Chris Rea

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by averica, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. richierichie

    richierichie My glass is always full.

    Funny thing, I didn't care much for Chris Rea until the Early 00's. A friend recommended and lent me 'The Blue Jukeboxalbum. Hmm, I thought there's more to this guy than I thought. Then he released the 'Blue Guitars' box set, I thought if nothing else this is bloody good value. 11 CDs for little more than the price of a single CD, I bet his record company were rubbing their heads when they released that set. The thing is IMHO Blue Guitars is bloody great.

    I still didn't take much interest in his hits period but I lapped up his Blues influenced albums. Around 2010 I picked up a greatest hits album and after listening without prejudice I even bought some of his earlier albums.

    By this time I also had learned about Chris Rea the man and what a decent human being he is. It's a pity he's not more well known in the USA as @mbrownp1 says he has put out consistently great music, just as Warren Zevon did with very little recognition of their genius.

    I wish Chris Rea well and a full recovery.
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  2. nsm

    nsm Forum Resident

    It really is, blew me away when i got it, months of pleasure getting through all those different styles & rarely a duff track out of the 153 or so !!
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  3. Gasman1003

    Gasman1003 Keeping the thin side down, still clinging on....

    Liverpool, England
    I'm a big fan.

    I saw him supporting Lindisfarne in 1978.

    It was one of those occasions where the support act could easily have stolen the show, if Lindisfarne had not been so awesome on the night.
    Tokyo Ghost likes this.
  4. Eiricd

    Eiricd Forum Resident

    have the box set, but haven't listened to it properly yet with the exception of one disc. Can't remember which, but I liked it a lot.
  5. daleyguy

    daleyguy Forum Resident

    Alberta, Canada
    It's the strongest of his earlier albums!
    iloveguitars and Jarleboy like this.
  6. Brother Maynard

    Brother Maynard Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    I've liked him since I first heard Working on It in the late 80's. I have The Road to Hell and the New Light Through Old Windows comp. I was disappointed that Fool If You Think it's Over was a remake of his original (I'm just now realizing that's the reason the album is titled New Light... duh.). I read some comments below that song on youtube just now discussing his health issues about a year ago. Anyone know how he's doing?
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  7. Eiricd

    Eiricd Forum Resident

    How is he these days?

    Collapsed on stage some time ago - is he back in business?
  8. rs4951

    rs4951 Forum Resident

    Literally no word at all. A news vacuum. A very private guy when not working.
    Brother Maynard likes this.
  9. averica

    averica infinite rider on the big dogma Thread Starter

    this had escaped my radar...i was listening to some samples on Allmusic..damn i need to get this!!!!!the way he chronicles the various genres of the blues...damn interesting project aka here i go spending yet more money on music lol
  10. F.U.B.B

    F.U.B.B Forum Resident

    Swindon England
    Got into him very early way before he hit the Road to Hell big time. Have loads of his product and seen him many times in concert. Without him my music memories would be less to be sure! - thanks on here for pointing out however his great 12 CD package Blue Guitars which cost next to nothing - Played first one tonight despite having owned it for many many years and OMG - CR lost his way over past couple of years for me but my mojo in all things CR now firmly back - another 10 nights of bliss ahead me thinks! - really interesting apart from his greatest hits don’t think much has been remastered and for me it will be difficult to improve on the original production values. Never broke the US but the US didn’t break him in the attempt financially. Tell you what one of the most down to earth stars your ever see - listen to his interviews.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  11. nsm

    nsm Forum Resident

    I'm sure you won't be disappointed , an absolute fantastic release that still nearly 14 years later can still deliver hidden gems .
  12. fitzrik

    fitzrik Forum Resident

    I loved Road to Hell and particularly Auberge back in the late 80s and early 90s. I haven't listened to him in years but am enjoying him now thanks to being jolted by this thread. I'm normally a vinyl guy but I might check out the Blue Guitars box. Is it very bluesy without the very produced feel of his albums? It doesn't seem to be on spotify.
  13. bettsaj

    bettsaj “I'm in competition with myself and I'm losing.”

    I've heard Chris Rea is forming a band with Mark Knopfler.....

    They're going to call it Dire Rea... I'll get me coat!
  14. That was awful.

    No more jokes like that, pleeeeeease.

    Time to let the matter drop?
    serj likes this.
  15. nsm

    nsm Forum Resident

    Its got everything ! Some raw & sparse sounding , & some full produced sounding ones as well . Because it follows 11 different types of Blues you are really gonna hear so many kinds of song. Certain ones appeal to me more like Electric Memphis Blues, Ballads , Chicago ,Celtic & Irish & Gospel Soul & Motown. The only one that never stuck with me was the 2nd CD Country Blues. It's also good to hear the same song done over 3 or 4 different styles of Blues.
    fitzrik likes this.
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    I thought Watersign was a fantastic album.
    Stainsby Girls was one of my favourite songs of his ....

    In Fact, just for the hoo haa of it.


    Chris Rea - Stainsby Girls
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  17. George Cooke

    George Cooke Well unknown member

    Cumbria, UK
    A useful starting point, not up to date as I write, if you wish to know more about Rea's output : Chris Rea discography - Wikipedia

    I have found, pre-Road to Hell, the standard CD releases of Chris Rea have been fine and usually identical to any fancy (Japanese) issues, although sometimes the latter have extra tracks. This did not stop me acquiring several copies of each on CD, including early pressings in both vinyl and CD, but in the main, the definition is the same - excellent, that is.

    The early album Whatever Happened to Benny Santini was remastered on CD by Culture Factory - I enjoy it, although it isn't what I would call a subtle remastering, more like just a louder version. The original CD - quite rare though - is just fine, just turn it up!

    The vinyl albums (mainly produced up to and including the sublime 1991's Auberge) are great recordings and some of my favourites. Deltics (yes, a reference to the locomotives) is wonderful to me - nostalgic and melodic. Wired to the Moon has already been rightly mentioned. On The Beach is just amazing as well. All different, as, to be honest, most of Rea's albums have each been, although stylistically you can trace the bloodline, it is not as boringly uniform as you might expect, as there is an evolving variety each step along the way. Throughout the albums, you sense an artist developing ideas and expressive notions. The musicians involved have always taken their job seriously.

    In the light of some other mentions on here, below are some further snippets of thoughts on some of Chris Rea's other post peak Road to Hell work.

    The Blue Guitars box CD set (2005) is astounding - truly amazing. It will surprise a lot of people both in its scope and quality. Rea's inspired artwork adorns the set as well, as it does on most of his later stuff.

    The re-working of the film sountrack La Passione is also one of my favourites - I liked the way Rea attempted to show how he would have originally presented the material, away from commercial record company interference. The additional material on the racing driver that inspired him is also really interesting. (Rea is a vintage racing car enthusiast). The original soundtrack even had Shirley Bassey on it!

    The Return of the Hofner Bluenotes is a concept based upon a fictional instrumental group (Shadows/ Ventures guitar style). The material, 2 CDs plus 2 EP vinyls is excellent and it is fun trying to work out what pastiches are being presented.

    Throughout Rea's last couple of decades, where he's essentially done things his way through and after his horrendous illnesses, there are re-workings of and references to his existing work, Jazzie re-interpretations - all being an exploration of different flavours of his music and its influences.

    I remember a review around the time of Dancing With Strangers (1987), one of my favouritest records, and it said that Rea was showing glimpses of the slide guitarist he'd always wanted to be. In a way, Fool (If You Think It's Over) did not represent him completely and I guess like Song Sung Blue or Brown Eyed Girl for their respective Artists, tinged him with the romantic leaning that was never the complete story. After that album, his music definitely followed that path and he took me on a journey with him ever since. I have learnt, loved all of it.

    The recent Roadsongs for Lovers album is great also. Interesting how the ROAD features so heavily in much of his work!

    If anyone is tempted to exploring Chris Rea's lifetime of music, I would certainly recommend it - every stage is worthy of appreciation and the man himself has been a wonderful example of humility and perseverance.

    Many might not know that Rea, in the good old tradition of rock stars venturing into film acting, actually took the lead role in a film (Parting Shots, 1998) about a man told his time was up setting out to take revenge on various people - a dark comedy. This is a fun film in retrospect, not a masterpiece by Michael Winner, but a great cast and an interesting slice of the times.

    Finally, the 5 CD set Original Album Series (I've never been disappointed with any of that series BTW) is well worth getting - a great place to start exploring, and the versions of the albums are more or less (AFAIK) the same as the original masterings.

    Hope this helps anyone considering whether to venture along that Road to Hell.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  18. rs4951

    rs4951 Forum Resident

    Great post, you know your Rea. My opinion on some of the material differs somewhat.

    Without going album by album - save that for when someone does one of those threads! - I'd chunk his career this way:
    Strong debut followed by IMO a weak second, a strange third and then a sound takes hold- self titled, watersign and wired to the moon are a nice trio, It was 1983 when Water Sign caught my attention and I was hooked. Everything through to Auberge in 1991 was very strong even though some took me a few years to really appreciate [On the beach and Auberge]. For me, the 1992-2000 albums could be summarised as loved half could leave half of each album, except Road to hell II which scores lower...
    Then it all changed and along came Rea Mk a completely different artist (although Rea live pre blues gave more clues to his desired sound than the albums had). I am not a major blues fan and struggled with Dancing down the stony road, but if you like blues it was very well received and in the context of his near death an intruiging listen. The follow up The Blue Jukebox was more accessible imo and remains my fav of this millennium. Blue Guitars is amazing in concept and design if a bit overwhelming - best bits for me are those songs that have echoes of his pre blues period.
    For me Rea went off the rails after this...his artistic freedom and lack of a quality control aide meant that the songs got weaker and for me mostly sounded like pre 2000 out takes done blues style.
    Concepts might be great but I would recommend very few songs from Return of the Hofner Blue notes or Santo Spirito sets. I really wanted him to hit big with Road songs for lovers but it was another case of 3-4 great songs with the rest being quiet bland.

    His live album The road to hell and back from 2006 gives a good sense of his live sound and showcases how he changes his hits over time.

    Unusual artist in that picking a selection of hits isn't easy. Come so far was a good set, but the best comp might be The Works, a three cd set. Don't own it but the tracklist is great. And it includes Windy Town!

    Word of caution on some newer comps where newly recorded versions of his top 4-5 hits feature. These are not the 1988 re-recordings but but more recent ones that sound like he did them with a cheap keyboard and drum machine.

    Other watch out :) if you get hooked and are a completist get ready for pain. So many b sides and variants...and uncountable versions of Josephine.

    I hope someday he starts to empty the vault....he used to write non stop...
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  19. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    My relationship with Chris Rea is only skin deep. I remember when Shamrock Diaries came out, and that was a monster between myself and friends. We all owned it, and we played the hell out of it. Stainsby Girls was a big single at the time, but tracks such as Steel River, Josephine, and One Golden Rule are all marvelous. It's a great album.

    That was followed by On the Beach, which was DOA. That thing was washed up by the tide and found by idle surfers wondering what the smell was.

    However, there was a final twist in t he tale when Dancing with Strangers hit. Man, that has some corkers. Windy Town is awesome. Along with that you get I Can't Dance to That, Joys of Christmas, and Buy Myself a Hat and on. It's a fun album.

    Overall, that was everything from Rea that came into my purview. He was gone, and I've not followed up. Perhaps, with the distance of years, On the Beach might not be as bad as I recall. Still, I lost interest in him and haven't even played the titles I've mentioned in a long time. I remember thinking at the time that the only thing he was missing was a kick-ass band. He seemed mired with a slow, plodding, tempo. I wanted him to let rip. Still, good memories.
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  20. rs4951

    rs4951 Forum Resident

    On the beach..slow and lacking good hooks apart from a personal fav It's all gone...when it came out I was very disappointed, but a few years later I triwd again and it is a lovely peaceful album.
    Vaughan likes this.
  21. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    Yeah, peaceful is probably not what I was looking for around the mid-1980's. :D
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  22. F.U.B.B

    F.U.B.B Forum Resident

    Swindon England
    Played the first and last CDs in the Blue Guitar - Wow Wow Wow - punching the friggen air and dancing like a dad (imagine because my school reports said this pupil was not allowed to breed!) - Saw CR twice on the Stoney Road Tour and mouth wide open for much of it - he was let loose from that bit of sugar pop and rocked! - OMG - 12 CDs in lavish box set - £34 that is the Blue Guitars - tell me out there - is there any better buy ever ever - in terms of value - box presentation- production values and only played 2 todate - nice at last not be screwed by the Company’s that own likes of PF and Eagles that shove the punter for what they can take?
    George Cooke likes this.
  23. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
  24. Sex Lies And Master Tapes

    Sex Lies And Master Tapes Forum Resident

    Nantes, France
    Huge fan here.

    His best : Auberge
    Really became popular in France and Europe with On The Beach (album + song) and became huge and the equal of Mark Knopfler with The Road To Hell and then Auberge.
    Fantastic slide guitar player + great lyricist.

  25. Larsen

    Larsen Forum Resident

    Bergen, Norway
    All this talk of Rea and Knopfler made me think of this one from the Hofner Bluenotes, released 2008:


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