BIG COUNTRY – Out Beyond The River [Compulsion Years Anthology, Cherry Red 5-CD Remastered Boxset] (2020)

BIG COUNTRY - Out Beyond The River [Compulsion Years Anthology, Cherry Red 5-CD Remastered Boxset] (2020) full
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As requested, here we have the Cherry Red Records limited box-set ”Out Beyond The River: The Complete Compulsion Recordings”, a newly remastered set featuring the original classic line-up of Scottish rockers BIG COUNTRY, fronted by the late Stuart Adamson.
This set celebrates the recordings of the band made between 1993 and 1994 for Chrysalis Records imprint Compulsion.
Featuring 71 tracks on 5 discs, including the albums ”The Buffalo Skinners” (featuring the great Simon Phillips on drums), the double live album ”Without The Aid Of A Safety Net’ recorded at Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow on 29 December 1993, a disc of rare B-sides / bonus tracks, US radio mixes & previously unreleased song, plus a CD with the original demo for every track on The Buffalo Skinners album.

Fronted by Stuart Adamson, Big Country were at the peak of their popularity in the early to mid ‘80s, blazing through the charts with their own sound, blending Scottish folk and classic rock styles.
After a highly successful run, the band was dropped in 1991 by Mercury Records, their home since 1983.
However, the band found that it gave them more creative freedom, albeit at the cost of not achieving the commercial success that they had previously enjoyed, with the exception of 1993’s The Buffalo Skinners, which then had the backing of EMI’s Chrysalis Records / Compulsion, securing a brief return to form reaching the UK Top 25.

The album would receive enthusiastic critical acclaim, but although it produced two UK Top 30 singles in ‘Alone’ and ‘Ships’, its sales were relatively meagre against their previous standards. Around the same time the mental and emotional health of lead singer Stuart Adamson was becoming increasingly worrying. He was suffering badly with addiction problems and had struggled with alcoholism for several years. He sadly passed away in 2001, ending what was considered to be the classic line-up of the band consisting of Stuart Adamson, Mark Brezezski, Tony Butler, and Bruce Watson.

Cherry Red have released this 6-disc box set (includes a DVD) which comprehensively covers those early ‘90s years.
The album ”Buffalo Skinners” is a pure rocking music affair and gives a greater nod to their American market with titles such as ‘The Selling of America’ and ‘We’re Not in Kansas’.
The track ‘Ships’ gives rise to Big Country of old, with the heartfelt , melodic track which has traces of country music within its instrumental section. The acoustic version of this song on disc 2 is pure beauty.
The pace is well and truly resumed on this album with ‘All Go Together’ setting the general tone for the rest of the album, guitar-heavy riffs and catchy hook lines that will stay with you as an ear-worm for days. Lyrically, there’s tenderness hidden in plain sight, just beneath the powerful guitars and drums, and this is demonstrated no better in the track ‘The One I Love’.

Disc Two of the collection offers B-sides, bonus tracks and rarities all in one place. This includes the respectable if unexpected diverse cover versions of Jonie Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’, Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’, Bowie’s ‘Cracked Actor’ and Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘(Don’t Fear) the Reaper’ among many other delights.
Very good, rare, and unreleased material.

BIG COUNTRY - Out Beyond The River [Compulsion Years Anthology, Cherry Red 5-CD Remastered Boxset] covers

Disc Three covers the demos of the album ‘Buffalo Skinner’ and are mostly rawer versions of the album. It gives the listener an insight to the skeleton of the songs and how the final produced versions compare. Good sound and some different arrangements / ideas.

Discs Four and Five comprise both volumes of live album ‘Without the Aid of a Safety Net’, recorded live at Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow on 29 December 1993.
The first half of volume 1 presents acoustic versions of tracks such as ‘Peace in Our Time’, and Neil Young’s ‘Rocking in the Free World’, while volume 2 boasts hits like ‘In a Big Country’, ‘Alone’ and an encore of ‘Fields of Fire’.

This collection will appeal to fans of Big Country’s work, but also people which never heard this excellent and under appreciated album ”The Buffalo Skinners” plus the songs from the era never released before.
It presents the band at their most creative, full of vigour and positivity and is a joy to listen to.
Highly Recommended

 

DISC ONE: THE BUFFALO SKINNERS
01 – Alone
02 – Seven Waves
03 – What Are You Working For
04 – The One I Love
05 – Long Way Home
06 – The Selling Of America
07 – We’re Not In Kansas
08 – Ships
09 – All Go Together
10 – Winding Wind
11 – Pink Marshmallow Moon
12 – Chester’s Farm
13 – The One I Love (US Mix)
14 – Never Take Your Place
15 – Eastworld
16 – Buffalo Skinners (Demo)

DISC TWO: B-SIDES, BONUS TRACKS & RARITIES
01 – Rockin’ In The Free World
02 – Woodstock
03 – Oh Well
04 – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
05 – Buffalo Skinners
06 – Cracked Actor
07 – Paranoid
08 – Ships (Radio Edit)
09 – Alone (Radio Edit)
10 – We’re Not In Kansas (US Alternate Mix)
11 – The One I Love (Dave Thoener Mix)
12 – I Am A Small Republic
13 – Dragging My Name (Audiocraft Demo)
14 – Seven Waves (Instrumental Demo)
15 – Eastworld (Instrumental Demo)
16 – What Are You Working For (Instrumental Demo)

DISC THREE: THE BUFFALO SKINNERS DEMOS
01 – Alone (Demo)
02 – Seven Waves (Demo)
03 – What Are You Working For (Audiocraft Demo)
04 – The One I Love (Demo)
05 – Long Way Home (Demo)
06 – The Selling Of America (Demo)
07 – We’re Not In Kansas (Monitor Mix)
08 – Shiips (Monitor Mix)
09 – All Go Together (Demo)
10 – Winding Wind (Demo)
11 – Pink Marshmallow Moon (Demo)
12 – Chester’s Farm (Audiocraft Demo)
13 – Eastworld (Demo)
14 – Rockin’ In The Free World (Monitor Mix)

DISC FOUR:
WITHOUT THE AID OF A SAFETY NET LIVE 29/12/93, PART 1
01 – Introduction
02 – Harvest Home (Acoustic)
03 – Peace In Our Time (Acoustic)
04 – Just A Shadow (Acoustic)
05 – 13 Valleys (Acoustic)
06 – Winter Sky (Acoustic)
07 – The Storm (Acoustic)
08 – Chance (Acoustic)
09 – Tracks Of My Tears (Acoustic)
10 – Rockin’ In The Free World (Acoustic)
11 – All Go Together
12 – We’re Not In Kansas
13 – Look Away
14 – What Are You Working For
15 – Steeltown

DISC FIVE:
WITHOUT THE AID OF A SAFETY NET LIVE 29/12/93, PART 2
01 – Stuart And The Audience
02 – Ships
03 – Wonderland
04 – Long Way Home
05 – Alone
06 – In A Big Country
07 – The Audience (Encore)
08 – Lost Patrol
09 – (Hey Hey My My) Out Of The Blue (Into The Black)
10 – Fields Of Fire

Stuart Adamson — guitar, vocals
Tony Butler — bass guitar, backing vocals
Bruce Watson — guitar, mandolin
Colin Berwick — keyboards
Joe Bull — programming
Simon Phillips — drums

 

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www.amazon.com/Out-Beyond-River-Compulsion-Anthology/dp/B08DC6GTB9

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