Side 2, Track 14:

Total Run Time: 57:00 minutes

Big_Country_Fields_of_Fire (1)


Big Country: Fields Of Fire: 3 Minutes 31 Seconds: 1983


Having discovered today that I still have a vinyl copy of ‘The Crossing, this seems like a fine choice for this mix tape, which is almost finished. Just one 3 minute song and volume 1 is done.

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What’s In The Bag? (98)

Big_Country_-_The_Crossing.jpgI spent a good half an hour on ebay looking for a reasonably priced copy of ‘The Crossing’ by Big Country before giving up, then, today, I was flicking through my albums looking for something else and there it was, and now I’m listening to it and it’s great. Saved myself at least £10 there and the feeling of foolishness I would have experienced when I found the one I already had.

I mentioned before that I saw Big Country in 1983 at Reading Festival and probably didn’t appreciate them quite as much as I should have, but I did enjoy it. The problem was, I suppose, that they were on right before headliners ‘The Stranglers’ and I was really looking forward to that (although I confess to forgetting until recently who the hell I did see at Reading that year, the whole thing is still a bit of a blur).

I managed to find the set list for that gig:

AUG 26 1983 Big Country Setlist
at Little John’s Farm, Reading, England

Harvest Home
1000 Stars
Close Action
The Storm
In a Big Country
Angle Park
Fields of Fire
The Tracks of My Tears

I have an extremely fuzzy memory of the last track, a cover, being an encore, after they brought the house down with Fields of Fire, although I could, quite possibly, have just made that up.

The album is as good as I remember it, and I haven’t listened to it for at least 20 years. It made Number 3 in the UK charts when released, which is pretty damn good for a debut. You can hear The Skids in it (Stuart Adamson was formerly a member) but there’s a particular ‘Scottishness’ about it. This was augmented by this vibraty thing that he often used on the guitar, I can’t for the life of me remember what this piece of equipment was called though.

Sadly, back in 2001, Stuart Adamson died in Honanlulu having gone missing either during or just after their farewell tour.

If you have never listened to this album, or haven’t for a while, give it another spin:

Below is a documentary – The Story of Big Country, and below that is a full gig from Reading Hexagon in 1986.


What’s in the bag? (97)


I only own one Motorhead album, and that’s it up there. I’ve always liked them though as they bridged a gap between Rock and Punk when I was listening to both. I did have ‘Bomber’ and ‘No Sleep ’till Hammersmith’ at one point but I’ve no idea what the hell happened to them, lost over the years I guess.

I can’t profess to playing this album very often but with the recent passing of Lemmy I pulled it out again and it brought back some memories, I was only 13 in 1980 when it was released and a bubbling mass of testosterone and teen angst, it was perfect for that!

Side A
No. Title Length
1. “Ace of Spades” 2:49
2. “Love Me Like a Reptile” 3:23
3. “Shoot You in the Back” 2:39
4. “Live to Win” 3:37
5. “Fast and Loose” 3:23
6. “(We Are) The Road Crew” 3:13
Side B
No. Title Length
7. “Fire, Fire” 2:44
8. “Jailbait” 3:33
9. “Dance” 2:38
10. “Bite the Bullet” 1:38
11. “The Chase Is Better Than the Catch” 4:18
12. “The Hammer” 2:48

There’s a good ‘Classic Albums’ documentary about this album so rather than me bleat on about it, I recommend watching the video below, and the album is further below from Spotify:


What’s In The Bag? (96)

Having received some vouchers for Christmas I headed off to the boxing day sale yesterday where everything except vinyl was on offer, which was a shame, but I had vouchers so anything I decided to get was essentially free anyway. I bought 6 albums, and this is the first of that 6, ‘White Chalk’ by P J Harvey.

To be honest I am extremely confused by what I have bought, it’s a full length album that doesn’t appear to play at 33 RPM but at 45, which resulted in my listening to side 1 at too slow a speed, by god it was dark, but actually really rather good. I did realise it was wrong about halfway through but decided to persevere anyway as it was so chilling. The vinyl quality isn’t great, quite crackly when it shouldn’t be at all as it is brand new, although this may be because it was at the wrong speed so it was more prominent.

The cover photography is just lovely, so Victorian, so moody, it’s beautifully done by Maria Mochnacz

This imagery is perfectly suited for the tone of this album, it is without heavy guitar and more piano based, an instrument that Harvey did not play very much before and learned during the recording of this atmospheric album that harks back to an older time. 

She also sings in a higher key that usual, which works really well on tracks which, I must say, are growers. These songs are not the sort to grab you by the throat and force you to like them, they are often gentle, mostly dark but really well crafted. 

Below are performances of the 3 singles from the album, When Under Ether, The Piano and The Devil:


Today is the day the Beatles finally made it big

CW58wwhW8AAhdG3Streaming Music sites now have The Beatles back catalogue, 13 Studio albums and 4 compilations, on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime and Google Play, and it makes me a little sad. I’ve mentioned before that I am an incompleteist when it comes to record collecting, I don’t need everything ever, just enough so I’ve got most of it. At one point I had everything by the Cocteau Twins except one 12” single, which I never bought even though it was in the record shop and I could have, I just didn’t want to own everything, because then there is nothing left to get. So I rather liked the fact that there were things missing from the streaming music sites, the biggest of which is probably The Beatles (I don’t have much interest in Taylor Swift or Adele but enjoy my inability to not be able to access them and listen).

I wonder how far we are from music only being released on streaming sites, no physical product at all, not even an MP3, just access for a flat fee to everything that has ever been recorded and everything that ever will be. We will no longer ‘Own’ music but rent it on a play by play basis. It once was Vinyl vs Cassette, vs CD, vs MP3, but selecting from everything, at any time from a device that is always in your pocket, well, how can it fail? There are kids growing up now who will know nothing but streaming and will not hark back to ‘The good old days’, what does that spell for the creation of physical product, its death knell perhaps? And what is going to be the big rival to streaming? Something we don’t even have to interact with, that analyzes our moods and plays whatever it computes bests suits that moment, maybe even composing music specifically for that mood at that moment, making the pop stars of tomorrow creators of algorithms, after all, music can be broken down by math.

Until then, and after then, I shall spend the occasional Sunday afternoon with my Beatles vinyl reminiscing about those good old days, even though I was only three when they broke up.


Side 2, Track 13:

Total Run Time: 53:38


Martha & The Muffins: Echo Beach: 3 Minutes 38 Seconds: 1980

Loved this when it was released and still love it now. It is probably the only track of theirs that most people know, but the album it’s taken from is pretty good, and they’ve made a few albums since.

Wiki: Echo Beach, as mentioned in the song, does not refer to a real beach but is rather a symbolic notion of somewhere the narrator would rather be, somewhere ‘far away in time’. In reality, the song was created while Gane was working checking wallpaper for printing faults. He found the work rather dull and his mind drifted to times he would like to live over again. One such time was an evening spent at Sunnyside Beach on the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto in summer. In 1977, Echo Beach was a reference made to a faded time and place gone in the lyrics of the song “Hiroshima Mon Amour” by the band Ultravox.

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