The Crossing (Big Country album)

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The Crossing
Studio album by Big Country
Released 15 July 1983
2 February 2002 (reissue)
Recorded May 1983
The Manor, Oxfordshire and
RAK Studios, London
Genre Alternative rock, new wave, folk rock, Celtic rock, post-punk
Length 48:24
Label Mercury, Universal (reissue)
Producer Steve Lillywhite
Big Country chronology
The Crossing
(1983)
Steeltown
(1984)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Blender 4/5 stars [2]
Martin C. Strong (8/10)[3]
PopMatters (favourable)[4]
Robert Christgau (B) [5]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [6]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[7]

The Crossing is the first studio 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 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.

Reception[edit]

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.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Stuart Adamson, Mark Brzezicki, Tony Butler, Bruce Watson except as indicated.

  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
  6. "Harvest Home" – 4:19
  7. "Lost Patrol" – 4:52
  8. "Close Action" – 4:15
  9. "Fields of Fire (400 Miles)" – 3:31
  10. "Porrohman" – 7:52

Bonus tracks (1983 Cassette Release)[edit]

  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

Bonus tracks (1996 Remastered Edition)[edit]

  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)

Bonus tracks (2002 Reissue)[edit]

Wonderland EP (US only)[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

Additional Bonus Track[edit]

  1. "Chance" (re-recorded single version) – 4:37

2012 Reissue First Disc Bonus Track Listing[edit]

  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)

2012 Reissue Second Disc Track Listing[edit]

  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)

Personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Album

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart[8] 4
Dutch Albums Chart[9] 11
New Zealand Albums Chart[10] 8
Swedish Albums Chart[11] 17
UK Albums Chart[12] 3
U.S. Billboard 200[citation needed] 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" The Billboard Hot 100 17
1984 "Fields of Fire" The Billboard Hot 100 52

Certifications[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Demalon, Tom. "Big Country: The Crossing" at AllMusic. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  2. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  3. ^ The Essential Rock Discography - Volume 1: 87. 2006. 
  4. ^ Pensiero, Nicole (9 April 2002). "Big Country: The Crossing". PopMatters. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Big Country". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Loder, Kurt (15 Sep 1983). "Big Country: The Crossing". Rolling Stone (Wenner Media) (RS 404). ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin. "Review: The Crossing". Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 2002.
  8. ^ "RPM 100 Albums". RPM (archived at Library and Archives Canada) (Volume 39, No. 11). 12 November 1983. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Big Country - The Crossing" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Big Country - The Crossing". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Big Country - The Crossing". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Big Country - The Crossing". chartstats.com. 23 August 1986. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2011.