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Shot With A Plastic Arrow: Chris de Burgh’s Crusader

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I begin by declaring my fondness for Chris de Burgh.  I have seen him more times (six) than I have seen any other artist in concert, and I’ll keep going back as long as he keeps playing concerts within driving distance.  He’s just that good.

Revisiting his catalogue for an album to review alongside his latest, Home, I settled not on the obvious – his career-making Spanish Train – but on 1979’s Crusader, which was the first of his albums that I bought.  How many times have I listened to Crusader?  It must number in the thousands.  Am I tired of it?  No.  Do I still think it’s perfect (as I did when I first got it)?  No.  But it is very, very good, you bet.

Evidence, Please

The songs are (with only a couple of exceptions) superb.  Perhaps most interesting are the (okay, let’s call it an) epic title song and his sequel to “Spanish Train,” “The Devil’s Eye.”  But the others, from medieval-lite ballad “The Girl With April in Her Eyes” to the foreboding “Just in Time,” from the mooshy lost-love song “I Had the Love in My Eyes” to mooshy I-love-my-wife song “Something Else Again,” from propulsive, energetic album opener “Carry On” to lovely brief album closer “You and Me” – crikey, they’re all good, most of them just wonderful.

Keep Going. . . .

Well, check out the playing.  De Burgh has, more or less, the Alan Parsons Project as his backing band on this album – the stellar Ian Bairnson, Stuart Elliott, and David Paton – and the album is produced by long-time Parsons collaborator Andrew Powell.  Meanwhile, de Burgh’s vocals are as good as they ever were or have been, and the album strikes me as comprising a beautifully unified set of songs.  I wouldn’t dream of putting the needle down on “Carry On” if I wasn’t prepared to listen right through to “You and Me.”

And The Plastic Arrow – ?

You’ll have to get hold of a copy of the record and check out the back cover.  But the crusader’s helmet with the plastic suction-cup arrow stuck to it is a nice touch.  De Burgh takes his music very seriously, but –as is evident when you see him in concert – he is himself a grounded and modest man, able to put his career (which exploded after “Lady in Red” and then quietly receded) and life into perspective.  Check out Crusader – it’ll make you want to revisit his many other fine albums and look into the new one.


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Check out our review of de Burgh's latest work, Home

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