people would stop
>reporting "Tunes to Help You Breathe More Easily" as the working title
>of XTC's new album. This was merely the title of the news item they put up
>on the Idea site about Andy and Colin's new songs. Nowhere does it say that
>this is what they are calling the album.

Indeed, according to sources close to the band, the new album will be called
"Tunes We Hope You Internet Creeps Choke On."

Harrison "Think I'm Kidding?" Sherwood

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 20:56:58 -0000
From: "Chris Browning" <chris@boodle.fsnet.co.uk>
Subject: sundry items
Message-ID: <00de01c2a610$1c7655c0$f3ac87d9@fsnet.co.uk>

a number of things really!

firstly, i picked up the first two volumes of "fuzzy warbles" in nottingham
last week and they are wonderful. absolutely fantastic, and un my opinion
much more enjoyable than even "coat of many cupboards" and even that was an
absolute wonder

>"There is no Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, no Mothers Of Invention nowadays.
>Music should be allowed to express humour and joy as much as any other
>art form."

actually i would say there are about three bands doing the rounds in britain
right now that express humour at the very least - half man half biscuit are
wonderfully funny, if a little cynical, but the joy is more than overflowing
with supergrass and ESPECIALLY the coral. buy the coral's debut eponymous
album and finally see the tide turn away from self important rock music
towards inventive, fun, enjoyable rock again. everything from soul, punk,
garage psych to russian folk tunes really. absolutely wonderful. "simon
diamond" is about a man who turns into a plant and what more can you ask for
really?

the bees' "sunshine hit me" is wonderfully wiggy bedroom psych as well, with
a storming os mutantes cover

my top ten is - if anyone is remotely interested

10. belle and sebastian - storytelling
9. jim o'rourke - insignificance
8. boards of canada - geogaddi
7. songs:ohia - didn't it rain
6. the soft boys - nextdoorland
5. beck - sea change
4. various artists - you don't need darkness to do what you think is right:
new geographic music
3. bill wells trio - also in white
2. the bees - sunshine hit me
1. would-be-goods - brief lives

with low, lambchop, departure lounge and the flaming lips dipping under

by FAR the best album i've heard all year though is stackridge's "the man
with the bowler hat" which shows a peculiar musical genius must exist in the
west country

cheers!

chris

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 15:17:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Jim Smart <jimsmart1@yahoo.com>
Subject: fuzzy dilemma
Message-ID: <20021217231708.69210.qmail@web13503.mail.yahoo.com>

Twas the fortnight before Christmas...

and I knew I wanted those signed fuzzy warbles discs
from idea records.

But no funds. What to do?

Ask for a copy from a friend? Unthinkable!

Then it came to me:

Mom.

Sent her the URL for ordering 'em from Ideae and
explained that this is what I REALLY want for xmas.

At age 38, ain't too proud to beg.

This may work for you!

Jim

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

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2002 17:10:43 -0800
From: "Victor Rocha" <victor@pechanga.net>
Subject: re: proselytizing for an APE
Message-ID: <01f201c2a632$49f0f920$1b791e18@8i0vb>

hey chalksters!!! long time no write.

I walked into West LA's Rhino Records today and ran into the great Harry
Shearer of Spinal Tap/Simpsons/NPR's Le Show fame. long story short: we
started talking music and I brought up Fuzzy Warbles. turns out Harry is a
big XTC fan. I mentioned I got my FW Cd's from the website and he asked me
to send him the link. when he was standing at the checkout counter I double
checked the XTC section and guess what? they had copies of FW1&2!!!! ($20
each) he bought both of 'em!!!

I did a good deed today.

Victor Rocha
Pechanga.Net

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

End of Chalkhills Digest #8-69
******************************

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