Swimmer (The Big Dish album)

Swimmer is the debut studio album from Scottish pop band The Big Dish, which was released by Virgin in 1986.

The Big Dish Swimmer 1986 album cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1986[1]
Warner (US)
ProducerIan Ritchie, Glyn Johns, Paul Hardiman, The Big Dish
The Big Dish chronology
Creeping Up on Jesus

The album contains four singles; "Big New Beginning", "Prospect Street", "Slide" and "Christina's World". "Christina's World" reached No. 84 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1987 and "Slide" peaked at No. 86 in May 1987.[2]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
The Sheboygan Press    [5]

On its release, Music & Media picked Swimmer as one of their "Albums of the Week" during October 1986. They described the songs as "alternating between guitar-influenced and atmospheric, melodic material". They also noted Lindsay's "strong vocals" which "lift the material up to a higher plane".[6] Billboard noted the band's "strong song sense" but added that "what may catch ears is the vocalizing of David Byrne sound-alike Steven Lindsay."[7] Cash Box wrote, "Lindsay's whispy voice and strong-based songwriting recommend the group to a wide audience. The band is at its best on heartfelt, melody-rich songs like 'Prospect Street' and 'Slide'."[8]

Paul Massey of the Evening Express noted, "Warmth and sincerity are the trademarks of Lindsay's mellow pop and the single 'Slide' is simply great."[9] Martin Wells of the Derby Evening Telegraph described Swimmer as containing "some delightful Orange Juice/Lloyd Cole-style pop songs".[10]

Brant Houston of the Hartford Courant described Swimmer as "a persuasive effort but sometimes too tidy". He added, "The songs are often sprightly, with '60s-like choruses that keep afloat the tunes that tend toward the moribund."[11] Jim Zebora of the Record-Journal as "accessible, insistent pop" but that the band "has a tendency to fall into mediocrity with many songs".[4]

In a retrospective review, William Ruhlmann of AllMusic considered the album's material to be "tasteful, cultured and a bit dull". He commented, "The guitars chime, the machine-made beats burble, and Lindsay contemplates existence, but there is a difference between swimming and treading water that he doesn't seem to recognize."[3]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Steven Lindsay except "Second Swimmer" by Lindsay and Brian McFie.

1."Prospect Street"3:23
2."Christina's World"4:10
4."Big New Beginning"3:23
5."Another People's Palace"4:49
7."The Loneliest Man in the World"3:40
9."Her Town"3:58
10."Beyond the Pale"3:58
11."Second Swimmer"2:41
UK CD version bonus tracks
12."From the Neighbourhood"3:44
13."Back Door Bound"4:05


The Big Dish

  • Steven Lindsay – vocals, guitar, keyboards
  • Brian McFie – lead guitar, second guitar
  • Raymond Docherty – bass

Additional musicians


  • Ian Ritchie – producer (tracks 1–3, 6–7, 9–11, 13)
  • Chris Sheldon – engineer (tracks 1–3, 6–7, 9–11, 13)
  • Paul Hardiman – producer (track 4)
  • Glyn Johns – producer (tracks 5, 12)
  • The Big Dish – producers (track 8)


  • Gary Wathen – art direction
  • Red Ranch – design
  • Heather Angel – photography


Chart (1986) Peak
UK Albums Chart[2] 85


  1. ^ Bakker, Machgiel (24 October 1987). "Och Aye, Scottish Bands Rule". Music & Media. p. 15.
  2. ^ a b "BIG DISH; full Official Chart History; Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Swimmer - Big Dish | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b Zebora, Jim (22 March 1987). "Pleasant sounds lack character". The Record-Journal. p. E2.
  5. ^ Novak, Bill (14 May 1987). "On the record...". The Sheboygan Press. p. 36.
  6. ^ "M&M Euro Tip Page". Music & Media. 18 October 1986. p. 16.
  7. ^ "Reviews: Albums". Billboard. 7 March 1987. p. 76.
  8. ^ "Reviews: Albums". Cash Box. 28 February 1987. p. 8.
  9. ^ Massey, Paul (29 October 1986). "Citysound: Albums". Evening Express. p. 11.
  10. ^ Wells, Martin (1 November 1986). "Pop albums". Derby Evening Telegraph. p. 12.
  11. ^ Houston, Brant (2 April 1987). "Records: Del Fuegos' latest, country kitsch and marvelous Marsalis". The Hartford Courant.