It was the name of a store in a country town in England: Everything but the Girl.

"They sold furniture and household items," says musician Ben Watt. "They could sell you everything but the girl. We thought it was tacky and obscure, and it was fashionable at that time {the early '80s} to choose reasonably obscure and disposable names."

So, Watt and his musical companion Tracey Thorn, two English independent label artists who thought they would only make one -- maybe two -- albums together, became Everything but the Girl.

Six years and six albums later, they're still making hip, swinging music together, and for their current album, "The Language of Life" (Atlantic), they sought out such legendary talents as drummer Omar Hakim and saxophonist Stan Getz to polish the sound.

"It was a ridiculous occurrence how we got Stan Getz," recalls Watt. "We were in a restaurant in L.A. with our producer {Tommy LiPuma}, and he said, 'Who would you like to solo on this?' And I said, 'Someone like Stan Getz.' I'd loved his records since I was a kid. And Tommy said, 'Why don't you try to get him?' "

Watt knew that Getz had recently moved from New York to Malibu, so he sent the saxophonist a cassette with a half-finished song on it. Getz called a few days later and said he wanted to do the solo.

"He came to the studio and within 45 minutes the song was done and he was gone," says Watt, still with amazement. "It was hard to believe he had been there."

Watt, 27, whose father was a jazz musician, writes most of the duo's score. However, he finds inspiration in all types of music, from Joni Mitchell to Prince.

Thorn, also 27, whose influences are film and contemporary music, writes lyrics that read like pleading letters to scoundrels and lovers. But her luscious voice softens the harsh words, and combined with Ben's upbeat melodies, the sound becomes a happy, jazzy pop.

Everything but the Girl is performing at Georgetown University's Gaston Hall on Thursday night at 8. Tickets are $19.50. For information, call 638-2008.