- 29 Oct 02
The world might not have been staying up late waiting for a double-CD of moaning delta blues and stirring gospel tunes from Chris Rea, but then the world has never been too hot at knowing what it needs
This is the album East West Records in the UK refused to release, so it must be worth a listen or two. And it is, and much more. The world might not have been staying up late waiting for a double-CD of moaning delta blues and stirring gospel tunes from Chris Rea, but then the world has never been too hot at knowing what it needs, no more than record company dullards are.
Yes, it’s a long way from ‘Fool (If You Think It’s Over’), but finally Rea’s well-gargled voice makes complete sense as he rambles through electrified delta blues that echo the works of his hero Charley Patton. Along the road it tips the hat towards JJ Cale, Robert Johnson, Ry Cooder, Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Son House too, without ever letting you forget that these songs and sounds are the outpouring of a soul far too long in hock to the men in suits.
The opening track ‘Easy Rider’ sets the tone for the journey with its evocative slide guitar, groaning vocals and its intense, brooding atmosphere. ‘Dancing The Blues Away’ is driven by the accordion of Ed Hession with Rea’s voice in top form. The slinky ‘Qualified’ has wit and elegance and is reminiscent of Cream/Willie Dixon’s ‘Spoonful’. Gerry O’Connor infiltrates his banjo to superb effect, especially on the autobiographical ‘Stony Road’. The second CD ends appropriately with ‘Give That Girl A Diamond’, a convincing tribute to Rea’s life-long sweetheart and wife Joan.