Monday, August 24, 2009

Big Country Chronicles: 'Wonderland'


It was a magical time between the debut of 'The Crossing' and the release of the 'Wonderland' EP. Huge sales, critical acclaim, a worldwide tour and two Grammy nominations led us to a fantastic four-song (in America, anyway) record in early 1984.

I vividly remember buying it on a "special low price" cassette the week it came out. It was late summer of that year before I purchased the 12" single. It took that long because I was 13 years old and lived in a town without a record store. Let's also put into perspective that you couldn't exactly jump on the Internet and order it. Side A of the EP (American) consisted of "Wonderland" and "All Fall Together". If there was a weak song on the EP -- and I contend there wasn't -- "All Fall Together" could have been it. Side B was "Angle Park" and "The Crossing". Both of these songs appeared as other B-sides on singles, and they are, arguably, the best of Big Country's flip sides. If you were able to pick up an import, you got bonuses such as "Heart and Soul", "Chance (Extended)", "In A Big Country (Extended)" and "Lost Patrol (Live)". It all depended on the country of origin. As usual, Japan, Holland and the UK all had vastly superior tracklists.

Clocking in at 7:11, the 12" single was one of the band's longest and most complex remixes. The vocals and harmonies in particular were the strongest to this point. The flip side was the EP version of the song, as well as the instrumental "Giant". No great shakes on the flip side, but the extended version of "Wonderland" was more than worth the price of admission. And after owning the dinky cassette of the EP, it was great to hold that fantastic piece of art that was the cover. I had a good friend who had a "Wonderland" cover T-shirt. I was never so envious. I look for it on ebay even to this day. Speaking of great art, the next installment of the chronicles takes us to 'Steeltown'.

Big Country - Wonderland 12" (mp3)
Big Country - Wonderland (mp3)
Big Country - Giant (mp3)

See Also:
Big Country Chronicles: 'Chance'
Big Country Chronicles: 'In A Big Country'
Big Country Chronicles: 'Fields of Fire'
Big Country Chronicles: 'Harvest Home'

1 comment:

Robert Ashdown said...

Your blog is magic! I picked up the Wonderland disk and a t-shirt with the cover on it here in Australia somehow. Long lost somewhere on the road unfortunately.