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Five Guitars, one great sound...,
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This review is from: Blue Street (Five Guitars) (Audio CD)
It could very well be that as a Chris Rea fan, you're still getting over the shock of witnessing his musical change in the direction of the blues. His most recent album release 'Dancing Down the Stony Road' was his first with back turned to rock and pop, and he faced the very real risk of alienating many of his followers that had known only that as a result.
If like me, however, you bought that album out of a sheer sense of curiosity and with no real liking for the blues, you may have found yourself contentedly admiring Chris Rea's new 'sound.' It was a no-frills down-and-dirty dive into the world of gospel, heart-breakingly desperate Delta blues and all stops in-between. This album, however, gives us a more easy-going, laid back slant on the blues, so if you got through 'Stony Road' without vowing never to buy another album like this again, may I suggest you put this one in your Amazon UK shopping basket.
What we have here is a collection of 11 tracks lasting a total of over 47 minutes, many of which merge seemlessly into each other as they roll on from one to the next. In fact the first five tracks all combine into one excellent whole lasting for about 20 minutes. During this time, you're treated to the steady rhythmic thump of tracks like 'Blue Street,' the catchy riff from the Hofner on 'Big C' and the gentle soothing atmosphere of 'Big C Big Sea.'
A little later, buyers of Rea's previous album will surely recognise a new instrumental re-working of 'Heading For The City.' This version is an absolute joy - a few extra melodic breaks are thrown in to give the track a slightly lighter feel, and the overall effect is that depsite the absence of Chris' singing, the guitar-playing more than makes up for this with interest.
If you're a fan of Chris Rea's singing, you'll have a long time to wait for it - it finally surfaces on tracks 9 and 10. The good news is this doesn't detract from what is essentially an album full of wonderful blues music which newcomers to the genre (such as myself) will get into and enjoy very easily.
And as has become a trademark of Rea's recent work, there's even a nod in the direction of his back catalogue. The last track, 'Funk 48' rests delicately on 'Guitar Street', a song which appeared on his self-titled third album from way back in 1981. It's a great ending to a fine album and a highly refreshing change not only to Rea's former material, but to the current offering of music currently available in the charts and on the radio.
Rea fans, fear not. You *will* enjoy this, and more to the point you'll eagerly await more of this ilk in the future.