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Stuart Adamson: In a Big Country Hardcover – Apr 1 2011

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon (April 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184697142X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971426
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 581 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,046,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'A fitting tribute to a man whose musical legacy will live on for years to come' (Dunfermline Press )

About the Author

Allan Glen was born in Dunfermline and worked as a miner before studying journalism. He worked as an investigative news reporter on the South China Sunday Morning Post in Hong Kong before returning to the UK to work for NME, Melody Maker and The Guardian. He writes for The Stage, Audience and Live UK. He lives on Teesside with his family.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ok. Your money would be better spent on some classic Big Country CDs instead.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa176e438) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa17a0fb4) out of 5 stars Better than some seem to think Jan. 1 2012
By Christian W. Gallagher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't see any point in contradicting the reviews of this book that have already been published here, because some of the observations are true. However, rather than focusing on what this book doesn't seem to offer (and for those of you clamoring to hear interviews with Stuart's widow(s), I am not among you), I was much more taken with what it does have. As an American who has been captivated by Stuart and his work since I was thirteen, I know that I loved the music - both Skids and Big Country - and was saddened that most fans on both sides of the Atlantic failed to hear or appreciate much beyond the products of early success. For just a few days more than a decade now, I have struggled with the man's passsing, but I have also been somewhat incredulous as to why the music didn't reach a bigger audience. I've made my peace with that, to some extent, with the solace that his music will always be here, and new fans are born every day.

This book does chronicle a great deal, and much of it was new to me, despite nearly three decades of devotion to Big Country and the Skids. After listening to each of those albums countless times, it was especially helpful and gratifying to get perspective and context from Dunfermline natives such as Glen and Rankin. And if it's a reach to suggest that such insights have helped me to appreciate memorized music on a different level - if only a little - than it's a reach I feel comfortable making. As it happens, I never fully appreciated what a producer does for a record until I heard rough cuts from the Crossing before Steve Lillywhite began working with the band in the studio. And I will always be somewhat stunned by the notion that Big Country's most artistically valid album, Steeltown, is what ultimately doomed them to commercial failure. You don't have to be a genius to realize that Peter Wolf had no business producing a Big Country album. (Dave Bates, you hack.) I realized as much when I was seventeen. But when you read about why "Fragile Thing" wasn't allowed to chart, or why Radio 1 wouldn't play Big Country songs, you begin to understand just how frustrating Stuart's last few years must have been. Those are insights I needed from this book. And they are well presented.

So thank you very much for that, Mr. Glen. I, for one am quite grateful, and a bit confused by all of these tough critics here at Amazon. They seem to have loved Stuart, and his music as well. But like many of us, wallowing in the absence of a true virtuoso, bard and artistic genius, they are perhaps hoping for a sense of closure that we may never get. Stay alive.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa17a421c) out of 5 stars Big Country: A Case History of the 1980's Music Scene April 26 2011
By Clara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although a very elaborately detailed account of the inner workings of the music industry as it pertained to Big Country's history as a group, I found Allan Glen's book far from cathartic. It seems that the author does not have access to the necessary details of Adamson's life that would help the reader better understand him and perhaps provide the listener with a deeper understanding of his music. I believe the only worthwhile biography will have to be written with the full participation and consent of the remaining band members and Adamson's family. That said, I am grateful to Glen for having attempted to honor Adamson by making a history that involves pieces of his life history more widely available to people across the globe.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa17a41e0) out of 5 stars A bit light in the plaid. Nov. 14 2011
By THowerton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was extremely happy (and surprised) to find a book out there about Stuart Adamson (R.I.P.). As I was hoping that the book would chronicle a good many things about Adamson's life in-depth (formative events) and share a good deal of focus and reaction to his thoughts and beliefs I ended up being left wanting more. Glen does a decent job of reviewing Adamson's life around the time of the Skids and the initial formation of Big Country. It felt to me that the later years of Adamson's life got short shrift. It did not seem as if major information sources (Adamson's ex-wife; his bandmates; Marcus Hummon; so on) were specifically interviewed for this book. Ah, well. Glad to have it anyway. An easy read.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa17a44d4) out of 5 stars Look Away Aug. 15 2011
By Cubbiccino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh, how I wanted to love this book! This is less a biography of Stuart Adamson than it is a story of Big Country's relationship with the music business. There are surprisingly few details about Adamson's personal life and very little discussion of his creative process. You'll have to look elsewhere for any of that. As a longtime Big Country fan, I'm not really sure what the target audience of this book is. Glen didn't have access to the surviving band members (or ex-wife Sandra, who receives very few references despite her importance to this story), as the illuminating insights from band members are quotes that appear elsewhere and most fans have seen before. There are a few good quotes from son Callum, but this book does little to shed any light on who Adamson was as a man or an artist. There's really nothing new here. It's disappointing.

Glen does provide a sense of the band's relationship with record labels/producers/managers and the immense pressure to produce something "sellable" and remain relevant on the charts. He also tracks the band's work chronologically (beginning with The Skids), offering a look at both the praise and criticisms of the band's catalog and the tensions it created within the band-- though he doesn't delve very deep on that front either. That said, you'll get a livelier and more informed discussion on this front over at Country Club on any given day. Better than nothing? Perhaps, but diehard fans should hold out for something more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa17a4534) out of 5 stars Unsatisfactory skim across the surface April 5 2015
By B. S. Marlay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have to say, as a huge Big Country fan, I was quite disappointed by this book. Its primary flaw is that Mr Glen clearly sees his subject through rose tinted glasses - a man who could do no wrong. After a while, the sycophantic approach starts to become very irritating. Some of the greatest discoveries about an artist come from insights into their failures - which rarely happens here. There is precious little critique. You get little understanding of what drove Stuart Adamson as a songwriter. You also get the feeling the book is cobbled together from magazine articles because there are few contributions from other parties such as band members, producers, friends etc. In the end, I was left thoroughly frustrated and sad that the man didn't write his own autobiography before he died. One of the most unsatisfactory rock biographies I have read. Andy B Andy and Paul Mansell's reviews provide more detail in this regard.(2.5 stars)