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Big Big Train

Crossover Prog

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Big Big Train From Stone And Steel album cover
4.41 | 94 ratings | 3 reviews | 65% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The First Rebreather (8:32)
2. Master James Of St George (6:13)
3. Judas Unrepentant (7:16)
4. Uncle Jack (3:48)
5. Wind Distorted Pioneers (4:33)
6. Summoned By Bells (9:28)
7. Kingmaker (10:46)
8. The Underfall Yard (22:52)
9. Victorian Brickwork (12:43)

Total time: 86:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Andy Poole / keyboards, guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
- Greg Spawton / bass, bass pedals, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- David Longdon / lead vocals, flute, mandolin, percussion
- Dave Gregory / guitars, piano, backing vocals
- Nick D'Virgilio / drums, backing vocals
- Danny Manners / keyboards, double bass, backing vocals
- Rikard Sj?blom / guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
- Rachel Hall / violin, backing vocals
- Jon Truscott / tuba
- Nick Stones / French horn
- Dave Desmond / trombone
- Ben Godfrey / trumpet, cornet
- Emily Yarrow / backing vocals (4,5)

Releases information

Digital Album bandcamp (2016 UK)
this album consists of live versions of a number of songs recorded at Real World studios in August 2014 for the Stone and Steel Blu-Ray release

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
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Buy BIG BIG TRAIN From Stone And Steel Music

BIG BIG TRAIN From Stone And Steel ratings distribution

(94 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(65%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BIG BIG TRAIN From Stone And Steel reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Rings a bell, yeah ... BIG BIG TRAIN obviously have justified my focus again with this one. Man! What a fantastic offering, even if this solely might be declined as an appetizer for the blue-ray release 'Stone & Steel'. Except two songs this is comprised of outtakes from 'The Underfall Yard' and 'English Electric (Part 1)' albums, well, this nearly matches my private best-of list concerning this band! What makes it to something special is that they've slightly refined their songs, while playing this stuff again under somewhat live in a studio circumstances.

Now, at first, just let me mention Rikard Sj÷blom, when it comes to the updated line up ... I never ever would have imagined to see him as a (steady?) member of this band, what a surprise! Hell, they've gathered a fantastic musician, that's for sure! Furthermore he seems to play a role for the new album recordings as well - welcome to the club, Rikard! And then I would also mention Rachel Hall, she's adding a new folk facet with her violin for sure.

BIG BIG TRAIN have had several lead singer in their ranks, but David Longdon's voice seems to be the best fit, so much empathy, spiked with a restrained portion of pathos. The prolific crew around founder Andy Poole (keyboards, guitar) and Greg Spawton (bass) are playing at their best here. Musically the band's portfolio is rather widespread, they also have offered tracks respectively complete albums with the focus on folk and pop, which do not have my preference. But this time it's progressive rock in the purest form.

The songs are complex mostly, rich in variety, decorated with much dramaturgy and suspense, twists and turns en masse but also catchy melodies. Something you really have to search for in these days. From time to time Genesis and Yes reminiscences are shimmering through - first of all when it comes to 'The Underfall Yard' excerpts, a perfect album I do not hesitate to count amongst the ultimate masterpieces of progressive rock. Which means on the same level as Foxtrot, Selling England or Close To The Edge by way of example.

Though provided with some jazz and pop touch I would emphasize Summoned By Bells as my favourite here anyhow. This due to a fantastic Chris Squire inspired bass work and the well put wind instruments during the emotional second part. Well, of course this album is made of songs we're already aware of, one or two may throw in with reason. I nevertheless do enjoy it to explore the refreshing nuances regarding some of my all-time song favourites - 4 stars are well deserved for this collection!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I was anxious to see how Big big Train would perform in the live ambient, so I got this CD when I heard it was a live recording. Well, not so much so. I mean, yes, it's a live recording, but not in front of an audience. Stone and Steel was a kind of live in the studio recording (preparing themselves for the "real" live gigs they produced in London a little later). So I got a little frustrated because I was expecting to hear them in front of a big crowd, just like live albums should be. However, my disappointment was short lived: playing together in one place, all at the same time, with a few new arrangements to add up to their live presentation, the music here is quite stunning.

It is not only interesting to hear those terrific musicians playing those intricate and complex tunes with seemly such ease, but also with an energy and passion that surpass the studio recording. The music delivered on Stone And Steel is so organic and energetic it really shines through the CD in a special manner, although no radical changes were made from the originals. In fact if there is one thing I did not like very much from these recording is the fact that could have played more old songs, specially the ones recorded before singer David Longdon joined the group. However, if you consider that they were rehearsing for a live show how could they not play mostly stuff from their masterpieces The Underfall Yard and English Electric? To satisfy the curiosity of the ones like me, they did play a couple of tunes from their early days: Wind Distorted Pioneers, the opener for their first official album, Goodbye to the Age Of Steam (1994) gets an acoustic piano & violin arrangement, while Kingmaker from BBT's EP The Infant Hercules (1993) is played in its full 10 minutes of duration. Their inclusion is a nice touch and work very well among their latter day stuff.

After repeated spins I was more than satisfied by this album. Big big Train live is as accomplished live as they are in the studio. Perhaps even more so, Well, with such talented musicians backing up the core members of the band, and not forgetting their remarkable material they produced recently, you always expect at least competent playing. But actually you get much more than that. Big Big Train has proved they are now one of the greatest prog bands ever. 4,5 stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Big Big Train is back. After the disappointment of 'Wassail', 'From Stone and Steel' is a breathtaking "new" album by Big Big Train ("BBT"). I say new because this is not a live album in the traditional sense but represents all the current members together in the studio playing some of the gre ... (read more)

Report this review (#1547007) | Posted by Spook76 | Friday, April 1, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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