Chris Barber

Can't Stop Now: European Tour 2007

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The redoubtable Chris Barber is joined here by many guests, including Andy Fairweather Low and Graham Lyle. The title Can't Stop Now: European Tour 2007 is a bit misleading, as this terrific collection of songs (running well over an hour) was compiled from a variety of sources dating back to 1985, 1988, 2006, and early 2007. The four-page booklet is jam-packed with information. The sound is superb, and although he could very well be George Burns singing "I Wish I Was 18 Again" on the title studio track, "Can't Stop Now," Barber should be allowed the frivolity that fans will find charming -- a charm that could irritate the uninitiated into breaking dishes when they hear his voice. But the music is absolutely beautiful from start to finish, with Fairweather Low's contributions, including the medley of "Lay My Burden Down" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," recorded in February of 2006 at the Riverfront Theater in Newport; it's all just so very special. "Basin Street Blues," from a performance held at the now defunct Palast de Republik in Berlin, Germany, over July 13 and 14, 1988, is majestic and simply amazing, with Vic Pitt on bass, Barber on trombone and vocals, and the Grosse Rundfunk Orchester Berlin conducted by Robert Hanell. Truly uplifting, exotic, and bold. The version of the essential "Petite Fleur" (aka "Little Flower"), the artist's Top Five gold record hit from 1959, sounds lovely here, as recorded on November 30, 2006, at the Buxton Opera House. Of course, after Barber has been playing the instrumental melody for almost 50 years, the live version is so pristine that it could pass for a studio take, with the New Orleans jazz sound just superb. There's so much musically tucked into this CD, with styles stretched and overlapped onto each other, that the banquet of great listening is just one element added to its historic importance.

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