Big Big Train -
A Stone's Throw From The Line

(2 CD 2016, 53:43/ 72:11, English Electric Recordings EERCD0018)

The tracks:
  1- Make Some Noise(5:21)
  2- The First Rebreather(8:32)
  3- The Underfall Yard(21:56)
  4- Uncle Jack(4:13)
  5- Victorian Brickwork(13:38)
  1- Kingmaker(11:09)
  2- Wassail(8:08)
  3- Summoned By Bells(9:08)
  4- Judas Unrepentant(9:42)
  5- Curator Of Butterflies(8:20)
  6- East Coast Racer(16:32)
  7- Hedgerow(9:11)

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A Stone's Throw From The Line is the new live album from Big Big Train. It was recorded during three shows at The King's Place in London in August 2015. The running order is the same as the set list at the shows although the best performance of each song from any of the three nights has been chosen to go on the album. It is a delight!

Big Big Train have grown in stature over the course of their last three studio albums. A time in which David Longdon joined the band and provided a vocal sound to compliment the superb musicians that make up the band. These songs are taken from those albums.
I am not going to go through each song individually as fans of the group will already know them. But the answer to the question " do I need a live version of songs I already have?" is a resounding "YES". The studio productions are great but in a live setting these songs move into another realm. There is different instrumentation due to new members joining the band and Rachel Hall's violin adds an extra texture to the sound. Sometimes live albums can sound muddy with lots of instruments on stage. Not this one. Each instrument is expertly given its space in the mix and everything can be heard clearly. Rob Aubrey has done a fantastic job on the production.
Big Big Train write and perform intelligent music with wonderful melodies and intriguing stories. You can tell that a lot of thought and deliberation goes into everything they do. Listening to this album takes me back to the heydays of the seventies. A time when progressive music was exciting, fresh, and relevant.

Live albums are usually categorized as a souvenir document of a live concert, but not great albums in their own right. There are exceptions of course. I can think of Yessongs (1973) by Yes and Seconds Out (1977) by Genesis. This album has just joined that list. It really is that good.

If you have never heard Big Big Train before but like the two albums I just mentioned then I suggest you buy this one. If you are a fan then you probably bought it on day of release!

***** Dave Smith

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