XTC / Black Sea 200g vinyl LP

XTC / Black Sea 200g vinyl reissue

XTC‘s 1980 album Black Sea is being reissued as an audiophile 200g vinyl pressing in September.

Black Sea is considered by some as one of the best engineered and produced albums of the era, and this vinyl edition (released by Andy Partridge’s APE label) has been newly cut at Loud Mastering by Jason Mitchell and pressed on 200gram vinyl. Steve Lillywhite was the original producer, with Hugh Padgham engineering.

The album features the singles ‘Generals And Majors,’ ‘Towers Of London’ and the top 20 hit ‘Sgt. Rock (Is Going To Help Me)’.

Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal likes this album so much he agreed to review it for SDE when the CD+blu-ray reissue was released in 2017.

You can pre-order this new vinyl from the SDE shop and as a special bonus all pre-orders will come with a FREE SDE-exclusive A4 ‘SleeveNotes’ sheet featuring Roland’s review of the album. This specially-designed item is the first in a planned series of similar SDE printed items under the ‘SleeveNotes’ banner.

This 200g artist-approved vinyl pressing of Black Sea is released on 13 September 2019 via APE.

Side A:

Respectable Street
Generals and Majors
Living Through Another Cuba
Love at First Sight
Rocket From a Bottle
No Language in Our Lungs

Side B:

Towers of London
Paper and Iron
Burning With Optimism’s Flames
Sgt. Rock (is Going to Help Me)
Travels in Nihilon

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If they didn’t reproduced the personalized green bag the UK version had, there is no interest for me to buy this reissue. I’ll stick to my japanese ‘paper sleeve’ CD which has everything faithfully reproduced, including the green bag.


I’ve owned the original its day of release – green sleeve and all. Now, I’m somehow curious about the sound of the 2019 release. Black Sea is one of the great albums of all time and Towers of London one of the greatest tracks ever. How do you improve on that? Have to order and find out:)

adam shaw

One of my favorite albums , and I have vinyl 7”s from it , plus cd issues .
But after Andys vile racist comments on Twitter (which he closed down immediately after he posted them ) I will never contribute another penny to this man . He should be treated the same as Gary Glitter n others like him IMO .

Chris Squires

Adam, don’t be ridiculous.

adam shaw

To Chris .
Ridiculous ? Really !
I hope you read what was written by him before making your comment.
If you think antisemitisim is ok for someone of Andys standing to spout out about without offending people , it obviously doesn’t affect you .
I personally find it disgusting and it’s on par with other vile things in this world . I’m not asking for pop/rock stars to be squeaky clean but that is to far .

Chalky Hills

That’s the problem with the Twitter police. They take a comment, twist it for their own purposes and blow out of all proportions.
It’s a pity for music and XTC fans as you got to hear the latest news with the reissues.

adam shaw

I’m not the Twitter police , and his coments were not taken out of context and twisted .


Yes they bloody were.


Is this album cut from the 2017 Steve Wilson mix?

DJ Salinger

For anyone craving ‘new’ XTC-related product, the next month is looking good.

TC&I: Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers release their (live from Swindon!) LP ‘Naked Flames’ on 16 Aug. The collaboration was disappointingly short-lived but this album’s a chance to hear them play new material and XTC tunes never given a live airing.

And… Andy Partridge releases an EP with Robyn Hitchcock called ‘Planet England’ on 6 Sep – our first opportunity to hear the results of their collaboration. I hope there’ll be a full album to follow at some point, it’s a dream team.

Get thee to Burning Shed and do what needs to be done.

Julian Hancock

Yes, it’s interesting that ( I think ) Greg Lake said that 140g was fine about the time ELP did their last reissue campaign. I am also fairly sure he suggested that they had done some comparisons before coming to this conclusion.


Good news but I was looking forward to Nonsuch on vinyl. Oh well, maybe next year.

David Mcintyre

A band whom I have adored since I was a child, around SWO. Still underrated by too many people but probably one of the 10greatest bands of the modern era. This album merely reaffirms how bloody brilliant they were.
Further, anyone who hasn’t heard wing beat fantastic with the wonderful Mike Keneally should really get a HD of that.

Tim South

Isn’t there a “Big Express” 1984 release due ? I thought that was the next cd/bluray in the series……


Where is the next Steven Wilson remaster? The series has been most excellent.

Tony Tedeschi

XTC…. With out a doubt! My favorite band of all time. I spoke with Hugh in the past and I compared English settlement too SG Peppers. Great songwriting on every album.


I did XTC when I was young wild and free living in Houston Texas and it was legal ! I never even heard of that band until I went to Amsterdam unbelievable I got hooked ! MAKING PLANS FOR NIGEL .
But I had my own plans…

Steven Roberts

Interesting…but I’d be more interested to hear of the next re-issue in the ‘occasional’ series of CD/blu-ray expansions from Mr Partridge and Co.

Feels like that campaign has died on its arse somewhat.

Jeff G.

Apple Venus vol. 1 should be next. Part of the issue I think is that they’re running out albums where the master tapes are available for S Wilson to do his thing. After the two Apple Venuses that may be it.

Marshall Gooch

If they had the multitrack masters for Drums & Wires (1979) then it’s pretty likely they still have them for Mummer (1983), The Big Express (1984) and the Dukes of Stratosphear releases (1985 & 1987). I’d love to see all of those turned into deluxe reissues with Wilson’s surround mixes et al. I don’t know how satisfying White Music and Go 2 would be, but I’d still get those as well. HUGE XTC fan so yes, it’s gonna be a great few months with Black Sea vinyl, the TC&I live release and the Partridge/Hitchcock EP.

Jeff G.

I don’t think it has anything to do with age or how long ago the records were recorded. From what I’ve heard on multiple occasions, the masters for English Settlement and Mummer have been somehow lost in Virgin’s archives. I don’t know if that’s the case for the Big Express or not.

Tim South

MG , fine message/post. As I have posted on this site , I am certain that “Big Express” is the next cd/blueray release in the XTC reissue series. There have been messages stating lack of original master tapes and the like , but why would a series of this importance be undertaken with the knowledge that it can not be completed ???

Richard Higgins

Issues with locating the masters sadly… Certainly for English Settlement

Alan Reber

XTC is the most underrated band of the 80’s. They sort of broke the mold , despite their Beatlesque influence amongst others. They’re one of the all time greats !


Anyone who hasn’t heard this album really should give it a listen. ‘Black Sea’ and ‘English Settlement’ are my two all-time favourite XTC albums, but it was ‘Black Sea’ that really hooked me on to the band in late ’80. Around the time of ‘Mummer’ in late ’82 they released the two-for-one best of (‘Waxworks/Beeswax’), and that got me caught up on the pre- ‘Drums and Wires’ stuff I’d only heard randomly on FM stations. From that point on I picked up everything they did on release. A truly superb band. I’ll second the question about the ‘green bag’, though I kept one from my original ’80s copy. (For some reason I used to keep inserts and posters from LPs before I sold them to used vinyl places – usually for a pittance – and I have a box of these going back to about ’68.)

Anthony Tedeschi

I agree.. my favorite band of all time.


Hi Robert –
Your post sounds pretty similar to me. A friend from school (Hi Simon) played me “Living Through Another Cuba” because we were both getting into dub mixes (we loved The Human League extended mixes from around around that time as they featured lots of dub-style effects). I listened to the rest of the album and loved it.

Then English Settlement came out and I was hooked.
English Settlement is possibly my all-time favourite album by any band – a double album that is absolutely flawless in melodies, lyrics, arrangements and also production (it sounds fabulous).

I will forever be gutted that Virgin lost the master tapes…

As for the XTC reissue campaign, Andy Partridge was on Twitter a while back saying the next one was being worked on, so I presume it will be due soon.
No idea what it is likely to be (but not English Settlement unfortunately).


It’s a shame about the lost masters for English Settlement. Such was occasionally the fate of master tapes in the analog era. These days of course most things are recorded and mixed digitally, which guarantees ready access to countless ‘back up’ copies that are identical to and every bit as sterile and lifeless as the master! Progress…

Brian F

Trash, if you liked XTC & Human League Dub mixes, you should hear Pete Shelley’s 80’s dub mixes. They are just as good, produced my the late Martin Rushent as well (who also produced a 45 for XTC).

Anthony Tedeschi

Are we related, we have the same name and mindset. XTC…


Any likelihood of the blu ray extras from the CD reissue to be made available on CD or Vinyl ?

As you can guess I don’t have a blu ray player.

Stan Butler

I have all the reissues but still haven’t worked out how to transfer from Blu-ray to a format I can listen to on a portable device. I know a Blu-ray drive is the first step but after that?


Paul – thanks for the effort you put into this site. It’s damn excellent! One question – will this be cut using the brilliant 2017 Steven Wilson remix masters?

Daniel Wylie

It’s a brilliant album and XTC were an incredible band but 200g = absolutely pointless. 140g is fine. There’s no difference in sound quality.

Julian Hancock

Yes, it’s interesting that ( I think ) Greg Lake said that 140g was fine about the time ELP did their last reissue campaign. I am also fairly sure he suggested that they had done some comparisons before coming to this conclusion.


These heavyweight vinyl records are nothing but snake oil. If they’re mastered and pressed correctly a 120g record will sound just as good and possibly even better because it won’t play havoc with the VTA of the tonearm.

Mere marketing to get people to re-purchase something they probably already own and will believe sounds better because it cost them 6 times the price they originally paid for it when they bought it the first time. And it’s really heavy, innit, so it has to be better!


What is a VTA?

Mark H

Does this have a replica of the green bag the original came in?


No it doesn’t, I actually asked Burning Shed that question last week.

John Maurice Berry

Gee 200g Whiz! It’s an arms race! Seriously, excited about this one!


Love the ‘Sleevenotes’ idea. SDE keeps getting better and better. And the XTC reissue program goes from strength to strength.


Awesome, thanks for the info Paul! :)