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Pop - Released November 20, 2020 | WM UK

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This 51-track collection digs into the back catalogue of Chris Rea, covering the years between 1978 and 1984. Included are a number of singles -- such as "Fool (If You Think It’s Over)" -- alongside a number of demos, b-sides, and Spanish language versions. © Rich Wilson /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 15, 2001 | EastWest U.K.

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Pop - Released October 2, 1989 | EastWest U.K.

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Pop - Released February 25, 1991 | Rhino

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Pop - Released October 16, 2006 | Polydor Associated Labels

Chris Rea was a rock star with the sort of gravel voice that was ideally suited to singing the blues, or was he a blues star who occasionally lent his talent to performing rock. The Road to Hell & Back was his 28th album in total including five different greatest-hits compilations, but was his first live album. Recorded at various venues during his 2006 tour from Warsaw to Moscow and Plymouth, Oxford and Brighton, all the tracks show a tight, together band, the Fireflies led by Chris Rea, not in the best of health but enjoying performing to appreciative, sometimes too polite audiences, who applaud in all the right places (at the end of each song). Amazingly for an artist with such a famous repertoire of songs, he had only ever hit the Top Ten of the singles chart with one song, "The Road to Hell. Pt. 2" and along with its slower precursor, "Pt. 1," is included here along with Chris Rea favorites, "Josephine," "Stainsby Girls," "On the Beach," (on which he broke into some Bob Marley type reggae), "Let's Dance," and his first-ever hit single "Fool If You Think It's Over." Opening the set with a Jools Holland type of boogie-woogie with the track "Jazzy Blue," the band, almost as if in keeping with the politeness of the audiences, play a minimalist set, almost acoustic. "Josephine" takes almost four minutes to warm up, and "Stony Road" chugs slowly along until the guitar breaks in after nearly three minutes, but the tracks are given time to mature and develop. Both "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat" with its Dire Straits type guitar licks, and the two parts of "The Road to Hell" are over ten minutes each and "Stainsby Girls" and "Somewhere Between Highway 61 And 49" are both extended to over eight minutes, the former showing that the band can most definitely rock, and the latter giving the blues a chance to really grind the audience into believing they could really be somewhere in the Mississippi Delta instead of the Moscow Kremlin Palace watching a man from Middlesbrough, a town in the North East of England. © Sharon Mawer /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 10, 2007 | Rhino

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Pop - Released April 1, 1986 | Rhino

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Pop - Released July 18, 1985 | 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 /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 29, 2017 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Pop - Released July 4, 1987 | Rhino

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Rock - Released October 17, 1988 | Rhino

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Rock - Released November 10, 1978 | Rhino

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Pop - Released July 18, 1983 | WM UK

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Pop - Released November 2, 1992 | EastWest U.K.

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Pop - Released September 25, 2000 | EastWest U.K.

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Pop - Released November 1, 1993 | Rhino

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Pop - Released July 18, 1984 | WM UK

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Pop - Released July 18, 1982 | Rhino

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Pop - Released November 9, 2018 | Rhino

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Pop - Released July 18, 1979 | Rhino