Mummer, the sixth XTC album, had come out to a great deal of indifference in August 1983. For the first time, there was some negative press around the band in the weekly papers. It could be down to the sort of critical backlash that tends to come the way of most bands and singers when they get to this number of recordings although another factor was likely that thet were no longer playing live/touring which meant journalists were being fed only studio material and press releases.

Out of all this came an unlikely minor hit with the third single lifted from the album reaching #50 in the charts. It’s a superb piece of music – not the most obvious of singles – with a gentle almost folk-like tune that sounded as if it should be the background music to some sort of classic BBC TV children’s animation show like Camberwick Green or Trumpton.

mp3 : XTC – Love On A Farmboy’s Wages

It later transpired this song was the straw which broke the camel’s back as far as drummer Terry Chambers was concerned. He has been increasingly frustrated by the lack of live shows and perhaps he was hopeful that something would happen to promote the release of Mummer. It soon became clear that no such plans would be hatched and the record label wasn’t going to insist on it either. When he was asked to play in a jazz-style for this song he refused to do so and quit there and then, leading to Peter Phipps being drafted in to join the band. Who’d have thought that one of the former stickmen with The Glitter Band would end up in XTC? Not me….

The real irony in terms of the release of Love On A Farmboy’s Wages is that it was issued as a 2 x 7″ pack and in 12″ format; the former offered one b-side lifted from Mummer along with two new recordings while the latter was a reminder of XTC as a live force, with three songs from the gig at the Hammersmith Odeon, London back in May 1981.

mp3 : XTC – In Loving Memory Of A Name
mp3 : XTC – Desert Island
mp3 : XTC – Toys
mp3 : XTC – Burning With Optimism’s Flame (live)
mp3 : XTC – English Roundabout (live)
mp3 : XTC – Cut It Out (live)

All picked up for use in this series.  Second appearance for Cut It Out as a b-side in a 2 x 7″ release.   It’s actually an instrumental version of Scissor Man, as found on Drums and Wires and under which name the Peel Session version was issued in the Towers of London double-pack.


4 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 18)

  1. I have a boot of this show the B-sides were taken from. It was the only live document I had by XTC as a kid, and I listened to it incessantly. It would be until the Coat of Many Cupboards box set before I would hear any other live performances. A band I wish I would have been old enough to see before they avoided the stage.

  2. This is the track on Mummer that I love the most. I don’t fault Terry Chambers for reaching that point at which he could no longer continue, the direction XTC…that is to say Partridge and Moulding… chose to take was a case of be all in or be out.
    LOAFW has stayed one of my absolute favorite XTC songs since the first time I heard it. There’s a simmering, pent-up energy under the bucolic sounds that escapes during the mid-song coda that I anticipate every time I play it. It’s a musically dense and complex song as well. By the time this song came out as a single I was sold on XTC’s chosen direction.

  3. I didn’t get the 2×7″ of this until some time around ’84-’85 if memory serves, but I never got the 12″ with the live cuts! This needs to be remedied! As an XTC fan, it was pleasing to see that the first wave of UK XTC CDs had many bonus tracks and then items like “Rag + Bone Buffet” managed to collect much, but not all, of the missing rarities. This was not my favorite of the “Mummer” album, but I thought it made for a lovely single.

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