A Treasure Trove for BC Fans!
JD Cetola | Omaha, NE USA | 04/24/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This second rarities release from Scottish rockers Big Country ("Restless Natives & Rarities", a 2-cd set is the first and is even better than this collection) is well-worth purchasing. Most of these songs will be new to even the most hard-core BC fan (with the possible exception of 'Crazytimes', 'Eastworld', 'Never Take Your Place' and 'Trouble the Waters') and many of them are terrific. On this 73+ minute cd are 10 songs performed during Mark Brzezicki's hiatus with Pat Ahern and Chris Smith filling in admirably and five with Brzezicki on the sticks. Highlights include the rocking 'Hardly A Mountain', 'Lone Star', and 'The Long Run' as well as 'Celtic Dream' (recognizable as a different version of 'Into the Fire') and 'I Feel Fine' (essentially the same tune as 'Normal' from the first Rarities cd). Aside from the bizarre 'Eggplant', this cd will be a treasure trove of delight to any fan of Big Country -- particularly those who enjoyed 1991's "No Place Like Home"."
If You Love Big Country
D. Wolf | Rochester, NY USA | 07/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you love Big Country, this CD is an absolute must for your collection. Mostly, I have been disappointed with the Rarities collections, but II stands out. I won't say that every track is great, because that would not be true. No CD has a 100% success rate. However, there are some amazing tracks on this disc: "You Want Me To Go" is my favorite and one of the three or four best Big Country songs I have ever heard. "Lone Star" is terrific, as is "Secret Angel Man." "Soul on Fire" is a song I can listen to over and over, and "The Long Road" is another wonderful song."
Why Are These Rarities, Anyway?
Benedict J. Likens | Whiting, IN USA | 12/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are times when one easily figures out why some songs weren't released on this album or that -- they STUNK, and have continued to decompose as time has worn on. However, these songs have quite a nice odor about them, and I'm forced to wonder why they weren't released on whatever album during which sessions they were recorded.
"Crazy Times" is a sublime song, in the sense that Stuart Adamson's vocals are delivered with not only just the right amount of resignation, but also a dash of hope. "Never Take Your Place" is also an Adamson vocal standout. It's intense (as was Adamson himself, God rest his beautiful, troubled soul), but understated, if that makes sense. "I Feel Fine" should've been released on SOME album SOMEWHERE. Bruce Watson hates his vocal performance on this particular track, but I have to disagree with him. I think it's wonderful, and suits the song to a "T." Its counterpart, "Normal," available on the first BC Rarities collection, is too slick or too produced or too something or other. Watson's voice gives it the type of character and zip that would've fit comfortably on any album, perhaps No Place Like Home the best, but it should've been given more serious consideration for release.
"Celtic Dream," with its shift in tempo and feel, is an exciting, provocative track, which features an essential BC feature, the intertwining guitars of Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson. These guys should be recognized as one of the finest guitar duos that rock music ever had, but, alas, they're not. We don't live in a perfect world, after all. Tony Butler's bass playing, notably on "Eastworld," is rock solid, but also fluid. Butler is another player who should be more highly regarded than he is, but my comment about the perfect world applies here, too.
The drumming differences between Mark Brzezicki and Pat Ahern don't make much of a difference to me in terms of song quality. Although I think Brzezicki is a better drummer in a technical sense, Ahern does a very fine job and has his own style about him. I can see why Big Country called on him when Brzezicki took some time off.
In the final analysis, Big Country is one of those bands that, in time (I hope, anyway), will be recognized as one of THE great rock bands, but I suppose the tastes of an ever-fickle public don't matter much to me, nor to my fellow fans. I love this band, and there are plenty of other folks around the world who share my enthusiasm. Big Country won't be forgotten anytime soon. Even their castaways are better than many bands' best material. I think that says something. There's always something new to discover in their music, and because of that, it will continue saying something -- many things."