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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reminder of what true songwriting used to be.
I first heard the strains of this incredible collection of songs 18 years ago through the wall while a neighbour played it every night for a week. There was something very special about the melodies that floated through the brickwork, and it was only months later that a friend played a cassette of the album that I said, "Who IS that?" Chris de Burgh's name was...
Published on 19 Nov 2001

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good album, poor reproduction
I got this to replace a vinyl copy. The sound is barely audible on the last track, even turned up to max, and is not good throughout - so, until I scratch it, vinyl will rule. The songs are all stories, which I like, and Chris de Burgh is one of those love him or hate him singers so you'll have your own instant reaction. This probably isn't the best introduction to his...
Published 22 months ago by coffeedrinker


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reminder of what true songwriting used to be., 19 Nov 2001
By A Customer
I first heard the strains of this incredible collection of songs 18 years ago through the wall while a neighbour played it every night for a week. There was something very special about the melodies that floated through the brickwork, and it was only months later that a friend played a cassette of the album that I said, "Who IS that?" Chris de Burgh's name was new to me, but the next day I went and bought the album (vinyl LP!). I now have it in CD quality of course, and each song (except possibly "The Painter") still makes the hairs on the back of my head stand. Chris paints a story-board in your imagination with the virtuosity of a musical Picasso. His more recent material is good alright, but this album, with its beautiful melodies, is in a different league. I wish Chris would do a tour which focussed on the less heard tracks on this album, along with those on 'Crusdaer', 'End of a perfect day' and 'Castle Walls'. "Spanish Train" is a wonderful, wonderful album. If you like good stories put to lovely music and sung with feeling, you'll know what these reviews are trying to say. But it and see for yourself.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 70s storytelling at its finest, 19 May 2005
By 
amboline (York, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
It's time the reputation of Chris de Burgh had a bit of rehabilitation. In the days before "The Lady in Red" and its bundle of insipid follow-ups, Chris de Burgh was a songwriter with flair and originality. A modern-day descendant of the travelling minstrels of yesteryear, de Burgh perfected the art of storytelling in song, finding equal inspiration from the Celtic tradition and the era of flower power when being a folk singer was something to be proud of. "Spanish Train and Other Stories" was de Burgh's second album, and certainly his creative peak.
The title track opens quietly but rapidly reaches a demented crescendo with a crazy story of God and the Devil playing poker for souls. From here, the album meanders, erratically but with great charm, through some of his best tragic ballads ("Lonely Sky"), understated protest songs ("This Song for You") and drinking choruses ("Going Home" and "Patricia the Stripper"). Religious imagery abounds but from a refreshingly leftfield perspective, re-casting the Nativity angel as a visiting alien in the classic "A Spaceman Came Travelling" and re-telling the story of Jesus as a modern political agitator in the simply gorgeous "Just Another Poor Boy". "The Painter" is a half-crazed murder ballad which leaves you wondering just who was the victim and who the killer, while "The Tower" takes an enchanting step backwards into Celtic mythology to spin a breathtaking fairytale with a modern ecological message - a theme which de Burgh was to follow up in later acoustic albums such as "Crusader".
There's a naive kind of daring about many of these songs. "Patricia" was one of my personal favourites on the sixth-form stereo in years gone by, and the religious imagery of "Spanish Train" and "Spaceman" must certainly have shocked in its day. But mostly these are just beautifully told stories with the catchiest tunes; even if their style has dated, the songs are as memorable as ever. This is one of the classic albums of the post-hippie era. Miss it at your peril.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What an album should be, 7 Mar 2003
By A Customer
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What a shame that CdB ever had to discover the commercial success of stuff like Lady in Red, because if that is what you know of CdB you are in for a shock - but a good one! This album is what songwriting should be about - full of energy, soul and pictures. Yes "pictures" - you see the songs in your head such are the pictures he paints - good link to The Painter which is probably my favourite track on the album. Buy it and Enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are you sitting comfortably?, 30 Nov 2011
I'm going to write another Chris De Burgh review as people seem to like them more than any others I write. I was going to say how much I love Kate Bush's new album but there are already about 50 million reviews. So I won't bother.

Then I'll begin.

This was Chris's second album, released in the pre-historic ages of 1975 following his debut which was quite a lot different from susequent releases. It reflects his golden years of unique music, so well thought-out and put together. Every song tells a story.

The opening title track is dramatic and entertaining, if not a bit shouty at times. The devil and God are playing chess. The prize? The souls of the dead, starting with the railwayman. And Chris's soul is on the line. The devil wins because he cheats. The bugger. Sounds ridiculous? It works.

'Lonely Sky' is quite moving and has some great piano playing and a good, strong vocal. One of Chris's best songs ever.

In the down-beat 'This Song For You' Chris is in Paschandale in 1917 writing to his loved-one at home. Plenty of piano.

What of 'Patricia the Stripper'? Loud and raucous but humorous, the song tells the story of a lady who 'removes all her clothing' to entertain. When brought to justice, the judge declares that 'This girl was in her working clothes'. Hmm. It wears a bit thin after a while. (Is there a pun there? I didn't mean it).

'A Spaceman Came Travelling' is well-known as a Christmas song, unfortunately, which appears to be continued in the excellent final track, again full of power and emotion, which seems to re-count the Easter story. I've skipped a few, I know. 'The Tower' has real beauty, sadness and melancholy about a great lord who locks up a girl. The choir adds to the ambiance. In 'The Painter', Chris gets a bit miffed (the consequences are fatal) with his wife for spending so much time with a painter who is supposed to be producing her portrait. 'I'm Going Home' is a lovely up-tempo, optimistic song about, well, going home, really.

I would rate this album as one of Chris's finest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best album, 16 Dec 2009
By 
Andy O'Boogie (Widnes, Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
A truly 5 star album. It was his second circa 1976/77. He hasn't touched this quality since unfortunately. The song writing was brilliant and the production/engineering sound was spot on. Later albums had his voice too far back in my opinion. Most of the tracks on this album are far superior to the average nice album track called LAdy in Red he did in the 1980's. It is such a shame that he is remembered for that track and Missing You. He even rerecorded Spaceman Came Traveling abysmally. Chris de Burgh was excellent in concert, even in the 80's and 90's when the recorded material did not match the live performance. Nowadays he has on the comfy slippers while he does Daniel O'Donnell impressions,shame!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure artistry, 22 Jun 2001
By 
My second review of a C De B album and again it is just so brilliant. Patricia the stripper shows Chris full of humour along with songs such as a spaceman came travelling which shows pure storytelling ability and the whole album is just amazing. Personaly i love the man and if you like C De B at all you will love this one to, dissapointment is an impossible feeling with any of his albums.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before he entered Wimpdom, 13 Dec 2004
Such a shame that CdB allowed his songwriting skills to become formulaic, watered-down wimpishness. As if 'Lady in Red' wasn't bad enough (it was surely worse), he wrote and re-wrote it endless times and tried to palm it off as a new song each time - but there was a time when he told stories. And there wasn't a red-draped lady in sight. These were real stories in the grand tradition of troubadors and minstrels. It's a pity that 'Spanish Train' and 'Crusader' (off another early recording) haven't been put together as then you'd have the perfect CdB storytelling album. Don't be put off by CdB's latest lamentable outpourings - this album is well worth listening to - as is 'Crusader'.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Er...yes, I do own a Chris de Burgh album, 6 Dec 2003
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
It's not something you readily admit to these days, owning an album by Chris de Burgh. It was Lady in Red that did it - that loathsome song has a lot to answer for. Why did he have to sell his soul for a number 1?
Such a shame too, because Spanish Train (which I first heard in the early 80s) revealed de Burgh to be a remarkable performer - intelligent, witty, musical and talented, capable of crafting a song like a master, spinning a yarn (try the title track with its fanciful tale of God and the Devil playing cards to win souls for that) and truly entertaining his audience. Look at all the Christmas compilation albums out for the festive season, and you'll find A Spaceman Came Travelling on almost every one. This is a spellbinding album, which only fails my 5-star rating because some numbers seem slightly bland compared to the punchier tracks, but that's a fairly harsh judgement.
As for Chris, he always did have his eye on family appeal. I once saw his stage show on TV. He had a couple of dancers performing to Patricia the Stripper, but unlike Delicia in the song they kept their drawers firmly on!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars its only my view, 23 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Spanish Train And Other Stories (MP3 Download)
but it's vintage Chris de Burgh at his storytelling best. A modern day Troubador., long may he continue to produce sucj lyrics
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spanish Train and Other Stories, 1 Dec 2010
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
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Chris de Burgh has always been known, to his fans, for writing great songs with a story woven into them and this album offers up ten tracks specifically highlighted for the stories they tell. You get some classic gems here like `Spanish Train' with it's tale of a game for souls between the devil and the lord. `A Spaceman came Travelling' about the return of Christ, as well as lesser known tracks that are equally as good like `Lonely Sky' and the live favourite `Patricia the Stripper'. Overall this is a very strong album in his back catalogue and whilst some tracks are stronger than others, they all sit very well together as a whole. This could be classed as a concept album, but considering nearly all C de B songs have a story or theme of some description, this is merely a continuation of what he already does so well. There are other albums of his I would suggest you buy first (like `Into the Light'), but this needs to be added to your collection at some point and you shouldn't be disappointed.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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