Tuesday, 12 February 2019

XTC - The Good Things (2005)

Well, I thought having four albums in a trilogy was bad enough, but with invaluable help from martinf I've now got enough rare material to make a fifth volume. I had no idea that a lot of these tracks existed, apart from 'Ten Feet Tall' and 'Scissor Man' which are on my prized 'Rag And Bone Buffet' CD, but not realising the story behind them I omitted those two from my compilations. I had to be ruthless in what to include in order to keep the album to a reasonable length, so of the other tracks suggested for this album by martinf, I omitted the rejected version of 'Life Begins At The Hop' as the eventual 7" release was on the first in this series, the version of 'Happy Families' on the b-side of 'King For A Day' seems to be the same as the film soundtrack version, the Canadian version of 'Love At First Sight' is just a speeded-up take, as the Canadians thought it was a bit sluggish, and I didn't want to include multiple versions of the same song, so left off the various remixes of 'King For A Day'. I also omitted the Dukes Of Stratosphear track because.....well, just wait and see. So that leaves one final 48 minute album, which is where I'm going to call it a day. Considering all the demos, live tracks and alternate versions that there are out there, this series could go on forever, but I do think that I've included all of their best non-album recordings in these five posts, and so if anyone else wants to carry on the series then feel free. As there are stories behind a lot of these songs, here's an explanation of them from the extremely informative chalkhills.org site http://chalkhills.org/reelbyreal/

'Ten Feet Tall' is a more 'electrified' version that was recorded for release as a US single, and also given away on a free flexi-disc with 'Smash Hits' magazine. 
'Cherry In Your Tree' was recorded for the 'Carmen Santiago Out Of This World' tie-in album from the US kids TV show. 
'The Good Things' is a cover by XTC fanatics Terry And The Lovemen, which was included on the 'A Testimonial Dinner' tribute album. Not strictly speaking an XTC recording, but even Andy says they have the band off to a tee, and the only other recording of this song is a demo from the 'Mayor Of Simpleton' 12" single. 
'Dance With Me, Germany', 'Beat The Bible', 'A Dictionary Of Modern Marriage', 'Clap Clap Clap', and 'We Kill The Beast' are all from the 'Go+' 12" which came free with the 1978 'Go2' album, before being issued in its own right. These are all experimental dub versions of songs from 'Go2'
'Ella Guru' is a cover of the Captain Beefheart song, recorded for the 'Fast & Bulbous' tribute album in 1988.
'Blue Beret' was originally included on 1993's 'The Adventure Club Sessions' cassette, released only in the US.
'Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down' was a 1980 single, which was inexplicably missed when compiling my 'Strange Tales' album.  
'Scissor Man' is a 1979 recording of the 'Drums And Wires' track for the John Peel Show, which Andy actually thinks is better than the studio version.
'Spiral' / 'Try It' was a bonus 7" single included with the 2005 'Apple Vinyls' album.
'Strawberry Fields' is a Beatles cover put together by Dave Gregory, who played all the instruments himself, recording them directly onto a 4-track recorder, and he then asked Andy to sing over the top. It was later released as a single under the name of Colin's Hermits.
'Goodnight Sucker' was a hidden track on 1977's '3D-EP' 12", but blink and you'll miss it. 

Track listing

01 Ten Feet Tall
02 Cherry In Your Tree
03 The Good Things
04 Dance With Me, Germany 
05 Beat The Bible
06 A Dictionary Of Modern Marriage
07 Clap Clap Clap
08 We Kill The Beast
09 Ella Guru
10 Blue Beret
11 Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down
12 Scissor Man
13 Spiral
14 Try It
15 Strawberry Fields
16 Goodnight Sucker

And if you're wondering about the cover, yes you really can buy plastic models of the whole band here http://www.10ft.it/figure.html.



  1. These XTC collections are just out of this world! Can't thank you enough!