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.