Chocolate Frog Records, released by mail order 10th December 2003. Released to retail May 2004.
Cat. No: CFVPO16CD
01. The Field (8.42) [Dick/Watson]
02. Moving Targets (5.46) [Dick/Watson/Duguid]
03. The Rookie (5.35) [Dick/Watson]
04. Zoo Class (5.23) [Dick/Watson/Duguid]
05. The Lost Plot (5.10) [Dick/Turrell]
06. Old Crow (5.20) [Dick/Watson/Duguid]
07. Numbers (5.36) [Dick/Watson/Usher]
08. Exit Wound (5.55) [Dick/Watson]
09. Innocent Party (7.37) [Dick/Watson/Duguid]
10. Shot The Craw (6.00) [Dick/Watson/Duguid]
11. Scattering Crows (Still Time) (5.05) [Dick/Watson/Turrell/Duguid]
© 2003 Derek W. Dick under exclusive license to The Chocolate Frog Record Company Ltd.
Recorded, Engineered and produced by Elliot Ness at The Studio, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland.
Mixed by Elliot Ness at Ca Va Studios, Glasgow, Scotland.
Assistant engineer at Ca Va Studios - Geoff Allan.
Mastered by Calum Malcolm.
Fish - lead vocals.
Bruce Watson - guitars and e-bow.
Frank Usher - guitars, slide guitar.
Steve Vantsis - bass.
Mark Brzezicki - drums and percussion.
Tony Turrell - keyboards.
Dave Haswell - percussion.
Danny Gillan - backing vocals on 1,2,3,4,6,11.
Richard Sidwell - trumpet and flugel horn on 1,4,6,8,10.
Steve Hamilton - saxophone on 1,4,6,8,10.
Yatta, Lars K. Lande - "crowd" vocal on 1.
Irvin Duguid - clavinet on 6.
Cover Concept by Fish. Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Wheatfield under threatening skies with crows".
Based on a photograph taken in the back field, Spittalrig Farm, East Lothian, view towards Traprain Hill, by Mark Wilkinson.
Portrait painting by Mark Wilkinson.
Inside back Photo by Lars K Lande.
Design & Artwork - David Axtell at L-Space Design.
All tracks published by Fishy Music Ltd/Copyright Control.
Reviews:Poet, actor, singer, musician... these days Fish does a lot more than live off the refuse of his reputation from his days with Marillion. And the irony is that while his former band still struggle under the shadow of the giant Scotsman, he has long since left those glorious days of the 80's behind.
'A Field of Crows' is the most complete work that Fish has ever produced as a solo artist. It sees him merging traditional rock influences - The Who, Genesis, Led Zeppelin - with a modern edge, while also embracing his Scottish roots as never before.
Working closely with former Big Country guitarist Bruce Watson, Fish is more at ease with his desire to challenge his talents. Tracks like 'Innocent Party' and 'Moving Targets' are very much hard rock with British 70s aspirations while those Celtic leanings are worn proudly for 'The Field' and 'Shot the Craw'.
A concept album based on Fish's dark, barbed vision of a long-forgotten battlefield, this is the record that sees him become an artist fully equipped for the modern age. 4 out of 5. Malcolm Dome (Classic Rock magazine), May 2004
This latest offering from everyone's favorite prog-rock Scotsman is something of a unexpected treat. It has to be said that Fish has one of the most unique and powerful voices in rock music. Instantly recognizable, it's soft enough to sooth yet still manages to convey a sense of menace and edge that hints at darker things hidden beneath the surface of the songs. It's a sense that you'll encounter at many times through this dark little ride of an album.
Musically, Field Of Crows is a rich and complex album. Most of the songs scream 'epic' from start to finish and have the sort of grandeur to them that lent his work with Marillion a solid sort of quality that made them such a joy to listen to. But we digress, for this is very much a Fish solo album, and you can sense his hand in the production and songwriting at every level. Opening track, The Field sets you up for this very nicely and is simply wonderful in its opening simplicity which builds layer by layer into the sort of song that begs for a live performance with its sweeping chorus.
Again, for an example of the complexity of the songs, just listen to Innocent Party which starts out as a sort of driving, pounding rock anthem and finishes up on the sort of musical flourish that makes this album such a delight. It's one of the places where you'll encounter the sort of darkness that made State Of Mind such a powerful song. "Don't talk to me about justice, freedom, truth and democracy" half-sneers Fish, and you sense a deep sense of betrayal behind the song. It achieves the impossible, by making a seven minute song sound like a two and a half minute one.
Elsewhere, you'll encounter a solid blues influence, such as on the witty Zoo Class and buzzing guitars, such as on The Rookie. It's one of those albums that are impossible to adequately categorize, as there is the sense that the music is merely a vehicle for the vocal style and delivery of Fish and that's probably right and as it should be. Fish is, amongst many things, a fine songwriter, and although it would be a mistake to call this a concept album, there are certain themes that arise again and again. One is ambition talent and the gulf often between them. Another is failure and fear of failure. Listen to Moving Target, with its chorus of "When you're running the field, you become a moving target" in which modern life is neatly juxtaposed with the jungle theme which is, in turn, satirized in Zoo Class. It's satisfyingly deep stuff.
Field Of Crows is highly recommended to anyone who misses the Fish of old. They will find much to delight themselves with within its grooves. For anyone else, if you simply want a good, solid rock album with a bit more thought gone into the songs than usual, then you too are urged to give it a try. Fish is a wonderful front man, a superb singer and master songwriter. Be glad he's still around. Karl Wareham, 28 Jan 2004
When I first heard that Bruce Watson of Big Country had joined up with Fish to be in his band, I immediately started thinking about the possibilities of such collaboration. I've been familiar with both the music of Big Country and of Fish for many years and I was wondering how this union might sound. Both artist's sound has been laced in melancholy, but the music of Big Country was always far more celebratory, whereas the sound of Fish's music has been grounded in more, shall we say, traditional melancholy. So what would these new Fish songs sound like?
Fish's new album entitled "Field Of Crows" was released just before Christmas 2003. It is a simultaneously stirring and contemplative effort that largely succeeds. The band couldn't be more adept at their respective instruments and their seasoned experience comes through with startling clarity on these eleven new tracks. Joining Bruce Watson (guitars) is his fellow BC cohort Mark Brzezicki on drums, along with long time off and on members of Fish's bands of the past: Frank Usher (guitars), Steve Vantsis (bass) and Tony Turrell (keyboards).
The music on "Field Of Crows" is tightly played and the seasoned experience of these performers shines through the entire operation. A lesser band would be in awe of how the musicians work off of each other rather than trying to outshine each other. Fish's voice seems to be not quite as strong as in past efforts, but has instead taken on a mellow smoothness that works very well on this mature offering. An overall stellar performance from Fish and band alike. Grade: A Chris Barlow, 28 Jan 2004