The Epic 2017 Project #21: 170121
Big Country – No place like home (1991)
No Place Like Home nearly broke up Big Country. Drummer Mark Brzezicki returned to the studio as a session drummer after leaving the band. The album found Big Country trying to reinvent themselves and shift away from their 1980s image. It was not a commercial success and was not released in America, although two re-recorded tracks showed up on 1993’s The Buffalo Skinners.
In 1991, the band was dropped by Phonogram, the label that had released all of their material for ten years. After that, Big Country became a minor act, popping up in the lower echelons of the charts in the UK and Europe with the release of every subsequent album. Only one of these, 1993’s The Buffalo Skinners, received a major label release (via Chrysalis Records), and it seemed a return to form of sorts for the band, reaching the UK Top 25.
The band’s still together and still tour. Although to be fair, nowadays it’s mainly to a cult following of diehard fans. The ‘big’ part of Big Country died when Stuart Adamson, its lead singer and founder, passed away in December 2001.
The Epic 2017 Project #020: 170120
The Beautiful South – Quench (1998)
Quench released in the UK on 12 October 1998 is The Beautiful South’s sixth studio album. It was the band’s third album in a row to reach the top of the charts.
The cover depicts a boxer by Scottish painter Peter Howson. Commissioned for the album, the original painting can be seen in the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. But after the band cropped the image and used it in merchandise and promotional material, Howson took legal action receiving around £30,000 in damages. Whilst the first two singles from the album also have artwork by Howson, the final two – “How Long’s a Tear Take to Dry?” and “The Table”- don’t; perhaps Mr Heaton and co had learned their lesson by then. If you’re planning to change something and then publish it, it’s not a bad idea to ask first!
The Epic 2017 Project #010: 170110
Apollo 440 – Electro glide in Blue (1997)
For around ten years from the end of the 1990s through late 2010, I played bass surdo (a massive 22″ drum with a very deep sound) with the Beach Bateria samba band based in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. In its heyday, the band had 40+ sambistas, 2 maestres and a 20 strong dance troupe. And, as one of its long-standing members, I was able to contribute a number of samples over the years, most of which we developed into the band’s repertoire.
‘Krupa’ was one of them, the opening timpani rhythm the obvious reason. The piece we developed from this we called ‘Gene Krupa’ after the original American jazz drummer (1909 – 1973) and, as far as I know, the band (which still exists, although in much fewer numbers) still plays it.