XTC includes: Andy Partridge (vocals, electric guitar, harmonica, electronic drums); Colin Moulding (vocals, bass); David Gregory (electric guitar, piano,
Additional personnel includes: Annie Huchrak (vocals); Stuart Gordon (violin, viola); Steve Saunders (euphonium); Peter Phipps (drums).
Recorded at Crescent Studios, Bath, England in 1984.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
In the XTC canon, THE BIG EXPRESS (1984) and its predecessor MUMMER are generally overlooked as merely the two albums between the more commercially successful ENGLISH SETTLEMENT and SKYLARKING. THE BIG EXPRESS is, in fact, a more consistent album--if only because it isn't quite as ambitious--and it contains at least two absolute classic XTC songs, "All You Pretty Girls" and "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her." The latter of these spawned an unlikely number of covers and at least one band who took the track's title as their unwieldy moniker.
Standouts include the barreling music-hall approach of Colin Moulding's "Washaway," Andy Partridge's "The Everyday Story of Smalltown," and the weird, herky-jerky rhythm of "I Bought Myself a Liarbird." Shot through with the band's trademark take on English psychedelia, THE BIG EXPRESS should not be passed over. Rock & roll trainspotters will appreciate both the similarities between this album's "Wake Up" and Kate Bush's "Waking the Witch" from her 1985 album THE HOUNDS OF LOVE, and those of "Shake Your Donkey Up" and "Ride Your Donkey" from Joe Strummer's 1989 album EARTHQUAKE WEATHER.