RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Chris Thompson – Jukebox: The Ultimate Collection
Esoteric Records
http://shop.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=4930

Rating: B+

Chris Thompson is perhaps the most underrated vocalist of all time.  His vocals are simply amazing; the songs on which he sings drip with pure, unbridled passion.  Thompson puts his heart and soul into everything he does.  The sound of his voice evokes a response from the listener.  He is one of the best, even if he is not recognized for it.  Oh, he also plays guitar pretty well…

Best known for the classic tunes he sang with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, he’s done plenty more and while there are versions of nearly all the Earth Band classics on this sucker, the 36-track anthology shows off Thompson’s skills, from rockers to ballads.  There are great live versions and some killer remakes of classic songs, the most notable of which are Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop,” Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and a haunting version of “For You.”  The Manfred Mann/Bruce Springsteen classic is sung by Thompson accompanied only by piano and the result is a real show stopper as  Chris belts out this tune with angst, sadness, exasperation and an undying sort of against the odds hope.  This version alone is worth buying this disc!  We also have to mention a very cool version of “Blinded By the Light.”  Thompson owns this song and, truth be told, this tune would not have been a hit without his cool voice.  He stays fairly true to the original on this one yet he adds just enough flavor and bounce to make it interesting.

To sum it all up, Chris Thompson shows, with this best-of collection, just how talented of a signer he was and is.  Many will buy this for the famous songs like “Blinded by the Light,” “For You,” “The Mighty Quinn,” “Davy’s On the Road Again,” “Questions,” and “Runner.”  What they will discover is a power packed album that also includes the excellent songs like “Dark Side,” “Dream Away Little Girl,” “Redemption Song,” “One Man Mission” and Cold Wind Blowing Across My Heart.”

The final word of this review is simply ‘bravo!’ 

DISC ONE
1.         DARK SIDE
2.         LOVE AND LONELINESS
3.         FATHER OF DAY (LIVE)
4.         HOT SUMMER NIGHT (LIVE)
5.         MILLION DOLLAR WONDER HIT
6.         COLD WIND BLOWING ACROSS MY HEART
7.         SPIRITS IN THE NIGHT (LIVE)
8.         WHOLE LOT TO GIVE
9.         FOR YOU
10.       ONE MAN MISSION
11.       MARTHA’S MADMAN (LIVE)
12.       BEAT OF LOVE
13.       YOU ANGEL YOU (LIVE)
14.       A SHIFT IN THE WIND
15.       EDDIE WANTS TO ROCK
16.       DREAM AWAY LITTLE GIRL
17.       DON’T STOP
18.       THE FIRE

DISC TWO
1.         THE MIGHTY QUINN (LIVE)
2.         THE CHALLENGE
3.         RUNNER (LIVE)
4.         REDEMPTION SONG
5.         LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD
6.         BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
7.         ANGEL
8.         HEART OF THE FIRE
9.         DON’T KILL IT CAROL (LIVE)
10.       IF YOU REMEMBER ME
11.       MILLIE CHRISTINE
12.       YOU’RE THE VOICE
13.       DAVY’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN (LIVE)
14.       QUESTIONS (LIVE)

BONUS TRACKS
15.       ZU LEBEN
16.       THUNDERCHILD (ACOUSTIC VERSION)
17.       WHAT WORLD
18.       WE ARE THE STRONG

By Jeb Wright

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