Big Country are a Scottish rock band formed in Dunfermline, Fife, in 1981.
The height of the band’s popularity was in the early to mid 1980s, although it retained a cult following for many years after. The band’s music incorporated Scottish folk and martial music styles, and the band engineered their guitar-driven sound to evoke the sound of bagpipes, fiddles and other traditional folk instruments.
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Big Country comprised Stuart Adamson (formerly of Skids, vocals/guitar/keyboards), Bruce Watson (guitar/mandolin/sitar/vocals), Tony Butler (bass guitar/vocals) and Mark Brzezicki (drums/percussion/vocals). Before the recruitment of Butler and Brzezicki an early incarnation of Big Country was a five-piece band, featuring Peter Wishart (later of Runrig and now a Scottish National Party MP) on keyboards, his brother Alan on bass, and Clive Parker, drummer from Spizz Energi/Athletico Spizz ’80. Parker had approached Adamson to join his new band after the demise of Skids.
Adamson auditioned Parker (1980) at The Members’ rehearsal room in Ladbroke Grove, London and the next day was called on to play drums on demos for CBS Records at their Whitfield Street studios. The demos were produced by Adam Sieff and just featured Adamson, Parker and Watson. Adamson had asked bassist Dave Allen from Gang of Four to join the band but he declined. Adamson asked Parker to join the band, which led to eight months of rehearsal in Dunfermline in a disused furniture warehouse.
The culmination was a concert at the Glen Pavilion at Dunfermline and an interview with BBC Radio Scotland where the CBS Studio demos were utilised. The band then played live with Alice Cooper’s Special Forces tour for two concerts in 1982 at The Brighton Centre.
Butler and Brzezicki, working under the name ‘Rhythm for Hire,’ were brought in to play on “Harvest Home.” They immediately hit it off with Adamson and Watson, who invited them to join the band.
Big Country’s first single was “Harvest Home”, recorded and released in 1982. It was a modest success, although it did not reach the official UK Singles Chart. Their next single was 1983’s “Fields Of Fire (400 Miles)”, which reached the UK’s Top Ten and was rapidly followed by the album The Crossing. The album was a hit in the United States (reaching the Top 20 in the Billboard 200), powered by “In a Big Country”, their only US Top 40 hit single. The song featured heavily engineered guitar playing, strongly reminiscent of bagpipes; Adamson and fellow guitarist, Watson, achieved this through the use of the MXR Pitch Transposer 129 Guitar Effect. Also contributing to the band’s unique sound was their use of the e-bow, a device which allows a guitar to sound more like strings or synthesizer. The Crossing sold over a million copies in the UK and obtained gold record status (sales of over 500,000) in the US. The band performed at the Grammy Awards and on Saturday Night Live.
Big Country released the non-LP extended play single “Wonderland” in 1984 while in the middle of a lengthy worldwide tour. The song, considered by some critics to be one of their finest, was a Top Ten hit (No. 8) in the UK Singles Chart but, despite heavy airplay and a positive critical response, was a comparative flop in the US, reaching only No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the last single by the band to make the US charts. (by wikipedia)
And here´s is of their many “Special Edition” singles from the Eighties:
“Wonderland” and “Giant (one of their rare Insrumentals; it was the instrumental version of “All Fall Together”) … not released on their second album “Steel Town” and “Lost Patrol” recoded live at their legendary New Year´s Eve Concert at Barrowland, Glosgow 1993/1994.
So, here´s another cance to discover “Big Country”, one of the finest bands from the Eighties … Listen and enjoy !
Stuart Adamson (guitar, vocals)
Mark Brzezicki (drums)
Tony Butler (bass)
Bruce Watson (guitar)
01. Wonderland 3.51
02. Giant 5.12
03. Lost Patrol (live) Part 1) 2.27
04. Lost Patrol (live) Part 2) 2.26
All songs written by Stuart Adamson – Mark Brzezicki – Tony Butler – Bruce Watson
Adamson returned for the band’s ‘Final Fling’ farewell tour, culminating in a sold-out concert at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom on 31 May 2000. They played what turned out to be their last gig in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October that year.
In November 2001, Adamson disappeared again. Numerous appeals were put on the Big Country website asking for Adamson to call home and speak to anyone in the band, the management company, or his ex-wife. The website also requested that any fans who might have been ‘harbouring’ the singer to contact the management company and alert them to his whereabouts. Mark Brzezicki and Tony Butler had indicated they were concerned but the reason Big Country had lasted so long was they stayed out of one another’s personal lives, and both later noted they were unaware of the extent of Adamson’s problems. He was found dead in a room at the Best Western Plaza Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii on 16 December 2001. (by wikipedia)
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