Big Country – The Crossing

Did you know that with the right effects and technique, you can make a guitar sound like bagpipes? Scottish band Big Country did, and they used it to great effect on numerous songs on their 1983 debut album “The Crossing”.

Big Country’s bagpipe guitar sound helped give their music a unique, slightly celtic nuance that was unmistakable. I couldn’t resist buying their debut album after hearing just one song by them. “In a Big Country” starts off with a complex drum intro that leads into the “bagpipes’ and double vocals that immediately grabbed me. Along with its Celtic undercurrents, that lead-off song on “The Crossing” set the tone for the entire album.

Absolutely one of my favorite records from the ’80s.

Kevin Rowland and Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Too-Rye-Ay

If you’re ever in the moon for rock and roll mixed with Celtic music – heavy on the Celtic – may I recommend Kevin Rowland and Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ 1982 album “Too-Rye-Ay”.

If you’re from the US, you probably think of Dexy’s Midnight Runners as one hit wonders, their hit being “Come On Eileen”. Although that song hit number one on the US charts, Dexy’s failed to have any other song that did more than make a dent in them. If you’re from the UK however, when “Too-Rye-Ay” came out, you probably already knew of Kevin Rowland and his band from “Geno”, their previous number one on the UK charts. You probably also remember their two other hits from this album, “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” and “The Celtic Soul Brothers”.

I have to admit, my musical tastes seem to gel better with the more diverse sounds that become popular in Britain and Europe. The American charts tend to be less adventurous. “Too-Rye-Ay” is the only record in my collection by Kevin Rowland and Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I have a feeling I’d have one or two more had I lived overseas. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for some of their other records when I visit the used record stores around here.