Triple Played: Nov. 11

“Fool (If You Think It’s Over)” was the first time I ever heard of Chris Rea.

That was sometime in 1978, and it was from the LP “Whatever Happened to Benny Santini,” which I subsequently bought and liked quite a bit.

This led me to buy the British singer/songwriter’s next two albums, “Deltics” and “Tennis.” But I kind of lost track of Rea for a while after that, even though I have always liked “Fool (If You Think It’s Over).”

It is just one of those songs that still sounds great to me, and it’s one of those songs that makes you automatically turn up the volume.

I don’t even have “Whatever Happened To Benny Santini” on vinyl anymore and haven’t been able to find it on CD, either.

After “Benny Santini,” Rea released eight albums with very little critical acclaim or commercial success in the United States. That may be, in part or completely, because Rea preferred to do the majority of his recording and all of his performing in front of his main fan base in Britain and is fairly reclusive.

In 1988, Rea released a best-of compilation “New Light Through Old Windows,” which sold well in the United States and has been a stock item at Triple Play Records ever since.

Rea’s landmark recording “Road to Hell” was released in 1989 on Geffen Records in the United States. It was and still is the best, most popular and top-selling commercial release of Rea’s career.

The album featured Rea’s phenomenal slide guitar playing on the amazing nine-minute title track as well as on “Texas” and “Daytona,” making them the record’s most memorable songs.

Rea followed “Road to Hell” with “Auberge,” which was almost as good and featured the title track along with “Gone Fishing” and “Looking for the Summer” as standouts.

Rea has released 15 recordings after “Auberge” including an 11-album, 130-track box set of all new material inspired by the blues, his own paintings called “Blue Guitars” and a three-disc set “the Return of the Fabulous Hofner Blue Notes,” which is a loose and fun recording.

This all leads to Rea’s most recent release “Santo Spirito Blues,” available in two different configurations.

First, it is available as a single CD of music and, second, as a deluxe set featuring two DVDs of the films “Bull Fighting” and “Santo Spirito” written and directed by Rea along with three CDs including the soundtracks to the movies and the original “Santo Spirito Blues,” all performed by Rea.

“Santo Spirito Blues” is 13 songs of stripped down mostly up-tempo blues featuring Rea’s incredible slide guitar and a wonderful voice that falls somewhere between Mark Knopfler and Tom Waits.

My favorite songs from the album so far are “Dancing My Blues Away,” “The Way She Moves,” “Dance With Me All Night Long,” “You Got Lucky” and of course “Electric Guitar.”

Rea is an excellent songwriter to go along with his exceptional singing and guitar playing, and he has had a large loyal following since 1989.

His fans will find a lot to like on his newest CD.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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