Top positive review
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Nods to vintage C de B, but progressive, romantic and enjoyable.
on 30 October 2010
Chris has put a lot of effort into this album, his sixteenth (of new material, not counting a lot of compilations) in 36 years. Not a bad achievement to the man they love or hate who is now aged over 60. I've been buying his albums since the Eighties and I believe that his 2004 and 2006 albums (The Road to Freedom and The Storyman) are among his best work.
So what of this one? As you know, it's based on J. Meade Falkner's book of the same name. It's set in the village of Moonfleet in Dorset in the year 1758.
Can we call it a concept album? Does he believe that he is Fish? Gabriel? Waters? Well, not quite. It's an easily-followed story: the hero, 15 year old John, hunts for Blackbeard's treasure and gets caught up in the dangerous world of smuggling. Oh, and he falls for Grace from whom he is separated and eventually marries. It's so very Chris De Burgh doing what he probably does best, harking back to his notable album 'Spanish Train and Other Storys' from 1975: vintage Chris de Burgh before he made us all vomit about the lady wearing a particular garment of a particular colour in 1986. This would not work for Roger Waters, Fish or Peter Gabriel.
(If you haven't got the Spanish Train album, I thik you should invest in it.)
This album starts off with 'The Moonfleet Overture': a five-minute piece which builds on his tradition since The Road To Freedom album of starting off with an instrumental piece. This one would not sound out of place on Radio 3. It segues into the first of five brief narration passages which, in turn, segues into a brief re-working of 'Heart of Darkess' from the 'Power of Ten' album which was based on the same book. This is followed by a fairly rocky song called 'Have a Care' which is reprised a few more times than I would like and also features a jolly turn of 'What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?' (ok, the lyrics are adapted a bit) and this, in turn, is reprised a couple of times. Only ten minutes or so into the album and we have been presented with a fairly diverse set of musical styles: from rock to sea shanties. Of course, Chris manages to squeeze in his romantic, but effective and stirring, songs with full orchestral arrangements. However, the amount of reprises in the album made me wonder if my CD player was skipping tracks.
The Moonfleet story runs for about 45 minutes and then we get the 'other storys'. Pleasant enough.
An ambitious project, and largely successful.