Saturday, February 04, 2012
SATURDAY'S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 19)
The Big Dish are a Scottish pop/rock band formed in Airdrie, Scotland in 1983. The band initially comprised Steven Lindsay (vocals/guitar), Mark Ryce (guitar) and John Harper (keyboards). The trio was subsequently augmented on stage by Raymond Docherty (bass) and Keith Burns (drums). As well as releasing three studio albums, the band performed live as support to Lloyd Cole and Big Country.
By the time their debut album Swimmer was released on Virgin Records in 1986 the line-up had undergone notable changes, with Lindsay and Docherty joined by new guitarist Brian McFie, keyboardist/saxophonist Ian Ritchie (album recordings only), Allan Dumbreck on Keyboards and Dave Cantwell on Drums. Tracks on Swimmer were significantly polished versions of the tracks that had been played live up until then. Live, however, the songs from Swimmer had a punch to them that complemented songs played by the bands they supported. Songs like Slide with its simple bass line thumping out, were anathema to the late 80s "house" music that was taking over the charts and clubs of the time.
Lindsay, McFie and Docherty then completed the follow-up album Creeping Up On Jesus in 1988 with session musicians — including drummer Blair Cunningham and hornman Gary Barnacle, Craig Armstrong and Paul Wickens (keyboards) and a horn section. Despite Bruce Lampcov's muscular production, this second effort proved commercially unsuccessful and the band was dropped from Virgin, when Lindsay refused to countenance recording a cover version.
Lindsay and McFie recorded the band's last album Satellites for the American East/West label (a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records) in 1991 with assistance from Armstrong, Docherty, record producer Warne Livesey and a number of session musicians, including bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Manu Katché. They also put together a new touring line-up featuring bassist Tracey Gilbert and drummer Skip Reid. However, despite critical acclaim for the new record and a hit single ("Miss America" entered the UK Singles Chart at #37),the group disbanded shortly afterwards.
A compilation of the group's work entitled Rich Man's Wardrobe was released by Virgin Records in 1994, featuring cuts from the band’s two albums with the label, and the inclusion of rare track "Voodoo Baby".
Not long after the split, Lindsay resumed his partnership with Armstrong. Lindsay provided vocals on Armstrong’s 2002 album As If to Nothing. To promote this release, Lindsay returned to the live arena, performing throughout Europe with a thirty-piece orchestra.
Lindsay returned to the fold in late 2004 on his own Seminal label with the piano-driven Exit Music featuring string arrangements by the Scottish Ensemble. Lindsay plays and programmes all other instruments and the album has received widerspread acclaim. The Australian edition of the album contains two additional tracks. Lindsay was then signed to Chrysalis Records, and in 2007 the second solo CD Kite was released, including a cover of "Monkey Gone to Heaven", originally by Pixies.
The band reunited to play a sold out show at Glasgow ABC on January 21 2012 as part of the Celtic Connections festival, and the Darvel Music Festival in May 2012. The lineup for the reunion was Lindsay, McFie, Docherty, Dumbreck and Ross McFarlane(drums).
And here are the three tracks from the 12" version of the hit single mentioned above:-
mp3 : The Big Dish - Miss America
mp3 : The Big Dish - From The Mission Bell To The Deep Blue Sea
mp3 : The Big Dish - The Town Celebrity
I can see what The Big Dish, even today, provoke great excitement among music lovers. But other than this 12" single and a compilation sampler CD containing five of the singles I don't own anything. I never quite took to them but can't explain why except it all sort of sounded like stuff I had loved by others a few years earlier.
Mind you, I do like the Mission Bell b-side....it's the sort of think Lloyd Cole and The Commotions would have been very proud to have written and recorded.
Next up in this series.....Bis