24054-2 The Big Express
Produced by David Lord and XTC
Released on October 1984
UK CHART POSITION #38 . . . US CHART POSITION #181
Find it at GEMM
24054-2 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

A n immaculate tantrum. Producers Hugh Padgham and Steve Nye tactfully sublimated XTC’s antisocial tendencies on English Settlment and Mummer. David Lord actually amplifies them, adding the intricate designs he brought to Peter Gabriel’s Security. Pop fans may find the results offputting: “Reign of Blows,” “Train Running Low on Soul Coal,” “Shake You Donkey Up,” “Wake Up.” You’d find the same sentiments on a “Respectable Street” or “Funk Pop A Roll,” of course, only less abrasive. Oddly, the same approach makes the sweeter songs seem treacley: “You’re the Wish You Are I Had,” “The Everyday Story of Smalltown.” It’s not that The Big Express is a subtantially different album than Mummer or Skylarking. Rather, it’s the sense that little has changed, a certain sameness where volume replaces innovation, that makes it one of my least favorite XTC albums. A mediocre XTC album is, I needn’t tell you, better than most things including even beer on a very hot day, so I’d never steer you away from this. “All You Pretty Girls” is an absolute gem, “I Bought Myself a Liarbird” a left-handed treat, and both “You’re The Wish You Are I Had” and “Wake Up” are far too clever to frown upon. There’s your ten dollars put to good use, and you won’t get a penny’s more worth out of buying the expanded reissue for the three piggies in the middle. The only thing worth noting about the bonus tracks is that they run right smack into the tracks before and after regardless of whether or not they really fit, in order to preserve the album’s stitched-together feel as a bigger morality play (shades of Skylarking after).

GHS 24054 front cover
GHS 24054 front cover
[high resolution scan]

TRACK LISTING

  1. WAKE UP    (Colin Moulding)
  2. ALL YOU PRETTY GIRLS
  3. SHAKE YOU DONKEY UP
  4. SEAGULLS SCREAMING KISS HER, KISS HER
  5. THIS WORLD OVER
  6. THE EVERYDAY STORY OF SMALLTOWN
  7. I BOUGHT MYSELF A LIARBIRD
  8. REIGN OF BLOWS
  9. YOU'RE THE WISH YOU ARE I HAD
  10. I REMEMBER THE SUN    (Colin Moulding)
  11. TRAIN RUNNING LOW ON SOUL COAL

    CD bonus tracks (which appear between tracks 5 and 6 above)
  12. RED BRICK DREAM
  13. WASHAWAY    (Colin Moulding)
  14. BLUE OVERALL

    All songs written by Andy Partridge unless noted

CREDITS

DAVE GREGORY -- electric guitars, piano, mellotron, synthesisers
COLIN MOULDING -- vocals, bass guitar
ANDY PARTRIDGE -- vocals, electric guitars, Linn drum, harmonica, sleeve design
Stuart Gordon -- violin, viola
Annie Huchrak -- choir (1)
David Lord -- choir arrangement (1), engineer, mixing
Peter Phipps -- drums
Steve Saunders -- euphonium (4)
Glenn Tommey -- additional engineering
XTC -- mixing
Phil Thornalley -- mixing
Gavin Cochrane -- sleeve photography
Ken Ansell -- sleeve design
The Design Clinic -- sleeve assembly

return to XTC discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK October 1984 Virgin LP V2325 diecut cover, lyric sleeve
US October 1984 Geffen LP/CS GHS/M5G 24054 lyric sleeve
CAN 1984 Virgin LP VL-2305 lyric sleeve
FRA 1984 Virgin LP 70279 diecut cover, lyric sleeve
GER/NET 1984 Virgin LP 206.613.620 diecut cover, lyric sleeve
JPN 1984 Virgin LP 28VB-1006 diecut cover
MEX 1984 Virgin LP LAE-638  
US 1987 Geffen Goldline CDX 24054 w. bonus tracks
JPN 2001 Virgin CDX TOCP-65717 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2005 Virgin CDX TOCP-67807 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

For more discographies visit...
progrography

© 2009 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved.