I am writing this because Facebook wont let me properly share a recent YouTube album cover video that I post on three Chris Rea releases :
The first one I didn't think I liked. The presentation pack is wonderful but thought the music was a little too sixties stylised. It consists of a book with lots of photographs and some of Chris's paintings (he is a great artist) , two ten inch vinyl albums and three vinyl replica CDs.
Yesterday , thanks to the excellent RPM supplied record player (close on two years old now) I played the first vinyl album , and while very Shadows influenced you can tell it's Chris Rea, and it sounded a lot better than I expected. I am listening to my digital copy as I type this and it is extremely listenable, and you can sort of spot the songs that the tunes have been lifter from, but that is no bad thing, it just adds another level of enjoyment to the listening, and The Shadows are always a great starting point (two of my favourites are "Apache" and "Wonderful Land" and Hank Marvin was responsible for the killer intro to Cliff Richard's best ever record , his debut single "Move It").
As this progresses it becomes more and more contemporary Chris Rea rather than Chris Rea being The Shadows.
"Santo Spirito Blues" is a book with two film DVDs , accompanying CD soundtracks and a stand alone CD bearing the title of the collection. I haven't yet watched the films but the "Bull Fighting" is extremely Spanish influenced guitar and orchestral music and very good.
The biggest surprise is the half hour "Santo Spirito" CD which sounds like "Wish You Were Here" era Pink Floyd with overlaid accordions, shockingly and unexpectedly excellent and will be on my player a lot more often. A very impressive package.
"Blue Guitars" is an absolute tour-de-force, 11 CDs each with a different blues style all composed by Chris Rea and performed by him and the band , plus a DVD and page upon page of excellent Chris Rea art pieces. When this was released it was about £30 , which is less than £3 a CD, the art book alone is probably worth that. You will pay £60 for a copy on Amazon and there may be copies on Discogs as well.
11 CDs provide about eight hours continual listening and then you have a DVD to watch and an artbook to enjoy. The amazing thing is that this was produced in under two years and I still enjouy dipping into this today.
Hopefully people will check this out, and Chris Rea is an artist who still produces impressive album packages in this digital age. Although you can download the MP3 copies , you really want the physical copies to appreciate how good they are.