Retro Spins: Big Country - The Crossing

It was the early New Millennium when I was first introduced to Big Country via a compilation album, which for the life of me I can't remember the title for, nor find an image of which puts the puzzle piece in place as to which one it was. However, through it I was introduced to so many great tracks that the band quickly became a favorite of mine. Favorite in a sense that I liked their music, but not necessarily followed them in any big way.

As the years rolled by, and the CD collection began to grow, Big Country remained on my radar as a band who I needed to track down the studio albums for which featured my favorite songs from the compilation album I had owned. Unfortunately, I found myself having quite a bit of issues with this. It was through doing a lot of research on their albums that I found the original studio pressings didn't necessarily contain all the tracks I was looking for as some were B-sides, or previously unreleased songs which were added to re-issue releases.

The end result was, while I eventually tracked down the albums I was looking for to get all the songs I wanted, they are all over the map in terms of when they were released. I don't own any of the original pressings, nor do I honestly want them since they're lacking songs which I would have wanted anyway.

Today, I'm taking a listen to the bands 1983 debut album, The Crossing, which for the purposes of this write up, is coming from the 2002 re-issue. I'll break this down into two different sections. The first will be discussing the original ten tracks from the album. The second part will discuss the five remaining tracks which come from the 2002 released, and also known as, Wonderland Mini LP.

One of the biggest draws to this album is its unique sound compared to a lot of music of the era. The almost bagpipe style of guitarist Bruce Watson, the masterful drumming of Mark Brzezicki, solid bass riffs of Tony Butler and haunter vocals from Stuart Adamson combine to draw you in for a session of fantastic and deep songs.

While it was the track In A Big Country (also included on the album) which drew me first to the band, I have since found several, far superior songs, many of which are included on The Crossing; Chance, The Storm, Harvest Home, Lost Patrol, Close Action, Fields of Fire, and Porrohman.

Enjoying nine out of ten tracks definitely makes this a great album in my book. It also leaves me wanting to hear more from the band. So let me do just that.

As mentioned above, this particular version of the alum is the 2002 re-issue which includes the Wonderland Mini LP. The song, Wonderland, is also the reason I wanted this particular version.

With a run time of twenty-five minutes, the mini LP, in my book, is only about one song shy of being, in and of itself, a full album. It starts up with the track, Wonderland, and from there leads into a decent, but not necessarily the best, remix of Giant in the form of All Fall Together. The song Giant, which isn't on The Crossing, is actually a bonus track itself from the re-issue of the band's 1986 album, The Seer.

I didn't find myself enjoying the follow-up tracks, Angle Park and The Crossing. Nor did I particularly get excited for the "single version" of Chance. While I like this song, getting an extra twelve seconds isn't enough to really notice a difference, nor blow me away. I also much prefer the original without the unnecessary intro.

With all that said, overall, I enjoyed my listening session of the 2002 re-issue of The Crossing. It's hard to be sad about getting ten good songs out of fifteen. I'll definitely be listening to more Big Country in the near future. You should too.

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