Proper Records are delighted to make again available the first three albums from the much-loved Big Country. Originally released on Mercury Records between 1983 and 1986, these records – The Crossing, Steeltown, and The Seer – sound as striking and singular now as they did when first heard.
Formed by ex-Skids guitarist Stuart Adamson in 1981 with old friend Bruce Watson and, from 1982, rhythm section Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki, Big Country proved a fascinating proposition, adding punk, new wave and even new romantic elements to heavy, meaning-laden pop/rock with a passionate Celtic slant and fierce integrity. Using effects, Adamson and Watson’s chiming guitars evoked traditional Scottish instruments. This was unique and proved highly influential. With a year of their first release, many existing bands began to emulate the group’s sound. Nobody achieved it quite like Big Country.
All three titles are presented with scrupulous attention to the detail of the original UK first pressings and available in audiophile 180gm vinyl. Whether replacing much-loved originals, or adding to a collection afresh, these are a superior way to enjoy such enduring and influential music.
Release Date: 27 January 2023
Catalogue Number: UMCLP018
Released in July 1983, The Crossing is, for many, the band’s greatest album. At once of its time yet completely out of step with what was then happening, its traditional, well-made songs and sounds took it to No. 3 in the UK charts and into the US Top 20. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, it features four of the group’s best-known songs, In A Big Country, Fields Of Fire (400 Miles), Harvest Home and Chance, and is available in its textured blue sleeve edition, as was its very first pressing.
Release Date: 24 February 2023
Catalogue Number: UMCLP019
Written as a critique of the collapse of industry in the 80s, Steeltown took its inspiration from East Midlands town of Corby, to which many Scots migrated during the Great Depression. Recorded at ABBA’s POLAR Studios in Stockholm, again produced by Steve Lillywhite, the album became the group’s only UK No.1, when it entered the chart at the very top, preceded by the Top 20 single, East Of Eden. With its knotty instrumentation and references to politics, the album has long been a favourite of James Dean Bradfield – it is clear to hear the impact of Big Country on his group, the Manic Street Preachers.
Release Date: 31 March 2023
Catalogue Number: UMCLP020
The Seer, released in 1986, contained the group’s biggest UK hit single, Look Away, a glorious arms-in-the-air 80s rock anthem. As if to underline quite how highly regarded Big Country had become, Kate Bush – not one known to offer her services lightly – guests on the album’s title track. The melody-rich album – which reached No. 2 in the UK charts and made the Billboard Top 60 – produced by Robin Millar, explores Scottish history, and demonstrates quite how Stuart Adamson had matured as a songwriter.