If you want to hear what an angel’s voice sounds like, I urge you to get your hands on any of the music Scottish group The Big Dish created during the 80’s. Lead singer Steven Lindsay’s voice is about as close to heaven-on-earth that this era produced. Another band from Ireland, Dubh Chapter, had a lead singer (Brendan Staunton) in the same league, but that’s another “Criminally Underrated” for another time.
The Big Dish formed in Airdrie, Scotland in 1983. The original studio lineup was the trio of Steven Lindsay (vocals, guitar), Mark Ryce (guitar), and John Harper (keyboards). Later on for stage performances, Raymond Docherty (bass) and Keith Burns (drums) were added. The Big Dish toured with Lloyd Cole and Big Country (another notable band from Scotland) in an effort to widen their exposure.
Their debut album The Swimmer was released in 1986. Critically acclaimed, the album features the addition of Brian McFie (replacing Ryce on guitar) and Ian Ritchie on keyboards/saxophone. It is a collection of one beautifully crafted and delivered song after another; truly a dream-weave of music and vocals so effective and close to perfection that it will take your breath away.
Their sophomore production Creeping Up On Jesus saw a reconfiguration of musicians and a larger instrumental sound. This time, the album was unjustly panned and the group was dropped from their label Virgin Records.
Lindsay and McFie gave releasing another album as The Big Dish one more shot, again with a variety of backing musicians and for a Warner Bros. Records subsidiary label. This critically acclaimed 1991 collection was entitled Satellites and produced a hit single “Miss America.” Unfortunately, it was not enough to keep the band going and they ended up calling it quits.
In 1994, Virgin released a “best of The Big Dish” collection called Rich Man’s Wardrobe.” If you would like an introduction to The Big Dish’s incredibly crafted music, this album would be a good start. One title alone makes this “best of” outstanding: a rare and unreleased track called “Voodoo Baby.” Easily one of my favorite The Big Dish songs, Rich Man’s Wardrobe is the only place where you can hear it.
“Miss America” via YouTube user AUCHTERMUCHTYZZ:
“Prospect Street” via YouTube user IndieAnnieJones:
“Christina’s World” via YouTube user garyco345: