Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Birthday Salutations Terry!

Today is the birthday of former XTC member Terry Chambers, born this day in 1955 in Swindon, Wiltshire. I know I speak for all the contributors to PowerPop when I say that XTC has made some of the most sublime, transcendent pop music of the past twenty years and Terry's drumming was an integral part of their early sound.

Now that we are thinking about XTC, I've been on a pop psych jag of late, and some of my favorite recordings of the band come from their lysergic alter ego The Dukes of Stratosphear. Under that pseudonym the group released two records, the 25 O'Clock EP in 1985, followed by Psonic Psunspot two years later. Produced by John Leckie, both discs are brilliant, slightly tongue-in-cheek pastiches of British pop psych circa 1967. On these two records the group delivers rock and roll love letters to such era touchstones as Pink Floyd (Bike Ride to the Moon), The Hollies (Vanishing Girl) and the The Move (My Love Explodes) to name just a few. Both discs were later compiled on the Chips from the Chocolate Fireball CD which is required listening for all XTC aficionados or any fan of cool 60s freakbeat. Certainly, these recordings hold up to any of the band's best musical moments and they are simply a blast to listen to.

Also, if you are interested in hearing more original and extremely obscure British psych pop from the era, I highly recommend that you download Andy Morten's fantastic Toffee Sunday Smash podcast here.

Here's the Dukes performing The Mole from the Ministry to give you a tiny taste of their sparkling goodness (sorry-the video cuts out abruptly at the end!). Happy Birthday Mate!!

12 comments:

steve simels said...

XTC always had the best pseudonyms.

If memory serves, they released a one-off single at some point billed as the work of Johnny Japes and His Jesticles.

steve simels said...
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Kid Charlemagne said...
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Kid Charlemagne said...
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Kid Charlemagne said...

BTW, XTC was supposed to do a bubblegum thing ala The Dukes. It never happened, but one of the tunes, "Cherry In Your Tree" showed up on a Kid's CD "Carmen Sandiego, Out of this World." It's a cool track.

steve simels said...

KC:

THat's okay, when I saw the title of your draft (before you posted it) I was guessing you were talking about Terry Sylvester of the Hollies.

Shows what I know....

dave™© said...

I actually spoke to Andy Partridge when he did a radio interview in San Francisco back in the early 90s. I asked him when there was going to be another Dukes recording. He demurred...

dave™© said...

Here's a pic of Andy at the studio he did that above-mentioned interview at.

With the great SF DJ Steve Masters...

Kid Charlemagne said...

Hey dave,

There is a really great, long intervew with Andy here.

A good listen if you have the time.

TMink said...

As themselves, or the dukes, they make music I really like. And you are right about the drums, I had not noticed them enough before you mention it, but I can hear the drums smack on "Respectable Street" clearly in my imagination. And the percussion on English Settlement is really first rate.

Happy Birthday and thanks indeed.

Trey

dave™© said...

Hey, KC - thanks for the interview links! Great stuff!!!

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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