The brand new reissue on Water Records ! Review : "A stark portrait of a haunted country. The title track's opening notes are enough to convince us that Ridgway immediately has found his niche on this, his 1986 debut solo release. Far richer and more focused than the Voodoo releases, The Big Heat teems with low-lifes, and misfits and lives in crisis, but all are drawn with a crime novelist's sense of tension and mystery and a keen eye for compassion."
Details on this reissue !
Playing Time: 65 min.
Producer: Filippo Salvadori (Reissue)
Distributor: City Hall
Recording Type: Studio
Personnel includes: Stan Ridgway (vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica, keyboards, bass); Eric Williams (guitar); Joe Ramirez (guitar, bass, drum programming, background vocals); Mark Cohen (banjo, mandolin); Mr. Christopher (violin, cello); Jim Pollack (saxophone); Bruce Fowler (trombone); Richard Greene (piano); Bill Noland, Hugh Jones, Louis Van Den Berg (keyboards); Mike Watt, Louis Cabasa (bass); Joe Berardi, Chris Becerra, Cliff Martinez (drums); Hugo Burnham, Steve Reid (percussion); Pietra Wexstun (keyboards, background vocals).Recorded at J.C. Studios, The Lighthouse and Fiddler's Studio, Los Angeles, California; and live at Queensland University, Brisbane, Australia on February 27, 1987.Digitally remastered at Audio Mechanics.This is part of the IRS Vintage Years series.Personnel: Mark Morris.Liner Note Author: Greil Marcus.Recording information: Fiddler's Studio, Los Angeles; J.C. Studios; The Lighthouse.Photographers: Scott LIndgren; Edward Colver.
The Big Heat has Stan Ridgway's love of film noir and Jim Thompson-style stories splashed gaudily all over it. The album is tremendous fun, even with its dependence on synthesizers and drum-machine work, since Ridgway's cynical delivery gives everything else an edge, even in the romance-gone-wrong atmosphere of "Walkin' Home Alone." The standouts include the Ennio Morricone-influenced title track, the demented "Pile Driver," "Drive She Said," and the over-the-top Vietnam tale "Camouflage." ~ Steven McDonald
"All the trademarks are here and finally crystallized; (the pregnant atmosphere, a sense of impending dread, deeply spooky electronics, and an alchemist's approach to genre and instrumentation) while anchoring them firmly in a rich tradition of American literature, film, myth and popular culture. The album blasted off with an unlikely top 5 international hit in Europe, with the ironic, 7-minute long, Vietnam ghost saga, "Camouflage". Ridgway and his band Chapter Eleven set off on a world-wide tour over the next two years, which took them through the U.S., Great Britain, Europe, Scandinavia, Puerto Rico, Australia and points in between."
Stan Ridgway's Wrong People by Mikal Gilmore from Night Beat / Bantam Dell
As leader of the Wall Of Voodoo, Stan Ridgway was nearly dispicable: He didn't so much reduce hard-boiled cynicisim to a cliche' as he reduced it to a sneering inferno - which might have been a kick if the attacks hadn't been delivered in a slurring monotone. In other words, Wall Of Voodoo's gambit was a mean - minded, dead - ended one, and apparently even Ridgway realized this, for just as the band reached an audience large enough worth insulting, the singer "fired himself" from the enterprise. The joke, it seems, was up. Maybe so, but the hard work had just begun. In 1986, two years after checking out, Stan Ridgway checked back in with The Big Heat (I.R.S.), and damn if it wasn't the best L.A. _ founded albums of that year. Perhaps what made The Big Heat work so well is that, instead of viewing hos characters from the outside and laughing at their uneasiness and their seeming dispensiblity, Ridgway now crawled inside their skin - and discovered that it's actually kind of an intriguing place to be, a place that lends itself to hauntingly, rolickingly effective storytelling. In any evet, instead of sneering, Ridgway now shudders a bit as he relates the accounts of people in flight - people running from or chasing after murder and deception, people who seem horrified and enthralled by their own admissions, people who have been forgotten but sure won't leave life that way. They are, in fact, California characters like thoise in the works of James M. Cain and Jim Thompson (mean and damned), or of Kim Nunn, Robert Siodmak, or Fritz Lang (rugged and redeemed). Either way, They are people you give a full hearing to - And as a result, The Big Heat also demands no less that a full hearing. In The Big Heat, The wrong people - hateful, bored, lost, dangerous people - not only are given a voice, but, here and there, are given a shot a victory. Somehow, it's an exhilrating victory. "You gotta watch the ones that keep their hands clean, " sings Stan Ridgway in the title song. On The Big Heat, the artist gets his hands dirtier that ever. Hence, he's maybe. just maybe, worth our trust. One thing's for certain: There are few artists who can be so scary and unaffected at the same time as Stan Ridgway.
- Mikal Gilmore
From the book of essays,
Night Beat / Bantam - Dell
Stan Ridgway now at myspace.com: http://www.myspace.com/officialstanridgway
Ridgway Merch now online:
Greil Marcus in ART FORUM (1986) reviews The Big Heat
No less than esteemed American music critic Greil Marcus wrote in Artforum ...
"Ridgway is playing with the possibilities of the flat, dead - pan tone Raymond Chandler identified - he's also looking for the way , as Chandler wrote, that American language comes 'alive to cliches,' seeks naturally to make them, to make a language everyone can understand without a second thought.The stories are made as ordinary as dirt - and yet The Big Heat is probably the most compelling portrait of American social life to appear on a rock 'n roll record since Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska."