Right, let’s tick Burton.

2 minutes from The Crossing (not the Big Country album with the bagpipes) is the market square I never knew Burton had, and the pub I never knew existed.

It’s very quiet, but to be honest so is Burton. There’s more folk in pubs than in shops, just as it should be.

The Old Royal Oak looks great, bar the words written on the walls (discuss), and I don’t mind being first in at 16:00.

I enter to the sound of “Living On A Prayer“, possibly in the charts the last time the pub was in the GBG, and get such a great welcome I decide to have my tea here.

OK, it’s only a freshly-made up cheese cob (no onion) with cheese and onion crisps and a half of Fownes gorgeously rich Porter (NBSS 3.5/4), but that’s surely all you need ?

There’s some chat at the bar about Covid boosters and lost contact lenses; I’d had my booster that morning as well but couldn’t help with the contacts.

Actually, I wanted to join in the conversation when it reached the thorny subject of why women’s jeans don’t have proper pockets, a subject on which I like to mansplain, but I know better than to interrupt two women in full flow.

I paused to admired the scummy head on the beer, “Suspicious Minds” gave way to “Superstition“, and I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

What more could you want, except “Come On Eileen“. And then I got that, too.


  1. Well this was an embarrassment of music-reference riches, I scarcely know where to begin!

    I owned the bagpipey Big Country album. Lovely cover design as I recall. I remember their guitarist got heartily sick of being asked how he got that bagpipe sound.

    Do they play any of their other songs over there besides In a Big Country over there? Here you only rarely hear even the big hit these days, sad to say.


    1. “Over there” I rarely hear Big Country in pubs and I don’t listen to music radio, but I reckon “Harvest Home”, “Fields of Fire”, and Look Away” had more lasting impact here than that one that hit in the US. “Chance” was my favourite. They had loads of hits over a 3 year period, same as Level 42 or Nik Kershaw did.

      I saw them at Wembley Arena at Christmas 1984 and not sure my insides ever recovered.


      1. In all honestly it would never have occurred to me to see Dylan back then; he seemed past his best early ’80s and a long way from the ’69s and ’70s peak. Same reason I never saw Springsteen when I had the chance. Might regret it now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Never seen Dylan, unfortunately, but saw Springsteen in 1985 at St James’s Park and he was brilliant.
        Never listen to music radio? Try The Beatcroft Social, 19.00 to 21.00 on Fridays and/or Clive’s Record Shop, 21.00 to 22.00 on Saturdays, 60 North Radio, on t’internet (Google it or find it on RadioGarden). From Shetland, to Shetland and the world.


      3. Thanks for this; didn’t realize Big Country had such a sustained career in England. A bit like Dexy’s perhaps, Americans familiar with just one hit while in the UK there were a string of them. Better off than Level 42 though, who never had even one really big hit in America I don’t think.


      4. As you probably know, I’m a fan of Big Country. Their first three albums charted 3, 1 and 2 in the UK, and for the third one “The Seer” they had a guest contribution from Kate Bush. But their career came unstuck when they enlisted Peter Wolf to produce an album “Peace in Our Time” that was supposed to appeal more to the US market, but ended up being a relative flop. It loses much of their distinctive sound and is more generic rock, although IMV “Thousand Yard Stare” is one of their best songs.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I popped in for the first time in three years in October and what a revelation. Fownes have done a great job and it is a cracking pub with top beer. Landlady was great but wanted a few more punters post covid…deserves to succeed as a real fillip for Burton (serious response shocker).


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