Big Country – Driving To Damascus (4 CD Deluxe Edition)


Something of a holy grail for Big Country collectors over the years, their 1999 album Driving To Damascus is finally given the deluxe treatment courtesy of the terrific Cherry Red Records label, who really do a great job in compiling these type of packages. The bands eighth studio album and released on the US under an alternate title (John Wayne’s Dream) it would ultimately prove to be their last to feature the classic line-up of front man Stuart Adamson, guitarist Bruce Watson, Tony Butler on bass and drummer Mark Brzezicki. Aside from the album itself, which was recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales, this release also includes the live-in-the-studio ‘Nashville Sessions’, single versions, alternate mixes from the US release and two discs of demos. All of this combined really does make this a comprehensive package.

Although it did not fare particularly well on the charts at the time of its release, Driving To Damascus saw Big Country go out on a creative high. By this time Adamson had moved to Nashville and the influence of his new environment can be heard in his songwriting, notably on the dusty highways of the title track and tabloid critique ‘The President Slipped and Fell’. Darker love songs ‘Perfect World’ and ‘Your Spirit To Me’ are amongst the other highlights, even if the absence of “bagpipe” guitars and Adamson’s shift into an American accent may come as something of a surprise to the more casual listener. DTD also saw some notable collaborations with ‘Somebody Else’ and ‘Devil In The Eye’ were co-written by Ray Davies of The Kinks and Eddi Reader is featured as guest vocalist on the single ‘Fragile Thing’.  Among the additional tracks both ‘This Bloods For You’ and ‘I Get Hurt’ are powerful numbers that surprising did not make the album itself, and it is evident that there was no shortage of strong material for the band to choose from. A very good album overall, and once which is certainly worthy of rediscovery.

Available now from Cherry Red Records.

Track Listing:


Driving To Damascus
1 Driving To Damascus
2 Dive Into Me
3 See You
4 Perfect World
5 Somebody Else
6 Fragile Thing
7 The President Slipped And Fell
8 Devil In The Eye
9 Trouble The Waters
10 Bella
11 Your Spirit To Me
12 Grace
Nashville Sessions
13 Driving To Damascus
14 Perfect World
15 Fragile Thing
16 Dive Into Me
17 Chance
18 Look Away


B Sides and Alternate Mixes
1 I Get Hurt
2 John Wayne’s Dream
3 Dust On The Road
4 Loserville
5 This Blood’s For You
6 Camp Smedley’s Theme
7 Sleep There Till Dawn (Sleep Until Dawn)
8 Another Misty Morning
9 Fragile Thing (single edit)
10 Somebody Else (single edit)
11 Dive Into Me (Rafe Mix)
12 Perfect World (Rafe Mix)
13 The President Slipped And Fell (Vocal Up Mix)
14 Devil In The Eye (Vocal Up Mix)
15 Bella (Vocal Up Mix)
16 This Blood’s For You (Rafe Mix)
17 Fragile Thing (Vocal Up Mix)
18 Your Spirit To Me (Vocal Up Mix With Middle 8 Vocal In)


Demos Disc 1
1 Driving To Damascus (1st Version)
2 Dive Into Me
3 See You
4 Perfect World
5 Somebody Else
6 Fragile Thing
7 The President Slipped And Fell
8 Devil In The Eye
9 Trouble The Waters (1st Version)
10 Bella
11 Your Spirit To Me
12 Grace
13 I Get Hurt
14 Loserville
15 This Blood’s For You (demo)
16 You Want Me To Go
17 I’m On This Train
18 Small Town Big News


Demos Disc 2
1 Driving To Damascus (2nd Version)
2 Trouble The Waters (2nd Version)
3 This Blood’s For You (alt mix)
4 You Want Me To Go (alt mix)
5 I’m On This Train (alt mix)
6 Ages Of A Man
7 Birmingham
8 Sun And My Shadow
9 Living By Memory
10 Don’t You Stay
11 Cimarron
12 Second Time Around
13 Without Wings
14 Daystar
15 Medicine Show
16 Sweet November Nothings
17 Simple’s Always Best
18 Soldier Of The Lord