THE XTC SINGLES (Part 23)

Grass had flopped badly and Skylarking had been the first XTC album to fail to crack the charts. It was a gloomy time for all concerned, but a second single was lifted and released in February 1987, on 7″, 7″ clear vinyl and 12″:-

mp3 : XTC – The Meeting Place
mp3 : XTC – The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul

I was sure this would have been my first exposure to this song but on hearing it I had an inkling I had prior knowledge of it – turns out I has seen it on The Tube on Channel 4 when I hadn’t thought much of it (and still don’t). That and it being on Jonny’s ICA….sorry mate…….we can occasionally agree to disagree!!

The b-side is wholly unexpected. It’s damn near a jazz/swing number!! To paraphrase Star Trek….it’s XTC but not as we know it, Jim. I do quite like it, but it’s not one that I’d return to week-after-week.

The 12″ had four demo songs on it…and yup, I’ve tracked them down for today:-

mp3 : XTC – Terrorism (home demo)
mp3 : XTC – Let’s Make A Den (home demo)
mp3 : XTC – Find The Fox (home demo)
mp3 : XTC – The Troubles (home demo)

First one is all Andy Partridge

Second one is all Andy Partridge. It’s a song that Todd Rundgren insisted should open side two of the album Skylarking. The band had a go at it in the studio but it fell victim to the constant fighting between the producer and the songwriter

Third one is all Colin Moulding

Fourth one is all Andy Partridge

JC

8 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 23)

  1. I like the song a lot, but like Grass, it isn’t really single material. Works well on the album, however. I think there is only one song on Skylarking that feels like a single, and I’m not even sure you plan to include in this series because I don’t think it was a single in your country… or mine, for that matter. Anyway, I guess l will find out this time next week. Cheers.

  2. It’s true that Skylarking is of a piece, and the songs deliberately merged into each other. ‘Meeting Place’ slid in between ‘Grass’ and ‘Supergirl’ and does seem a bit lonely on its own. I’m not sure which song Brian’s thinking of but, for me, the only song on the album that sounds like a single was never released as a single (to my knowledge). As it happens it’s my very favorite XTC song, ‘Earn Enough For Us.’ Skylarking might have been the first LP I bought on the newfangled contraption called the CD player. UK vinyl singles were hard to come by and too expensive for me so I own only a few, and none by XTC. This is another brilliant sleeve I’ve never even seen, presumably by Partridge.
    Lastly, in the sleepy video you get a great look at Moulding’s bass. Not sure if the TVV readership is into instrument trivia but this is an extremely rare bass called an Epiphone Newport. It was made only between 1961 and 1969, so it would have been a pretty unusual find in England. I’ve never seen one of those, either. In fact, the only musician I know of that played one besides Moulding was Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash’s longtime bassist. You can see the unusual bat wing headstock on the cover of Johnny Cash at San Quentin.
    I know you’re a bit ambivalent, JC, but I do love this series!

  3. AUSTRALIA AND CANADA…he yells this time, having been ignored last week. Earn Enough For Us was a single in those two territories…but I agree with Brian and JTFL here that the conspiracy continued at Geffen/Virgin and XTC were kept as obscure as possible with the release of The Meeting Place over Earn Enough For Us. It’s a wonderful album track and makes total sense coming after Grass. In fact, the song that follow’s That’s Really Super, Supergirl would have made a decent single to these ears as well.
    The Meeting Place has much in common with songs on Mummer and The Big Express to my ears. I have to believe it is sourced from demos that go back at least that far. It is one of Colin Moulding’s best efforts to make a release and is beautifully complex musically, with lots of interesting percussion instrumentation and it’s very post Beatles vocal harmonies.
    I will join the minority lobby here and push for inclusion of Earn Enough For Us as a single release worth reviewing JC.

  4. Oops…hit the post button a bit quick there…Just a quick note on b-side The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul…it’s just a great song. Partridge and Rundgren fleshed out what was originally an acoustic number into a cinematic, Vegas-y jazz/pop behemoth…

  5. sorry guys…..I’m sticking to singles that were issued in the UK.

    But I really do love the fact it’s a series being so well received. I might be struggling to enjoy some of the songs from this period, but I will get a bit more positive in future weeks!

  6. Thanks so much for posting the demos. Never even knew they existed. By the way, am I the only one that preferred “Mermaid Smiled” on the original release to “Dear God” on the rerelease?

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