17 Songs, 1 Hour, 17 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Too often reduced to that band “that had guitars that sounded like bagpipes,” Scotland’s Big Country show that there was a lot more to their music than their hit 1983 anthem “In a Big Country.” A deeper listen reveals a rock band (and main songwriter/guitarist Stuart Adamson) whose anthemic aggression and galloping guitars often outshone their melancholic lyrical nods to everything from their homeland to strength in family. They were clever in their politics (“Peace in Our Time,” “Republican Party Reptile”), in their love of life (“Harvest Home,” “Fields of Fire”), and even in their vulnerability (“King of Emotion,” “Just a Shadow”). And every song is truly catchy.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Too often reduced to that band “that had guitars that sounded like bagpipes,” Scotland’s Big Country show that there was a lot more to their music than their hit 1983 anthem “In a Big Country.” A deeper listen reveals a rock band (and main songwriter/guitarist Stuart Adamson) whose anthemic aggression and galloping guitars often outshone their melancholic lyrical nods to everything from their homeland to strength in family. They were clever in their politics (“Peace in Our Time,” “Republican Party Reptile”), in their love of life (“Harvest Home,” “Fields of Fire”), and even in their vulnerability (“King of Emotion,” “Just a Shadow”). And every song is truly catchy.

TITLE TIME
4:23
3:33
3:54
4:41
3:56
4:30
4:59
5:41
4:26
4:06
4:03
4:51
5:11
4:36
5:28
4:42
4:07

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5

42 Ratings

42 Ratings

Some of the greatest music of any era...timeless.

Acidbyrd

Big Country were one of the great bands to come out of the 80's, and one of the few to continue to make exciting music right up to the end; their last new studio album being 1999's Driving to Damascus. Though they only had 1 big hit here in the USA (you all know what it was), they had 17 top 30 singles and seven top 30 albums worldwide...America just never caught on. As evidenced by the songs, which are filled with passion, insight, great riffs and social conscience, the late great Stuart Adamson was a tremendous songwriter, and the whole band shines with superb musicianship. This disc is full of great moments, though some of their best songs as well as tracks from the "Buffalo Skinners" album and the live "Without The Aid of a Safety Net" are not represented. Try this band...you won't be disappointed!

Good summary record

Deeter

In this case the AMG review is correct. Big Country really were genius innovators at the beginning. Uncommonly good musicianship mixed with unorthodox sounds like guitars posing as bagpipes, huge yet atmospheric drums and lead bass (thanks in part to the always amazing Steve Lillywhite production) and truly moving songwriting made their first couple of records pack quite a whollup. Unfortunately, as their carreer progressed, Big Country seemed to become obessed with American blues music. Their style, substance and credibility suffered as a result. The first seven songs are really the ones worth downloading.

These guys were more than just bagpipe sound effects...

Blackelsluck

The song "Just A Shadow' is my favorite Big Country song. I also loved the album "Steeltown', which is not on iTunes.

As I recall, Big Country got exposure in Los Angeles and Orange County, until a magazine interview revealed that a Stuart Adamson relative (Grandfather) had been involved with the Communist Party in the UK. Remember that this was the 1980's Reagan era America.

I had found 12" singles of "Just A Shadow", "East Of Eden", "Fields Of Fire", "Harvest Home" and "Where The Rose Is Sown" available in the local record stores in Orange County; but these dried up after the Magazine interview revealed the "Commy" connection. Remember the era before the walls came down in Berlin and Eastern Europe.

About Big Country

With their ringing, bagpipe-like guitars and the anthemic songs of frontman Stuart Adamson, Scotland's Big Country emerged as one of the most distinctive and promising new rock bands of the early '80s, scoring a major hit with their debut album, The Crossing; though the group's critical and commercial fortunes dimmed in the years to follow, they nevertheless outlasted virtually all of their contemporaries, releasing new material into the next century. The England-born Adamson formed Big Country in mid-1981 following his exit from the Scottish punk quartet the Skids, enlisting childhood friend Bruce Watson on second guitar; Clive Parker and brothers Pete and Alan Wishart completed the original lineup, but were soon replaced by bassist Tony Butler and drummer Mark Brzezicki. Signing to Polygram's Mercury imprint, the band issued its debut single, "Harvest Home," in the fall of 1982; a series of opening dates on the Jam's farewell tour increased Big Country's visibility exponentially, and the follow-up, "Fields of Fire," cracked the U.K. Top Ten.

The Crossing appeared in 1983, its passionate, idealistic approach and Celtic-inspired arrangements far removed from the prevailing new wave mentality of the moment; the album not only went platinum at home but went gold in America as well, its success spurred by the Top 20 pop hit "In a Big Country." Critics raved, and in early 1984 Big Country returned to the British Top Ten with the single "Wonderland." Their second album, Steeltown, entered the charts at number one, but despite good reviews there were already rumblings that all of the band's material sounded much the same; charges against 1986's The Seer did little to rectify (although the single "Look Away" was their biggest hit yet). A tour of the Soviet Union accompanied the 1988 release of Peace in Our Time, but the following year Brzezicki resigned from duty, with drummer Pat Ahern enlisted for the single "Save Me." Chris Bell replaced Ahern upon completing 1991's No Place Like Home, the first of the band's albums not to receive an American release.

After parting ways with Polygram, Big Country signed with the Compulsion label for 1993's The Buffalo Skinners, recorded with yet another new drummer, Simon Phillips; the record launched a pair of British Top 30 hits, "Alone" and "Ships." Brzezicki rejoined the lineup in time for Without the Aid of a Safety Net, a live LP recorded in Glasgow at year's end. Why the Long Face followed in 1995, and after recording the acoustic effort Eclectic, Adamson relocated to Nashville in 1997, prompting Big Country to go on extended hiatus. The group's first new studio effort in four years, Driving to Damascus, appeared in 1999; the single "Somebody Else" was co-written by Adamson and the Kinks' Ray Davies. Adamson had problems with alcohol that contributed to his brief disappearance in November 1999 and announced his intentions to retire from touring in the spring of 2000, concurrent with the release of the limited edition Nashville Album. Later that fall, Come Up Screaming was issued on SPV. On December 16, 2001 Adamson was found dead in a hotel room in Hawaii. He had been missing for several weeks from his Nashville, Tennessee home. ~ Jason Ankeny

  • ORIGIN
    Dunfermline, Scotland
  • GENRE
    Rock
  • FORMED
    1981

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Bought