Big Country

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1981-)

- Stuart Adamson (RIP 2001) -- vocals, guitar

- Mark Brzezicki -- drums, percussion

- Tony Butler -- bass

- Bruce Watson -- lead guitar





- The Raphaels (Stuart Adamson)

- The Skids (Stuart Adamson)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Wonderland

Company: Mercury

Catalog:  COUNT 512

Country/State: Dumfermline, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: 4 track EP

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: --

Price: SOLD $10.00

The 1984 four track EP "Wonderland" was Mercury Records attempt to buy some time for Big Country between the release of 1983's "The Crossing" and their 1984 follow-up "Steel Town".   Musically all four tracks represent the classic Big Country sound with the title track and 'The Crossing' (which didn't appear on their debut album), being the highlights.  Yes, there's plenty of the band's patented "bagpipe" sound (courtesy of MXR Pitch Transposer 129 effect pedal generous use of e-bow.  Good place for the curious to start.


"Wonderland" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Wonderland  (Stuart Adamson - Mark Brzezicki - Tony Butler - Bruce Watson) - 3:58  rating: ***** stars

If you were going to pick a song that encapsulated Big Country's instantly recognizable sound, the blazing 'Wonderland' would be a good selection.  Released as kind of a "stopgap" between their first and second albums, the track provided the band with their third top-10 UK hit and also hit the US charts.  All hyperbole, 'Wonderland' has to be one of the greatest mid-'80s songs most people have never heard.

  7" UK release

- 1984's 'Wonderland' b/w 'Giant' (Mercury catalog number COUNT 5)

Neither the video or sound quality are very good, but YouTube has a copy of the promotion video: Big Country/ Wonderland - YouTube  There are a bunch of YouTube live performances, but this one from a 1986 appearance before an enthusiastic crowd on the German Rockpalast show is great: Big Country - Wonderland (Live At Rockpalast 1986) - YouTube

2.) All Fall Together  (Stuart Adamson - Mark Brzezicki - Tony Butler - Bruce Watson) - 5:05   rating: **** stars

 'All Fall Togather' opened up with a pastoral melody, but about a minute in Mark Brzezicki's drums blew the song up (how did he hit his kit so hard?).  Big Country going dark and martial ...  Re-titled 'Giant', an instrumental version of the song appeared as the "B" side of their 'Wonderland' 45.  On the "Restless Natives & Rarities" collection Adamson talked about the tune:  "[The track] was recorded for the movie “Streets of Fire” and was done at Castle Studios just outside Edinburgh. I asked Mark [Brzezicki] to go in and do a drum track based on a thing he had been jamming. The song was then built around that. Lyrically the subject matter is a kind of doomsday scenario, sort of in the spirit of the movie."


(side 2)

1.) Angle Park   (Stuart Adamson - Bruce Watson) - 4:07   rating: **** stars

Reportedly inspired by a Dumfermline townhouse Adamson lived in while a member of The Skids,  'Angle Park' was another awesome tune that somehow got stuck as a "B" side (it originally appeared on the 'Fields of Fire' single.  Tony Butler's bass provides the secret sauce on this one.  YouTube has a 1983 performance from the British ITV "The Tube" television show: Big Country - Angle Park (The Tube 18.3.1983) - YouTube

2.) The Crossing  (Stuart Adamson - Mark Brzezicki - Tony Butler - Bruce Watson) - 7:04   rating: **** stars

As mentioned, 'The Crossing' didn't make it onto the band's debut album.  Instead it was relegated to another "B" side, appearing on 1983's 'Chance.'  The track's always interested me in that it's a tune where the band showed the were more than a one-trick-pony, effortlessly changing musical style, tempo, rhythm, and feel within a seven minute stretch. Clueless what it's actually about since Adamson's hevay Scottish accent was on display.  While the start of the song is missing, YouTube has a clip of the band performing the tune at an August 1982 performance at New York's Peppermint Lounge (they opened for The Members and headliner Darlene Love: Big Country - 7. 'The Crossing' - Live in New York, 1982. - YouTube