THE XTC SINGLES (Part 25)

It took a long time for the any new material to be released, but once again the alter-egos were busy with a second Dukes of Stratosphear album and single appearing just a month after Dear God in the summer of 87:-

mp3 : The Dukes of Stratosphear – You’re A Good Man Albert Brown

Maybe it was the fact the Dukes were getting more praise from many quarters, but the next XTC single and album come January/February 1989 were quite different in sound and look than any recent releases. There were more than a few hark-backs to 60s pop and psychedelia……..

The lead off single from what would subsequently the double-album Oranges and Lemons took the band back into the UK Top 50 for the first time in almost six years and would also provide them with their biggest chart success in the USA:-

mp3 : XTC – Mayor of Simpleton

It’s a real pop number with a catchy sing-a-long chorus. And a fine moment in the band’s history.

It was released in a number of formats here in the UK. This is the 7″ b-side:-

mp3 : XTC – One Of The Millions

A track that would also be included on the parent album on its release a month later. As a 7″ release, this makes for a high quality offer. Here’s the extra track from the 12″:-

mp3 : XTC – Ella Guru

This had originally appeared on the compilation LP Fast and Bulbous – A Tribute to Captain Beefheart released in June 1988. Not being a fan of the Captain, I can’t comment on how faithful or otherwise it is to the original. But I won’t be playing this version again after today. Made my ears hurt.

There was a second 12″ version also issued but all of its b-sides were previous singles – Dear God, Senses Working Overtime and Making Plans for Nigel.

A CD single was also available to buy. It contained two other tracks:-

mp3 : XTC – Living In A Haunted Heart
mp3 : XTC – The Good Things

Two demos, the first being by Andy and the second from Colin, recorded at their homes on four-track machines, much the same as the b-sides on the 12″ of The Meeting Place as featured in Part 23 of this series.

Neither song got developed any further.

JC

4 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 25)

  1. “their biggest chart success in the USA”… Ah! That explains why it kept popping up on the Ken Bruce show for years. I am sure that at some point in the late 1990s, Radio 2 bought playlisting software, and a starter database to go with it, from the US. And so you wound up with British acts being over-represented by their US hits. I’m sure that must be the case.

  2. The bassline to ‘Mayor’ is a work of art. Partridge wrote the main repeating lick and Moulding finished the rest off, but it takes a very deft hand to be able to actually play it. The non-stop melodic eighth notes propel a relatively simple song along. It’s almost exhausting to listen to that line. As I wrote way back in ICA #26, “Had Moulding never written a note or sung a word, XTC wouldn’t have been complete without his exceptional bass-playing.” Simpleton proves this is true.

  3. As I said last time, I didn’t exactly root for XTC when Dear God became an unexpected first hit here in America. I think I felt like these new fans weren’t real XTC fans. Silly, I know. By Oranges and Lemons I was older, wiser and ready to share. Mayor was too good to keep it all to myself, and I couldn’t have been happier for the fellas. Hope this one paid lots of bills.

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