Chris de Burgh reimagines a fabled folklore favourite with his latest album The Legend of Robin Hood — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Capturing he iconic artist at his imaginative best, the compelling release breathes music and lyrical life into a centuries-old and much-loved classic, re-telling the story with cinematic vision coupled seamlessly to music of emotional depth and power.
The concept for de Burgh’s 27th studio album emerged from his involvement in Robin Hood, a stage musical about the infamous Sherwood Forest nobleman and his band of outlaws. He was invited to contribute storylines and melodies to the musical, which will be produced later in the year in Germany. “Since I was writing songs for this,” he explains, “I thought ‘Why not expand the story and put an album out, too?’ ”
Chris was ready, willing and able — not to mention eminently qualified. With his 2010 album Moonfleet, based on the book of the same name, he had crafted a highly successful musical interpretation of an already existing story. None of which necessarily made tackling Robin Hood any easier.
“I learned a great deal from Moonfleet — particularly how to set out a story in sequence,” he says. “If I had a problem advancing the story in song, I’d just go and read the book again. This time, we didn’t have a book. There is no book! I had to create my own story, my own version of this classic tale. In my story, Robin Hood is not a hero, but circumstances and injustice to others turned him into the hero that is now known all over the world. He initially comes across as an obnoxious young man in his late teens, but he subsequently shows a different and compassionate side and the qualities of a born leader.”
As recently been suggested by a respected historian, Robin Hood is thought to have been a key target of King John, his son King Henry III, and their powerful justiciar (lawmaker) Hubert de Burgh — who, almost incredibly, is an ancestor of Chris himself. Given the inconsistencies concerning the dates in which Robin Hood is thought to have lived, Chris tells his version of the legend as if it were many years after Robin’s death — and in the setting of a candle-lit tavern where a small audience has gathered to hear it conveyed by a storyteller and enacted by his musicians, actors, and singers. It has the romance and magic of a minstrel entertaining and enlightening the listener, and that is precisely what has made Chris so unique and peerless throughout his long career.
The 10th de Burgh album to be produced by Chris Porter, The Legend of Robin Hood is, like Moonfleet, another aural extravaganza, played flawlessly by seasoned, talented musicians across a plethora of musical styles — from medieval, ‘traditional’, nursery rhyme, folk and Celtic-infused to rock, classical, and choral. Regardless of its central theme, the album stands up on its own as a new collection of vintage de Burgh material, with instant, sing-along crowd-pleasers like Live Life, Live Well and Open Your Eyes. It includes a new and reworked version of live favourite Light A Fire — from his 1982 album The Getaway — and the show-stopping, message-bearing anthem Legacy. “You’ve always got to leave your audience singing and waving their arms in the air,” says Chris, “and I think Legacy will do that.”