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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | EastWest U.K.

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Rock - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | EastWest U.K.

The title only hints at the horror that lurks in this album's message. "Texas," "Looking for a Rainbow," and "You Must Be Evil" pick apart the atrocities of our society, while "Daytona" offers some much-needed tension release. A modern masterpiece. ~ John Floyd
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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

Chris Rea's voice is like the smoke off a prairie fire or the sparks and flame from a flint and steel. Coupled with his robust, tasteful songwriting, the effect is to pull the listener into a song or album, grabbing at the brain -- not just the ears. Auberge is the follow-up to Road to Hell, an ambitious, dark-toned album that found European and critical success. Auberge may not be as dark as its predecessor, but Rea seemingly can't sing a word without sharpening its flinty edges, making it a bit threatening. That said, his latest effort tempers that wariness with a mixture of cavalier spontaneity and sighing recall. It's the thoughts and feelings of a man on a meandering road trip, thinking over the things he's said and done. "Heaven" seems to recall a time when the afterlife was in reach, but it could just as easily be the song of someone who's finally found his way. The reggae-tinged "Every Second Counts" finds Rea adjusting his phrasing perfectly to the song's mellow upbeat, while the rousing title track and its accompanying set piece "Set Me Free" move from searching, tentative guitar noodlings into full-blown epics, sketching the album's story line with bluesy bottom end, blustering horns, backup singers, and Rea's own grainy vocal rumble. Auberge might be a bit tough to break into at first, like a road map that you just can't unfold, but that's because ambitious, rangy songwriting is going to take a few odd turns on its way to the scenic overlook where everything becomes clear. In Rea's case, that moment is summed up over the twisting guitar and swelling strings of "Gone Fishing." "You can waste a whole lifetime trying to be what you think is expected of you," he sings, and offers the simple act of casting a line as cure for life's wrong turns. ~ Johnny Loftus
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Pop - Released December 8, 2017 | Rhino

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Blues - Released December 27, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

Road Songs for Lovers is the 24th album from British singer/songwriter Chris Rea. Following a raft of blues-focused albums, Rea returns to his earlier style of work with this album, delivering a timeless collection of perfectly executed rock ballads. The single "The Road Ahead" is included. ~ Rich Wilson
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Rock - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | EastWest U.K.

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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

After seven albums, Chris Rea was finally beginning to get the hang of what makes a commercial success. He had not changed his style throughout the 1980s, but now it was 1985 and the synth pop sounds and new romantics were both long gone -- and in their place were stadium-filling anthemic rock or power ballads. Shamrock Diaries was a mix of soft ballads like "Chisel Hill" and "One Golden Rule" along with saxophone-led uptempo numbers such as the title track and the feel-good song of the summer, "All Summer Long," which would have made an ideal single had Magnet decided to release it. Shamrock Diaries was written very much with family in mind, particularly considering the two singles released: "Stainsby Girls" was a tribute to his wife, Joan, who had attended Stainsby Secondary Modern School; and "Josephine" was written for his eldest daughter. The opening track, "Steel River," was rather hard to define, being a soft piano-led ballad until the first chorus kicked in and the song revealed gospel roots, but by the time the second chorus came along it had become a jazz jam. This was followed by "Stainsby Girls," easily the most like Bruce Springsteen that Rea had ever sounded -- and it became his first Top 30 single since "Fool If You Think It's Over" from the late '70s. However, Chris Rea saved the best track until the end: the slow-building "Hired Gun," over eight minutes of brooding menace. ~ Sharon Mawer
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Pop - Released December 13, 2018 | Polydor Associated Labels

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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | EastWest U.K.

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Rock - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

Though he had already cut a single, "So Much Love," for Magnet Records in 1975, this was Chris Rea's first full-length album. While "So Much Love" had basically disappeared quickly upon its release, the song "Fool (If You Think It's Over)" from Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? became his largest hit, especially in the U.S., where it was nominated for a Grammy (though it didn't win). Often the hit song from an album is not the best. In this case, though, it is. The rest of the album is somewhat mediocre, with too-polished production. Though Rea reportedly wasn't overly happy with the sound of the album, he did end up using the same producer for his next album, Deltics. The songs on Benny Santini are a mix of well-crafted, if unexciting, guitar rock pop songs and wistful ballads similar to, but not as strong as, "Fool (If You Think It's Over)." What makes the album stand out from similar late-'70s middle-of-the-road rock pop is Rea's voice. A gravelly, warm baritone, it's got a sort of Joe Cocker sound to it. A track like "Because of You" is made all the more touching by the emotiveness inherent in his voice. The album title refers to a name that Magnet Records was considering christening Rea with as a way to make him more spiffy sounding -- sort of the "John Cougar syndrome" that record labels sometimes have. ~ Rob Caldwell
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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | WM UK

Chris Rea remained one of the best-kept secrets in the music industry, releasing five albums between 1979 and 1983, none of them reaching even the Top 50 in the charts. All were very well received by both the critics and the public who knew the secret. His secret was a brand of late-night rock that had an element of class, not dissimilar at this stage of his career to the early-'80s Dire Straits albums, but totally out of step, and proudly so, with the music of the time -- new romantic, power and synth pop. He opened the album Water Sign with the song "Nothing's Happening by the Sea," which was so far laid back it was almost horizontal, with a harmonica instrumental break, and the album closed with a nod to synth pop on the track "Out of the Darkness." "Love's Strange Ways" was a similarly slow-moving Dire Straits-style number with an acoustic guitar picking out some notes throughout the song. "Let It Loose" had a driving rock beat, as did "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat," the only single taken from Water Sign. The record company needn't have bothered, however, as the single peaked at a miserable number 65. By the time Rea got around to releasing a hits compilation, this track was radically remixed with a slick guitar added and less of the drum machine. One track, "Texas," was to become popular via radio play in the States but also as music played at Texas Rangers baseball games, and Rea would revisit and re-record this song for his most successful commercial album, The Road to Hell, at the end of the decade. One day soon, a lot more people would discover Chris Rea, but in the meantime, in the era of Water Sign he remained a relative mystery. ~ Sharon Mawer
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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | WM UK

With the success of the band Incantation and ethnic South American music in 1982-1983, Chris Rea introduced his sixth album, Wired to the Moon, with the track "Bombollini," which was over six minutes of jungle-sounding drums and the haunting sound of pan pipes. The ethnic flavor continued on the second track, "Touché d'Amour," which was reggae in the unashamed style of lovers rock. However, Rea wasn't going to disappoint his fans altogether, small in number though they were in the U.K., having built a career over several albums of soft rock tracks and midtempo ballads with Dire Straits-style guitar breaks, and the rest of the tracks on Wired to the Moon fell easily into this category, especially "Shine, Shine, Shine" and "Holding Out," which were lovely emotive ballads. Meanwhile, "Ace of Hearts," the title track, and the final song, "Winning," were soft rock numbers -- almost MOR -- crying out for daytime radio play or a top-selling commercial artist to cover them (but neither of these came about). Yet again, the record company released just one single from a Rea album. The one they chose from Wired to the Moon was the uptempo Elton John-style track "I Don't Know What It Is But I Love It." You can't argue with their tenacity, as the song yet again flopped badly, only just scraping into the Top 75 for two weeks, as the album floundered at a high of just number 35. Even this, however, was a considerable improvement for a Chris Rea album, and one had to applaud Magnet Records for having faith in an artist who obviously pleased some people with his music, even if a lot of people didn't buy it. ~ Sharon Mawer
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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

Espresso Logic is aptly titled, as the majority of the music would fit well in a late-night coffee house. It's a jazzier-bluesier album than most of Rea's, featuring some fine slide guitar, particularly on the title track. The atmospheric "Miles Is a Cigarette" is a smoky evocation of longing and remembrance. This hushed mood carries over into "She Closed Her Eyes," which is a poem spoken over a soothing, wistful backing. It's not all moody atmospherics, though. Like "Josephine" on his earlier Shamrock Diaries, the bright rhythm driven song "Julia" is about one of his daughters. Unfortunately, the weakest track is the duet with Elton John. The pairing could have been more interesting if they'd picked a different song, but "If You Were Me" is quite bland. This album was released in two different versions, the U.S. version, with the gold sand on the cover, also included some songs from God's Great Banana Skin, which wasn't released in the U.S. ~ Rob Caldwell
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Pop - Released November 9, 2018 | Rhino

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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

Chris Rea carved out a niche for himself with a late-night brand of very British formalist rock & roll that owes as much to J.J. Cale as it does to Dire Straits. On his fourth album, he gets help from drummer Dave Mattacks, keyboardist Pete Wingfield, percussionist Ray Cooper, bassist Dave Paton, and a host of other dignitaries. The production by Rea and Jon Kelly takes nothing in the current music industry into account. His romantic vision, his understated execution, and his unflinchingly honest lyrics reveal a young man who could have been a huge pop star on this side of the Atlantic if the Yanks had only gotten a hold of him before everything changed a year or two later. As it stands, he made his name in the British Isles largely from the beginning. Tracks such as "If You Choose to Go," with its lovely slide run and backing chorus humming over the heartbroken lyric are in the pocket of laid-back tearjerkers with class and sheen. And, of course, there's "Every Beat of My Heart," covered by virtually everyone from Eric Clapton to Paul Kelly, and considered once by Van Morrison. With a gorgeous string arrangement by Andrew Powell, one can picture the late Jim Reeves singing this song as easily as Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker. There's also the funk-lite number "Do It for Your Love" that, despite it's slim, funky riff, stands as a great pop song that Boz Scaggs would have killed to have written. There simply isn't a weak track on this slick little masterpiece that established Rea as one of our quirkiest, most commercially viable, if obscure, cult pop icons. ~ Thom Jurek
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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino

Indeed, whatever happened to Benny Santini? The name that Magnet Records were considering using for their new solo signing but instead he went with his real name of Chris Rea, and Deltics was his second album after Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? and his first to reach the charts, althoug it didn't make much of an impact, only peaking at number 54 in the spring of 1979 -- not the best time for an introspective singer/songwriter to crash the charts. Named after the British Rail class 55 of diesel locomotive trains that were built in the early '60s and were just about to be withdrawn from service, Rea showed his interest in various forms of transport that would continue throughout his recording career. He took a leaf out of the Elton John songbook with the opening track "Twisted Wheel" which has a thumping piano running throughout and a melody not unlike Elton's song "Part Time Love." This style was continued on the song "Dance (Don't Think)" and the one single taken from Deltics, the track "Diamonds," but this was hardly surprising as the album was produced by Gus Dudgeon who had been influential in producing most of Elton John's albums to date. However, there was a variety on the album that showed great promise, from these uptempo numbers to the great atmospheric guitar work by Robert Ahwry on the title track and the ballads "She Gave It Away" and "The Things That Lovers Do." "Raincoat and a Rose" was obviously going to tug at the heartstrings with a string section during the intro and the chorus, and the song did turn out to be about forbidden love while the track "Cenotaph" was an interesting two-minute instrumental that led into the more rock-oriented "Letter from Amsterdam." Because Rea's career has lasted so long, still enjoying hit albums in the 21st century, his early work, which was not as commercially successful, is sometimes overlooked and Deltics is a prime example, a great album, hardly ever mentioned in discussions of Chris Rea's many recordings. ~ Sharon Mawer
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Pop - Released November 9, 2018 | Rhino

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