I dont know why some people have give this awesome album 3 stars or less.Untill he turned blues full time his albums were always a mixture of rock/pop/blues and ballads.This album has them all in equal measure.The full album version of Auberge is magnificent.Gone Fishing is a gorgeous,gorgeous ballad with subtle heartwrenching slide guitar.You're Not A Number,once it kicks off is a good foot tapping song,while Heaven is a tribute to those truckies who drive all over the world carrying band equipment and a yearning for home.Set Me Free is,for me the album highlight bar none.When Chris played this live on the Auberge tour i was totally blown away!!!.Red Shoes is a dance track on a par with Lets Dance of 86.Sing A Song Of Love To Me,Looking For The Summer,And You My Love And The Mention Of Your Name are top ballads(the latter very poignant as i believe it was written in memory of Chris,s mother),Every Second Counts is a good rocker. This album has some of CR,s finest vocals,and certainly his best slide guitar. My fave Chris albums or 1.Shamrock Diaries 2.Auberge 3.Dancing With Strangers 4 Gods Great Bana Skin 5.Wired To The Moon 6.Espresso Logic 7.Dancing With Strangers.....Im not incl.his blues albums in this,although they are equally brilliant.
It's difficult to write words to try sum up how good music is! None more so than when trying to review this album:
Everything is here - beautiful tunes (Heaven) moving lyrics (Sing a Song of Love to Me, The Mention of Your Name) immaculate, gob-smackingly good production, and of course, Chris Rea!
If it could be said that the theme of Road To Hell was anger or frustration of the world, I would venture that Auberge sees a continuation of that theme, though in more understated way.
While the lyrics in Road To Hell directly explore the state of the world we live in, lyrically Auberge explores simply getting away from it all, escape from the rat race, freedom. Again, like Road to Hell, the song titles are a give away:
You're Not a Number
Heaven (Happy? You bet I am! Holding onto this smile for just as long as I can)
Set Me Free
Looking for Summer (Remember Love how it was the same? We scratched and heard each others growing pains)
We also hear, like Road To Hell, a harking to the 'delta' sound, that Rea explores so eloquently later on with albums like Dancing Down The Stoney Road (You're Not a Number)
The song ends with a moving tribute to Chris' late mother: The Mention of Your Name. If it fails to move you, check your pulse. It's worth repeating some of lyrics here in an effort to divulge the depth, beauty, and astonishing honesty in the lyrics, where Chris lays his heart out for all of us to see:
Time goes by,
And every single tear it must have well run dry
And the lonely nights become a strange accepted way.
And the years go past...
Just like the old song says, the pain with time has healed
It could not last.
But oh a friend, like a fool mentions your name...
Sunny days, drunken nights, you smile and say it's all right,
But oh the cold, cold rain, at the mention of your name...
Forgive me please, if I shrug my shoulders when I put my friends at ease, as I get older.
It's not that I don't feel colder than before.
Oh I've become so good at hiding what I feel without confiding,
It's still the same, darling still the same,
At the mention of your name...
A truly fabulous album, that deserves it's place in British album history, alongside others such as Brothers In Arms or Rumours. Truly inspired. An investment. Make no mistake. Thanks for reading.
Years ago a colleague said "Auberge" was Chris Rea's best album, and on the strength of that recommendation I bought it. He was right about that, though I'd add that if it's Chris Rea's best album, then that makes it the world's best album.... such is my regard for this artist's work. It's one of a handful of albums I know where nothing's out of place. Each number is strong, and they fit together well. I don't want to fast-forward anywhere. He shows incredible versatility - from the incandescent, yearning, bluesy "Set me free" to the enigmatic "Looking for the Summer" to the A-list torch song "The Mention of Your Name". There's a simplicity about these songs that speaks directly to the heart, while engaging the mind too. The arrangements are simple and powerful, the sound quality excellent. Whenever I set off to drive a long journey, I pop in "Auberge" - it couldn't be better. By the time I hit the motorway, "Heaven" is playing - ah, the romance of the open road! That's what I love about Chris Rea of the late 80s/early 90s - that sense of being focussed on what's beyond the next hill, while also understanding that wanderlust has a pathology all of it's own; the tension between the two is played for all it's worth. Oh, and the slide guitar is pretty damned hot!
Sing a song of love to me As the shadows start to grow...
Along with God`s Great Banana Skin, this is my favourite album by the man from Middlesborough. It evokes nostalgic/romantic memories for me (which I won`t go into here) but having not heard it for a decade I was able to listen to it afresh, and was - in the main - astounded by it. The mighty opening title track comes in at seven minutes, and is quite something. On this album Rea often reminds me of Mark Knopfler, melodically and in his tasteful way with a guitar riff, not least on this expansive, energetic uptempo song, backed by urgent horns and wailing guitars. Gone Fishing is just one of several gorgeous ballads on this rather mournful record (it`s blatantly obvious he is writing about a recent break-up on many of the songs) such as the wonderful Heaven, Sing A Song Of Love To Me (ah, the memories...) and the final and very moving The Mention Of Your Name, by which time I don`t mind telling you I was welling up. There are one or two slightly less memorable songs - there usually are on any Chris Rea record, I`ve found - but on the whole, Auberge is the bee`s knees. I`d rate it far higher than the fine but, to my mind, over-praised On The Beach, which is a great listen on a summer day, but is a tad short on distinctive songs. One or two of the man`s albums suffer from a lack of variety, of both mood and instrumentation, but not this one. There`s plenty of his trademark eloquent guitar to the fore, his gruff baritone voice is at its most resonant, and one or two of the songs will break your heart if you let them. This is lovely stuff. Nine out of ten.
So sing a song of love to me One more time before I go And I won`t be sad and lonely Anymore