Chris de Burgh had always been a storyteller and many of his songs painted pictures that took the listener to faraway places. On his 2006 album, The Storyman, he developed this theme and told the tales of how one generation passes down information to the next, from one culture to another. Before the album was released, he was asked whether he had ever considered writing a book of short stories and he replied that more in keeping with his early albums, Crusader and Spanish Train, his new album would be a series of short stories from around the world, and so it proved to be. "The Storyman Theme" that opened the album was a swirling instrumental that was reminiscent of the theme to the TV series Roots and there were classical and film score influences throughout the album. He was joined by the Mahotella Queens' African chanting on "Spirit," which could have been used in Disney's The Lion King, the London Russian Choir on the epic wartime ballad "Leningrad," and Hani Hussein, an Egyptian singer on the track "My Father's Eyes." He also gave himself time to develop a story such as on the track "The Mirror of the Soul" at over nine minutes long, but there were a couple of tracks, notably "The Sweetest Kiss of All" that hearkened back to de Burgh's commercial love song period, and "One World," that was filled with too many ecological clichés. Six of the tracks were recorded live with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London's legendary Abbey Road studios. Gone were the commercial hits from his mid-'80s period. The 25th album of his long career was very listenable and will probably stand the test of time longer than his pop-oriented albums.
AllMusic Review by Sharon Mawer
feat: Hani Hussein