“Chapter & Verse”
the career-spanning box set
“Songs From The Heart Book”
the new album
CD / Download / Stream
Barry Blue is a man of many titles. Prolific hitmaker, master producer and one-time pop idol. For decades, his songs and productions have travelled the world and done the talking for him. But now, as he returns to the artist arena with a long-awaited new recording project, ‘Chapter and Verse...50 years On’ he has plenty to say, and we have plenty to hear.
Barry has history for a bespoke catalogue of songs that have been covered or sampled by global superstars such as Celine Dion, Diana Ross and Andrea Bocelli through to Missy Elliott, J.Dilla, Redman and Philip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire and writing such pop staples as Dina Carroll's 'Escaping,' Toto Coelo's 'I Eat Cannibals,' Five Star’s ‘All Fall Down,' Brotherhood of Man's European No. 1 ‘Kiss Me Kiss Your Baby’ and many other chart notables.
We all know that Barry was a very successful recording artist with major global hits such as ‘Dancin’ (on a Saturday Night)’ and ‘Do You Wanna Dance?’ amongst many others ...but he now admits that he was more comfortable on the production side of a hit record and content just to see his name as a composer underneath a song he had written.... No one will forget his work with Heatwave, for whom his brilliant production merged exhilaratingly with a pre-Quincy Jones-era Rod Temperton. It was Blue who put the incongruous harp at the beginning of the anthemic three million seller 'Boogie Nights' to superb effect, and oversaw their exemplary Too Hot To Handle and Central Heating albums in their entirety (who can forget the classic 'Always and Forever', million-seller ‘The Groove Line’ and UK top ten hit 'Mind Blowing Decisions'?).
Barry’s production and songwriting skills virtually took over the charts throughout the 1970s and '80s and continued into the noughties and ‘oo’s with such artists as The Saturdays, The Wanted and Pixie Lott.
All in all, Barry has a body of studio work that has sold some 40 million records worldwide, in a career of more than 45 hits in as many years as a writer, producer and artist. Consider, also, his pre-eminence as a composer for film, television and advertising, in Only Fools and Horses, The Sweeney, The Long Good Friday, The Eyes of Laura Mars through to Breaking Bad, Sex in the City and the Netflix series The Get Down, Money Heist and Top Boy to name just a few.
But for all of that stunning, prolonged success, there's been something missing. That's where ‘Chapter and Verse...50 years On’ comes in, previewing not only a ‘Jazz-Funk’ tinged single release ‘Crime To Be Cool b/w ‘Escaping’ but an album he's been wanting to make for a very long time, for which the clue is in the title:
‘Songs From The Heart Book’.
So...on a complete reversal to his original thought of bypassing being an artist...Barry takes to the studio again to sing his songs for the first time in the way that he has always wanted them to be heard.
This new album is not a ‘greatest hits’ revisited, nor an exercise in nostalgia, but a chance for him to reclaim the compositions that have meant the most to him since he started his stellar career over fifty years ago. There's no overblown production ... just a gentle breeze of an album with tasteful acoustics augmented by elegant piano and soaring harmonies.
Barry says with pride but not a trace of arrogance... “On ‘Songs From The Heart Book’ I’m singing those tunes I now realise no one ever should have sung before me...because they're all too personal. They are the soundtrack to my life, and I couldn’t leave them in the past. I needed to drag them kicking and screaming back into the light where they belong”.
He goes on to say ... “I'm thrilled when an artist of the calibre of Celine Dion or Diana Ross records one of my compositions, but there's always been the feeling that I let these songs go... it's not that other artists didn't do them well... It’s just that it's time to get them back to the way I originally conceived them”
This, then, is Barry’s career... ‘Chaper and Verse... 50 Years On’ ...a box-set collection that includes the newly recorded ‘Songs From The Heart Book’ coupled with a second album ‘Songs From The Lost Book’ featuring tracks recorded in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s that are moments in time with songs like ‘Afrodizziact’ recorded under the name Cry Sisco! (which became recognised as one of the soundtracks to 1989’s ‘Second Summer of Love’)...through the ‘New Romantic’ scene with unreleased tracks such as ‘Eye To Eye’ and ‘Nights Are Colder’ ...and the list of rarities goes on and on...
As well as riding on various musical highways... Barry is also highlighting in this box-set an edited version of his autobiography ‘Barry Who?’ ( Immortality is not dead !) which he has been writing since ‘forever’ he says in his own words and which contains vignettes of his extraordinary life with all the ‘highs and lows’... both personal and musical.
“When you get to a certain point in your life,” he continues, “you want to look back on what you've done and say, 'I think that was good, I'm proud of that’
Barry’s ‘Chapter and Verse ...50 years on’ brings it all together...sets it all out and speaks volumes about a career still evolving…