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Big Big Train

Crossover Prog

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Big Big Train English Electric: Full Power album cover
4.84 | 218 ratings | 12 reviews | 81% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (63:57)
1. Make Some Noise (4:22)
2. The First Rebreather (8:31)
3. Uncle Jack (3:49)
4. Swan Hunter (6:20)
5. Seen Better Days (7:37)
6. Edgelands (1:26)
7. Summoned by Bells (9:16)
8. Upton Heath (5:39)
9. A Boy in Darkness (8:03)
10. Hedgerow (8:54)

CD 2 (71:14)
1. Judas Unrepentant (7:17)
2. Worked Out (7:30)
3. Winchester from St Giles' Hill (7:17)
4. The Lovers (5:32)
5. Leopards (3:54)
6. Keeper of Abbeys (6:59)
7. The Permanent Way (8:16)
8. East Coast Racer (15:44)
9. Curator of Butterflies (8:45)

Total Time 135:11

Line-up / Musicians

- David Longdon / lead & backing vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, piano, organ, synth, dumbek, flute, accordion, melodica, vibraphone, tambourine, shaker, "sounds"
- Dave Gregory / 6- & 12-string electric guitars, EBow, banjo, Mellotron, marimba, string arranger
- Andy Poole / acoustic & 12-string guitars, mandolin, keyboards, electric piano, bass pedals, backing vocals, "sounds", producer
- Danny Manners / piano, organ, synth, double bass, arrangements
- Greg Spawton / bass, guitars (electric, classical, 12-string, acoustic), mandolin, organ, Mellotron, Moog, backing vocals
- Nick D'Virgilio / drums, cajón, backing vocals

- Daniel Steinhardt / electric guitar
- Andy Tillison / organ, piano, Moog, keyboards
- Rob Aubrey / bass pedals
- Eleanor Gilchrist / violin
- Geraldine Berreen / violin
- Rachel Hall / violin & electric violin, string arrangements
- Sue Bowran / violin
- Teresa Whipple / viola
- Abigail Trundle / cello
- Megan Fisher / harp
- Jan Jaap Langereis / recorders
- Jon Truscott / tuba
- John Storey / euphonium, trombone
- Dave Desmond / trombone, brass arrangements
- Ben Godfrey / cornet, trumpet, piccolo trumpet
- Martin Orford / backing vocals
- Violet Adams / backing vocals
- Lily Adams / backing vocals
- Verity Joy / backing vocals
- Robin Armstrong / backing vocals
- Simon Godfrey / backing vocals

Releases information

A compilation of English Electric, Parts 1 and 2; with four new tracks and a reordered track list.

ArtWork: Andy Poole (design) with Matt Sefton (photos)

2CD English Electric Recordings - EERCD0013 (2013, UK)

2CD English Electric Recordings - EERCD0017 (2016, UK) Remastered, simply titled "English Electric"

Thanks to Second Life Syndrome for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy BIG BIG TRAIN English Electric: Full Power Music

BIG BIG TRAIN English Electric: Full Power ratings distribution

(218 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(81%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (2%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BIG BIG TRAIN English Electric: Full Power reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Hot on the heels of the excellent "English Electric, Part 2", Big Big Train has released an interesting boxset. This set includes the masterpiece "English Electric, Part 1", the strong but not quite as good "English Electric, Part 2", and four new songs, "Make Some Noise", "Seen Better Days", "Edgelands", and "The Lovers".

I gave 5 stars and 4 stars to Part 1 and 2 respectively, and so this set becomes a 4.5 star set automatically. It is interesting, however, that BBT has reordered the track list to accommodate the new songs, and so this is a little disconcerting at first. Yet, the music is still amazing, and I like that they inserted the new songs, rather than just throwing them on the end of the album. The question then becomes "Are the new songs any good"? The answer is, of course, "Yes".

"Make Some Noise" leads off the set as a more pop oriented tune. It certainly has a catchy chorus, but it also has an awesome flute solo near the end that is worth the wait. It's no 5 star song, but it's still strong. Next, "Seen Better Days" is a nice tune that is very standard BBT. It is melodic, has great vocal harmonies, and has that great nostalgic feeling. "Edgelands" is a gorgeous, short piano track that hints at some of the more familiar melodies from "Part 1". It is the first new track that is 5-star for me. It's simply peaceful and beauteous. Lastly, then, "The Lovers" is the strongest of the new tracks. This 5-star masterwork utilizes neo-prog synth at points, and has a skillful, brilliant instrumental section in the 3rd quarter. This song instantly felt right.

So, with two incredible albums, two masterpiece tracks, and two strong tracks; this boxset is indeed somewhat of a new experience and is deserving of 5 stars overall. I'm rather impressed with BBT over the last couple years, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep up this level of quality in the near future.

Review by GruvanDahlman
5 stars At long last I got around to actually listen to these much raved about albums. Their English Electric albums being, as far as reviews go, brilliant pieces of music. Intrigued but somewhat sceptic I listened casually in short stabs, not really focusing on what actually went on in there.

I suppose I at first felt a bit reluctant due to what I perceived as a tad too poppy approach. No, there is nothing wrong with a bit of pop in prog. On the contrary, actually. However humble and receptive I proclaim myself to be, I did think, at first, that pop was the overall dominating style of music and that was not to my liking. But then I had barely listened.

This box contains the two full albums of English Electric, as you probably know already. The full body of the work plus a newly recorded song, "Make some noise". As many have stated already, that song is not their greatest work. It certainly isn't a favorite of mine, I can tell you. From a pure art perspective the box is beautifully made. It's black cover with the rusty emblem on the front is magnificent. The box is constructed as a book, containing details about the recordings, lyrics and the history behind it all. It is, for sure, a beautiful box and packed with amazing photos and stories. Really stunning.

The music, then? The packaging is all very well but what about the music? That is all that matters in the end, no matter how well you package it. Forget what I wrote about this being pop. I mean, it is. In some respects, but it is pure prog. Big Big Train possess a pop sensibility that matches anything the big bands of the 70's and 80's could muster. Genesis, Yes, Marillion... They all had that feeling for writing complex yet (at times) accessible and melodic pieces of music within the framework of prog. That is exactly what BBT does. And in a glorious way, at that. Now, after really having listened to the music, I can tell you it wasn't all love love at first (aural) sight. It came to me, after a while.

The first track I really came to grips with was "East coast racer", the longest epic of the entire duo of English electric. It is a fantastic work of art, the entire 15.45 minutes of it's duration. I really came to terms with the whole album by way of examining the second part of the saga that is English electric. "Worked out" is brilliant, as is "The lovers" with it's stabs of electric piano (played JUST the right way, the way that makes me shiver), the wonderfully melodic "Leopards" and so on. The songs unfolded before my eyes, revealing a kingdom and a plethora of moods and progressive brilliance. After this brekthrough, which came rather quickly I must add, my defences were dismantled and all of my soul lay bare for the invasion of BBT:s exquisite brand of music. Influences ranges from The Kinks, by way of Genesis and the 70's style of prog into the 80's and combines folk, prog, pop into a sense of timelessness that is overpowering and thrilling. (There is even traces of The Byrds in the song "Hedgerow".)

This box, containing the two parts of English electric, is, I think, quite the essential part of any prog collection, if you are into melodic, utterly british (an essential part of their music and a part I love more than anything) and carefully constructed music. It is so well conceived throughout and full of great harmonies, musical intricacy and grandeur, really, that it is hard to not being, at least, smitten by it's honesty and sincerity. I feel overwhelmed and actually very grateful to BBT for putting so much love and energy into this project, allowing me to submerge myself into genial music as this.

In conclusion, this is a brilliant collection of two of the most brilliant pieces of prog made in contemporary times. Maybe not breaking new ground (then again, not many do) but they claim a musical territory that is genuine and personal. A claim of musical territory named Big Big Train, where their own brand of prog ecology is flourishing and reaching for the heavens. I better stop now, before growing all soppy on you all.

Just a last word, give the music a serious listen. Really, do. I implore you.

Latest members reviews

5 stars As a longtime, die hard fan of Prog. Also an observer of Prog Archives for quite some time. It's time that I started to review albums starting with this one. So many choices could have been made for my very first review. So many life changing experiences and timeless unforgettable musical memori ... (read more)

Report this review (#2869226) | Posted by altered_beast | Monday, December 19, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The combination of two masterful works, English Electric parts one and two. With four extra tracks. The whole compilation grabbed all nineteen tracks and rearranged them in a way that makes it feel like one continuous story. It's, in my opinion, the best starting point for anyone who wants to get ... (read more)

Report this review (#2583479) | Posted by Ian McGregor | Wednesday, August 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Absolutely incredible! This is how you make a box set. English Electric I & II were both amazing from the very beginning, and since they were both connected, it makes sense that BBT released a box set including both of them. But this is NOT a cash-grab from the band. First of all, there's four ... (read more)

Report this review (#2493777) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Thursday, January 14, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #12 When inspiration is mixed together with talent the result, everybody knows, is the crystallization in the form of precious stones of different shapes and colors that shine even in total darkness irradiating waves of joy that cause extreme pleasure eternally. Global ... (read more)

Report this review (#1490878) | Posted by Quinino | Sunday, November 22, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I resisted buying this for a while. Amazon kept recommending it to me but I thought both Big Big Train and English Electric were rubbish names so I didn't want to like it. However, desperate for new music one day, I downloaded it considering that it was good value for a double album and the review ... (read more)

Report this review (#1432604) | Posted by Rosscoe | Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Both parts of the English Electric Saga were masterpieces of prog. Combining just the right amounts of classical and modern eclectic prog. This combined work is a mammoth of an album that is absolutely essential in every collection of discerning music lovers, let alone prog enthusiasts. Musician ... (read more)

Report this review (#1143376) | Posted by ScarRitual | Friday, March 7, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Usually I find myself offended by bands releasing box sets of previously presented material for the sake of the almighty buck. However, in this case I find myself elated with "Full Power", as its not just a rerelease but a different engine. If you have ever watched the Godfather Parts 1 & 2, and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1104224) | Posted by merid1en | Tuesday, December 31, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is musical, artistic, emotional and thematic perfection! It's very rare to have in my hands an album that I can't say anything negative about. This is such an album! It's flawless from beginning to end really. The opener Make Some Noise serves as an overture for the beautiful suite of songs whi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1078497) | Posted by Tobbe J | Monday, November 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A Compilation of all the individual masterpieces from the incredible 2 part album series called "English Electric": "Part I" and "Part II". All 15 songs from both albums included. Also includes 4 new songs, one of which ( Make Some Noise ) is a massive disappointment. Still, I eventually 5' ... (read more)

Report this review (#1057961) | Posted by GlassHanded | Thursday, October 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A really great idea to put in one album the two volumes of "English Electric". And the new songs fit in very well. "Make Some Noise" is a great pop-song, with vocals on the front. When I listened to the first volume I was amazed, I couldn't stop listening to it, there's something magical with ... (read more)

Report this review (#1054617) | Posted by Jordi Planas | Saturday, October 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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