The Great Western

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The Great Western
Studio album by James Dean Bradfield
Released 24 July 2006
Recorded 2005
Length 37:19
Label Columbia
Producer Dave Eringa, Guy Massey, Alex Silva, Greg Haver
Singles from The Great Western
  1. "That's No Way to Tell a Lie"
    Released: 10 July 2006
  2. "An English Gentleman"
    Released: 25 September 2006

The Great Western is the only solo studio album by Manic Street Preachers vocalist-guitarist James Dean Bradfield. It was released on 24 July 2006 by record label Columbia.


The majority of the lyrics are written by Bradfield, who had previously only contributed lyrics to the Manic Street Preachers songs "Ocean Spray" and "Firefight". Bradfield's lyrics feature a theme of looking to the past; and are largely personal rather than political.[3] Manics bassist-lyricist Nicky Wire contributes lyrics to the song "Bad Boys and Painkillers", and two songs feature lyrics co-written with writer John Niven.[4] Also included is a cover of Jacques Brel's "To See a Friend in Tears". The album features drummer Dafydd Ieuan of fellow Welsh band Super Furry Animals on "Run Romeo Run".

The title refers to the Great Western Railway, which is reflected in the album's artwork. Much of the album was written on the train journey between Cardiff and Paddington. Bradfield uses the train journey as a metaphor for soul-searching while away from home.[5] He refers to his journeys between his home in South Wales to London on the GWR in the song "Émigré".

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by James Dean Bradfield, except as noted.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "That's No Way to Tell a Lie"     3:05
2. "An English Gentleman"     3:05
3. "Bad Boys and Painkillers" Nicky Wire   3:49
4. "On Saturday Morning We Will Rule the World"     3:17
5. "Run Romeo Run"     3:24
6. "Still a Long Way to Go" Bradfield, John Niven   3:50
7. "Émigré" Bradfield, Niven   3:29
8. "To See a Friend in Tears" Jacques Brel Brel 3:38
9. "Say Hello to the Pope"     3:24
10. "The Wrong Beginning"     3:15
11. "Which Way to Kyffin"     2:57


The album spent two weeks on the UK Album Chart, peaking at #22.[6]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[7]
BBC Music generally favourable[2]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[8]
Mojo 4/5 stars[9]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[10]
NME 8/10[11]
Q 3.5/5 stars[12]
Uncut 4/5 stars[13]

The Great Western was generally well received by critics.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic opined that the album is the sound of "a sensitive, vulnerable Bradfield, something that hasn't been captured on Manics albums even when they strayed toward colorless mature-pop." The website further described: "Sonically, this album isn't far removed from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours—it's anthemic yet soft, dramatic yet hushed—but unlike on the Manics albums since, it doesn't sound labored."[7] Q magazine echoed similar sentiments, opining that the album is "even stronger than either of the last two Manics albums [Know Your Enemy and Lifeblood]".[12]



  1. ^ Mason, Stewart. "James Dean Bradfield". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b White, Chris (18 July 2006). "BBC – Music – Review of James Dean Bradfield – The Great Western". BBC Music. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Preacher man takes pilgrimage of his own". Retrieved 2015-09-09. 
  4. ^ Morris, Sophie (17 February 2008). "How We Met: John Niven & James Dean Bradfield – Profiles – People – The Independent". The Independent. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Bateman, Steve (2006-10-20). "An Interview: Live @ Oxford Zodiac". REPEAT fanzine. 
  6. ^ "JAMES DEAN BRADFIELD | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2015-09-09. 
  7. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Great Western – James Dean Bradfield | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Boden, Sarah (16 July 2006). "CD: James Dean Bradfield, The Great Western | Music | The Observer". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Great Western review". Mojo: 86. August 2006. 
  10. ^ Murphy, John (24 July 2006). "James Dean Bradfield – The Great Western | Albums | musicOMH". musicOMH. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Great Western review". NME: 31. 22 July 2006. 
  12. ^ a b "The Great Western review". Q: 116. August 2006. 
  13. ^ "The Great Western review". Uncut: 86. August 2006. 

External links[edit]