Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Forgotten Records #5 - XTC

The day I heard Senses Working Overtime for the first time, on WPGU in Champaign, 1982, my ears perked up, and I immediately walked to Record Swap and bought the double vinyl album, English Settlement. I thought that song was so clever and so catchy that there must be a least a few other good tracks on the record. It turned out that English Settlement is a stellar album, one that rightly deserved to be a double album. No filler here, like many other double albums tend to be. I gradually amassed all of the recorded output of XTC, including every 7 inch single with the ‘previously unreleased’ B-side, the 12-inch EPs with one single and three rare tracks, and various imports.

At their peak, XTC cranked out impeccable and irresistible heavy pop music at a Beatlesque pace. The band released 7 albums between 1978 and 1986, including the essential Drums and Wires, Black Sea, English Settlement, and Skylarking, and quite a few individual singles. So why aren’t they a household name? Surely their audience would have expanded exponentially if they had consistently toured, but due to Andy Partridge’s extreme stage fright, the band never played live after 1982, seriously hampering their exposure. Truth be told, their particular brand of intellectual pop rock is an acquired taste, and one that American audiences might not have fully embraced anyway.

In 1989 the band toured radio stations in the US, playing short live acoustic sets to circumvent Partridge’s stage issues. This medley of Senses Working Overtime-Grass-Love On A Farmboy’s Wages comes from a WXRT compilation CD. The track was recorded on May 22, 1989. Once I start to convert my vinyl to digital, I'll post a few other rare gems from this great band.

Buy: You can’t go wrong with any of the albums mentioned above, but it you want a solid cross section of their catalog, try Fossil Fuel: The XTC Singles 1977-1992

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2 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Great post Mark; I hadn't thought about XTC in ages until I read this post.

You are doing a fine job with your blog.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks Chris. I wish I could post more often and with more substance, but time won't let me.

10:18 PM  

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