It’s coming up again – the anniversary of Stuart Adamson’s death. And every year, I start thinking about him, his music, and what could have been,
He’s the one with the bagpipey guitar band, right? One hit wonder?
Well, true. If you ignore the The Skids. And how BC developed over the years. And The Raphaels. And Driving to Damascus.
He came from Dunfermline; well, born in Manchester, but everyone in Fife claimed him. My Dad, who is Fife born and bred (you don’t follow the Pars and the Blue Brazl otherwise) says so, and Da introduced me to him. The Crossing, on cassette, in the Renault 14 when he took my brother and me to work with him at Sunningdale. That, and Making Movies.
I saw BC at De Montfort on the ‘Why the long face?” tour. Then with Dad when they were supported by The Alarm. Among the best concerts I’ve been to. They were a band who connected with their audience in a way that few I’ve seen have.
So what’s the music about then? Well, it’s better than popular opinion would have you believe. Adamson is a good guitarist; actually, he’s very very good, and Watson ain’t no slouch. Butler and Brzezinski re a very tight section.
It’s the lyrics though. Take a run through the catalogue, and you’ll find someone who wrote about ordinary people. Wondering what happened to the protest songs about the Falklands? You might have missed BC then. Factory workers? Check. Protesting American politics? Yup. Steelworking? That’s there too. Movie soundtrack that got the film just right? Restless Natives. And you know what? It sounded fucking fantastic.
The Crossing was great. Steeltown was patchy, but when it was good, it was great. But when they hit their straps – and I think it’s The Buffalo Skinners – you can see what a great rock band they were. No frills guitar rock.
Big Country were above all else a people’s band. Not like Ufucking2; Adamson bought a bar in Dunfermline. Bono bought a shopping center in Lithuania.
They’ll never get the credit they deserve, and this is a paean to a lost hero. I’ve always seen Stuart as a hero – because of Dad, he’s local. And he’s a local guy who stayed true to his roots and his folk.
I’ll post a video underneath.
I’ve been musing a post of this nature for a while. How do you write a meaningful post about someone whose music you admire and whose death makes you sad every year? Probably not like this, but this is the best I can do. #stayalive