Big Country are probably one of the most under-rated bands of all time. Most people remember them for their 1980's chart hits 'In A Big Country', 'Chance' or 'Fields of Fire', but to their loyal fans out there like myself, Big Country touched their lives, and they remain my favourite band to this day. If you liked even one of their songs, and never heard them live, have a listen to this album, you maybe surprised!
The band -
Stuart Adamson - guitar and vocals
Bruce Watson - guitar
Tony Butler - bass and backing vocals
Mark Brzezicki - drums
The band's frontman and main songwriter, the late Stuart Adamson (formerly of The Skids) left an empty void after his tragic suicide in 2001. Although the band have performed without him since then (and very well too!) there will always be something 'missing'. And this live album 'Come Up Screaming' just sums that up exactly.
Anyone who ever got to see Big Country live, will surely know what I mean when I say what a fantastic experience it was. Their fans always showed their great appreciation to the band, and it was an experience never to be forgotten.
They made some very good studio albums, but seeing them and hearing them live was the icing on the cake. I got to see the band on their very first headlining tour in 1983, and then another three times over the following years, including their very last tour with Stuart in 2000, which is where this live album was recorded.
The tracks on here were recorded at the Glasgow ( at the famous Barrowland) and London concerts on the tour. 22 tracks are included on this double CD, which kicks off with the rousing 'Harvest Home' which was their very first single back in 1982, and ends with what was probably their most popular live track 'Fields of Fire', which was the band's second single, released in 1983. The fans always used to go crazy when Big Country played this at their concerts!
I once read an interview with Stuart Adamson back in the band's early days, where he stated he would probably feel stupid playing 'Fields of Fire' by the time he was 30! In actual fact he was still playing it at 40! It was always the song the fans shouted for, and was often played as an encore, so only right that it should be the last track on the album.
The tracks on this album are :-
Harvest Home - the band's debut single from 'The Crossing' album and always a crowd-pleaser.
King of Emotion - from the 'Peace In Our Time' album released in 1988.
Driving To Damascus - the title track from the band's last studio album.
John Wayne's Dream - from another version of the band's last album, which had some different tracks, and titled 'John Wayne's Dream'.
The Storm - from 'The Crossing' album and with it's hauntingly beautiful intro, this is one of my favourite Big Country tracks.
Where The Rose Is Sown - from the band's second album, Steeltown, a song about the war and honouring then men who fought. Some of the poignant lyrics of this track 'Sons of men who stand like Gods, we give life to feed the cause, and run to ground our heathen foe, our name will never die, this time will be forever'. 'If I die and still come home, lay me where the rose was sown'.
Come Back To Me - again from 'Steeltown' another song with poignant lyrics, wrote from the perspective of a woman, and Stuart often joked that he should have an on-stage sex change to perform this. He often performed this acoustically.
Somebody Else, Dive Into Me and The president Slipped And Fell - 3 tracks all taken from 'Driving to Damascus' , where some tracks were co-written with Ray Davies of The Kinks.
Look Away - another of the band's top 20 singles, and another crowd pleaser.
You Dreamer -one of the single's from 'Why The Long Face' album
Your Spirit To Me - another of my favourites , a slow track from 'Driving To Damascus' made even more poignant by the fact this was to be one of Stuart's last songs, before his untimely death.
13 Valleys - my favourite track from 'Peace In Our Time' which again shows what a great lyricist Stuart Adamson was.
Wonderland - another top 20 hit from 1984, this wasn't featured on a studio album, and is another of the fan's favourites to hear live.
We're Not In Kansas - from the No Place Like Home album, complete with Wizard of Oz references!
Lost Patrol, Inwards, Porrohman, In A Big Country and Fields of Fire - all from 'The Crossing' album ,with the fans giving their full appreciation to these rousing tracks. Hearing Lost Patrol and Porrohman live again brings back some great memories for me from Newcastle City Hall, where I had gigantic bruises for weeks! Aah those were the days!
And finally there's 'Chance' which was also from 'The Crossing' and reached the top 10 in 1983. The band's first slower track with its memorable catchy tune. This is the track where Stuart would always stop singing on the chorus and let the crowd sing.
And that's it! 22 tracks and 22 memories of my favourite band live. A testimony to a great and perhaps underated band, who never received the acclaim they deserved by the music press.
Some of my other favourite tracks aren't here, but that would take a few cd's to fill! I also have the excellent ' Without The Aid Of A Safety Net' which is another live album by the band, but knowing this was their last tour, is a reason for it to have a special place in my heart. If only Stuart had followed his own lyrics 'Stay Alive'....
Thanks for the memories!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Harvest Home
2 King Of Emotion
3 Driving To Damascus
4 John Waynes Dream
6 Where The Rose Is Sown
7 Come Back To Me
8 Somebody Else
9 Look Away
10 You Dreamer
11 Your Spirit To Me
12 President Slipped And Fell
13 Drive In To Me
14 Lost Patrol
15 13 Valleys Inwards
17 We're Not In Kansas
18 Porrah Man
20 In A Big Country
21 Fields Of Fire