Fireworks

Chris Norman - 'There And Back' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 16, 2013    
 
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A real gem of an album.

Best known as the vocalist in Smokie, Chris Norman left the band in the early 80s to carve out a successful solo career. His biggest success was in Europe, particularly Germany, where he notched up a number one hit with 'Midnight Lady' as well as a string of other well received singles. His fans have had to wait since 2007 for a brand new album of original songs (with a greatest hits package and a covers album issued in the meantime) but Chris has returned with a vengeance.

'There And Back' is titled to reflect that Norman has gone back to his roots, both in terms of how he approached the making of the album and the writing itself. Penning some songs alone and asking his band to help make up the quota, he then went into the studio and they cut the album all together, mostly live. This results in a vibrant and entertaining collection of songs spanning bluesy rock, classic rock and more introspective acoustic ballads.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Hearing the album's catchy single 'Gypsy Queen', with it's Romany feel and accordion backing, in no way prepares you for 'I'm Gone', the album's excellent blues-tinged opener which bursts into life. The heartfelt 'Wish You Well' is sublime, as is the upbeat Rod Stewart-esque 'My Jenny'. Chris rocks hard on the brilliant 'Whiskey And Water' and heavy with 'Hot Love', while 'Lovers And Friends' has a fantastic singalong chorus. Lyrically 'Did The Monkeys Take Over The Zoo' offers a great take on the state of current affairs while the delightful 'Northern Star' rounds things off.

Every track on here is a winner for me, and they've only gotten better with repeated plays. Norman sounds fantastic and the break from song writing has paid off. He has returned invigorated, with a real gem of an album. Well worth checking out!

James Gaden

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