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Cover Me Myself And I: Chris de Burgh’s Home

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Devoted fan of Chris de Burgh though I am, I have to begin by saying that his last few albums (with one exception) have worried me.  Since 2008, he has released four albums, only one of which (the very, very good Moonfleet and Other Stories) contained all-original songs.

The other three are covers albums.  On Footsteps I and II, de Burgh covers old favourites of his (although both include some few new de Burgh compositions); on 2012’s Home, he covers himself, essaying acoustic versions of fourteen of his own songs.  I myself am emphatically NOT a fan of either of these kinds of releases and generally stay away from them unless I am particularly fond of the artist.  Well, what’s a guy to do – I own all these albums, and they are all classy productions.  Today, let’s talk about Home.

A Nice Twist

Typically, an acoustic-covers album recorded by the artist himself or herself will be heavy on that artist’s hits.  What makes Home an unexpected treat is that de Burgh instead chooses songs from his past that are not often heard and perhaps not so well known.  For example, the album ends, fittingly, with his song “Goodbye,” originally found on his very first album, 1974’s Far Beyond These Castle Walls (yes, there was something before his groundbreaking Spanish Train).  And he gives us spirited covers, just different enough from the originals, of good old tunes like “Sailor,” “Living on the Island,” and Crusader’s “It’s Such a Long Way Home” – one of the most beautiful songs he’s ever written.

But Why?

Well, I suppose de Burgh has two or three reasons for putting out such an album (maybe more – what do I know?).  He still has a contingent of loyal fans who demand new albums from him, so he knows there’s an audience waiting for him.  He probably wants to let his fans know that he’s still recording while they await the next all-original album.  And, I expect, he wants to revisit, for himself and for his fans, some of those songs that might not have had the ubiquitous airplay given “Lady in Red” or “Spanish Train” or “Patricia the Stripper” but that really shouldn’t be forgotten.

The Verdict

You can’t expect me to be impartial.  These are fine (some excellent) songs sung by one of pop music’s great balladeers – and that marvelous voice hasn’t weakened.  But will he win new fans?  I have to acknowledge that’s not likely.  If you are yourself a fan, though, or if, on the other hand, all you know of de Burgh is “Lady in Red,” please do check out this lovely album.

GW

Please rate this album and check out Chris de Burgh’s site: http://cdeb.com/

Check out our review of Crusader.

 

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