Far Skies Deep Time EP
ENGLISH ELECTRIC RECORDINGS EERCD009
Import version released in 2011 featuring an alternative track listing and with enhanced artwork in mini-vinyl sleeve.
*) The original version of the EP features Master of Time. The import and download version features Kingmaker as an alternative track to Master of Time. Kingmaker was also available on "Prognosis 18", the covermount CD of "Classic Rock Presents Prog" magazine issue 18.
The Far Skies Deep Time EP was released as a companion-piece to The Underfall Yard in December 2010.
1) Master of Time
Big Big Train heard the demo of Master of Time by original Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips when it appeared as an extra track on the reissue of his The Geese and the Ghost CD. In this new version, BBT give it the full band treatment.
The story of King Alfred's granddaughter, Queen Eadgyth. In 929, Eadgyth was sent by her brother King Athelstan to marry Prince Otto. She went on to become Queen of the Germans for a decade. Her remains have recently been identified in Magdeburg Cathedral.
2) Fat Billy Shouts Mine
Legend has it that William 'Fatty' Foulke, the Sheffield United and England goalkeeper from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, died on Blackpool beach whilst earning pin money in a 'beat the goalie' booth. In this song BBT imagine larger-than-life Billy finding the afterlife less exciting than his life on earth.
Originally written as part of a suite intended for The Underfall Yard album, the band did not get a chance to finish recording it in time for inclusion on the album.
3) British Racing Green
Described as 'Big Big Train’s Christmas break-up song', British Racing Green showcases a different side to the band and tells the heart-breaking story of the end of a real-life love affair. Inside a busy restaurant a couple are coming to the end of the line, whilst outside, snow is gently toppling down on the bustling Christmas shoppers.
A rite of passage that is as old as the hills. First love awakens profound, stirring feelings in the young man only for it to tragically end in heartbreak for him when she tells him it’s over. It is this hurt that she inflicts that will help him grow.
5) The Wide Open Sea
This song chronicles the last voyage of Belgian singer Jacques Brel as he reflects on his life and fate. In 1973 he embarked on a yacht, planning to sail around the world. When he reached the Canary Islands, Brel was diagnosed with lung cancer. He returned to Paris for treatment and later continued his ocean voyage.
In 1975 he reached les Marquises islands, and decided to stay, remaining there until 1977 when he returned to Paris and recorded his well-received final album. He died in 1978 at the age of 49 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery only a few yards away from painter Gauguin.
The sheer craftsmanship that has gone into every aspect of Far Skies Deep Time is to be savoured. Aside from the splendid musicianship and distinctive artwork, the thoughtful and cliche-free lyrics merit close attention. In short this is one of the prog year's indubitable highlights from a band that seems to go from strength to strength.
Nick Shilton, Classic Rock Presents Prog
Mature songwriting. Bold musicianship. Hook-laden melodic prog that soars and stirs. It's all here, masterfully conceived and executed. The work opens with an expansive upgrade of Anthony Phillips' 'Master of Time'' followed by Fat Billy Shouts Mine', an elegiac story-song about a British soccer legend, and two anti-love songs. But Train saves the best for last with 'Wide Open Sea.' a majestic epic showcasing the talents of this crew and a stunning tour-de-force from Longdon. Score: 16 out of 16.
Nick Tate, Progression Magazine