The Santo Spirito Blues CD
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Following his sell-out UK and European tour in 2010, and 2009's UK top ten album Still So Far To Go - The Best Of Chris Rea, one of the UK’s foremost singer-songwriters returns with his first new material in over ten years. This brand new studio album features "Dancing My Blues Away", "Never Tie Me Down", "The Chance Of Love", "Rock & Roll Tonight", "Electric Guitar" and "The Last Open Road".
Always beware the senior rock musician who becomes too fascinated with the intricacies of his craft. Chris Rea has already released one album devoted to a guitar, 2008 'comeback' album The Return of the Fabulous Hofner Bluenotes, along with the whopping 137-track Blues Guitars collection that appeared in 2005 following his battle with pancreatitis.
Santo Spirito Blues, then, follows a similar trusty, hoary old path. The cover art, a painting of a blue guitar that you might find in a Spanish art gallery aimed at English tourists, points to this, as do track titles that are straight out of the canon - Rock and Roll Tonight, The Last Open Road, Electric Guitar, and so on.
As a straightforward homage to blues traditionalism, Santo Spirito Blues can't really be faulted. Rea's playing is exemplary, his songwriting accomplished, the boxes ticked. Yet it's hard not to feel that there's something missing from the endeavour.
Money starts with atmospheric jazz, complete with added vinyl scratches, but becomes lost in bombast, lyrics that run "it's all about the money!" feeling a little too close to the bone. Electric Guitar is in the tradition of songs devoted to the six string, strangely male, and doing a merry dance with lyrical clich�: "Got me a box with a speaker / Gonna make that angel sing", "Every song about a railway track / Every song about not going back", and so on. With the master of modernising the blues, Tom Waits, about to return with a new album, Rea unfortunately strays too far into pastiche.
What's frustrating is that there is one standout track here that shows just what Rea is capable of when he's not overly focussed on playing, and eulogising, the guitar. Alright, so The Chance of Love is remarkably similar to Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing, but it's a pacy, heady track reminiscent of Rea at his 80s best. Crucially, the simple guitar lines and sax allow his greatest asset, that gravelly voice, to breathe. It's a shame that, elsewhere in this album, it so struggles to be heard.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is Mr Rea's best album for ages. I do think he lost his way a bit after his near fatal illness and his music reflected this. He seams to have got this off his chest now and this latest offering puts him back at the top of his game. There's not a weak track on it. Buy it, it won't disappoint.
All I have to say is this is Chris Rea doing what Chris Rea does best. He might not agree?
1."Dancing My Blues Away" - 4:13
2."Rock and Roll Tonight" - 3:42
3."Never Tie Me Down" - 4:35
4."The Chance of Love" - 4:15
5."The Last Open Road" - 4:20
6."Electric Guitar" - 4:21
7."Money" - 6:47
8."The Way She Moves" - 5:55
9."Dance with Me All Night Long" - 6:03
10."Think Like a Woman" - 4:19
11."You Got Lucky" - 3:55
12."Lose My Heart in You" - 4:55
13."I Will Go On" - 3:00
I don't mean to imply, however, that I have any feeling of "been there, done that" about "Santo Spirito Blues"; on the contrary, the music is absolutely excellent, as it almost always is where Chris Rea is concerned. The man has been producing top quality music for half my lifetime. During all those years he has barely made a false step, and he doesn't make one here. This is another real treat for admirers of this master craftsman's work. Keep on rockin', Chris.
The above comment is the very definition of Spirito Blues, the latest album from Chris Rea.
And the quote comes from the acclaimed singer songwriter himself, who also happens to be a great six-stringer and one of the finest slide blues guitarists in the business.
Santo Spirito Blues follows the form of most of Chris Rea's releases over the last decade. It's an album rooted in the blues, a road the musician purposely found himself travelling at the start of the Millennium after he recovered from serious illness and an operation with a predicted 50% chance of survival.
The album and its up-beat tempo is typified by tracks such as `Rock and Roll Tonight' with its Stones-esque rhythm and riffing and `Never Tie me Down,' a song for the young man with his life still ahead of him.
It's not a one dimensional album, however, and Rea does deliver a tune or three in amongst the thirteen tracks that's more laid back or slow blues.
The two lightest pieces on Santo Spirito Blues close out proceedings - the smoky blues of `Lose My Heart in You' and the country-blues tinged ballad `I Will Go On.'
The album comes in two flavours.
There's the standard album release reviewed here and a multi-disc set.
The box-set edition is a five disc release featuring three CD's and two DVD's.
The DVD's are two films written and directed by Rea.
One is what is described as "a raw and brutally honest" film on bullfighting, while the other is about a man's journey on a search for the truth in the city of Florence.
The soundtracks to both films are featured on two of the CD's while the other CD is the Santo Spirito Blues album.Read more ›
Not as bad as The Road to Hell Part 2 (1/5 star in my book) but far from his better outings.
Overall a really strong album by a great song writer and guitarist so do yourself a favour and order a copy from Amazon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Decent enough album from Mr Rea. Never quite makes it to one of his classics though.Published 6 months ago by NMP
A change from the usual Rea "Road to hell" style but showing just how good Chris is at his work. Good One and well worth the charge.Published 9 months ago by Julian Leggett
Classic Rea. Not ground breaking, but great tracks performed to perfection by an established member of the British rock pantheonPublished 16 months ago by Peteroni