Living In The World

Rose Of England

Brian Morton from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

I was 14 when I first placed the SPANISH TRAIN, LP onto a record turntable, at my Aunt Helen's place way back in 1979 -- who would have thought that twenty-five years on Chris De Burgh would still be part of my life in such a tangible way? You see I was learning to play the guitar, mostly using the BEATLES as inspiration. Not having the sheet music, I would play my guitar along with the LPs in order to learn Chris' songs too. I still have very fond memories of destroying the records trying to learn some particularly tricky guitar lick.

The following year, 1980, I was fifteen, and Chris and his band, played a concert in the gymnasium of Hamilton's McMaster University, supporting his newest album EASTERN WIND… It was my first ever rock concert, and it was general admission, so I dashed for a spot in the second row. I remember being fascinated by this little guy with a soft spoken Irish accent, playing this Guild 12 string acoustic guitar, who had the magical gift of being able to draw us all in to his imagination.

Me I kept working on my abilities as a musician and even began writing songs myself. I was in a succession of garage bands, and even started playing the coffee houses as an acoustic solo act. By now several of De Burgh's songs, like DISCOVERY, GIRL WITH APRIL IN HER EYES and THE TOWER were firm favorites in my own performing repertoire.

In 1983, I was in the third row at Hamilton Place when Chris and the band were taped for a concert video; I was startled when I noticed that De Burgh was playing the same brand and model of electric guitar that I did. I was even more startled when 9 months later at a music store in Toronto, I bought the very same guitar that Chris had been playing that night. It was a "fire-glow" Rickenbacker 12 string that I treasured for years afterwards.

Finally in 1994, after years of thinking about it, I tool the plunge; booked some studio time and released a CD of my own called A LONELY CAIRN OF STONES. I toured the Maritime Provinces driving around with a couple of side musicians in a battered old white station wagon. I particularly remember playing a gig at the LOWER DECK in Halifax, a place where if they like you they throw beer at you, and where if they don't like you, they just throw the bottle!

In 1995, I discovered the Internet mailing list, and was amazed that there were others like myself who were so fascinated by Chris' muse. And with the foreknowledge of the "Karaoke" bit ended up getting up and performing SAILOR with De Burgh at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, in front of 7000 people.

By 1999, the CDEB Tribute CD was up and running and I began to share my own interpretations of Chris' songs with a larger audience. The magic of digital recording technology also meant that I was able to collaborate on these songs with other talented fans from around the world, Morten, Cesar and Desiree being the particular high points in my humble opinion.

BTW, I chose ROSE OF ENGLAND, as this year's track because it reminds me so much of the kind of material that Chris used to do way back when I first started listening to him. This also marks a first in that, I recorded it at home on my own computer, without having to resort to an outside recording studio - the technology just keeps getting easier and easier!