CHRIS REA The Road To Hell And Back Again (Live 2006) Polydor (2006)
While Rea has been considered the ‘nice’ or MOR end of blues rock, this live set shows how much more credit the guy deserves.
Opener 'Jazzee Blue' features a solid blues rhythm and a neat slide guitar solo, nodding at Pat Travers, with Rea’s soft husky vocals over the top.
A few tracks nod towards lounge jazz. The banjo on 'Josephine' is a good sound but the track too slow to make the most of it.
Most of disc 1 drifts along (despite some decent guitar work) but the 8 minute 'Stainsby Girls' is a touch more rock’n’roll, and again some good solos work well.
Disc 2 opens with 'Somewhere Between Highway 61 & 49', a more earthy blues number; slow, but with some good slide. 'The Road To Hell' is drawn out to 10 minutes, with a long, moody intro before it really off. The highlight of the album and infinitely better than the hit single.
'On The Beach' is back to MOR before the uptempo 'Let’s Dance'.
Chris Rea will always be on the gentle side of blues rock but this set is still well worth checking out.
Review by Joe Geesin