|First solo album from the late lead singer of Big Big Train, re-mixed, re-mastered, and expanded.
Format: CD / Cat No: EERCD0034 / Released: 20/10/2023
Track Listing: CD 1: Always / Honey Trap / Mandy / About Time / Vertigo / Wild River / Loving & Giving / In Essence / This House / Joely / Falling Down To Earth / On To The Headland
CD 2: Always (Live) / Every Silver Lining (Live) / Loving & Giving (Live) / April Fool (Live) / Falling Down To Earth (Live) / Can I Come With You? (Live) / Pipe Dream (Live) / Mandy (Live) / Wild River (Live) / On To The Headland (Extended Version with Poem) / Beyond Belief
More information: Originally self-released in 2004 as a limited edition CD, beyond being briefly available through the BBT site, the album has long been out of print. Dave Gregory (XTC) guests on guitar and Mellotron.
David had always intended to remix and repackage it. However, his sudden death in November 2021 meant that his plan never came to fruition. In a final act of remembrance by his long-time colleague Rob Aubrey, Big Big Train’s engineer since 1994, David’s wishes have now been fulfilled. Additionally, the album packaging has also been re-designed by Longdon’s friend and collaborator Steve Vantsis.
Wild River represented a transitional period for David, both artistically and emotionally. His father, Eric, had passed away in 1994, he had been through a divorce, and he’d auditioned to be the lead singer of Genesis following the departure of Phil Collins. However, after a protracted audition-cum-rehearsal process, he was immensely disappointed to lose out on the role. Which, with hindsight, was a blessing in disguise.
Around this time, Dave Gregory was playing a session where he first met David. Between XTC projects, Gregory had been recording a version of the Genesis epic Supper’s Ready and David, a big XTC fan, offered to sing on it, adding, “I really need to do this.” Gregory was astonished at how quickly David recorded the vocal parts: “Soup to nuts in an afternoon and an evening.” Rather than accepting payment for the session, David invited Gregory to play guitar and Mellotron on the work-in-progress Wild River. Gregory recalls, “The Genesis experience galvanised him. He was saying, ‘Look, this is what I can do. And I’m gonna f*cking show you’. That was a huge motivation for him. He felt rejected, so had to work a lot harder.”
Rob Aubrey adds, “It still fills me with sadness that he’s gone, but Wild River needed to be made available again as it is such a strong album.”
The last word on Wild River goes to Sarah Ewing: “I don’t think it sounds like an album that’s 20 years old; it sounds very immediate and contemporary and that speaks of David’s talent. It’s hard for me to be objective, but I hear the younger David and in that regard it’s a beautiful time capsule.”