Big Country

John Wayne's Dream

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When Big Country released their final studio album, Driving to Damascus, in 1999, it never received the proper distribution it deserved (except in Europe). In 2002, Big Country bassist Tony Butler took the tapes back into the studio, remastered the entire album with a few new edits, and added four bonus tracks in the process. This release, re-titled John Wayne's Dream, is the outcome of Butler's hard work, and it is a pure delight for Big Country fans, and rock and roll fans in general. The original Driving to Damascus album was, perhaps, Big Country's most consistent release in over a decade and this repackage makes it shine even brighter. Though it may seem like a cash-in on the suicide of leader/vocalist/guitarist Stuart Adamson, it is nothing of the sort. It is actually a tribute to his voice, his songwriting, and his overall presence Although Adamson was the most recognizable member of the band, Big Country always worked best with the four original members, all of whom are present and accounted for (Adamson, Butler, guitarist Bruce Watson, and drummer Mark Brzezicki). Tracks like "Driving To Damascus," "John Wayne's Dream," "Dive Into Me," "Bella," and "See You" are all instant Big Country classics, weaving a late-'90s sound into the tightly structured Big Country musical tapestry. The playing is tight, the production is meaty, and the songs are top-notch. You may have missed this album the first time around, so don't make the same mistake twice.

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