Rea, Chris – Whatever Happened to Benny Santini? - Used LP
singer-songwriter with an electric guitar, low key rock n roll with a no frills approach and focus on songs, reminding me of the solo work of Scotland's Gerry Rafferty (Stealers Wheel) who also had his biggest US hit in 1978 with "Bakers Street," this album from Rea, a mix of ballads and more uptempos numbers. He got one hit in the US with "Fool" from this 1978 set, and likely could have kept that going if he'd focused on those type of polished radio-friendly songs, but instead he switched his focus on his homeland UK and found steady success with a similar but often less polished sound. While fans of the hit will likely enjoy the other selections on this album, fans of his other material who didn't much appreciate the hit might also find things to enjoy here on this debut. I think the reviewer below nailed it--it's his voice that helps set Rea stand apart of similar artists.
"While Rea reportedly wasn't overly happy with the polished sound of the album, he did end up using the same producer for his next album, Deltics. What makes the album stand out from similar late-'70s middle-of-the-road rock pop is Rea's voice. A gravelly, warm baritone, it's got a sort of Joe Cocker sound to it. A track like "Because of You" is made all the more touching by the emotiveness inherent in his voice. The album title refers to a name that Magnet Records was considering christening Rea with as a way to make him more spiffy sounding -- sort of the "John Cougar syndrome" that record labels sometimes have."