I 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
In a Big Country
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.