Stuart Adamson: In a Big Country Hardcover – Apr 1 2011
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'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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.