The Witching Hour Sessions – XTC

The Witching Hours Session – 29/12/2017


Formed in Swindon in 1975 by Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Terry Chambers and Barry Andrews. XTC are a fine band that draw heavily on pure pop, psychedelia, folk and 60s beat. They signed to Virgin in 1977 and released their fine debut ‘White Music in 1978. The follow-up ‘Go 2’ (1978) showed that Partridge and Moulding were fine new writers writing songs of off-kilter melodies and lyrics.
XTC moved their craft up a gear with the release of ‘Drums And Wires’ album in 1979. A subtle and imaginative album which contained the timeless UK Top 20 hit ‘Making Plans For Nigel’. Following quickly on its heels was the remarkable ‘Black Sea’ (1980). Filled with superb songs like ‘Generals And Majors’, ‘Sgt. Rock’ ‘Living Through Another Cuba’ to name but 3.
In 1982 XTC released what might be just their masterpiece ‘English Settlement’ it contained the mighty ‘Senses Working Overtime’, ‘All Of A Sudden’, ‘Ball And Chain’ and ‘Runaway’. A commercial success and enhanced their reputation in the US.
Unfortunately at this stage Partridge began to suffer from crippling stage fright and cancelled a tour of Europe and the US. XTC never captured the high ground again but released some strong albums ‘Mummer’ (1983) and ‘The Big Express’ (1984).
They released the fabulous ‘Skylarking’ in 1986. A superb pop record. Buy it but make sure your copy has ‘Dear God’ on it. They followed this with 2 more wonderful albums, ‘Oranges And Lemons’ in 1989 and ‘Nonesuch’ (which strangely flopped) in 1992. They recorded the 2 eccentric but always interesting and in parts excellent ‘Apple Venus Volume 1 & 2’ albums in 1999 and 2000 but have been in a hiatus of sorts since then.
A spinoff band – The Dukes Of Stratosphere was invented as an outlet for the band’s excursions into 60s psychedelic music.

Tonight’s listening;

1 – Drums and Wires (1979)

2 – English Settlement (1982)

3 – Skylarking (1986)

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