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Old 03-28-2007, 06:57 PM
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Show 124 - "XTC Part Two"

Sunday April 1 (no foolin!) 8-11 PM EST and Monday April 2 1-4 PM EST

Here's the second 1/2 of the XTC extravaganza. From Big Express to the Apple Venus CD's, we'll be hearing some great pop, and even a touch of prog thrown in.

from "The Big Express" (1984)

Wake Up
Shake You Donkey Up
This World Over
I Bought Myself A Liarbird
I Remember The Sun

Definitely an album in transition - before the leap into Skylarking, Big Express retains some of the punk elements of XTC's early output coupled with the smoothness of the previous release Mummer.

Wake Up is a snappy, syncopated Colin Moulding song, and Donkey is one of the most fun songs in the XTC catalogue. Then Liarbird and Sun show us the other side.

from "Skylarking" (1986)

That's Really Super, Supergirl
Ballet For A Rainy Day
1000 Umbrellas
Earn Enough For Us
Another Satellite
The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
Dear God
Sacrificial Bonfire

What a record! Well documented is the tension between the band and producer Todd Rundgren, but everything came together here. Earn Enough For Us is one of the cleanest pop songs ever done. The unique approach to Umbrellas, Satellite, and Sailed have been unmatched. As always, Andy Partidge's lyrics are incisive and poignant, especially on Dear God.

skipping ahead.....

from "Apple Venus Volume 1" (1999)

Easter Theatre
Knights in Shining Kharma
The Last Balloon

We got a taste of this last week with Andy's "Warbles" collection excerpts, which are heavy on pieces from this period. Basically a Partridge/Moulding affair, and Colin Moulding only has two of the songs. None of the Dave Gregory instrumentation, so the songs are a bit more subdued. Comparatively mellow, as Mummer was for that period in time.

from "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" (2000)

I'm The Man Who Murdered Love
We're All Light
You And The Clouds WIll Still Be Beautiful
Church of Women

More jumpy than volume 1, but still on the light side. Still some excellent songs on this disc. The usual smart lyrics, especially on Murdered. All songs we'll hear are Andy's.

from "Nonsvch" (1992)

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkihead
My Bird Performs
Dear Madame Barnum
The Smartest Monkeys
Wrapped In Grey
Books Are Burning

The last hurrah for the "full" band, a creative peak for all involved. Probably features the band at its most interesting musically. Rook and Grey are beautiful piano-based masterpieces, and Colin Moulding pens his best song with Monkeys, both musically and (especially) lyrically. As usual, the great pop shows through with Pumpkinhead and Barnum. Producer Gus Dudgeon got a smooth sound from the record, and even got a bit of lead guitar at the end of Books, with Andy and Dave trading solos.

from "Oranges and Lemons" (1989)

Garden of Earthly Delights
The Mayor of Simpleton
King For A Day
One of the Millions
Scarecrow People
Across This Antheap
Pink Thing
Miniature Sun
Chalkhills And Children

Desert island disc alert! Will always be one of my favorite records. This got a full play on the Scale before and we'll get a hefty dose to finish off the show. The instrumentation in the proggy Garden is wonderful. Simpleton is a great pop song. Andy's first interview in the myspace weekly series dealt with this song. I always thought the lyrics were exactly like Sam Cooke's "What A Wonderful World"...they are, but it was unintentional. Also learned about the bass line in the song - I think what I like about this song is that for a simple song (pun intended), it's got a lot going on.

King rivals Monkeys as Colin's greatest song. The only time I saw them at any time was playing this on Letterman's show one night. They didn't tour after 1981 I think, and they appreared out of nowhere on the show. Was lucky to catch's such a powerful song lyrically, pointing out how shallow we can be, while maintaining a clean sound. Millions continues Colin's jaundiced look at society. Scarecrow People is magnificient - Andy's take on predudice, environment, and politics is just right. Pink Thing..well it's not about any of that!

Antheap and Sun show off the jazzy edge of the band, and we'll finish with Chalkhills and Children, generally considered one of the best XTC tracks.

A lot of words for a show that's 10 minutes short...

I'm off next week, then back with Porcupine Tree part one (two coming later), then a Rosfest show or two.......