The Crossing (Big Country album)

The Crossing is the debut album released by Scottish band Big Country. The album reached #3 in the UK; overseas, it hit #4 in Canada on the RPM national Top Albums Chart and #18 in the US on the Billboard 200 in 1983. It went on to be certified platinum in the UK and Canada. It contains the song "In a Big Country" which is their only U.S. Top 40 hit single. The song featured heavily engineered guitar playing, strongly reminiscent of bagpipes; Adamson and fellow guitarist Watson achieved this through the use of the MXR Pitch Transposer 129 Guitar Effect. Also contributing to the band's unique sound was their use of the e-bow, a device which allows a guitar to sound more like strings or synthesizer.

The Crossing
Big Country - The Crossing.jpg
Studio album by
Released15 July 1983
RecordedMay 1983
StudioThe Manor, Oxfordshire and RAK Studios, London
Genre
Length48:24
LabelMercury
ProducerSteve Lillywhite
Big Country chronology
The Crossing
(1983)
Steeltown
(1984)
Singles from The Crossing
  1. "Harvest Home"
    Released: 24 September 1982
  2. "Fields of Fire"
    Released: 18 February 1983
  3. "In a Big Country"
    Released: 19 May 1983
  4. "Chance"
    Released: 1983

The album has been remastered and reissued on three occasions. The latest version released by Universal in 2012 in advance of the album's 30th anniversary includes a second disc of previously unissued demos. Also included in the set is a track produced by Chris Thomas from the first abortive attempt to record the band's debut album. The demos include the earliest recordings done by Adamson and Bruce Watson, some of which were recorded on four-track prior to recruiting either a drummer or bassist for the band.

The set also includes a booklet with interviews (new in the case of the current band members and archived in the case of the late Stuart Adamson) by the journalist and author Tim Barr. Lyrics for all of the key songs are also included, and the album has been remastered by Paschal Byrne from the original master tapes. In total, ten previously unreleased tracks were included in the deluxe, digitally remastered edition.

Music and LyricsEdit

The songs on The Crossing deal with topics including loss ("Inwards," "Chance"), separation ("Close Action"), dehumanization ("Lost Patrol"), and the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion ("The Storm"). Many of the songs are characterized by Brzezicki's highly-compressed drums and the heavily effects-treated, layered guitars of Adamson and Watson. The music often demonstrates a clear influence of Scottish traditional music, particularly obvious in the pipe-band rhythms of "In a Big Country" and "Fields of Fire" and the swirling, Gaelic guitar intro to "The Storm." This caused the band to be categorized as a Celtic rock band, which sometimes led to unfavorable comparisons with other bands such as Thin Lizzy.[citation needed]

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [1]
Blender     [2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [3]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[4]
Rolling Stone     [5]
The Village VoiceB[6]

Critic Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone gave the album a glowing review, writing:

Here's a big-noise guitar band from Britain that blows the knobs off all the synth-pop diddlers and fake-funk frauds who are cluttering up the charts these days. Big Country mops up the fops with an air-raid guitar sound that's unlike anything else around, anywhere ... Like the Irish band U2 (with whom they share young, guitar-wise producer Steve Lillywhite), Big Country has no use for synthesizers, and their extraordinary twin-guitar sound should make The Crossing a must-own item for rock die-hards.[5]

Track listingsEdit

All songs written by Stuart Adamson, Mark Brzezicki, Tony Butler, Bruce Watson, except as indicated. On the USA vinyl LP, the songs "1000 Stars" and "Fields of Fire" are in reversed order. The USA CD release keeps the same order as below.

Side one
  1. "In a Big Country" – 4:44
  2. "Inwards" – 4:36
  3. "Chance" – 4:26
  4. "1000 Stars" – 3:50
  5. "The Storm" – 6:19
Side two
  1. "Harvest Home" – 4:19
  2. "Lost Patrol" – 4:52
  3. "Close Action" – 4:15
  4. "Fields of Fire (400 Miles)" – 3:31
  5. "Porrohman" – 7:52
Additional tracks (cassette release)
  1. "Angle Park" (Adamson, Watson) – 4:08
  2. "Fields of Fire (400 Miles)" (Alternate Mix) – 5:19
  3. "Heart & Soul" – 5:13
  4. "In a Big Country" (Pure Mix) (Listed as '12" Mix') – 6:19

1996 re-issueEdit

Bonus tracks:

  1. "Angle Park" (Adamson, Watson) – 4:08
  2. "All of Us" – 4:09
  3. "The Crossing" – 7:09
  4. "Heart & Soul" – 4:33 (This version fades out earlier than the version on the 1983 cassette release)

Wonderland EP (US, 1984)Edit

  1. "Wonderland" – 3:56
  2. "All Fall Together" – 5:05
  3. "Angle Park" (Adamson, Watson) – 4:07
  4. "The Crossing" – 7:04

Wonderland EP (Canada, 1984)Edit

  1. "Wonderland" – 3:58
  2. "Angle Park" – 4:08
  3. "All Fall Together" – 5:16
  4. "Chance" (Extended Re-Mix) – 6:10
  5. "Heart and Soul" – 5:13
  6. "The Crossing" – 7:10

Wonderland EP (US only, 2002)Edit

 
Wonderland EP cover
  1. "Wonderland" – 3:58
  2. "All Fall Together" (Jimmy Iovine remix) – 5:16
  3. "Angle Park" (Adamson, Watson) – 4:08
  4. "The Crossing" – 7:10
  5. "Chance" (re-recorded single version) – 4:37

2012 re-issueEdit

Disc 1 (bonus tracks)

  1. "Balcony"
  2. "Flag of Nations (Swimming)"
  3. "Angle Park"
  4. "All of Us"
  5. "Heart and Soul"
  6. "The Crossing"
  7. "Tracks of My Tears" (Live)

Disc 2

  1. "Angle Park" (Demo)
  2. "Harvest Home" (Demo)
  3. "We Could Laugh" (Demo)
  4. "In a Big Country" (Demo)
  5. "The Storm" (Demo)
  6. "Big City" (Demo)
  7. "Fields of Fire" (Riverside BBC TV)
  8. "Lost Patrol" (Demo)
  9. "Inwards" (Demo)
  10. "1000 Stars"
  11. "Lost Patrol"
  12. "Inwards"
  13. "Close Action"
  14. "Fields of Fire" (Demo)
  15. "1000 Stars" (Demo)
  16. "Ring Out Bells" (Demo)
  17. "Chance" (Demo)

PersonnelEdit

Chart performanceEdit

Album

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[8] 21
Canadian Albums Chart[9] 4
Dutch Albums Chart[10] 11
New Zealand Albums Chart[11] 8
Swedish Albums Chart[12] 17
UK Albums Chart[13] 3
U.S. Billboard 200[14] 18

Single

Year Single Chart Position
1983 In a Big Country Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play 47
1983 In a Big Country Billboard Mainstream Rock 3
1983 In a Big Country Billboard Hot 100 17
1983 In a Big Country RPM 50 Singles (Canada)[15] 3
1984 Fields of Fire Billboard Hot 100 52

CertificationsEdit

Organization Level Date
BPI – UK Gold 15 September 1983
CRIA – Canada Gold 1 November 1983
CRIA – Canada Platinum 1 December 1983
RIAA – USA Gold 19 January 1984
BPI – UK Platinum 9 February 1984

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Demalon, Tom. "The Crossing – Big Country". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  2. ^ Pruzan, Jeff. "Big Country: The Crossing". Blender. Archived from the original on 26 April 2004. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (1 March 2002). "The Crossing". The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4 ed.). London, UK: Virgin Books. ISBN 978-1852279233.
  4. ^ Strong, Martin C. (4 October 2006). "The Crossing". The Essential Rock Discography (1 ed.). Edinburgh, UK: Canongate Books. p. 87. ISBN 978-1841959856.
  5. ^ a b Loder, Kurt (15 September 1983). "Big Country: The Crossing". Rolling Stone (404). ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (27 September 1983). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  7. ^ https://www.bigcountryinfo.com/notes/re_crossingdlx.htm
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "RPM 100 Albums". RPM. archived at Library and Archives Canada (Volume 39, No. 11). 12 November 1983. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  10. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Big Country - The Crossing" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  11. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Big Country - The Crossing". charts.nz. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  12. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Big Country - The Crossing". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  13. ^ "BIG COUNTRY - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Album Search for "the crossing"". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  15. ^ "RPM Magazine - Volume 39, Number 13" (PDF).