Chris Rea

The Journey 1978-2009

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Released just two years after his Still So Far to Go compilation returned him to the U.K. Top Ten for the first time in over a decade, Journey 1978-2009 feels like a rather superfluous addition to British blues veteran Chris Rea's back catalog. Nevertheless, for any casual fans yet to pick up one of his many hits collections, this is as good a place to start as any. With 34 tracks, it's equally as extensive, and with every single one of his 12 Top 40 singles included and material spanning from his 1978 debut, Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? ("Fool [If You Think It's Over]") right up to the title track of his last major-label overview, just as representative. Indeed, the ten different inclusions between the two will only be apparent to his loyal hardcore fan base, with the main new additions being the 1988 remix of signature hit "On the Beach" (alongside the 1986 original), his tribute to the late Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna ("Saudade, Pts. 1-2"), and minor hit singles "Soft Top Hard Shoulder" and "Texas." However, perhaps deterred by his rather maverick noughties output, his more recent releases, such as the 11-disc Blue Guitars and fictional group concept album The Return of the Fabulous Hofner Bluenotes, have been ignored altogether, with 2002's Dancing Down the Stony Road ("Stony Road") the most recent studio album offering. There's nothing here that longtime Rea aficionados won't already have, but with everything from the jaunty pub rock of "Let's Dance" to the festive classic "Driving Home for Christmas" to the hellish tale of life on the M25, "The Road to Hell, Pt. 2," alongside several more obscure numbers, it's a solid if rather unnecessary retrospective from one of the U.K.'s most enduring blues-rock singer/guitarists.

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