Big Country Info Big Country Info

 

Re-Issue
Compiled by Dermot James
Product managed for Universal Music by Joe Black at Hey Joe
Designed by Mike Storey and Jason Smith at Storey London
Sleeve Notes By Tim Barr
Mastered by Jared Hawkes at Universal Mastering, London
Big Country memorabilia supplied by Liam Donoghue, Barry Gray, Reno Schraven and Derek Phillips.
Hey Joe Would like to thank : Big Country, Justin Brown, John Chadwick, Johnny Chandler, Dave Clarke, Paul And Helen Cox, Jamie Davidson, Liam Donoghue, Kathryn Gilfeather, Ian Grant, James Grant, Simon Gurney, Jared Hawkes, Richard Hinkley, Dermot James, Sheenagh James, Lee Jenson, Pete Matthews, Stuart Ongley, Tasha Pert, Mike Peters, David Rowe, Emma Shalless, Colin Smith, Naomi Smith, Greg Snowdon, Pete Thompson, Allen Ward, Charlotte Wilson and Andrea Wright.

WWW.BIGCOUNTRY.COM

CD 1
1 King Of Emotion (4:50)
2 Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys) (5:15)
3 Thousand Yard Stare (3:54)
4 From Here To Eternity (5.00)
5 Everything I Need (4:40)
6 Peace In Our Time (4:33)
7 Time For Leaving (5:05)
8 River Of Hope (4:33)
9 In This Place (4:20)
10 I Could Be Happy Here .4:30)
Bonus Tracks
11 The Travellers* (B-Side ot King Of Emotion) (3:14)
12 On The Shore* (B-Side To Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys) (3:34)
13 Soapy Soutar Strikes Back* (B-Side to Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys) (4:11)
14 Peace In Our Time - Acoustic (B-Side To Heart Of The World) (3 06)
15 Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys) - Acoustic (B-Side to Heart Of The World) (3:59
16 When A Drum Beats* - Demo (6 10)
17 Ages of Man* - Demo 14:291
18 Cuts Like A Spoon* - Demo (Previously Unreleased) (3:44)
*Recorded at R.E.L. Studios Edinburgh

Alt tracks Ⓟ 1988 Mercury Records Limited. Tracks 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, 14 pubtished by EMI 10 Music Ltd. Tracks 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 15 published by 10 Music Ltd. Tracks 12, 13,16 published by Big Country Music Ltd. Tracks 17,18 published by Fast Tune Ltd. Tracks 11-18 produced by Big Country. Tracks 1-10 produced by Peter Wolf. Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 (Stuart Adamson). Tracks 3,10 (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson), Tracks 7, 18 (Stuart Adamson / Mark Brzezicki / Tony Butler / Bruce Watson). Track 12 (Tony Butler). Track 13 (Bruce Watson).
This Compilation Ⓟ 2014 Mercury Records Limited © 2014 Mercury Records Limited

CD2 - The R.E.L Demo Sessions
1 You Lose Your Dreams (5:19)
2 In Your Homeland (3:36)
3 Thousand Yard Stare (3:29)
4 Over The Border (B-Side To Peace In Our Time) (5:15)
5 Everything I Need (5:10)
6 The Longest Day (B-Side to Peace In Our Time) 16:36)
7 Mary (3:52)
8 Time For Leaving (5:39)
9 Starred & Crossed (B-Side to King Of Emotion) (4.23)
10 Not Waving But Drowning (B-Side to King Of Emotion) 5:56)
11 Promised Land (B-Side Tt Peace In Our Time) (5:40)
12 Peace In Our Time (6:03)
13 Made In Heaven (B-Side to Broken Heart (Thirteen Valleys) 6:24)
14 I Could Be Happy Here (5:32)
15 Christmas Island (6:48)
Recorded at R.E.L. Studios, Edinburgh

All tracks Ⓟ1988 Mercury Records Limited.
racks 1, 2, 4, 7-8, 15 (Stuart Adamson / Tony Butler / Bruce Watson / Mark Brzezicki) Tracks 5, 6, 11-13 (Stuart Adamson). Tracks 3, 9,-10, 14 (Stuart Adamson / Bruce Watson). Track 7 licensed courtesy of Track Records. All tracks produced by Big Country, except track 8 produced by Peter Wolf.
Tracks 1, 2, 15 published by Fast Tune Ltd. Tracks 3, 12 published by EMI 10 Music Ltd. Tracks 4, 6, 10-11, 13 published by Big Country Music Ltd. Track 5, 8-9, 14 published by 10 Music Ltd. Track 7 published by Copyright Control.
This Compilation Ⓟ 2014 Mercury Records Limited © 2014 Mercury Records Limited.

Stuart Adamson — Vocals, Guitars, E-bow
Mark Brzezicki — Drums and Percussion
Tony Butler— Bass, Vocals, Guitar
Bruce Watson— Guitars, Mandolin, Sitar, Mouth Organ, E-bow

Keyboards: Peter Wolf
Additional Vocals: Merry Clayton, Ina Wolf, Donna Davidson, Maxi Anderson
Live Keyboards: Josh Phillips Gorse

Music and lyrics by Stuart Adamson except:
Track 3 & 10: Music by Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson.
Track 7: Music by Stuart Adamson, Mark Brzezicki, Tony Butler and Bruce Watson. Track 13: lyrics by Stuart Adamson. Music by Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson.
Published by EMI / 10 Music Ltd.

Original Sleeve Design: Paul Harrison
Design Concept: Paul Harrison/Ian Grant
Front Cover Photography: Carol Sharp
Inside Cover Photography: Terry O'Neill

For Big Country Information, Please write enclosing a SAE To:
Country Club, PO Box 59, Ashwell, Herts, SG7 5NG
Or Call: 0891 600 031
(Calls Charged at 39p per Minute Cheap Rate and 49p per Minute at All Other Times)

Management:
Ian Grant Management

Produced by Peter Wolf
Except: Tracks 11,12,13 and 14 Produced by Big Country
Engineers: Brian Malouf, Jeremy Smith
Assistant Engineers: Gonzalo Espinoza, Jeff Poe, Kristen Connolly
Mixed By: Brian Malouf

Big Country Are:
Stuart Adamson — Vocals, Guitars, E-bow Mark Brzezicki — Drums and Percussion
Tony Butler— Bass, Vocals, Guitar
Bruce Watson— Guitars, Mandolin, Sitar, Mouth Organ, E-bow

Produced by Peter Wolf

Engineers: Brian Malouf, Jeremy Smith
Assistant Engineers: Gonzalo Espinoza, Jeff Poe, Kristen Connolly

Mixed By: Brian Malouf

Keyboards: Peter Wolf

Additional Vocals: Merry Clayton, Ina Wolf, Donna Davidson, Maxi Anderson

Live Keyboards: Josh Phillips Gorse

Studios:

Pre-production at Balmule Studios Dunfermline
Thanks To: Sandra

R.E.L. Studios Edinburgh
Thanks To: Beeg Al, Neil

The Alley
North Hollywood
Thanks To: Arnie

Recorded at 41 B Studios
Westlake Village
Rob, Bruce & Dave

Can Am Recorders Tarzana
Thanks To: Casey, Larry Nick, Jeff

Entertainment:

D.A.F.C., L.A. Lakers, L.A. Dodgers, Barnerys Beanery, Dukes, Ben Franks, Disneyland, Universal Studios Venice Beach Harbor City Motor Cycles,
Comedy Store, Queen Mary Spruce Goose

Mixed At: Smoketree Studios
Thanks To:
Ian Grant
Alan Edwards
Barry Mead
William Feeny
Samantha
Lynda
Suni
Tracy
Jonathan
Jessica
Paulette

Inside Information:
Andy Marlow
Country Club

Crew:
Ron Manigley, Les King, Nigel Luby, Bob Lopez. Peter Barnes, Dave Davies Peter Keane. John Rankine. Peter Ryan, Joe Seabrook

Equipment:
Guitars: Fender, Gibson, Jimmy Moon.
Takamine. Flatiron
Bass: Fender, Warwick. Kramer
Amplification: Marshall, Fender
Trace Elliott
Strings: Rotosound, Gibson
Drums: Pearl
Cymbals: Zildjian
Hardware: Pearl, Remo, Drum Workshop

Thanks To:
Sound Control, Dunfermline
Takeo Shimizu
George Frederick, Pearl Drums
Ian Croft, Colin Schofield, Armand
Zildjian
Mike Morse, Zildjian Cymbals
John Good, Drum Workshop
Chuck Holden, Guitar Tech
Norm and Dan. Normans Rare Guitars
Max's Guitar
Pat Wilkins. Guitars
The Bass Centre
Jock Mcguigan, Tim Green. Removals
Bud and Vera. Accommodation and
Wedding
Marsha Vlasic and Christy Barnes, Icm

Agency:
Solo: John Giddings, Carole Murray. Graham Pullen

Thanks To:
David Gentle, Paul Schindler
Harold L McQuinn — DDS Inc
Leppo and Brian — Inspiration

Worldwide Management:
Grant/Edwards Management
30 Bridstow Place
London

 


LINER NOTES BY STUART ADAMSON

(jump to: Credits)
(jump to: Liner Notes by Tim Barr)

"If politicians are going to show initiative in
diminishing the suspicions between various
ideological systems, then it's up to people like
ourselves to reflect that..."
- Stuart Adamson

LINER NOTES BY TIM BARR

(jump to: Credits)
(jump to: Liner Notes by Stuart Adamson)

When Big Country began to write and record in preparation for their fourth album, events on the world stage were taking a dramatic turn. As children of the Cold War — frontman/guitarist Stuart Adamson had been born in 1958 just a few weeks after the Soviet Union's great reformer Nikita Khrushchev came to power while the band's co-founder Bruce Watson emerged into the world just a few weeks before the Berlin Crisis of 1961 - they took for granted the threat of global nuclear meltdown. The group itself had been formed against a backdrop of increasing tensions between the White House and the Kremlin during the early 1980s (when one of Watson's favourite films, Stanley Kubrick's anti-war satire Dr Strangelove, began to seem increasingly prescient). Yet the winds of change were beginning to blow.

In May 1987, only a few weeks before Big Country joined David Bowie for the British leg of his Glass Spider tour, a German teenager had evaded Soviet Mig-23 interceptor jets and piloted a single-engine Cessna aircraft into the centre of Moscow in a hid to "build a bridge between East and West". The security lapse gave the Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev enough leverage to dismiss a number of senior military officials opposed to his perestroika and glasnost initiatives. When, just a month later, US president Ronald Reagan challenged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, an idea that would have seemed like wild fantasy a year earlier started to feel somehow more achievable. By December that year, when Gorbachev and Reagan signed an arms control treaty agreeing to mothball thousands of ballistic missiles, the prospect of an end to the Cold War came one step closer.

As that historic agreement was concluded in Washington, Big Country were traversing the UK on that winter's Under Wraps tour. The set included a number of new songs —Thousand-Yard Stare, Time For Leaving and one that summed up the optimism of the era, Peace In Our Time. Another of the
songs they'd written, When A Drum Beats — included on the second disc of this release —also caught the mood of the period. "The lyric," explained Adamson, "is about refusing to get caught up in jingoism and misplaced patriotism."

The band had spent much of the year writing and recording while a new US record deal was being arranged. "For once in our career," remembered Watson, "we had the luxury of a bit of time. Everybody was brimming with ideas." So much so, that, depending on who's doing the telling, the pool of new songs was somewhere between 15 and 26. Demo recordings for the bulk of them had been done at REL Studios in Edinburgh — coincidentally the place where Adamson had recorded his first-ever release, The Skids' Test-Tube Babies EP, a decade earlier — providing a solid template for the album that would become Peace In Our Time.
Work on the album began in California early in January 1988. "It was time to build a bigger fanbase abroad," recalled bassist Tony Butler, "and Stuart had really connected with some of the record label executives he'd met in America so the logical next step was to record there."

Handling production duties this time around was Austrian studio wunderkind Peter Wolf. After moving to Los Angeles from Vienna, he'd spent the early part of his career as the keyboard player in Frank Zappa's band before scoring considerable success as a producer. Prior to his work on Peace In Our Time, he'd scored three US chart-toppers with El Debarge and Starship (including 1985's We Built This City) as well as a string of hit singles with The Commodores, Wang Chung and Kenny Loggins. "He's a brilliant, off-the-wall, genius musician," observed Adamson. "As soon as I met him, I immediately wanted to work with him. He's got a great attitude. He's a great enthusiast. He's very much like people that we've worked with in the past like Steve Lillywhite and Robin Millar — in as much as he's a great fan of music. He's really interested in all different types of music and really gets into people and atmosphere. He's a great person to work with."
"Stuart was really up for Peter Wolf doing the album," recalled drummer Mark Brzezicki. "He wanted to embrace the American side of things because he saw it as a transition from being stuck in one place and not moving forward."

The new environment quickly proved conducive to the band's sense of fun. "We did Los Angeles and we did it big time," confided Butler. "We had a fabulous time there. Mark, Bruce and I loved the climate and, as soon as my parts were done, I'd be down in South Central getting my dreads done or hanging out on Sunset Strip. The night before we recorded King Of Emotion, we went out to a club in the San Fernando Valley. There was a pick-up band playing and the bass player was brilliant. He was grooving away, with this huge grin on his face, rattling out the coolest, funkiest bass riffs ever. The next day, when we went into the studio, I had the image of this guy in my head. I never knew his name, or who the band was, but that's who inspired my playing on that track."

Aided by the fact that Wolf refused to record at weekends, the band found themselves with plenty of spare hours to explore their new surroundings. Adamson indulged his passion for motorcycles and hired a Harley-Davidson, disappearing off on his own for long road trips. Watson found time to get married "on a rooftop on Larrabee Street" with Brzezicki as best man and, due to confusion between the record label and the band's management, both a mariachi band and a piper.

"We used to hang out on the Strip with our pals from Balaam & The Angel, The Cult and The Stranglers," Watson recalled. "We were all recording at i i erent studios in town and used to meet up later on at the Roxy or the Rainbow or if we wanted a serious laugh — Gazzari's. Most weekends were spent at the Comedy Store. We'd watch Sam Kinison go through his routine to a full house as well as catch up on young comics trying out new material, some of them were brilliant."

As recording progressed, however, the band began to have doubts about the producer's approach. On Broken Heart (13 Valleys), a song partly inspired by the romantic tribulations of the "boonies" in John Del
Vecchio's extraordinary Vietnam epic The 13th Valley, Wolf sampled each of Adamson's guitar strings individually on his Synclavier, then played the part himself on keyboard. "Being in a band with two great guitarists," Butler noted, "you want to hear what they're playing, not a keyboard."

Recording completed in May 1988 and the hand flew home to prepare for a historic gig, with Bryan Adams, at the Radrennbahn Weissensee in East Berlin. They had been invited by the official youth organisation of the German Democratic Republic, the Freie Deutsche Jugend. "The show was unbelievable," recalled Adamson. "120,000 people turned up." Years later, in 2009, the German newspaper Bild uncovered Stasi files that confirmed the gig — hosted by Olympic ice skating champion Katarina Witt — had been arranged to appease East German fans unable to get to concerts by Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson on the other side of the Wall. A month later, when Bruce Springsteen performed what author Erik Kirschbaum has described as "the most important rock concert ever" at the same venue, one fan admitted: "It was gradually dawning on everyone between about 20 and 30 years old that things couldn't just continue in East Germany the way they had been going. Something had to change."

Peace In Our Time was announced with the release of lead single King Of Emotion at the beginning of August 1988. Though Brzezicki described it as "our tribute to The Rolling Stones" it delivered another Top 20 hit for the band. "Really it's about someone who's had to climb many mountains," explained Adamson, "and go through many valleys and cross many rivers to get to where they are in life and have found that their dreams — or their hopes — have stayed with them."

Hopes were much in evidence when Big Country launched the Peace In Our Time tour later that month with an appearance at the Rock Summer Festival in Tallin, Estonia, at the height of the Singing Revolution — the series of spontaneous demonstrations that became a key part of the Baltic state's journey to independence. The band seemed to be trying to bridge the divide when, ironically, just a few weeks later they played at London's Soviet Embassy. The gig, which was broadcast live by Radio 1, was a precursor to four unique concerts at Moscow's Palace Of Sports, the first ever to be organised by a private promoter, with tickets freely available to fans rather than restricted to Communist Party insiders. "The people in all Eastern Bloc countries want rock music," Watson insisted shortly afterwards. "It's now been proven. I was there and that's how they reacted."

Reaction to the album itself was more mixed. Many of the band's long-term fans felt that Wolf had gone too far in radically reinventing the band's sound. Once the dust had settled, Big Country themselves agreed. Speaking to fans in 1991, Adamson explained: "Some of the songs are classics, the production I just don't like at all. All the rough edges are knocked off it. It doesn't even sound like a band. It's the only thing I regret about my time with Big Country. If I could change any of it that would be the thing I would change."
Despite that, Peace In Our Time remains testament to an era when — as Adamson always claimed it could — music really did make a difference to people's lives.

© Tim Barr — 2014