Archive for Steeltown

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Big Country- Steeltown

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

After much contemplation, actually thirty plus years of it, I have arrived at the conclusion that Scottish rockers, Big Country have been given a bad rap by many in the rock world. I think that because of their first big hit “In a Big Country” from their 1983 album, “The Crossing,” which sounded a little new wave pop to some and the fact that MTV played the video to death. What also didn’t help them was that on this, their 1984 album, “Steeltown,” they went on tour with Hall and Oates, which led me and many others to conclude they were simply a top forty band. In truth, they weren’t and had some interesting sounds that metalheads and those not into trends could like together.

What they do so well on this album and their others as well is to blend the hard rock, new wave with their Celtic roots. Blended together, it makes a very interesting but enjoyable sound. The title track is the prime example of what I mean. One minute you are gently rocking away to it and the next you find yourself lost in the Celtic melody of the song. An added bonus is the political/historical message in the lyrics. “Steeltown” is about the town of Corby where many local Scots went to work in the newly opened steel mill in 1935 only to find themselves unemployed when it shut down in the early 1980s following the decline of the steelworks. The song was very apt for that time.

The rest of the album follows along in the same vein. Hard rock with great local melodies entwine themselves in every song. One thing I find on a personal note is that “East of Eden” was their only top 20 single from the album but I think that there are better songs on it and with me, that’s usually the criteria for a good album in my twisted mind. As far as singles go, I prefer the non top 20 reaching one, “Where the Rose is Sown.” That only made it to 29  but it has all the things I like on the album. “Come Back to Me” is also an interesting one. It’s kind of a ballad but it’s not but it does have some nice drum work on it. “Rain Dance” also stands out for me and “The Great Divide” is the hardest rock track but I can’t say there’s a bad song on here.

Track Listing:

  1. Flame of the West
  2. East of Eden
  3. Steeltown
  4. Where the Rose is Sown
  5. Come Back to Me
  6. Tall Ships Go
  7. Girl With Grey Eyes
  8. Rain Dance
  9. The Great Divide
  10. Just a Shadow

Big Country

Stuart Adamson- lead vocals, guitar, piano

Mark Brzezicki- drums, percussion, vocals

Tony Butler- bass, vocals

Bruce Watson- guitar, mandolin, sitar, vocals

For the reasons I mentioned at the start of the post, this album largely passed me by in 1984. Don’t worry, I’ve already given myself 40 lashes for it. It would be the next album when I would stop and say, “Hey wait a minute, these guys are pretty good.” Still, better late than never and I can say that this album is the real deal.

Next post:  REO Speedwagon- Wheels Are Turnin’

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:  https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1504208727&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

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