Rag and Bone Buffet
Rag and Bone Buffet is XTC’s b-sides and rarities compilation. Because a lot of group’s b-sides were already featured on the CD reissues, it’s noticeable that a lot of the stronger material is from the albums where b-sides weren’t already included. There’s some strong material from English Settlement, which was too long to include b-sides; in hindsight it’s inexplicable that Moulding’s charming ‘Blame The Weather’ wasn’t included on the original album, while there’s also the snappy ‘Punch and Judy’ and the Brian Eno like ‘Over Rusty Water’.
From the later era there’s the punchy ‘Extrovert’, the pretty ‘Happy Families’, ‘Mermaid Smile’ which was famously cut from some editions of Skylarking to make room for ‘Dear God’, and a nice live version of ‘Another Satellite’. There’s also a passable seasonal single ‘Thanks For Christmas’, and the novelty ‘History of Rock ‘N’ Roll’. Unsurprisingly, some of the material is superfluous, like a dance mix of ‘Down In The Cockpit’.
I wouldn’t prioritise Rag and Bone Buffet over any of the studio albums, and it’s a bit of a slog to make it through the whole album, but there’s enough strong material to make it worthwhile for hardcore fans.