Big Country Info Big Country Info



(jump to: Notes by Tony Butler | Credits)

What do you do when you are a group that has created one of the truly distinctive sounds in rock and been at the top of your profession for eight years? For Big Country the answer is to take the romantic character and unshakeable integrity that lies at the core of your work, and move on.

For too long the emotionally charged essence of Big Country's music has been obscured by lazy and cliched talk of bagpipe guitars and checked-shirt rock. the application of an American mainstream production gloss to their last album, "Peace In Our Time", was a move which singer and guitarist Stuart Adamson now accepts as being "at a tangent to the plot". The accompanying pilgrimage to Moscow, in the peace-making spirit of glasnost and the unforgiving glare of the Western Media, was both exhilarating and exhausting.

In the wake of that momentous adventure a new Big Country has emerged. In July 1989 drummer Mark Brzezicki departed for the shadowy pastures of the session world. The remaining three members of Big Country - Stuart Adamson, Tony Butler (bass, backing vocals) and Bruce Watson (guitar) - closed ranks and, inevitably revised working practices.

With Brezezicki now in the role of session drummer on "No Place Like Home" the intricate mosaic of syncopations and galloping tom tom tattoos that was such a recognisable feature of the old Big Country sound has gone. In its place a more conventional set of rhythmic patters is sketched with new vigour from a palette of bold primary colours.

The howling slide guitar which graces the opening bars of "Republican Party Reptile" - more dustbowl blues than highland fling - sets the tone for a collection that quarries deep into the rock face and taps into the traditions of country, folk and southern blues with an authority that transcends the dictates of either formula or fashion.

"I grew up playing R' n 'B music", Adamson says, recalling the days before the Skids when he was a 15 year old apprentice in Dunfermline based covers group Tattoo. "So it's still completely natural for me to play it now".

Big Country has used mandolins and acoustic guitars before, but the banjo and honky tonk piano which contributes to the mellow celtic-country swing of "Beautiful People" is undoubtably a first.

With its crisp, open-ended production, "No Place Like Home" is an album of bountiful extremes, encompassing the simple voice-and-piano ballad of "Ships", the belting instrumental coda of "Into The Fire" and the mounting paranoia of the Middle Eastern scnario of "The Hostage Speaks", with its grainy, dessert-baked rift and neurotic wah wah embellishments.

"We're trying to do traditional things in a contemporary style", is how Adamson sums the album up. "It's a new chapter, but for me it's always been about writing songs that make a difference in people's lives, songs that connect with people. There's no master plan. this is what we do now".

-David Sinclair July 1991


(jump to: Liner Notes | Credits)

“When I first became aware of the Melody Maker review for this album, I remember feeling deeply hurt by it,but I now kind of understand why. This is an album of high quality songs (in places) mis-represented through the recording and production.

I fully realise why we re-recorded We're Not In Kansas for the Buffalo Skinners, this version is lame.

Republican Party Reptile is a fantastic song that should have sounded bigger and bolder.

Dynamite Lady is a song I always loved. It was another example of the band being imaginative and trying new things, pushing back the boundary. Conceptually a great story/lyric.

I didn't get off on Keep On Dreaming, this track suffered from a malaise inherent throughout the album, guitars sounding thin and not prominent enough in the mix, coming think about it Stuarts vocals are generally pretty low in most songs.

Beautiful People is a great tune and superb lyric but for me the mix lets it down.

The Hostage Speaks. This is so frustrating, this piece should be massive and atmospheric, the lyrics cry out for a panoramic soundscape.

Beat The Devil, this track doesn't sound to bad, at least the guitars are loud. I like Stuarts vocal here as well.

Leap Of Faith is one of my favourite songs on this album but it just doesn't kick arse.
You, Me and the Truth is a pretty song but not very BC. Maybe one that could have gone on a SA solo album.

Comes A Time surprised me. It sounds like the band trying to be a band, but should have sounded louder and rawer.

This version of Ships in simply beautiful.

Into The Fire.......I wish Steve Lilywhite had produced this track.

As a re-visit, I am slightly miffed at how thin and weak sounding some of this album is, but whilst listening to it, it reminded me of the god awful atmosphere that surrounded this entire project.
Overall, I think this is a good collection of songs but the recording and production did not do it justice. ...

"when you hear the pruduction on save me and heart of the world you have to wonder why they did not go for tim palmer for nplh.over to you tony."

Steve, you raise an interesting point. Tim Palmer was not in the frame at the time of NPLH. When we did Save Me and Heart of the World, Tim was still cutting his teeth, Chris Sheldon the engineer was a really happening guy and we loved him (hence BS). Tim now gets a big up from me because of the work he has done with HIM, especially his remixes on And Love Said No. I think that is FAB. I did like Pat Moran but I don't think it worked for NPLH. ...

I have tried to review the albums for what they were on there released state. I will obviously agree with you about R5 as it was how we originally conceived the songs and how I mastered them to sound the way I feel we would have wanted to. I am not going to discuss the overidding situation as it was our turmoil , not yours. Anyway, it may end up in IG's book, I have no such intention.” (Tony Butler 12 November 2006, BC Forum)


(jump to: Liner Notes | Notes by Tony Butler)

Stuart Adamson
Vocals / Electric / Acoustic / Pull String / Wah Wah / High String / 12 String Guitars

Tony Butler
Electric / Acoustic Basses / Vocals

Bruce Watson
Electric / High String / 12 String / Acoustic / E-bow Guitars / Mandolin

Management / Ian Grant

Additional Musicians
Richie Close / Keyboards, Programming
Mark Brzezicki / Drums
Katie Kissoon / Carole Kenyan / Additional Vocals

Produced and Engineered
In Moranvision by Pat Moran (Using Mark IV Moranoscope)

Published by 10 Music Ltd

Assistant Engineer / Simon Dawson
Recorded at Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales / Thunderbirds Are Go!

Very Special Thanks To:
Pat Ahern (Drums)/ Park Lane Studios, Glasgow (Kenny) / Ca Va Studios, Glasgow (Gavin) / House in the Woods Studios, Surrey ( Giz + Marika) / Chapel Studios, Lincoln (Reg) / Audiocraft Rehearsal Studios, Dunfermline (Shorty) / Manny Charltons Studios, Cowdenbeath, Robin 'Tea Break" Walker (Equipment)

Big Thanks to
Rockfield - Kingsley/ Anne / Lisa and Amanda Ward / Moyra / Lita / Ruth / Gill / Gavin / Otto and Dave Charles.

Moon Guitars / Selectron / Dave at Hohner / Mike Cooper / Godin Guitars / Phil at Tc Electronics / All at Sound Control / Modern Music (Truro) / Dean Markley / Strings & Things / Trace Elliot / Elite Strings / Al Bass Centre / Ian Croft / George Fredericks / Robbie Blunt / Guardian Case Co / Nick at Washburn (Blade Guitars) / Music Man / Ernie Ball Guitars /The Synthesiser Company (Casio Dat) / G&l Guitars / Esp Guita
Guitar Repairs / Stewart Palmer / Dennis Drum Jhs.

Special Thanks to
Ian Grant / Lynda Fletcher / John Giddings / Graham Pullen / Allen Spriggs / Henry Mcgrogan and All at Solo / Marsha Vlasic and All at Icm / David Gentle / Paul Schindler / Steve Lewis and All at Virgin Music /
Singer / Shailesh Gor / All at Phonogram.

Pete Keane / Bob Lopez / Billy Worton / Ron Manigley / Joe Seabrook / Baron Beatmol Troy / Mick Brennan / Steve Hillier and Stuart from Winterland / Ian Calder / Pete Barnes / Big Dennis / Country Club / Inwards Fanzine / We Save No Souls Fanzine and Our Families.

Hair & Make up / Vicky Newman

Clothes Designer / Belinda and Mandy for Hammond Laing

Fan Club / Country Club, PO Box 59, Ashwell, Herts, SG7 5NG

Photography / Peter Anderson Design & Artwork / Zarkowski Designs

This Album Is Respectfully Dedicated to Richie Close

An Anthology to Lyrics to All Big Country Songs Is Available Through the Fan Club and from Music / Bookshops

All rights reserved. Unauthorised copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performances and broadcasting Ⓟ 1991 Phonogram Ltd (London) © 1991 Phonogram Ltd (London)