Big Country Info Big Country Info


10 October 2017

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Fragile Thing – song DEEP DIVE by Tom and Svein

  • Thoughts on Rafe McKenna’s production of the song.
  • Another example of the band evolving, yet still preserving a Big Country sound. Thoughts on the “country influence” not being a new factor in BC music.
  • The atmosphere in the song, the sounds in the song.
  • The style of the lyrics – the character in the song spends several verses spouting off to the waitress.
  • The misunderstood notion of “saving the world” to get the girl.
  • The chorus of the song – the vocals, the message, the impact, the music – the works.
  • Differences between the album version and the single edit.
  • The final verse – very different in tone. He left the diner, going out into the night… lots of strong imagery. And where does the guy in the song end up at the end? Is he homeless?
  • Eddi Reader – IG’s initial announcement of her involvement, stories about her meeting Stuart and rehearsing with the band, her performance on the song, and the PR activities she did on behalf of the band.
  • Breakdown of demo sessions and song development.
  • Early impressions and listening to the song for the first time in 1999.
  • …and who plays the piano/keyboards on this album?? Input received from Bruce Watson.
  • More on what we learn about the guy in the song from the lyrics, and speculation on where the guy finds himself – literally and figuratively – at the end of the song.
  • Tom reads out his review of the song from 1999, and we see if his opinions have changed after 20 years.

Speakpipe from Kaare Crowley.

The President Slipped And Fell – song DEEP DIVE by Svein and Tom

  • The evolution of the song – writing, demoing, and early live versions.
  • The style of lyric writing. Another song which lists many random examples of things to get a larger point across. These examples are random media trivia, delivered quickly to create a rapid flow.
  • The song is not about any of the examples of stories that you are bombarded with – it is a song about that bombardment.
  • The incident that names the song: the president didn’t have a political fall, he actually slipped and fell down. More non-essential trivia, and the media’s focus on this even in the face of huge news items that matter. And, a few of those huge news items are “hidden” in between those things that don’t matter.
  • We talk about the obvious thing people would think about in 1999 when the song came out: the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. Was the song inspired by that? We examine timelines and quotes from Stuart.
  • The bridge, sung in a lower voice, with is the second clear reference to an old 1950s rock’n’roll hits, plus drives home that the more trivia
  • The intensity of the choruses, and Mark’s “wild man” moment on the album.
  • The length of the album version vs the demo version – a whole minute is lost. The album version seem to end on a very sharp edit. Is there a finished version of the song without that edit which is longer? The hosts suspect.
  • The title of the song. Good? Bad? A mouthful for sure.
  • Another reference to a huge story from that time: the “prime time verdict from the murder court” vs the O.J. Simpson trial.
  • Not only does the song namecheck Johnny B. Goode, but the verse musically also has the same chord progression as that song.
  • Tom reads out his review of the song from 1999, and we see if his opinions have changed after 20 years.

Speakpipe from Bill Darner.

Devil In the Eye – song DEEP DIVE by Tom and Svein

  • Disclaimer: we call out the baggage that the song has, which needs to be dealt with as part of the discussion, but the song will also be dealt with on its own individual merits.
  • Looking back at Stuart’s alcoholism, which was known in the 1990s. We recall the news that he started the pub Tappie Torries. This was even questioned/addressed by Country Club - and responded to by Stuart!
  • The phrase “look the devil in the eye” – what does it mean in this context?
  • The song describes every in and out of the problem, the writer clearly knows the disease – how it feels, the shape of the cravings, what it will make him do, what it does to him, and the full aftermath.  
  • The Ray vs Stuart elements of the song – how much comes from each one of them? Who wrote each part? Was it more a musical or lyrical partnership?
  • Musically interesting and a bit different-sounding than your typical BC – a stronger Kinks influence to the music than the other Ray co-write.
  • The hypnotic feel of the music – a feeling of doom, just like the lyrics, but also hypnotic, slinky, and alluring like you want to follow that doom all the way down.
  • The vocal delivery – the distorted effects on the voice, the way it is sung, the small breaths… he mixes between singing his heart out and really feeling it.
  • The use of “devil” in Big Country’s vocabulary. We look back at the song “Beat The Devil” and how that word has been used and what it means then and now.
  • First-hand experiences – or lack thereof – when it comes to alcohol.
  • The writing approach: liking the lure of alcohol to the lure of a beautiful woman.
  • The different ways of looking at the song: the song writing perspective, the “Big Country style” perspective, and what it means to Stuart’s legacy and his life.
  • Demo background, timeline, and song evolution.
  • The two-sided aspect of the lyrics – “devil on one shoulder and angel on the other.” The song urges you to take a sip, but also warns you. It tells you all about how great you feel, but also all about how you’ll end up “stuck in a hole”. It contains all perspectives.
  • A closer look at Ray Davies, his own relationship with alcohol, previous songs he wrote on that topic, and our speculation on what he might have brought to the table (vs. Stuart) when co-writing the song.
  • The origins of the line “one kiss will be too much, a hundred not enough.”
  • Tom reads out his review of the song from 1999 – interestingly from before Stuart died – and we see if his opinions have changed after 20 years.
  • Ray’s well-written tribute to Stuart when he died.