At the BBC: The Best of the BBC Recordings

by: Big Country

Released in 2013, Big Country's At the BBC: The Best of the BBC Recordings is a trimmed-down two-disc version of the larger BBC box set that came out at the same time. This 31-track anthology features bits of Big Country's John Peel and David Jensen radio sessions, four songs from their 1988 Soviet Embassy concert, and a variety of highlights from various U.K. concerts ranging from 1983 to 1989. Stripped of Steve Lillywhite's lush production, the radio session tracks (all from 1983, just after the release of The Crossing) reveal a tight, young live band at the peak of its power and creativity. The subsequent live material, which makes up the bulk of this set, is full of confidence and energy, particularly the three cuts from their 1983 performance at the Reading Festival. Full of candid banter from leader Stuart Adamson, the spirited Scottish quartet sounded as if it would dominate the charts for at least the next decade. The later performances from Big Country's 1989 Peace in Our Time shows are no less compelling even if the material wasn't quite as bold as their earlier work. The Best of the BBC Recordings is a nice snapshot of an exciting band in its prime years, but hardcore fans will want to own the complete box set. ~ Timothy Monger

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