Recording information: Miraval Studios, Provence, France.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Robert Ahwai; Eoghan O'Neill; Kevin Leach; Martin Ditcham; Max Middleton.
The veteran British singer-songwriter Chris Rea was beginning his third decade in the music business when he released what was to become his best-known and most successful album, THE ROAD TO HELL. Rea suffered the misfortune of starting his professional music career at around the same time as Britain first embraced punk rock, and his tasteful, R&B-inspired songs were initially better received in Europe than in his home country.
THE ROAD TO HELL, released in 1991, centered on Rea's portrayal of a modern world spinning out of control, and stuck close to its narrative throughout, providing a cohesive and musically varied dissection of an increasingly dehumanized society with tracks like the shimmering "Texas," the fiery "You Must Be Evil," and the album's title track, which became one of Rea's biggest-selling records. The spare bass, drums, and guitar instrumentation effectively frames Rea's rough-hewn voice, while his stinging, bluesy guitar playing punctuates his often acerbic lyrics with a biting musical commentary.