Big Country Info Big Country Info



(jump to: Track Notes | Credits)

The Buffalo Skinners period was a real adventurous time for the band. Chris Briggs who had originally signed us to Phonogram had re-signed us up to his new Compulsion label. The album was the first time was had actually produced ourselves and we finally got our drummer problems sorted out with Simon Phillips coming on board at the last minute.
I went back through my archives to do these sleeve notes and found this diary entry for that period. I think I was in a good mood that week.
At last the day has come for us to start recording our new album at RAK Studios (The home of the hits). RAK hasn't changed a bit since we recorded "The Crossing" back in 1983. The mixing desk still hasn't been converted from steam to gas and every time a module goes down on the board Hugh the Irish engineer's reply is always the same "Fuckin' bejeezus it's the dilithium crystals again".
The studio is owned by seventies pop entrepreneur, Mickie Most.
Mickie, a frail man of no fixed suntan has the uncanny knack of being in the right suit at the right time. He has produced some legendary musicians, jeff Beck and the guitarist from Mud to name but a few. Mickie turns up for work every day in a different car, one day the Porsche, next the Caddie, etc. Today he cycled.
"Morning Mr. Most and how are we today?"
"Rich" came the reply. Aitch our galmorous receptionist is busy working behind her desk.
"Shit I just can't get the hang of this Nintendo" she cursed.
Aitch is a joy to the eye, a six foot two Gothic Scouser with purple hair, tie dye leggings and eight hole Dr Martens.
"You should have seen me with blonde hair, Bruce I looked really weird."
"Weird, I'll show you weird" I thought.
The door to studio 1 swung open and the familiar sound of Robert Plant's golden larynx screamed through the reception area,
"Mickie how are you?" he shouted.
"Richer" Mickie replied.
After much backslapping the two of them retire to the rec' room to reminisce.
"What's that fuckin' smell?" Chris Sheldon's nose screwed up? "How the hell do you expect me to get a decent drum sound when you keep coming in here and dropping your lunch every five minutes?"
"Sorry" replied Stuart, "next time it happens I'll light a match."
Simon Phillips is in the studio tuning his drums and swapping Pete Townshend stories with Tony. 'Fluff' our roadie is restringing guitars and carrying off the illusion that he really knows how to solder.
"It's the same principle as welding except without goggles" he shouted as he wrenched the neck of a late 70s precision bass.
"I'll fix that after Neighbours" and off he went.
The first five days were spent getting the drum tracks down as Simon was flying off to the States to gon on tour with Toto (the rock group, not the small dog).
"He's better than the last guy" Briggs quipped.
"Yes and a nice guy too" added Mickie as he caught Simon's eye through the control room glass.
"Simon how are you?"
"Not as rich as you Mickie" came the reply.
Simon was right, he only had one Porsche and Mickie had four.
New Order are mixing in Studio three at the moment and a young band called Blur have been in and out over the past few days. Their guitarist Graham tells me he had a sticker of me on his guitar when he was fourteen. Naturally I was flattered but scolded him severely as the reaction between the adhesive on the cellulose paint would leave a rather ugly stain on his guitar for the rest of its working life. He thanked me and opened another bottle of Backs. Blur have been working with Andy Partridge (XTC) producing. Andy is one of the quietest guys in rock so I was pretty surprised to find him outside the studio banging his head against an old Lyrec tape deck.
"What's up Andy?" I asked.
"Bastards are shit" he cried.
"Ah the youth of today" I mused then slipped past him with that knowing look.

Bruce Watson
December 2004


(jump to: Liner Notes by Bruce Watson | Credits)

The first single from the album, Mark still wasn't in the band and Simon Phillips was unavailable for the video shoot. Martin Chambers from the Pretenders fills in for the video shoot only.

Seven Waves
The song was originally called Broken Man. I demoed the original music with Manny Charlton from Nazareth engineering.

What Are You Working For
Great opening riff from Stuart. This album is our heaviest by far in terms of distorted guitar tones.

The One I Love
It was originally demoed in my home studio in Charlestown. Basically it was a case of me having the intro and the verse worked out and Stuart having the chorus and the middle 8 worked out. A lot of BC songs were bolted together and this song is a prime example.

Long Way Home
This featured in our live set a lot; we changed the time signature when we played it acoustically.

The Selling Of America
Orignally Tony's song. This song has the best groove on the album as far as I am concerned, unfortunately didn't make the live set.

We're Not In Kansas
Originally recorded on the "No Place Like Home" album. We heavied up this version at the request of Chris Briggs. The NPLH version was more acoustic sounding while this version has a definite "Who" element to it.

Again from the MPLH album. Originally recorded as a piano and string quartet piece, again we decided to give this the loud guitar treatment.

All Go Together
Almost didn't make the album as Briggs wasn't keen on it. We opened our set with it and it became a fans' favourite, although I must admit preferring the acoustic version that we did.

Winding Wind
This piece was actually written and routined in the studio so it wasn't rehearsed enough and I think it kind of suffered because of this.

Pink Marshmallow Moon
Great title, sounds like the title to a Prince song, great song to play live and again a fan favourite.

Chester's Farm
This song was only played a few times on the North American tour and I thought would have been a great opener. Unfortunately there were too many guitar and keyboard overdubs on the album that it was very difficult to replicate live.

Never Take Your Place
Another survivor from the REL sessions without the aid of a drummer. This was another great song that Stuart came up with out of the blue. We never played this song live with Big Country but I play it every night on tour along with 'Eastworld' with Mark in our new band 'The Casbah Club'. I sometimes feel along with a lot of fans that some of our B sides were little gems that sometimes got forgotten or weren't developed properly.

"Eastworld" was originally recorded at REL studios in Edinburgh. Stuart and I programmed the drums which really was a straight lift from The Glitter bands "Angel Face". Simon Phillips was going to replace the drum machine but for some reason the song was overlooked and left on the shelf for a while. I think it ended up being the B side for "Alone".

The Buffalo Skinners
"The Buffalo Skinners" was the track that never made the album. Big Country used to do this quite a lot, use the title for the album whilst not including it. The Crossing was a prime example of this. Again this version has drum machine on it. I was getting into different guitar tunings at the time and I was trying to get a Ry Cooder vibe on the song. I also had 2nd engineer Nigel Goodrich play guitar on this also.

Stuart Adamson Vocals Guitar
Tony Butler Bass Backing Vocals
Bruce Watson Guitar Mandolin

Simon Phillips Drums
Colin Berwick Keyboards

1 Alone (Stuart Adamson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
2 Seven Waves (Stuart Adamson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
3 What Are You Working For (Stuart Adamson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
4 The One I Love (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
5 Long Way Home (Stuart Adamson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
6 The Selling of America (Stuart Adamson / Tony Butler) EMI 10 Music Ltd
7 We’re Not In Kansas (Stuart Adamson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
8 Ships (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
9 All Go Together (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
10 Winding Wind (Stuart Adamson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
11 Pink Marshmallow Moon (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
12 Chester’s Farm (Stuart Adamson / Tony Butler) EMI 10 Music Ltd

13 The One I Love (US Mix) (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
14 Never Take Your Place (Stuart Adamson) EMI 10 Music Ltd
15 Eastworld (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson) Copyright Control
16 Buffalo Skinners (Demo) (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson) EMI 10 Music Ltd

Produced by Big Country • Recorded by Chris Sheldon • Mixed by Dave Bascombe
Except tracks 1,3 & 12 mixed by Mike Frazer • Assistant engineers Nigel Godrich at RAK
Chris Brown at Abbey Road Andy Bradfield at Townhouse • Programmer Joe Bull
Executive Producer Chris Briggs • Equipment Maintenance Fluf
US remaster by George Marino at Sterling Sound
Recorded at RAK Studios • Mixed at Abbey Road Studios and The Townhouse
Preproduction Audiocraft Carnegie Leisure Centre B Wobbly Studios

Thanks to: Ian Grant, Lynda Fletcher, David Gentle, Paul Schindler, John Giddings, Graham Pullen, Marsha Vlassic, Lester Dales, Shailesh Gor, Larry Robbins, All at Compulsion and Chrysalis

ESP Guitars, Gibson Guitars, David White Pickups, Hohner UK, Selectron UK, Tama, Trace Elliott, Dunfermline District Council, Special thanks to all at RAK

Re-issue Co-ordination Tim Chacksfield
CD package by Hugh Gilmour for the Red Room @ EMI
A special thanks to Bruce Watson, Ian Grant & Chris Briggs for their assistance on this re-issue.
Lyrics reproduced by kind permission.

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[All tracks except Eastworld published by EMI 10 Music Ltd. Eastworld published by Copyright Control]