Learn to Talk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Learn to Talk
SkeletonCrew AlbumCover LearnTalk.jpg
Studio album by
Released1984 (1984)
RecordedDecember 1983 to January 1984
StudioKirchberg, Switzerland
LabelRift (US)
ProducerRobert Vogel, Skeleton Crew
Skeleton Crew chronology
Learn to Talk
The Country of Blinds
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauB+[2]

Learn to Talk is a studio album by United States experimental rock band Skeleton Crew, recorded at Sunrise Studio, Kirchberg, Switzerland, between Christmas and New Year 1983/1984. It was their debut album and was released in 1984.

The album was recorded when Skeleton Crew was the duo of Fred Frith and Tom Cora. The band was best known for their improvised live performances, during which they played various instruments simultaneously. While the recordings are not live (except for two tracks), they do to a large extent convey the dynamics of the live act. The music is both sparse and raw, consisting of songs interspaced with cello, guitar and violin instrumental fragments. Tape cut-ups also feature throughout the album, including a Ronald Reagan speech, Sousa's "Washington Post" and TV ad clips.

The songs were composed or arranged by Frith and Cora, except for "The Way Things Fall (Back Apart)" which included lyrics by Rebby Sharp, who Frith had worked with in Orthotonics.

Track listing[edit]

Side Free
1."Que Viva"Cora, Frith3:40
2."Onwards and Upwards"Cora, Frith3:39
3."The Way Things Fall (Back Apart)"Cora, Frith, Sharp2:35
4."Not My Shoes"Cora, Frith2:14
5."The Washington Post"Sousa, arr. Skeleton Crew1:28
6."We're Still Free"Cora, Frith4:16
7."Victoryville"Cora, Frith2:43
Side Dirt
8."Los Colitos"trad. Ecuador, Cora, Frith2:53
9."Life at the Top"Frith1:44
10."Learn to Talk"Cora, Frith3:40
11."Factory Song"Cora, Frith5:13
12."It's Fine"Cora, Frith4:22
13."Zach's Flag"Cora3:10

Track notes[edit]


  • Tom Cora – cello, bass guitar, casio, drums, home-made drums and contraptions, singing
  • Fred Frith – guitar, six-string bass, violin, casio, home-made bass, piano, drums, singing


  • Röbl, Lu and Katrin – voices on "Los Colitos"

Sound and art work[edit]

CD reissues[edit]

In 1990 RecRec Music re-issued Learn to Talk together with Skeleton Crew's next album The Country of Blinds on a single compilation CD, Learn to Talk / Country of Blinds, omitting "Los Colitos" and "Life At The Top" from Learn to Talk, and "Money Crack" from The Country of Blinds.

In 2005 Fred Records re-issued Learn to Talk / Country of Blinds on a double compilation CD, omitting only "Money Crack" from The Country of Blinds, and adding ten extra tracks.


  1. ^ Mills, Ted. "Learn to Talk". AllMusic. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Skeleton Crew". Robert Christgau. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  3. ^ "1st Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville". International Festival Musique Actuelle Victoriaville. Retrieved March 9, 2012.

External links[edit]