Still So Far To Go 8 ( 2010 ) Fool (If You Think It's Over) / On The Beach / Let's Dance / Diamonds / Loving You / I Can Hear Your Heartbeat / I Don't Know What It Is But I Love It / Stainsby Girls / Josephine / It's All Gone / Loving You Again / Joys Of Christmas / Driving Home For Christmas / Working On It / Tell Me There's A Heaven / Heaven / Looking For The Summer / Come So Far, Yet Still So Far To Go / The Road To Hell (Part 2) / Auberge / Winter Song / Nothing To Fear / God's Great Banana Skin / Julia / You Can Go Your Own Way / When Grey Skies Turn To Blue / The Blue Café / New Times Square / Stoney Road / Easy Rider / Blue Street / Somewhere Between Highway 61 & 49 / Shadow Of A Fool / Valentino
Titling his latest greatest hits set 'Still So Far To Go' is perhaps a touch optimistic on Chris Rea's part, but nevermind. It's fair to say he's faded a little in recent years from the popular public conciousness but that doesn't mean he's stopped making music and this two cd set makes for an effective way to catch-up with him. Yes of course it contains all the hits in addition to often interesting album tracks. The blues of 'Somewhere Between Highway 61 & 49' for example is decent blues with an excellent electric guitar solo and production techniques designed to take away much of the gloss studio's these days tend to lend audio recordings. Chris Rea can do modern as well, though - as demonstrated by the dance number 'New Times Square', almost techno enough to be a massive floor-filler. I wasn't expecting this from Chris Rea but it's actually not too bad. Certainly not embarrassing, at any rate.
I must admit, Chris Rea has always been something of the establishment for me, or at least was. In my younger days, I was in an indie-goth ghetto and anybody like Chris Rea or Bruce Springsteen was unlikely to appeal to my sense of vanity. So, i've never really delved into his catalogue beyond the obvious hits. So, this compilation therefore serves a wonderful purpose for me, personally. I've read hardcore fans complaining at the release of 'yet another' hits LP just to get hold of one or two previously unavailable tracks, but that's not really the point, is it? I didn't know he'd been going since 1978, so i've learned something. As a fanatic, you're not going to learn anything from this compilation and besides, in the age of the digital download, why don't you just download the tracks you need rather than buy the whole album? In the age of individual track downloads, the very purpose of putting a couple of 'previously unrelease' or 'brand new' tracks onto a compilation seems a bit futile to me. Well, unless said new song happens to be brilliant and can become a big hit. Neither the ballad 'Valentino' or the blues based 'Come So Far' are likely to repeat commercial successes such as 'Auberge' or 'The Road To Hell' so their presence here is a little superflous, but anyway. Enough about geeky things.
I like 'Driving Home For Christmas'. I like 'The Road To Hell' and I really love 'On The Beach'. 'Still So Far To Go' serves a purpose, all told. It sensible compiles onto two cds the work of a man too often forgotten or underrated. He's a decent slide guitarist, for example. More than decent, yet perhaps because he's from Middlesborough and not Nebraska is unlikely to ever get the praise he probably deserves.
I loved your reviewing of Chris Rea. Unpredictable but well deserved. I guess in the 80's and up to the early 90's, people like Rea and Dire Straits were the only music that made sense to an older generation.
Tried "New Times Square" myself. Great song! Could have replaced "Woke Up This Morning" as the Sopranos opening theme.