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Chris Norman - 'Crossover' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/41/ff/14/chris-norman-crossover-28-1448915817.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 30, 2015    
 
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Yet another classy record from a supremely talented artist who deserves far more recognition in his home country.

Even though everybody will know something by the band with which he made his name, 1970's act Smokie, Chris Norman's decision to quit as lead vocalist to forge ahead with a solo career was one that resulted in a mixed blessing. He had a string of hits in Europe and tours frequently there, but the tradeoff was he pretty much dropped off the radar in the U.K.

Europe's gain has certainly been our loss. I became acquainted with Norman's solo career when I reviewed 2013's 'There And Back' album which was excellent. As a result, I began investigating his considerable back catalogue and found a treasure trove of superb material. Much of it could be housed under the umbrella of Pop Rock, but Norman is a versatile artist and has penned songs in the style of Blues, Country, Soul and many other genres.

For his new album, the vocalist has taken full control by releasing it himself, penning all of the songs alone, and taking responsibility for the lion's share of the instrumental duties, making this one of his more "solo" solo records.

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'Waiting' is an emotional ballad, a great example of Norman's singer/song-writer side, while 'Cat's Eyes' is a cheerful, unplugged foot tapper. The exceedingly catchy 'Highest Mountain' is another big highlight for me, and there are several strong love songs here for which Norman has become well associated. 'The Girl I Love' and 'Take This Lonely Heart' are intimate pieces I imagine a lot of his female fans will enjoy, while 'Before The Morning Knows' employs a laid back, Country vibe.

The bulk of the album is quite relaxed and features a lot of acoustic guitar work, although 'Carry On' has a great sing-along style. Right near the end of the record however, Norman breaks out the electric guitars on the quirky 'Alien Like You' and the power chord packed Rocker 'Love's On Fire' which is an absolute stormer. There is also a bonus track, a re-mixed version of '40 Years On' which originally featured on the recent Smokie box-set to commemorate their anniversary.

This is an album which see Norman unrestricted by a record label and free to do what he likes. The result is an album that benefits from repeated plays, as it contains a plethora of styles, but with no dip in quality. I do have to mention the album cover, which I'm sure will be fine in Germany but comes across as just a bit David Brent to me, but that one distraction aside, this is yet another classy record from a supremely talented artist who deserves far more recognition in his home country.

James Gaden

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