Wednesday, September 30, 2015

september of my years

Frank Sinatra gazed into the looking glass to appreciate the autumn of his years like vintage wine from fine old kegs with this lugubrious orchestral introspection.   On the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, 'The Chairman of the Board' was feeling nostalgic.  He teamed up once again with arranger and conductor Gordon Jenkins in Hollywood to provide the soundtrack to his album concept.  

Sinatra would state at the time:   "It was my idea [in my mid-20s] to make my voice work in the same way as a trombone or a violin — not sounding like them, but “playing” like those instruments. The first thing I needed was extraordinary breath control, which I didn’t have. I began swimming every chance I got in public pools — taking laps under water and thinking song lyrics to myself as I swam, holding my breath.   One thing that was tremendously important was learning the use of a microphone. Many singers never learned to use one. They never understood, and still don’t, that a microphone is their instrument…. [Instead] of playing a saxophone, they’re playing a microphone.   I don’t read a note of music. I learn songs by having them played for me a couple of times while I read the lyrics. I can pick up the melody very quickly. I learn the lyrics by writing them out in long hand. When I get a new song, I look for continuity of melody that in itself will tell a musical story. It must go somewhere. I don’t like it to ramble. And then, by the same token, I like almost the same thing — more, as a matter of fact — in the lyrics. They must tell you a complete story, from 'once upon a time' to 'the end.'"

The storytelling struck a responsive chord with the public and 'September of My Years' went gold, peaking at number five on the US album chart.   

"It Was a Very Good Year"
written by Ervin Drake in 1961 for The Kingston Trio

Frank Sinatra In Studio - It Was A Very Good Year (1965) from Daniel Ramos on Vimeo.

Sinatra's version gave him his first number one single in a decade and won Grammys in 1966 for Best Male Vocal Performance and Best Instrumental Arrangement.

When I was seventeen, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We'd hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls
Who lived up the stairs
With all that perfumed hair
And it came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five, it was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We'd ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days are short, I'm in the autumn of my years
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
It poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

'September of My Years' 
full album;

Side 1
"The September of My Years" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn) - 3:12
"How Old Am I?" (Gordon Jenkins) - 3:30
"Don't Wait Too Long" (Sunny Skylar) - 3:04
"It Gets Lonely Early" (Van Heusen, Cahn) - 2:57
"This Is All I Ask" (Jenkins) - 3:03
"Last Night When We Were Young" (Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg) - 3:33
"The Man in the Looking Glass" (Bart Howard) - 3:25
Side 2
"It Was a Very Good Year" (Ervin Drake) - 4:25
"When the Wind Was Green" (Henry Stinson) - 3:22
"Hello, Young Lovers" (Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II) - 3:41
"I See It Now" (Alec Wilder, William Engvick) - 2:50
"Once Upon a Time" (Charles Strouse, Lee Adams) - 3:30
"September Song" (Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson) - 3:30

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

hotter than july

Stevie Wonder got back to the boogie jamming until the break of dawn and made his soul a burning fire with this rocket love rejuvenation.  After beginning his career at the age of thirteen with the number one smash "Fingertips", he released sixteen albums in ten years (The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie  and  Tribute to Uncle Ray  in 1962;  Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius   and   With a Song in My Heart  in 1963;   Stevie at the Beach in 1964;   Up-Tight  and  Down to Earth in 1966;   I Was Made to Love Her  and  Someday at Christmas  in 1967;   Eivets Rednow   and   For Once in My Life  in 1968;    My Cherie Amour  in 1969;  Stevie Wonder Live, Live at the Talk of the Town,  and  Signed, Sealed & Delivered  in 1970;   and   Where I'm Coming From  in 1971) before renegotiating his contract with Motown and gaining complete creative control of his work.   He then became a dominant musical force with a  run of  classic albums  (Music of My Mind  and  Talking Book  in 1972;   Innervisions  in 1973;   Fulfillingness' First Finale  in 1974;   and   Songs in the Key of Life  in 1976)   that earned him a dozen Grammy Awards including three for Album of the Year.  With the experimental documentary soundtrack album Stevie Wonder's Journey Through "The Secret Life of Plants"  in 1979, he had lost some of his cachet among fans.  

He wrote, arranged, and produced the sessions for Hotter than July at his newly acquired Wonderland Studios in Los Angeles which featured  Stevie Wonder on vocals, synthesizer, drums, fender rhodes, bass synthesizer, clavinet, background vocals, arp, vocoder, piano, harpsichord, celeste, keyboards, bass melodeon, harmonica, cabasa, percussion, bells, handclaps, and flute synthesizer;     Nathan Watts on bass and background vocals;     Benjamin Bridges on guitar, sitar,  and background vocals;   Dennis Davis on drums;   Earl DeRouen on percussion and background vocals;   Isaiah Sanders - fender rhodes, pianet,  and background vocals;     Hank Redd on saxophone and handclaps;     Robert Malach on saxophone;   Larry Gittens  and  Nolan A. Smith Jr. on trumpet;    Hank Devito on steel guitar;   Rick Zunigar on guitar;     Angela Winbush, Mary Lee Whitney Evans, Susaye Greene Brown, Alexandra Brown Evans, Shirley Brewer, Ed Brown, Charlie Collins, Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, Michael Jackson, Jamil Raheem, Betty Wright, Ronnie J. Wilson, Charles K. Wilson, Syreeta Wright, Marva Holcolm, Melody McCulley, and Delores Barnes on background vocals;     Stephanie Andrews, Bill Wolfer, Trevor Lawrence, Dennis Morrison, and Kimberly Jackson on handclaps.   The string arrangement was done by Paul Riser.   

Hotter than July was celebrated as a return to form and went to number eighteen in Canada;  twenty-nine in Japan; twelve in Germany;  five in Norway;  four in the Netherlands;  three in Australia, Sweden, and the US;  two in Austria, Italy, New Zealand, and the UK;  and number one in France and on the US R&B album chart.  It has been certified platinum in Canada, the UK, and the US.    Wonder also used the album to petition fans to observe the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national holiday.  

"Master Blaster (Jammin')" was inspired by Bob Marley.  It was a worldwide smash hit, going to number nine in Germany; five in the US; three in Belgium and Ireland;  two in the Netherlands and the UK;  and number one in New Zealand, Switzerland, and on the US R&B singles chart.  

Everyone's feeling pretty
It's hotter than July
Though the world's full of problems
They couldn't touch us even if they tried
From the park I hear rhythms
Marley's hot on the box
Tonight there will be a party
On the corner at the end of the block

Didn't know you
Would be jamming until the break of dawn
I bet nobody ever told you that you
Would be jamming until the break of dawn
You would be jamming and jamming and jamming, jam on

They want us to join their fighting
But our answer today
Is to let all our worries
Like the breeze through our fingers slip away
Peace has come to Zimbabwe
Third World's right on the one
Now's the time for celebration
Because we've only just begun

Didn't know you
Would be jamming until the break of dawn
I bet nobody ever told you that you
Would be jamming until the break of dawn
You would be jamming and jamming and jamming, jam on

You ask me am I happy
Well as matter of fact
I can say that I'm ecstatic
Because we all just made a pact
We've agreed to get together
Joined as children in Jah
When you're moving in the positive
Your destination is the brightest star

Didn't know you
Would be jamming until the break of dawn
I bet nobody ever told you that you
Would be jamming until the break of dawn
You would be jamming and jamming and jamming, jam on

Hotter than July
full album:

All songs written, produced and arranged by Stevie Wonder except where noted.

Side one
"Did I Hear You Say You Love Me" – 4:07
"All I Do" (music: Wonder; lyrics: Wonder, Clarence Paul, Morris Broadnax) – 5:06
"Rocket Love" – 4:39
"I Ain't Gonna Stand for It" – 4:39
"As If You Read My Mind" – 3:37
Side two
"Master Blaster (Jammin')" – 5:07
"Do Like You" – 4:25
"Cash in Your Face" – 3:59
"Lately" – 4:05
"Happy Birthday" – 5:57

Monday, September 28, 2015

halcyon digest

Deerhunter unfolded undertones of retrograde symmetry in a basement scene where sweetness comes suffering.    After four albums   (Turn It Up Faggot  in 2005,   Cryptograms  in 2007,   Microcastle   and  Weird Era Cont.  in 2008)  and two EP's   (Fluorescent Grey  in 2007 and  Rainwater Cassette Exchange in 2009) the Atlanta, Georgia ambient punk group had taken a hiatus while members of the band pursued other projects (Bradford Cox recorded Logos with Atlas Sound, Josh Fauver went back to work at his Army of Bad Luck record label, Moses Archuleta started culinary school, and Lockett Pundt put out The Floodlight Collective as Lotus Plaza).   They got back together in January of 2010 to tour.  

'Halcyon Digest' was recorded at Chase Park Transduction Studios in Athens, Georgia and Notown Sound in Marietta, Georgia with Ben H. Allen and Henry Barbe co-producing the sessions with Deerhunter.   Th album credits  Moses Archuleta on drums;  Bradford J. Cox on lead vocals and guitar;   Joshua Fauver on bass;  and  Lockett Pundt on guitar and lead vocals;   with   Bill Oglesby on saxophone;  and  Paul McPherson on 12 string guitar.    

Cox confesses:    “We recorded Halcyon Digest in two weeks.  For most bands that would be impossible, but for us those two weeks felt like two years! I don’t understand why things need to take so long...I’m a simple person.  I sit at home and play gui­tar, making demos. I do our graphic design and typog­raphy for our releases. I devote my life to all of these little details, so there’s not really any room for me to develop a social life.  I don’t have a private life to speak of, really. Everything is out there in the music ... The album’s title is a reference to a collection of fond memories and even invented ones, like my friendship with Ricky Wilson or the fact that I live in an abandoned Victorian autoharp factory. The way that we write and rewrite and edit our memories to be a digest version of what we want to remember, and how that’s kind of sad...It has a lot to do with the way people romanticize the past, even if it was horrific.”

To promote the album, the band encouraged fans to print out a flyer from their website and post it around their towns and take pictures.  Cox admits to "...always being fascinated with the ephemera of 70's – 80's artrock in record stores like Wuxtry in Athens where I hung out as a kid or Wax 'N Facts in Atlanta. You'd see a photocopied faded B-52's flyer next to a poster for Lou Reed or XTC. It was like an artpunk scrapbook on those walls. It made my head spin. Who are these people? Who are the fucking Residents with these weird-ass eyeball faces?"

'Halcyon Digest' went to number eighty-four in Japan, seventy-nine in the UK, thirty-seven in the US, twenty-three in Norway, thirteen on the US rock album chart, nine on the Belgian heatseeker album chart, eight on the UK independent album chart, seven on the US independent album chart, and number five on the Dutch alternative album chart.


"Memory Boy"

'Halcyon Digest' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Bradford Cox except Desire Lines and Fountain Stairs by Lockett Pundt. 

1. "Earthquake"   5:00
2. "Don't Cry"   2:49
3. "Revival"   2:13
4. "Sailing"   4:59
5. "Memory Boy"   2:09
6. "Desire Lines"   6:44
7. "Basement Scene"   3:41
8. "Helicopter"   4:58
9. "Fountain Stairs"   2:38
10. "Coronado"   3:19
11. "He Would Have Laughed"   7:29

bonus tracks
12. "Rhythm"   2:56
13. "Colorscale"   5:10

live at The Interface

- Desire lines
- Fountain stairs
- Helicopter/He would have laughed
- Memory boy

Sunday, September 27, 2015

wrecking ball

Emmylou Harris had nowhere to hide and nowhere to go except the other side of desire and went looking for the water from a deeper well with the turbulent rhythms of this country reinvention.   She had enjoyed an incomparable career in the traditional Nashville country idiom with eighteen studio albums  (Gliding Bird in 1969,  Pieces of the Sky and Elite Hotel in 1975,   Luxury Liner in 1977,   Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town  in 1978,   Light of the Stable - The Christmas Album   and   Blue Kentucky Girl  in 1979,   Roses in the Snow in 1980,   Evangeline  and  Cimarron in 1981,   White Shoes in 1983,   The Ballad of Sally Rose in 1985,   Thirteen in 1986,    Trio  with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt in 1987,   Angel Band in 1987,  Bluebird in 1989,  Brand New Dance in 1990,   and    Cowgirl's Prayer in 1994),   two live releases  (Last Date in 1982   and  At the Ryman  in 1992 with the Nash Ramblers),  and guest appearances and collaborations on dozens of albums (including     Will the Circle Be Unbroken with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1972;    'GP'   with Gram Parsons in 1973; Feats Don't Fail Me Now  with Little Feat,   'Grievous Angel'   with Gram Parsons,   and   Heart Like a Wheel   with Linda Ronstadt in 1974;   Home Plate  with Bonnie Raitt,   Prisoner in Disguise  with Linda Ronstadt,   and  Two Lane Highway  with Pure Prairie League in 1975;  All I Can Do  with Dolly Parton,  Desire  with Bob Dylan,   Mike Auldridge  with Mike Auldridge,  Sleepless Nights  with The Flying Burrito Brothers,   Starland Vocal Band  with Starland Vocal Band,   and   Texas Cookin' with Guy Clark  in 1976;   Ain't Living Long Like This  with Rodney Crowell,   American Stars 'N Bars  with Neil Young,   and   Long Time Gone  with John Starling in 1977;   Hiding  with Albert Lee,  Right or Wrong with Rosanne Cash,  and  Sweet Temptation with Ricky Skaggs in 1979;   Honeysuckle Rose with Willie Nelson in 1980;   Seven Year Ache with Rosanne Cash   and   The Innocent Age  with Dan Fogelberg  in 1981;   Heartland  with The Judds,  Higher Ground with Tammy Wynette,  and  Pontiac  with Lyle Lovett;   Don't Close Your Eyes   with Keith Whitley  and  Lucinda Williams  with Lucinda Williams in 1988;   Lying to the Moon with Matraca Berg in 1990;   Another Country with The Chieftains,   Hearts in Armor with Trisha Yearwood,  Infamous Angel  with Iris DeMent,  and  Joshua Judges Ruth  with Lyle Lovett in 1992 ;   Other Voices, Other Rooms  with Nanci Griffith in 1993;   Flyer  with Nanci Griffith  in 1994;  and   Train a Comin'  with Steve Earle in 1995);  but she had seemed to reach a plateau with sales.   

 Harris reveals:   "I will say that there were some good people at the company [Elektra] who were disappointed with the reaction to Cowgirl's Prayer. They came to me and said, 'Listen, we've done our best, we don't know what to do. Who would you like to work with?' I had become a huge fan of Daniel's first solo record and the record Oh Mercy that he'd done with Bob Dylan. Phone calls were made, and the next thing I knew, I was having a meeting with Daniel, and we just decided to make a record. Once again, it's that thing of low or no expectations and being given a free rein. I mean, I've always had that anyway, and there's a certain fearlessness to Daniel's work. The sounds and turbulent rhythms that he brought to these songs really inspired me." 

The sessions in New Orleans featured  Emmylou Harris on vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmony vocals;       Daniel Lanois on mandolin, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, dulcimer, duet vocals, chant vocals, percussion, and bass pedals;     Malcolm Burn on piano, tambourine, vibes, organ, synthesizer, keyboards, slide guitar, bass, drums,  and harmony vocals;     Larry Mullen, Jr. on drums, cymbal, and  hand drum;     Tony Hall on percussion, bass, and stick drum;     Daryl Johnson on high harmony vocals, tom tom, drum kit bass pedals, backing vocals, harmonic bass, and harmony vocals;     with     Brian Blade adding drums and Indian hand drum;   Steve Earle adding acoustic guitar;     Sam O'Sullivan adding roto wheel;     Neil Young adding harmony vocals and harmonica;     Kufaru Mouton adding extro percussion;       Lucinda Williams adding acoustic guitar;     Richard Bennett adding tremolo guitar;    and   Anna McGarrigle    and    Kate McGarrigle  adding harmony vocals.   

Harris remembers: "It wasn't a huge band. It was Larry Mullen, Tony Hall, Daniel, Malcolm [Burn], and myself. People think the more you put on a record, the more exciting and emotional it's going to be. Sometimes I think that works, but for me, what they did leaves more room for vocal interpretation, and what I was hearing was so inspiring that I think it raised the bar for me...I think it was a certain time in my life. My father had died the year before. A few years earlier I had a divorce, I was living alone, except my mother had come to live with me. I was just going through a lot of changes. I've always lived through music and expressed myself through music. I chose "All My Tears" because I had sung on Julie Miller's version of that song, so I was aware of it. "Orphan Girl," I loved. I had met Gillian Welch. And I had heard Kate and Anna perform "Goin' Back to Harlan" a few years earlier, and just absolutely loved the way they did that song. It evoked something in me. At our first meeting, Dan gave me a huge book of Dylan songs. Malcolm suggested "Every Grain of Sand" and he also brought Neil Young's "Wrecking Ball." ... For me, Wrecking Ball was a watershed, if that's the right word. Before that, I felt, especially at the record company, like I'd done my bit. I'm not really on the radio, but I still had my loyal fans, I was still able to make a living touring. But it had gotten to a point where the record I made just before it, Cowgirl's Prayer in 1993, we put a lot of energy into it, and I was trying to be a good Girl Scout and give radio something they could play without compromising myself. Basically I was told, 'You're just not invited to this party anymore'."

'Wrecking Ball' only reached ninety-six in the US, forty-six in the UK, thirty in Norway, and twenty-seven in Sweden. Harris says: "I think when Wrecking Ball came out, there was a bit of confusion. I started my career saying that I wanted to be considered a country artist. I felt that intense connection with Gram, and all the music he turned me on to-- George Jones and all that great body of country music that I dismissed early on when I first got into music. I wanted to make up for it by embracing it and coming up with my own brand. But embracing it in a way that showed my respect. I was like a convert, only instead of converting to a religion I was converted to country music. But then, as it became sort of infected with a kind of virus of mediocrity, I didn't really have anything to do with it anymore. I wasn't being played on the radio. It was the kind of thing where-- do you try and distance yourself, or do you say "if you want to call me a country artist then Wrecking Ball is a country record?" Just damn the torpedoes [laughs]. In the long run, when people look at my career, I hope they see that this can be country, because that is where she came from, that is where the beginning was. It's like trying to change the place you were born. It's always going to be a part of you. But there is some confusion now. I think genres are actually disappearing, more and more. Is there really rhythm & blues, is there really country music? More and more young artists are dipping into the pool of all these various forms of music and coming up with something that's totally new themselves. Fortunately, we'll always have the genre in their pure form, to go back to and to learn from and to steal from. To add to our stew."

"Sweet Old World"

Sweet Old World from Craig Culver on Vimeo.

"Orphan Girl" 

'Wrecking Ball' 
full album:

"Where Will I Be?" [with Daniel Lanois] (Daniel Lanois) – 4:15
"Goodbye" (Steve Earle) – 4:53
"All My Tears" (Julie Miller) – 3:42
"Wrecking Ball" (Neil Young) – 4:49
"Goin' Back to Harlan" (Anna McGarrigle) – 4:51
"Deeper Well" (David Olney, Lanois, Emmylou Harris) – 4:19
"Every Grain of Sand" (Bob Dylan) – 3:56
"Sweet Old World" (Lucinda Williams) – 5:06
"May This Be Love" [with Daniel Lanois] (Jimi Hendrix) – 4:45
"Orphan Girl" (Gillian Welch) – 3:15
"Blackhawk" (Daniel Lanois) – 4:28
"Waltz Across Texas Tonight" (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris) – 4:46

Saturday, September 26, 2015

black sea

XTC poured some oil on the water and threw pessimism in the air, shrugging off shrouds with the glorious whimsy of decency's jigsaw.   The Swindon punks had developed their sound into a new wave art pop over three albums  (White Music,  Go 2 , and  Drums and Wires) before returning to The Town House in London with producer Steve Lillywhite.   'Black Sea' was recorded during June and July of 1980 with engineers Hugh Padgham and Nick Launay and featured  Terry Chambers on Tama drums, Tama Snyper drum synthesiser, and free form vocals;   Dave Gregory on guitars, synth, piano, and vox humana;   Colin Moulding on vocals and Epiphone Newport bass;   and   Andy Partridge on vocals, guitar, and synth.   

Partridge proclaims:    "We never let producers make any structural changes to our music. We only give them the music and they then mix it, usually under our supervision as well. So it's a bit rotten on a producer who gets involved with us because we tend to loom over them all the time. I'd personally like to mix them but it would be wrong to impose my taste totally on the band so we get a producer in as mediator or like a sifter - we throw all the ideas in and he has to sift them out and stop us from fighting with eachother and biting eachother on the leg and things like that, 'cause we have a lot of ideas and they do need sifting ... I'd say [we're] equally a singles and album band. I think our albums are more important 'cause they've made far more inroads than our singles have, especially in other countries. I do like singles and I'd like to think that our albums are composed of potential single material - you know, all the tracks could be singles. That's why we tend to work within a three minute, four minute framework ... We never build a song for a purpose. The only time we ever did anything on purpose was quite an innocent thing, an electric re-recording of "Ten Feet Tall" for the American charts. But we never do anything on purpose, we just write whatever comes out and rehearse it the way that it just falls out. Nobody's told what to play, everybody plays exactly what they want to and we never sit down and try and make things difficult to understand or easy to understand, we just do them as they come out. Certain songs demand certain treatments and they seem to scream it when you rehearsing it. They say 'Do me like this! Do me like this!' and there's no other way that you can mess around with them. So we just try to do things as naturally as we can. It's just our personalities..."Travels In Nihilon", originally a book title by Alan 'Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner' Sillitoe. It's nothing to do with the book title, it's just a great title. Nihilon means state of nothingness if your thumbing through your dictionary right now. Its about how the media basically fox young people into believing that the latest trend is going to save them or what have you..gonna be the saving grace, it's gonna pick rock 'n' roll up, it's gonna make pop music 'it', you must be a mod, you must be a punk, you must be a hippy, you must be a pirate...all of those trends. And people do get serious about them. And I know I got serious about them when I was younger. I think the last thing that I got demi-serious about was punk. After all it's only another media game. The sell you all the items, they sell you the records and you will buy it. And the younger you are the more your judgement is fogged by the fact that you think that you're finding something ultimate and you're not. And it happens every so years the media finds something they want to sell to you, and it's not really about that at all. It's about music basically, a lot of it revolves around music and "Travels In Nihilon" is about how people are continually japed into believing that there's something to believe in ... and there's not. It's just music and it always will be music, and they shouldn't try and sell you these funny things that have nothing to do with music."

'Black Sea'  hit number sixteen in the UK and was their biggest album in the US peaking at number forty-one.  In New Zealand it became their only number one album in their entire career.

"Generals and Majors"   went to number thirty-two in the UK, twenty-four in Australia, and sixteen in New Zealand.  

Generals and Majors ah ah 
They're never too far 
From battlefields so glorious 
Out in a world of their own 
They'll never come down 
Till once again victorious 

Generals and Majors always 
Seem so unhappy 'less they got a war 

Generals and Majors ah ah 
Like never before are tired of being actionless. 

Calling Generals and Majors 
Generals and Majors everywhere 
Calling Generals and Majors 
Your World War III is drawing near 

Generals and Majors ah ah 
They're never too far 
Away from men who made the grade 
Out in a world of their own 
They'll never come down 
Until the battle's lost or made 

Generals and Majors ah ah 
Like never before, are tired of being in the shade

"Respectable Street"

It's in the order of their hedgerows
it's in the way their curtains open and close
it's in the look they give you down their nose
all part of decency's jigsaw I suppose

Heard the neighbour slam his car door
don't he realise this is respectable street
What d'you think he bought that car for
'cos he realise this is respectable street

Now they talk about abortion
in cosmopolitan proportions to their daughters
as they speak of contraception
And immaculate receptions on their portable
Sony entertainment centres.

Now she speaks about diseases
and which sex position pleases best her old man
Avon lady fills the creases
when she manages to squeeze in past the caravans
that never move from their front gardens.

It's in the order of their hedgerows
it's in the way their curtains open and close
it's in the look they give you down their nose
all part of decency's jigsaw I suppose
Sunday church and they look fetching
Saturday night saw him retching over our fence
bang the wall for me to turn down
I can see them with their stern frown
as they dispense the kind of look that says
they're perfect.

"Towers of London" made it to number thirty-one in the UK.  

"Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" hit twenty in Ireland and sixteen in the UK. 

'Black Sea' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Andy Partridge, except where noted.

1. Respectable Street 0:00
2. Generals and Majors (Colin Moulding) 3:38
3. Living Through Another Cuba 7:42
4. Love At First Sight  (Moulding) 12:26
5. Rocket from a Bottle 15:34
6. No Language in Our Lungs 19:04
7. Towers of London 23:57
8. Paper and Iron (Notes and Coins) 29:22
9. Burning With Optimism's Flames 33:39
10. Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me) 37:55
11. Travels in Nihilon 41:52
12. Smokeless Zone  (Moulding)  48:56
13. Don't Lose Your Temper 52:47
14. The Somnambulist 55:20

interview 1980

XTC At The Manor 1980  documentary