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Chris Rea - a much later discovery for me, and now an endless musical pleasure


At this very moment, I am listening to some of Chris Rea's music from the 90s. "Where do we go from here", from the album, The Blue Cafe is playing on a loop. Such a smooth tune. The lyrics are realistic and thoughtful. Chris is speaking of a young woman and a young man, where they stand in life right now, and where are they headed. Where does she go from here; where does he go from here? Where do we go from here? That's the question he is answering in this song. The beat is steady, like a fast, steady heartbeat. And, then suddenly the slide guitar starts to cry and scream in his hands. What a gorgeous song!

That brings me to the discovery of Chris Rea. I first heard his music, surprisingly during the course of the pandemic; in 2020. It was just a song or two, and his voice and style immediately struck me as unique. I made a mental note and then continued with my familiar favorites - Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, and so many country musicians. Later in the year, around September of 2021, I again thought of his music and deliberately made a search to listen to a few of his albums. Through the months of October, November, and December of 2021, and even now in 2022, I have continued to listen to quite a few of his albums. In fact, currently, I am making a YouTube playlist of my afterthoughts and reflections for every song on the Deluxe Edition of the album, Auberge.

Auberge, Chris Rea - afterthoughts and reflections

Shamrock Diaries by Chris Rea

Listening to his music is a pleasure. Of course, during the course of listening to the music of Chris Rea, I started learning about this album and about him as an artist. If one goes to the Wikipedia, this information is available right in the introduction:

Christopher Anton Rea (/หˆriหษ™/ REE-ษ™; born 4 March 1951) is an English rock and blues singer-songwriter and guitarist from Middlesbrough, England. He is of Italian and Irish descent. He is known for his distinctive, husky singing and slide guitar playing, with the Guinness Rockopedia describing him as a "gravel-voiced guitar stalwart". After learning to play the guitar relatively late, a short burst of local band activity led to his launching a solo career in 1978.
Later in the same Wikipedia article, you also find more insight into why one would have easily heard of Eric Clapton, but less likely to have heard of Chris.

Due to his late introduction to music and guitar playing, Rea commented that when compared to Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton, "I definitely missed the boat, I think". He was self-taught, and soon tried to join a friend's group, The Elastic Band, as the first choice for guitar or bass. Heeding his father's advice he did not join as his potential earnings would not be enough to cover the costs of being in the group. As a result, he found himself working casual labouring jobs, including working in his father's ice cream business. Rea commented that, at that time, he was "meant to be developing my father's ice-cream cafe into a global concern, but I spent all my time in the stockroom playing slide guitar". 

In the near future, I intend to make a playlist of videos, one for each track on the album I am currently enjoying - The Blue Cafe. By the time this album came out in the 90s, he had already matured as an artist. But what one easily finds is his awareness and artistic rendition of his observations of life, and of human relationships between a man and a woman.

From time to time since last year, I have shared his songs and sometimes a few of my observations on Twitter. I sincerely believe, Chris is a great artist, but under-recognized. Every album I have listened to thus far, I have enjoyed every single track. I have not heard a bad song, even once coming from him. In fact, some of his songs are exceptional; not necessarily those that went on to become commercially successful. If by some chance, like it was in my case, you haven't steadily listened to Chris, then this would be a great time to get to know this man's music and his artistic ability.

These are some of Chris Rea's albums you can find on Amazon in many formats, including on vinyl in some cases.

As I was looking through the page on Amazon, it lists 95 results! And, some of them, I am seeing for the first time. Presently though, my concern is simply to enjoy the album of his that I am coming across in my personal digital collection. As I mentioned earlier, there is not a song that has been disappointing so far; some, in fact, have been deeply satisfying!

The Blue Cafe

And, maybe you would enjoy listening to Auberge, The Deluxe Edition on Spotify. So, here it is!


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