Mar 122021
 

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  25 Responses to “All-Star Jam”

  1. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of the Ace songwriter compilations. I was listening earlier today to Yesterday Has Gone: The Songs Of Teddy Randazzo. Not as strong as most of the others but in my book he belongs in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame if only for “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Mxtdg752Q

    Ah, memories of Ed Hurst (RIP) and “now a couple of slow ones, the first one is a lady’s choice” at the Monsignor Bonner High School mixers…

  2. For fans of Oliver Reed…and/or David Letterman…or neither!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HPXMHZ4XEs0&feature=youtu.be

  3. Well, that was awkward.

  4. We watch this so that you don’t have to.

    Andy Partridge did a 3 part interview with some drummer named Gregg Bendian. It’s looooong, about an hour and a half for each part. I got hooked and watched all of part 1 last night.

    There were two interesting moments that you might want to look at even if you don’t think the whole thing is for you. at 44:00, he demonstrates a little harmony from a Sonny Rollins tune that he thought was the kind of thing that needed to show up in pop music.

    At 1:12:00, he goes through a song of his that used this little harmony trick and several others. The song is not what I would consider a completely uncommercial side of the band, but the guitar parts sound downright Beefheartian when demonstrated on an acoustic guitar.

    CDM mentioned that his XTC problem was that they seemed to be trying too hard to be complex. Listening to Partridge, it seems more like he was very intuitive, almost random in how he put things together, rather than creating complexity willfully by the use of abstruse harmony and chord construction theory.

  5. Geo, I take it this is the first part of that Partridge interview?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUSb0uMnWKs

    I’ll be checking it out. You know I like the way that guy’s mind works. Thanks.

  6. Geo, I’ll check that out but a small but significant clarification: XTC trying to be too complex is not the disease, it’s just a symptom. The bigger issue is they sound like they are thinking too much about what comes next in the song instead of feeling it or letting it flow naturally. Too much brain, not enough heart.

  7. 2000 Man

    I’ve tried two XTC albums now. Apples and Bananas (or whatever it is) and English Settlement. I think their problem is they’re just boring.

  8. Sorry I forgot the link.

    Everyone, even EPG, should check out out about a minute at the first mark and 2 or 3 minutes at the second mark.

  9. CDM, didn’t mean to mischaracterize. I do think that Partridge works from feel. That said, he might feel too much.

  10. I can always rely on 2000 man for a good laugh:

    “I’ve tried two XTC albums now. Apples and Bananas (or whatever it is) and English Settlement. I think their problem is they’re just boring.”

  11. @2000 Man: At least you tried English Settlement, which I believe is a masterpiece. Oranges and Lemons is like trying to get into the Stones via Voodoo Lounge.

    @cdm: “People will always be tempted to wipe their feet on anything with ‘Welcome’ written on it.”

    I give you both credit for trying.

  12. I confess to a certain fondness for Oranges and Lemons because it has such a palpable air of AP acting out against the control that Todd imposed on Skylarking. That doesn’t make it a better album than Skylarking, not by a long shot, but the sound of the thing just makes me feel good that Andy got his way.

  13. Os & Ls. Garden of Earthly Delights is a cool song. Mayor of Simpleton is catchy as hell. It has that McCartney quality of “I can write a melody like this everyday before breakfast if I want” which is good and bad. The album also has way too many of Andy’s unconvincing preachy songs: Here Comes President Kill Again, Scarecrow People, Poor Skeleton. I like the jazzy Miniature Sun. The Colin songs are so-so.

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    Oranges & Lemons — talk about an album that needs an editor! Totally agree that the preachy Andy songs on that one are his most insufferable ones. The 1980s LA studio sheen is also a source of ear pain after a track or two. But the good stuff is, as always (for me) very good indeed, so it must be owned, and I own it.

  15. I am in full agreement with chickenfrank. In fact, O&L may be a double album that most would have made a killer single!

  16. BigSteve

    I remember being kind of disappointed by O&L, but when I revisit it now it sounds really good to me. I totally LOVE Garden of Earthly Delights, which has killer bass playing. Overall though it’s bright and shiny in the extreme, especially in contrast to the subtle shadings of Skylarking.

  17. BigSteve

    I’m about halfway through the loooong Andy Partridge interview. I can’t say I’m enjoying it, because I usually want to strangle the host, but Partridge is an interesting guy, and this is the most I think I’ve ever heard him talk. So far the part I like best is when he admits how lucky he was to have the other XTC guys in his band (even though he says Terry Chambers was “not a musician”), and how unlikely it was that they happened to live so close to him in this backwater town. I’m going to have to listen to his Harold Budd collaboration, because I somehow missed that one.

  18. Steve, I bailed on that interview really early because the host was irritating me no end. That guy may be a good interviewer, but he sure doesn’t show it in the first 10 minutes. There are so many good podcasts available now that one would think every interviewer would be able to pick up tips on how to conduct an engaging interview. Seems like you should start with a decent question to get the interviewee talking. This guy opens with his fanboy fawning intro, and it just turns me off. If you want to make love on the phone with AP, go ahead, but if it’s an interview, let him talk and stay out of the way. I have such short patience.

  19. I highly recommend that you go to the two specific spots I gave you to get something interesting from Partridge.

    This interview was too long for the information imparted, although I admit I watched part 2 which spent an enormous amount of time on a discussion of various comic artists. The problem is that a lot of the information is a repeat of Partridge’s standard talking points, synesthesia, propensity to start songs from random grouping of notes into a chord, etc. and, while the length adds some info, it doesn’t quite balance with the added value.

    chicken, it might be worth pulling the thing up to about the 30 minute mark, because at some point, Partridge does start getting the vast bulk of the screen time.

  20. BigSteve

    After listening to all five hours of the Andy Partridge interview (with the exception of the part where they talked about comics, which I have no interest in or knowledge of) I warmed up to the interviewer a bit. Especially after I discovered that he was the guy who played the drums on Bill Harkleroad/Zoot Horn Rollo’s solo album from 2001, We Saw a Bozo Under the Sea. He also played with Cecil Taylor (!).

    Now I’m onto The Pedal Show episode where Dave Gregory trots out his guitars and talks about which ones he played when on XTC albums. It turns out Dave was in a band called Tin Spirits with the bald guy from The Pedal Show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYVgr7NCYEY&ab_channel=ThatPedalShow

  21. If other Partridge-heads want to answer (pitching this nickname like Parrot-heads): I just listened to The Big Express. That’s an underappreciated album. So many good songs. Moulding is contributing. Good sound. It came after the superior Mummer and right before the brilliant Dukes of Stratosphere so it gets lost. It’s much better than Oranges and Lemons but doesn’t get nearly as much attention. Do you guys dig that one?

  22. Agreed, chickenfrank, The Big Express gets a bad rap – I think because it’s so abrasive, so over-the-top Partridge. It’s a perfect setup for the stuff Rundgren hacked away at. (You know I have a beef with Rundgren’s production of that album, even though I get his rationale and feel like he achieved something special on behalf of the band.)

    What I love about The Big Express is that they are trying to shove all their weird approaches into the mix while having all the human elements that they hit on so well on Mummer. A song like “You’re the Wish You Are I Had” is an example of what I think is that perfect mix. Pretty great album, if you ask me. Awkward? Yes, to the max, but that’s a core element that I have always loved about XTC. They never allowed themselves to be so awkward again until that first Apple Venus album, as they reached the finish line. XTC worked best when its freak flag was flying.

  23. I prefer The Big Express to Mummer, probably because I prefer clangy drum machines to squiggly synthesizers. And Wake Up, the Colin song that opens it is great. I love that two guitar counter rhythm.

  24. I spun the album because You’re the Wish You Are I Had was the song I wanted to hear. And then got to enjoy all those other ones I like; Wake Up, Smalltown, Seagulls Screaming. The production really helps. It’s clear, but not slick. Aggressive, but not shrill. It does sound clangy.

  25. High five, chickenfrank. We should jahm some day.

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