Chris de Burgh

Spanish Train & Other Stories

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AllMusic Review by

Chris de Burgh's storytelling prowess comes into fruition on Spanish Train and Other Stories as he carefully grasps the listener's attention with his soft-spoken candor. With songs that are reminiscent of tales told to a young child by his bedside, de Burgh captivates his audience with his serene anecdotes that are enhanced by the music that envelops him. The opening "Spanish Train" is a mysterious yarn about a poker game between God and the Devil, where the victor inherits the soul of a dying train engineer. de Burgh's vocal escalation from serene to flamboyant makes this one of his best songs, as does the marvelous twist at the end of the story. "A Spaceman Came Travelling" has de Burgh blanketing his wispy voice in a tale about the birth of Jesus, only his version substitutes the Star of Bethlehem for an alien visitor who has arrived to reveal a startling message. With "Patricia the Stripper," de Burgh proves that his sense of humor has not escaped him, as the baroque melody and playful banter make this tune one of his most spirited. Both musically appealing and lyrically thought-provoking, it is this style of narrative that causes Spanish Train to be one of his best albums. Even the forlorn tone of the piano in "Lonely Sky" invokes sadness and melancholy with perfection, coupled with de Burgh's vacant air. All the songs on Spanish Train capture de Burgh's flair for singing elegant pieces that are sincerely attractive, all the while illustrating his pliable vocal stylishness.

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