Monday, 4 June 2018

Big Country - The Crossing (1983)


Released July 1983

Recorded at The Manor, Oxfordshire


1. In A Big Country
2. Inwards
3. Chance
4. A Thousand Stars
5. The Storm
6. Harvest Home
7. Lost Patrol
8. Close Action
9. Fields Of Fire
10. Porrohman

It always puzzled me why Big Country have often got such a bad press. When discussing music, if you say you like Tom Waits, Neil Young or The Smiths, people will nod sagely in agreement with your great taste. If you say you like Big Country they either laugh or shake their heads. Quite why, I just don't know - a) this is a great debut album; b) their first four/five albums were all both competent and credible; c) they were superb live; d) their sound was unique; e) Stuart Adamson is much missed and was a much underrated songwriter and indeed singer/guitarist.

As I said, this is one of the great debut albums. Released in 1982 it contained a sound unlike anything anyone had ever heard. Yes, the band were Scottish, but the guitar sound really did sound like bagpipes. 

The two singles, "Fields Of Fire" and "In A Big Country" hit you between the eyes and ears like a chill wind from the North. The album is full of Jacobean imagery (aided by the inner sleeve drawings) and the skirl of rabble rousing calls to arms. Just listen to the opening riff of "Harvest Home" or the energy of some of the lesser-known rockers - "Inwards", "Close Action" and "Lost Patrol". Or the Celtic soul on the heartbreaking lament and in concert crowd favourite "Chance". Then there is the mighty closer, "Porrohman" which sounds great on this remaster. Some stonking guitar. Watching them perform this live was an experience.

A Caledonian masterpiece. 


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