XTC - Best CD Versions?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bcaulf, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Do the old Virgin discs in fact sound better than the Geffens? If so, I imagine not by much.
  2. kaztor

    kaztor Forum Resident

    I like it. It's like listening to double albums and they're all good and often a little experimental. It also gives the 'sides 2' more prominence when they start. Listen, for instance, how Towers Of London kicks in after the eccentric Somnambulist on Black Sea. I wouldn't want to hear that any other way!

    If you go that route you will need Rag And Bone Buffet.
    It's one of my favourite XTC cd's and it covers stray singles, stuff that didn't make the original cd releases and b-sides for English Settlement, Skylarking and (I think) Oranges And Lemons.
  3. I agree with you that the polarity corrected beats the other versions but I personally think that the MFSL version holds it’s own however, the polarity corrected edition is cheaper so I recommend that plus it also incorporates Mermaid Smiled back into the running order. However, if you only want the version that has the popular l8ne up of the album (I.e., Dear God without. Mermaid Smiled)the Mofi is the best choice IMhO.
    tmtomh likes this.
  4. It depends. For the rest of the catalog aside from Skylarking they were, as I recall, clones of those. Ifit is the original Virgin for Skylarking with Mermaid Smiled (in Canada they had it with a Dear God as a bonus track not sure how this was finally configured in the UK) then it does so7nd better than the Geffen which is where the polarity problem may have occurred. It was remastered for the U.S. the originalVirgin mastering sounds pretty good if a bit 9n the thin side but has a nice warm sound. As I recall the Geffen for Skylarking was a bit too midrangy sounding.

    I compiled a large play list with all of their albums removing the b-sides put in the middle of the Geffen/Virgin CDs in a separate play list for those.

    That didn’t bother me as much as the compression used because I can compensate for the treble and bass but I can’t restore the lost dynamics. They also sound decent in the car or ear buds but for a really good revealing system can be more problematic but, hey, any XTC is better than none at all.
    bcaulf likes this.
  5. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ok, I took the dive. I ordered the Canadian version of Skylarking from 1987 (according to Discogs) as my first XTC purchase. The early Canadian CDs were the only ones that had both Mermaid smiled and Dear God as part of the track list, and I always sort of felt that Dear God should be a part of this album (read that Todd had it in the running order). It's an early Virgin disc so I'm guessing it sounds as good as the others, and it was a good price ($5)

    It seems like White Music will be the hardest to get, I can't find an early Virgin disc under $15...
    wayneklein, DaverJ and c-eling like this.
  6. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    I used to have that Canadian 'Skylarking', I bought it on one of my many youthful excursions across the Detroit River into Windsor Ontario.
    I bought it at a small record shop on Oullette Ave. called Dr. Disc.
    I remember it sounding very good, though it disappeared from my collection somewhere around 20 years ago.
    I bought it precisely because it had 'Mermaid Smiled' and 'Dear God'.
    pablo fanques, wayneklein and bcaulf like this.
  7. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Glad to hear this one sounds good! I’m assuming all Canadian issues from the 80’s share the same mastering.

    Have the Homo Safari instrumentals appeared anywhere else other than the Dear God EP?
  8. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    I remember it sounding good, but I haven't heard it in 20 years or so, so keep that in mind. The Canadian artwork is slightly different the line drawing on the front cover has black lines instead of light tan. I always liked that.

    The 'Dear God'ep has all 6, but 'Frost Circus' and 'Procession Towards Learning Land' also appear as bonus tracks on Mummer.
    bcaulf likes this.
  9. hutlock

    hutlock Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Another vote for the Steven Wilson versions. They really are the best out there and you get the original mixes and TONS of extras too.

    I don't think the 2001 remastered are as bad as some here do, but they are loud for sure. At least the bonus tracks aren't in the middle. I can't stand that.
    DaverJ likes this.
  10. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    Also, You'll need all the CD singles from 'Oranges & Lemons' and 'Nonsuch' if you want their b-sides.

    Then, of course, there are a few stray b-sides that are still only available on vinyl singles. (mostly live tracks)

    This Is Pop (live)
    Burning With Optimism's Flames (live)
    Living Through Another Cuba (live)
    English Roundabout (live)
    Generals & Majors (live)
    Cut It Out (live)
    Are You Receiving Me? (live)
    Battery Brides (live)
    I Set Myself On Fire (live)

    "Goodnight Sucker" < the forgotten end bit on the '3D ep'
    Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass (original single mix)
    Bags Of Fun With Buster b/w Scrotal Scratch Mix < under the moniker: Johnny Japes and his Jesticles
    I Am The Walrus < from 'Without The Beatles' various artists covers album (CD)

    Bungalow (demo) & Rip Van Reuben (demo) < originally only on the withdrawn CD single for 'Wrapped In Grey'. They are now found on the 'Nonsuch' Surround Series blu-ray.

    Whew! :D
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    hutlock likes this.
  11. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Got a lot of work to do I guess. Don't care much about the live b-sides personally, demos, or alternate/single versions. So those last two singles I will probably be missing. Fortunately the cds cover most of it aside from the Oranges/Lemons and Nonsuch stuff.

    I'm a bit of a completist so I try to get whatever I can...:D
  12. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    Most of the O&L and Nonsuch b-sides are demos, but they are mostly unreleased songs not demos of album tracks, though a few are.

    XTC were a RIPPIN' live band!
    I get the uninterested in live b-sides thing. (though I love 'em)
    Have you heard the 'Transistor Blast' box set? If you haven't, your in for a real live treat!

    I also forgot to add to my previous list, the track that XTC contributed to their own tribute record (Testimonial Dinner) under the pseudonym Terry & The Love Men: 'The Good Things'
    Where Did The Ordinary People Go / Spiral and Say It < from the 'Apple Vinyls' 7" box set.

    AArgh, too much stuff! :faint:
    pablo fanques likes this.
  13. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    They do have quite a wealth of material. Makes things a little more difficult when they have about 10 pseudonym groups! I'll just have to get what I can, but first I'll focus on getting the studio albums. I appreciate your assistance in guiding the way.
  14. If I recall correctly Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass original mix, is, as I recall only on the single for Ball and Chain on vinyl. The versions on Beeswax and Rag and Bone Buffet both are the remix as I recall.

    There's also the live version of "Respectable Street" that's available (as I recall ) only on the Urgh! A Music War soundtrack.
    I Don't Want To Be Here is available on Fuzzy Warbles Volume 2 (it was a benefit single that Andy and Colin contributed that Andy wrote).

    Living in a Haunted Heart (Andy demo)
    Didn't Hurt A Bit (Colin demo)
    The Good Things (Colin demo)
    My Paint Heroes (Andy demo) can all be found on the Oranges and Lemons singles.

    The Good Things shows up on the A Testimonial Dinner (where they performed as Terry and The Love Men)
    The post-Apple Venus songs
    Say It

    Unfortunately, there isn't a physical single that was released for Where Do The Ordinary People Go? It can only be had as a download.
    bcaulf likes this.
  15. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    Correct, the original mix of 'Heaven' is on the 'Ball & Chain' single.
    Ooh, I forgot about 'I Don't Want To Be Here'
    and 'Respectable Street (live)' from Urgh! A Music War

    There is in fact a vinyl single for 'Where Did The Ordinary People Go' included in the 'Apple Vinyls' 7" box set

    XTC - Apple Vinyls

    Chalkhills: Reel by Real: XTC: "Where Did the Ordinary People Go?"

    The other Nonsuch b-sides are:
    Down A Peg (demo)
    The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead (demo)
    My Bird Performs (demo)
    Always Winter Never Christmas (demo)
    The Smartest Monkeys (demo)

    Plus other Oranges and Lemons b-sides:
    Ella Guru
    Skeletons (demo)

    A couple of Geffen "Holiday Greetings From Geffen Records" promo tunes:
    Merry Christmas Song (36 seconds)
    Psychedelic Christmas (also 36 seconds long)

    The v/a CARMEN SANDIEGO-Out Of This World CD:
    Cherry In Your Tree

    Strawberry Fields Forever as Colin's Hermits < can also be found on 'Fuzzy Warbles' vol. 3

    and last, but not least:
    Instruvenus (Apple Venus instrumentals CD)
    Waspstrumental (Wasp Star instrumentals CD)
    bcaulf and wayneklein like this.
  16. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques "Mr. F!"

    Poughkeepsie, NY
    And then there's The Dukes of Stratosphear and Fuzzy Warbles material. You, my friend, have found yourself a SERIOUS rabbit hole...
    nlgbbbblth likes this.
  17. Downsampled

    Downsampled Formerly PlusMinus

    Ha, yes, this thread spun out of control pretty fast!

    The Steve Wilson remasters are great, but for basic CDs, I'd totally recommend the original CDs, and I think the ones that came out in the USA are just fine. I recall from an old thread somewhere that the first Geffen release of English Settlement was as good as any other CD that came before (and had the full tracklist). There are UK and Japan releases that came out at the same time, after the original abbreviated CD, but they're harder to find and, I think, the same mastering.

    Drums & Wires varies a bit in its early CD versions, as I recall?

    I've never been a fan of the original Oranges & Lemons CD -- it had a brittle modern mastering out of the gate -- but the original Nonsuch sounds great, I think.
    c-eling likes this.
  18. edenofflowers

    edenofflowers Forum Resident

    Not sure if it's been noted but there's that Terry & The Lovemen version of Good Things on the Testimonial Dinner tribute CD that's actually XTC.
    originalsnuffy likes this.
  19. bcaulf

    bcaulf Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Oh man I hate when this happens... :)
    pablo fanques likes this.
  20. nlgbbbblth

    nlgbbbblth Forum Resident

    You need Rag and Bone Buffet for definite - it's brilliant and flows well.
    The five CD/BD albums are the ideal ones to grab now. Serious content for a low price.

    The 2001 remasters are unpleasant to listen to. Tolerable in the car but that's it. The artwork on Nonsuch is poor.
    A Coat Of Many Cupboards is seriously harsh. Shame - some great tracks on it.

    I have a mix of original CDs and LPs as well. English Settlement and Skylarking sound better on vinyl; the CDs for the rest.
    DaverJ likes this.
  21. Gardo

    Gardo Forum Resident

    How do we know this is a flat transfer?
  22. ad180

    ad180 Forum Resident

    I'd say you can't go wrong with original Geffens or Virgins. Despite placing bonus tracks in the middle of each album, they sound just fine. I still have mine, despite my love for the new CD/Blu-Ray versions.
  23. ad180

    ad180 Forum Resident

    It says so in the packaging.
  24. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    1060 W.Addison
    The CD that came with the vinyl states flat transfer on the packaging, then in this thread Next XTC Steven Wilson 5.1 remix - BLACK SEA someone compared the DR numbers to the CD release noting they are the same.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  25. catnip nation

    catnip nation Forum Resident

    new haven ct usa
    The original Virgin CD of Big Express is one of the worst sounding CD'S I've ever heard,I know that for certain.

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