Big Big Train performing the song Victorian Brickwork from one of the sold out shows at Kings Place, London in August.
Nobody else captures the spirit of 1970s progressive rock quite as well as Big Big Train, with music steeped in English landscapes and history. As the above recording shows, what had once been a purely studio-based project has become a stunning live band.
I was probably only about nine or ten when ITV’s investigative journalism flagship “World in Action” did a program about trains. The particular issue concerned a spate of derailments involving short wheelbase wagons, including a reconstruction the derailment and fatal collision at Roade in 1969 using 00-scale models.
For a small boy interested in trains, it was obviously fascinating stuff. But it was the theme music that stuck with me; both the dramatic opening theme, and the slower, more melancholy closing credits music, both of which are included in the above clip.
There’s something about those descending minor-key runs in the distinctive tone of the Hammond organ, both signficant elements of progressive rock’s musical palette. Not that I was aware of the existence of Yes, ELP or King Crimson at the time, that was something I wasn’t to discover until several years later.
The video for Mastodon’s “Asleep in the Deep” is definitely a bit surreal, but does star a cat.
Cats are indeed metal. We had a cat (black, of course) who was a devoted fan of Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show. Don’t try to claim it was just because he knew he’s be fed at the end of the show and had come to associate the sound of Tommy Vamce’s vpice with “food”. He surely had a deep and abiding love for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Cats may be metal, but they aren’t punk. We had another cat who absolutely hated The Damned.