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Monday 24 June 2024

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Driving To Damascus – Big Country.

May 26, 2023

Big Country’s eighth and final studio album arrives as a 4CD, deluxe edition including live-in-the-studio ‘Nashville Sessions’, single versions, alternate mixes from the US release ‘John Wayne’s Dream’ and two discs of demos. A star -studded line up of the usual suspects Adamson, Watson, Butler, Brzezicki, and Ray Davies (co-writer of ‘Somebody Else’ and ‘Devil In The Eye’) as well as Eddi Reader (guest vocalist on ‘Fragile Thing’) contribute to an arena rock record with roots and all the bells and whistles.

A new wave stalwart of the early 80’s – with Adamson coming from a punk background – the early records mixed Scottish character, remember those bagpipe guitars, power-pop with punk-ish hooks and made them a formidable Celtic live outfit. The shift into classic rockers was inevitable though, and this final record has retrospectively been seen in a sorrowful light given the tragic demise of Adamson.

These alternative mixes and extra content suits the devoted fan base, of which Big Country have plenty. The demos show a slightly raw edge, similar to that of earlier releases, reminiscent of Adamson’s Skids background, and the ‘Nashville Sessions’ along with ‘John Wayne’s Dream’ give a glimpse of the Americana sound that they’d shifted towards.

Will Madden.

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