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Tag: Chris de Burgh

Some Chris de Burgh housekeeping

Inevitably, choosing a new WordPress theme (in my case, the wonderful Lovecraft theme by Anders Norén) involves going through old posts and cleaning up dead code and formatting. Given that there are over 1200 posts on this site, it’s quite a job.

But, I’ve been working away in the background and have now re-jigged the first four of my reviews of Chris de Burgh’s lyrical output in the 1970s: Far Beyond These Castle Walls . . . (1974), Spanish Train and Other Stories (1975), At the End of a Perfect Day (1977) and Crusader (1979).

Specifically, I’ve added record covers, quotes and links to the lyrics, in order to make the reviews (even) easier to digest.

Right now I’m also working on a review of de Burgh’s first 1980s collection, Eastern Wind.

More on that shortly!

Chris de Burgh on Iran

Recent events in Iran have filled me with shock and mounting horror, and I send my heartfelt sympathies and support to all my friends and fans there who may have been caught up in what has become a huge international story. Many people all over the world have reacted with anger and dismay at what appears to be blatant violations of basic human rights to freedom, health and happiness, and I sincerely hope that there will be a proper and fair resolution to these serious and opposing points of view, in this country with such a rich and important history, and a place that I have come to regard with respect and affection.

Chris de Burgh, 22 June 2009

Chris de Burgh: Crusader (1979)

Eagle-eyed readers would already be aware of my previous tutorial, wherein I demonstrated the art of writing a 100-word, 200-word, 300-word and (therefore) 500-word record review. Using the ‘find and replace’ function, this template can be used to write a review of any other band or musical recording. Take, for example, this re-working of my original 300-word Deerhunter review into a review of Chris de Burgh’s Crusader.

Faux-Norman Invasion-era period film actor and troubadour Chris de Burgh impressed [some and turned off others] in 1977 with his eerie [some would even say ghastly third LP] At the End of a Perfect Day, despite its strongest tracks, the ethereal ‘Broken Wings’ and the astonishingly bent ‘In a Country Churchyard (Let Your Love Shine On)’ suggesting a pop heart beating beneath the shards of tape-looped noise, the cracked mirrors in the studio.

Whatever your opinion of de Burgh’s shambolic (perhaps, shamanic) stylings, the positive discipline of a punishing South African touring schedule, undertaken to promote Spanish Train and Other Stories in 1975, had hardened de Burgh’s trademark soaring and uplifting songwriting, and the results are here for all to see on this two years overdue but surprisingly-upbeat and quirky follow-up, Crusader (released in Europe together with a live disc, featuring the (even then) legendary faux-jazz re-workings of ‘Carry on (reprise)’ and ‘I Had The Love In My Eyes’).

It’s hard to make out the individual contributions of the 50 hand-chosen session musicians and distinguished members of the public chosen to accompany de Burgh on the magnificent anti-war screed that is the album’s title track: ‘Crusader’, a four-part medley that is only two or three minutes too long.

“What do I do next?” said the bishop to the priest,
“I have spent my whole life waiting, preparing for the feast,
And now you say Jerusalem has fallen and is lost,
The king of heathen Saracen has seized the holy cross”

Then the priest said “Oh my bishop, we must put them to the sword,
For God in all His mercy will find a just reward,
For the noblemen and sinners, and knights of ready hand,
Who will be the Lord’s Crusader, send word through all the land,

Jerusalem is lost,
Jerusalem is lost,
Jerusalem is lost.”

Chris de Burgh, ‘Crusader’

The same criticism could also be levelled at the arch-balladeer’s take on gospel, the irreparably retarded ‘You And Me’, a totally unnecessary cover of a completely different poem.

The time has come for me to take my bows and leave the stage,
But I feel I’m just beginning,
There’s so many things I want to say before I go,
But I’ll be back, to sing again;
And I’ll lead you through the ancient halls and stories of the past,
And the many ways of loving,
And when all is said and done, there’s only you and me,
You and me . . .

Chris de Burgh, ‘You and Me’

De Burgh, by now a notably outrageous fencer and paramour of other people’s girlfriends, not to mention a quasi-Internet media personality, continues to wear his pantomime influences proudly, opening the album with the Norman Invasion-Era spy-by-numbers ‘Carry On’, introducing a triumphant Mead vibe to ‘Just In Time’, before launching into slow-burner ‘The Devil’s Eye’.

Oh side by side,
We will cross that great divide,
‘Cos nothing’s gonna save you now from the Devil’s eye!
Oh nothing’s gonna save you now from the Devil’s eye . . .

Chris de Burgh, ‘The Devil’s Eye’

Elsewhere the beautiful [ambient soundscapes of] ‘The Battlefield’ and ‘Finale’, in the epic conclusion to ‘Crusader’, demonstrate de Burgh’s affinity with his troubadour folk-pop Romantic [tape-hiss] heroes. In particular, one hears on this trumped-up, rejected by Broadway (later rumoured to have been optioned by Peter Jackson (even later proven to be just a four part rock-opera)) the unmistakable influence of The Deletles, whose collective and altogether 1978 album Send Me Jah defied even its own expectations.

The melodrama is occasionally stifling—see ‘Old Fashioned People’ for a maudlin and pitifully Baroque example—but must be seen in the context of de Burgh’s fragmented (and often heart-rending) poetic constructions of self in his lyrics.

Old-fashioned people, they never know why,
The world is changing day to day,
It moves so fast and leaves them in another time

Chris de Burgh, ‘Old-fashioned People’

Medieval ghost rock for the post 70s stadium masses? We would hear for ourselves de Burgh’s answers in the astonishing trilogy of albums he was about to release.

I speak, naturally, of Eastern Wind, The Getaway and Man On the Line.

Of course, fans of this late-era bombastic traveller with three guitar strings might also want to check out the lyrics to this album, which de Burgh, in his wisdom, has now ceased to make available on his website free of charge.

6/10.

How to write a Deerhunter review in 300 words or less

Clocking in at approximately 100 words, my review of Deerhunter’s Microcastle for TimeOut Amsterdam was altered slightly in the final version but that’s to be expected. If anything the editors’ additions and alterations improved the piece.

In the spirit of loving kindness, here’s a brief tutorial entitled “How to write a Deerhunter review in 300 words or less”. I’ll be showing you how to write not just a 100 word record review but also a 200, and a 300 word record review.

For those of you wishing to write a 400 or 500 word record review the instructions are even simpler: just add an extra hundie or two hundie review chunk, to taste.

Read more

Chris de Burgh: At the End of a Perfect Day (1977)

I’ve been flat out digging through the online archives of the Chris de Burgh website, in particular the vast wealth of information contained within the Man On the Line (MotL) section, wherein Chris personally responds to questions and queries. While, unfortunately, the MoTL section has now been deleted from the website, thanks to the wonderful Internet Archive we’re able to continue to access the sheer beauty of CdeB interacting with his fans. One such fan asked:

. . . any chance you’d release some of those haunting lyrics as a book of poetry? They read just as well as they’re sung. Hold that thought! I want 10% of the royalties!!!

Joseph Cotter from Cork, Ireland, 25 April 2007

Chris’ response was interesting for its glancing reference to the poetic craft:

I am not sure that song writing lyrics when written on a page are as anywhere near as good as when they are accompanied by a melody. Because that’s what they are designed for. And they might look a bit banal or indeed dull if not accompanied by the music that they have been set to.

Chris de Burgh, 25 April 2007

While it has always been my determination to demonstrate that the lyrical output of de Burgh in the 1970s and early 1980s was nothing short of prodigious, and amounts to a cultural phenomena, I am sure even the casual fan of Chris would agree that even in these ‘Norman-era’ years Chris has his moments, and then he has other moments which he will later regret.

And these regrets compound upon one another, here, at the end of his apprenticeship as a poet, from which he will emerge, but two years later, as the first of his great historical guises: that of the Crusader. Onwards …

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Chris de Burgh on fame, privacy and fans

I have always been very polite to my fans as long as they understand that there are public moments and private moments. Even on tour I demand my privacy, particularly if I am tired. And I can’t be available to all people all of the time. But I never forget my manners and so far I don’t think I have told anybody to f… off or words to that effect, although there have been times when I have been sorely tempted, I can assure you. But I just feel sorry for people who become obsessed with public figures. And I hope that eventually they see that their behaviour is just not compatible with social connections. Thanks.

Chris de Burgh

I’ve obviously missed my calling in life

How many times can the name Chris de Burgh be mentioned on a poster before it starts to look, I don’t know, creepy? I really like the attention to detail in this shot, right down to the watch and wedding ring.

The fringe could do with a bit of work, though.

Chris de Burgh: An Appreciation

Once again, I’m speechless. Thanks to Sean M. Whelan for the original ‘artwork’.

Chris de Burgh: Spanish Train and Other Stories (1975)

Well it seems that the first part of my analysis of Chris de Burgh’s poetic oeuvre has hit a few nerves, or at least pushed the pause button on at least two portable CD players, with JDG and Tom weighing into the debate by dropping some pertinent comments about CDB’s career stages and the true gravity of ‘The Lady In Red’, respectively.

While, as ever, there’s never enough time to explore these issues deeply, can I just say that I’ll be happy to hear from anyone who has time for Chris, as JDG and Tom obviously do, and that while we may differ in our opinions about what may be his best song or album, what inevitably brings us closer together is our admiration for his songwriting abilities, not to mention the fact that Chris has now been made a goodwill ambassador for the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina against Malnutrition (PDF).

Yes, folks, just in case you didn’t hear it the first time, it’s all about respect.

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Chris de Burgh: Far Beyond These Castle Walls (1974)

Let’s just for a moment pretend that Chris de Burgh never wrote ‘The Lady In Red’; that ‘Don’t Pay the Ferryman’ was never recorded, let alone ‘a minor hit in the states [sic]’ as alleged on his (as of 2007, appallingly designed) official website. Indeed, let’s go so far as to say that Chris de Burgh never existed. Okay, perhaps that’s taking things a bit too far.

However if, like me, you grew up on Chris de Burgh records (thanks in my case to a father and mother who fell in love with his ‘balladeering’, his ‘storytelling period’, his songs of ‘espionage’, ‘crusading’ and ‘womanising’—but I digress), then you’re probably just as likely as I am to get riled by people who mention only those two songs, as if that’s all Chris de Burgh ever did.

Read more

CdeB and Roger Federer in duet rumour

Chris de Burgh has wasted no time on spurious infotainment or celebrity TV circuits following his purchase of the alien from Alien, and is now back in the studio recording new tracks, one of them rumoured to be a duet with Wimbledon champion and all-round bore, Roger “Rogi” Federer.

The track, a remake of de Burgh’s classic lighter-waver, “Borderline”, may well be released in time for Christmas, and has the following lyrics:

“Boredomline”
for Julian Lennon

Standing by the stadium
I am waiting for some rain
To take the players off the court
And into the dressing room

Through my early morning [hangover]
I see Rogi there,
I can hardly even bear to hide my yawn.

Rolling through the turnstiles,
Tears are in my eyes,
He’s going to win the game again
I’m ready with my [heroin].

Smack is now the only thing
to ease my pain.
And I know I have to say
“well played” again.

[chorus]:

And it’s breaking my heart!
I know what I must do!
Massage his tennis elbow
and say well done beating the ‘Pou,

I’ve taken my [smack]!
Rogi cannot lose!
Don’t drop off,
I wanna cough
And cough up phlegm
forever and a day,
ay-ay-ay,

It’s so boredomliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine,
So boredomliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine …

[Rogi performs tennis racquet solo]

[chorus]

[repeat to fade]

Could this be the real Lady In Red?

In a sad attempt to outdo his fellow has-been rivals, Chris de Burgh has bought the alien that burst out of John Hurt’s chest in the 1979 terror-thriller, erm, Alien, according to about 30 000 news agencies.

Fellow crooner and sad-case HoJo is said to be quietly considering his career options today, after de Burgh bought the hideous prop at auction for a paltry €29 875 (AUD 45 000), a figure said to represent the crooner’s total actual worth.

Further, de Burgh, whose daughter Rosanna Davison somehow won the title of Miss World 2003, had the gall to state: “I know [Nik Kershaw] very well, and of course I will give him [a five finger salute,] being [a] mother [procreator].”

Strangely, no mention of this absurd series of events is made on the appallingly designed but nevertheless official Chris de Burgh website.

Meanwhile pop hand-throb Stung is, understandably, seething. Seething.

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