Review: Big Country – Steeltown Deluxe Edition

Big Country - Steeltown Deluxe Edition2014 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Big Country’s second album, Steeltown. This Deluxe Edition will be released on September 29th, a shade before the “proper” anniversary of October 19th, but what’s a couple of weeks between friends?

Most Big Country fans will almost certainly have this album in their collection, so I’m going to focus on the additional material. Why would you want another copy, after all?

Well, they’ve kind of gone all “Beatles” with the bonus material. There’s a supplementary second CD that’s absolutely stuffed with tracks. Alongside “Wonderland” (which was released as a single between this and the previous album, but wasn’t on either), for example, are two “work in progress” takes. Other singles and B-sides of non-album tracks are there, too, as well as a rather unusual version of “Bass Dance”.

Even the rough versions of songs sound pretty good, and you can get an idea of how the songs were tweaked before the final polish was put on for the album release.

The downside is, of course, that you end up with several versions of the same track – but for collectors and completists, that’s hardly going to be an issue. As well as the music there’s a 24-page booklet full of bumph, with notes written by Tim Barr, journalist and lifelong fan of the band.

Sound-wise, all of the tracks are good and the usual remastering has been done to make the most of current CD technology.

As a band, Big Country have stood the test of time with the best of them and the fact that Steeltown sounds as fresh now as it did thirty years ago is testament to that fact. If you’re new to the band and are looking to pick up their back-catalogue, it’s probably worth considering spending an extra few pennies on this bundle. For existing fans, have a gander at that second disc. It could be enough to warrant an extra treat from this month’s pay packet.

DISC ONE – The Original Album Remastered

  1. Flame Of The West
  2. East of Eden
  3. Steeltown
  4. Where the Rose Is Sown
  5. Come Back To Me
  6. Tall Ships Go
  7. Girl With Grey Eyes
  8. Rain Dance
  9. The Great Divide
  10. Just A Shadow

DISC TWO – A-Sides / B-Sides / Demos and Rough Mixes

  1. Wonderland – Single A-side  ( 3:56 )
  2. Giant – Single B-side (  3:56 )
  3. All Fall Together – Giant Remix ( 5:05 )
  4. East of Eden – Radio Edit ( 4:11 )
  5. Prairie Rose – Single B-side (  4:46 )
  6. Where The Rose Is Sown –  Radio edit ( 4:07 )
  7. Belief In The Small Man – Single B-side ( 5:17 )
  8. Bass Dance – Single B-side ( 1:39 )
  9. Just A Shadow –   ( 4:28 )
  10. Winter Sky – Single B-side ( 3:16 )
  11. Wonderland – Work In Progress  Take 1 (  4:12 )
  12. Wonderland – Work In Progress Demo Take 2 ( 4:27 )
  13. East of Eden – Rough Mix ( 4:50 )
  14. Tall Ships – Rough Mix ( 5:17 )
  15. Where The Rose Is Sown – Rough Mix ( 5:32 )
  16. Come Back To Me – Rough Mix ( 4:50 )
  17. Bass Concerto ( Bass Dance ) ( 5:41 )

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