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Big Express Import, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording reissued, August 6, 2002
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Wake Up (2001 - Remaster) 4:40$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. All You Pretty Girls (2001 - Remaster) 3:40$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Shake You Donkey Up (2001 - Remaster) 4:19$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her (2001 - Remaster) 3:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. This World Over (2001 - Remaster) 5:37$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Everyday Story Of Smalltown (2001 - Remaster) 3:53$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. I Bought Myself A Liarbird (2001 - Remaster) 2:49$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Reign Of Blows (2001 - Remaster) 3:27$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. You're The Wish You Are I Had (2001 - Remaster) 3:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. I Remember The Sun (2001 - Remaster) 3:10$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Train Running Low On Soul Coal (2001 - Remaster) 5:19$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. Red Brick Dream (2001 - Remaster) 2:03$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. Wash Away (2001 - Remaster) 3:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen14. Blue Overall (2001 - Remaster) 4:32$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 6, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 1984
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B00005ATHG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,247 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Remastered reissue of 1984 album. Virgin Records.2001.

Even hardcore fans remain ambivalent about this least organic and most dogmatic of all XTC albums, and this is the last place anyone should start building their collection. The Big Express has some strong tracks to offer, notably the Police-inspired nuclear-war lament "This World Over" and the bubblegum sea shanty "All You Pretty Girls," which sounds like "What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor" as performed by the cast of The King and I. For the more persistent and inquisitive, this 1984 collection features some challenges in the shape of the twitchy Captain Beefheart-at-the-hoedown "Shake Your Donkey Up" and "Everyday Story of Smalltown," which evokes Ray Davies in its lyrical observations of dawn milk rounds and laborers commuting to the Swindon railworks on bicycles. --Kevin Maidment

Customer Reviews

One of XTC's most rewarding and best albums.
The Big Express is an album that explodes out of your speakers, and maintains a certain boldness throughout.
They're nice to have, I guess, but the album makes a much more cohesive unit without them.
A. Temple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B on January 3, 2005
Format: Audio CD
"If Mummer was a gentle chug through the countryside, then The Big Express is a loco derailing itself in the rusty goods yard. An altogether more industrial affair. Slashing electric guitars, sheets of steel bass and diesel oil drums. An iron opera, steam powered and brick encased."
(Andy Partridge)

That description couldn't be more perfect, actually. Thanks Andy! Now, the songs:

"Wake Up" is a fantastic opener (love the syncopated riff); part of it wants to chop yer ears off, part of it wants you to dance.

"Shake You Donkey Up" is a raucous hoe-down; like three brits in overalls, drenched in pig slop. Country-Blues guitar riffs, loud "yeee-hawww"'s, and even a fiddle! What more could you ask for?

Other highlights on the first side include the bubblegum sea chanty "All You Pretty Girls", the poignant post-nuclear holocaust ballad "This World Over", and "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her", a sort of seafoam-molasses psychedelic reggae shuffle (loaded with lots of eerie synthesizer effects and great lyrics)

Side B opens with the insanely catchy "Small Town", pure brit-pop, ten years before Blur made it popular again.

Then, there's "I Bought Myself a Liarbird" (a nice little slam-dunk to a greedy manager), "Reign of Blows" (an awesome caterwauling mess of blues, pop, and rock with tons of reverb and other cool effects), "You're the Wish You Are I Had" (cocktail jazz + dream pop chorus), "I Remember the Sun" (wistful, Steely Dan like jazz rock), and the deranged, tempo-shifting closer "Train Running Low on Soul Coal".

There's also a few bonus songs at the end (or, in the middle if you have the earlier version). "Red Brick Dream" is the best of the crop - a hazy brew of pea-soup thick dreamy psychedelia.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. St Thomas on January 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I'm pretty sure this was the second album I purchased by XTC, after I found out that Oranges & Lemons was absolutely brilliant. I liked the cover of Big Express - it just looked interesting.
Now by most reviews, XTC fans have a hard time with this one (good thing I rarely listen to the fans either), because after I heard The Big Express, I had to own everything they ever put out, and I mean everything. I was absolutely caught, hook line and sinker. For one, its producer David Lord, produced one of my all time favourite 80's albums by one of my all time favourite artists, Peter Gabriel. So XTC had one thumbs up from me just on that. But more importantly, it was the songs that stood out on how very very good they were, how much they said and did in 4 or 5 minutes, and how it left you feeling. Like you discovered the band that should have been held up there like The Beatles, but never did. The Band That Time Forgot, XTC.
First off, I'm not saying Moulding and Partridge will suit everyone's tastes. Their singing style might turn some off, but after you get used to it, you realise they are actually perfectly suited for their own compositions. When other artists have covered them, it just doesn't sound right (except for Ruben Blades cover version of . . . . ), and probably the 'sweetest on the ear' is Moulding. And on Big Express he writes two fantastic songs, 'Wake Up' and 'I Remember The Sun'. (Ok, I'm a Moulding fan by proxy, but he's a great songwriter, no more no less than Partridge is). And on The Big Express, what Moulding started doing on Mummer starts picking up steam (sorry!). He starts changing his sound and song topic, each suiting eachother, never moreso than on 'I Remember The Sun'.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 18, 1998
Format: Audio CD
The fact that this album ranks 11,565 on the Amazon list is a crime. Although the album has a couple of minor flaws, THE BIG EXPRESS is a snapshot of the band at their prime. The irony was, no one was listening, or buying their albums. This album bears the same relationship to SKYLARKING as RUBBER SOUL does to REVOLVER: the great building was complete, but here some of the scaffolding and tools were still visible.
Both Partridge and Moulding demonstrate a boundless creative ability on this disc. David Lord's production(finished by the band when the production schedule was exceeded)is nearly flawless. One of the few producers who understood the XTC universe(along with Lilywhite & Rundgren), Lord provides a solid classical anchor so that Partridge and Moulding can frolic in the musicial water without fear of losing sight of the boat.
Highly underrated and misunderstood, THE BIG EXPRESS captured the elements that made early XTC so stellar and became a roadmap for the band's excursions to other vistas.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By nouwenthen on May 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
while we all are entitled to our opinions, i'm having difficulty understanding why this classic release would leave people scratching their heads. after all, this isn't 'ascension' by john coltrane or 'zero tolerance for silence' by pat metheny or something highly dissonant like those recordings. in my opinion, there are few albums that are as creatively, tunefully, and beautifully crafted as 'the big express'. from start to finish, it flows as one complete artistic statement, while each individual track has plenty to offer in and of itself. and contrary to other reviews, i would venture to say that 'mummer' and 'skylarking' are the weaker recordings (particularly 'mummer', although there are certainly great songs on it), with 'the big express' the superior, overlooked one sandwiched in between. a desert-island disc that i never tire of - HIGHLY recommended.
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