Swing Out Sister: Blue Mood, Breakout And Beyond box-set review

22 06 2022

Swing Out Sister: Blue Mood, Breakout And Beyond – The Early Years Part 1 is an 8CD Box Set released by Cherry Red on July 29 2022.

Swing Out Sister - Blue Mood, Breakout & Beyond album cover

The collection contains Swing Out Sister’s ‘Early Years’, collecting the albums from 1985 – 1992 and on discs 5 to 8: B-Sides, 7” mixes, remixes and rare versions.

The albums included are It’s Better To Travel (1987), Kaleidoscope World (1989), Get In Touch With Yourself (1992) and Live At The Jazz Cafe (1993).

The booklet contains a full track annotation and rare memorabilia with illustrations by Corinne Drewery and sleeve notes by SDE writer Paul Sinclair, who has spoken to band members current and past.

Disc one is the bands debut, It’s Better To Travel. Opening with their signature song, Breakout, followed by my favourite Swing Out Sister track, Twilight World. The song contains so many of my favourite elements of the 80s – subtle percussion, iconic synths, real strings and a lovely mid-pace, caught between a 7″ and a 12″ arrangement. Adding Corinne’s instantly recognisable jazz-tinged vocals to the mix equals pop-heaven.

Swing Out Sister - It's Better To Travel

The album is a mix of up-tempo tracks and pop ballads. Surrender and Fooled By A Smile are superb singles, instantly transporting me back to a time of 4 TV channels, Top Of The Pops, Night Network and extended 12″ vinyl remixes. Album producer Paul O’Duffy cut his teeth in the club remix field, before moving on to the first albums by Hipsway and Curiosity Killed the Cat, and so was perfectly qualified to add pop, jazz and dance layers to this album.

Communion has always remained a personal favourite, with its lightness of touch and warm, late-night chorus, plus the percussion influenced by 80s Go-go rhythms from the USA. The slightly discordant switch in tempo just past the half-way mark, and the guitar on the outro section always hits the spot.

It’s Better To Travel is one of my favourite 80s vinyl albums, and well worth tracking down if you don’t own a copy.

Disc two contains Kaleidoscope World, with producer Paul O’Duffy remaining on board for this and the bands third album. Kaleidoscope World has more of a 60s feel, and a slightly wider musical palette. There also appears to have been a more extensive recording budget, with guest appearances from the likes of guitarists Vini Reilly (the Durutti Column, Pauline Murray) and Phil Palmer (Dire Straits, George Michael, David Sylvian) plus arrangements by Richard Niles and the legendary Jimmy Webb.

Swing Out Sister - Kaleidoscope World

You On My Mind continues in a similar vein to the debut album, but there is a definite switch away from synths to acoustic instruments, which suits the 60s mood that pervades many of the songs, such as Heart for Hire.

The synths do make a slight return on Waiting Game, whilst Precious Words has a touch of the lounge-music of The Girl From Ipanema.

The widescreen, adventurous pop arrangement of Masquerade is a revelation, and is my favourite track on the album.

There is a clear progression evident on Kaleidoscope World and the addition of new styles and fresh musicians definitely adds variety and new flavours to the mix.

On the band’s third album, Get In Touch With Yourself from 1992, Luís Jardim (known for his work with ZTT bands, and a fine percussionist) appears more prominently to replace the recently departed founding member Martin Jackson. The guest musicians list is shorter on album number three, giving a slightly less adventurous feel. Get In Touch With Yourself is still a good pop album, and contains one of their finest singles, Am I The Same Girl?, a rare Swing Out Sister cover version.

Swing Out Sister - Get In Touch With Yourself

Everyday Crime contains some delicious Shaft style guitar and an updating of the SOS template. Understand is a pop/Soul track that has stood the test of time, with some rich backing vocals.

Don’t Say The Word has an addictive drum pattern and Love Child feels like it was influenced by the rolling percussion and deep strings of Massive Attack’s Blue Lines album from the previous year.

Live At The Jazz Cafe was recorded in December 1992, and features a 10 piece band. You On My Mind works particularly well in a live setting, as does the jazzier, extended live take of Surrender. No surprises for my picking Twilight World as my favourite from the live album. The jazz-tinged arrangement shines a fresh light on this interesting reworking of such a wonderful song.

The remaining discs in the box-set collect remixes, single edits and b-sides. You want 7 mixes of Twilight World, you got it!

On the final disc (b-sides and edits) lie some gems. Coney Island Man is a lyric free, Burt Bacharach inspired piece. The Swing Out Sister cover of the classic Windmills of Your Mind is a piano and vocals version, recorded live for a radio station. Taxi Town harks back to the first album, with a heavier use of electronics. A slow-burning experimental piece, its unlike anything else released by the band.

This boxset brings together everything you need from this era of Swing Out Sisters career, and along with the informative sleeve-notes, makes this a must buy for fans of 80s and early 90s pop music.

Buy Swing Out Sister: Blue Mood, Breakout And Beyond – The Early Years Part 1 from Amazon

DISC ONE
ITS BETTER TO TRAVEL
Breakout
Twilight World (Superb, Superb, Mix)
After Hours
Blue Mood
Surrender
Fooled By A Smile
Communion
It’s Not Enough
Theme (From – ‘It’s Better To Travel’)

DISC TWO
KALEIDOSCOPE WORLD
You On My Mind
Where In The World?
Forever Blue
Heart For Hire
Tainted
Waiting Game
Precious Words
Masquerade
Between Strangers
The Kaleidoscope Affair
Precious Words – Instrumental
Forever Blue – String Mix
Masquerade – Instrumental

DISC THREE
GET IN TOUCH WITH YOURSELF
Get In Touch With Yourself
Am I The Same Girl?
Incomplete Without You
Everyday Crime
Circulate
Who Let the Love Out?
Understand
Notgonnachange
Don’t Say The Word
Love Child
Everyday Crime – Instrumental

DISC FOUR

LIVE AT THE JAZZ CAFE
Get In Touch With Yourself
You On My Mind
Surrender
Everyday Crime
Twilight World
Circulate
Am I The Same Girl?
Breakout
Notgonnachange
Who Let the Love Out / Expansions / Coney Island Man / Wives & Lovers?

DISC FIVE
MIXES
Blue Mood – Dubbed-Up Version
Blue Mood – Growler Mix
Breakout- A New Rockin’ Version
Breakout – NAD Mix
Breakout – Horny Version
Breakout – Carnival Mix
Fooled By A Smile – Ralph Mix
Fooled By A Smile – TV Mix
Breakout – American Instrumental Mix
Communion – Instrumental
Fooled By A Smile – Phi Phi Mix
Twilight World – Remix

DISC SIX

MORE MIXES
Twilight World – The World Travel Mix
Twilight World – Vocal Dub
Twilight World – Classical Dub
Twilight World – Instrumental
Twilight World – Beat Your Sister Dub
Surrender – Stuff Gun Mix
Surrender – Pop Stand Remix
Surrender – Roadrunner Mix
Precious Words – Orchestral Mix
Waiting Game – Extended Version
Waiting Game – Remix Edit
Waiting Game – Ultimix
Waiting Game – Dub

DISC SEVEN:

EVEN MORE MIXES
Where In The World? – Bongo Fury Mix
Where In The World? – Radical Mix
You On My Mind – Extended Version
Precious Words – Earth Bound Mix
Am I The Same Girl – Bubba’s Version
Notgonnachange – Classic Club
Notgonnachange – Classic Song Mix
Notgonnachange – Mix Of Drama
Notgonnachange – Dashi I Mix
Notgonnachange – O’Duffy’s 7-inch Mix
Notgonnachange – New Jack Swing Out Mix
Am I The Same Girl – Instrumental

DISC EIGHT:

B-SIDES / EDITS
Wake Me When It’s Over – B-Side
Dirty Money – B-Side
Who’s To Blame – B-Side
Another Lost Weekend – B-Side
Fever – B-Side
Coney Island Man – B-Side
Taxi Town – B-Side
Windmills Of Your Mind – ‘Where In The World’ Bonus Track
Spirit Moves – B-Side
I Can Hear You But Can’t See
Alone – Notgonnachange Bonus Track
Surrender – 7-inch Version
Twilight World – Single Edit
Notgonnachange – Edit
Circulate – Live Version (Japanese Single)

Buy Swing Out Sister: Blue Mood, Breakout And Beyond – The Early Years Part 1 from Amazon





Re-Flex – Vibrate Generate

10 05 2022

Vibrate Generate is the sequel to Cherry Pop’s previous double-CD re-issue of Re-Flex’s The Politics Of Dancing album, and is released via Cherry Red on 24 June 2022.

Vibrate Generate brings together rare and unreleased tracks from across the bands career, including two new versions of The Politics Of Dancing, songs from their subsequent albums Humanication and Jamming The Broadcast, and tracks that were written for the soundtrack for Superman IV.

Opening with the last track Re-Flex ever recorded, Vibrate Generate heads off in a more traditional rock arrangement than their more well-known 80s recordings, with a tiny lyrical steal from an early David Bowie classic popping up and catching you off-guard towards the end of the song.

An interesting, in the spirit of the 80s remix of The Politics Of Dancing opener Praying To The Beat works well. How Much Longer, featuring Sting on guest vocals towards the end of the song, is a clipped guitar driven remix, and should have been a hit when originally released in the late 80s.

Couldn’t Stand A Day was always one of my favourite tracks from The Politics of Dancing, mainly because of its delicious chorus.

Revolution Now and on disc two, Life’s Too Dangerous were recorded for the soundtrack of Superman IV. The late Andy Gill from Gang of Four added guitar, and former Fashion vocalist Dave “Dee” Harris contributed backing vocals to these two strong tracks.

The first of two versions of the most well-known Re-Flex song, The Politics of Dancing, closes the first disc on the Vibrate Generate compilation. The remix is sympathetic to the original, with the wonderful guitar textures still front and centre in the chorus.

Opening disc two is Human, a new song with subtle nods to late 80s Bowie in its vocal styling. The powerful layered production makes this my favourite “new” song on the compilation.

The Politics Of Dancing‘s Hurt is presented in remixed form, without straying too far from it’s original incarnation. Love At First Sight (Alternative Version) is less 80s, more late 70s New Wave and offers a different take on the Re-Flex sound.

The second version of The Politics Of Dancing is a club remix, stripped back to keyboards and drum machine, with less guitar in the chorus.

The final track on disc two is one of the last songs recorded by the original Re-Flex line-up, Angry Man. Late 80s sampler technology mix with addictive guitar lines on the album closer.

Vibrate Generate works well as a “best of” or as an introduction to the music of Re-Flex, and is a perfect time capsule of the guitar and synth pop of the mid to late Eighties. The compilation includes exclusive sleeve-notes and background information written by band member Paul Fishman in 2022.

Buy Re-Flex – Vibrate Generate on Amazon

Disc One

Vibrate Generate *
Praying To The Beat (Remix)
How Much Longer (Remix) *
Wrong Decision (Remix) *
Jamming The Broadcast (Remix) *
Hitline
Couldn’t Stand A Day
Cut It (Music Re-Action Mix)
When Did You Stop Loving Me (Remix) *
Revolution Now (Remix) *
Sending Out A Message *
The Politics Of Dancing (Remix)

Disc Two

Human *
Give It Up *
Jamming The Broadcast (Alternative Version – Remix) *
Forever And Ever *
Something About You
How Much Longer (12ʺ Dance Remix) *
Life’s Too Dangerous *
Hurt (Music Re-Action Mix)
Love At First Sight (Alternative Version) *
The Politics Of Dancing (Club Mix – Remix)
Over The Top (Remix) *
Angry Man (Remix) *

*Previously unreleased

Buy Re-Flex – Vibrate Generate on Amazon





News: Prince and The Revolution – live Purple Rain era CD/blu-ray and vinyl release

30 03 2022

Sony are releasing Prince and The Revolution’s classic Syracuse, New York 30 March 1985 Purple Rain tour show as a standalone release, remixed & restored in June 2022, as a 3LP vinyl set and a 2 CD / 1 blu-ray version.

For the visual side of the release, the original video source was rescanned, restored and colour corrected. The audio has been remixed from the original multitrack audio master reels by Grammy-nominated recording engineer Chris James.

The blu-ray has stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos sound options.

Have a sneak peak of the quality with the official video of Let’s Go Crazy from this restored release. Whilst the video still displays it’s obvious 1980’s source, it is a marked improvement on the original VHS that was so dark, it was a difficult watch. This is the nearest thing to time travel, if you want to pop back to 1985 to experience Prince and The Revolution in their absolute purple pomp. This is one of Prince’s legendary 80s shows, so grab your tambourine and a front row seat for Prince and The Revolution live!

Buy the CD/Blu-ray and vinyl versions:

Prince and The Revolution: Live (2 CD / 1 Blu-ray)

Prince and The Revolution: Live 3 LP vinyl

Tracklisting

CD / Blu-raybuy now

CD 1
Let’s Go Crazy
Delirious
1999
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U
Yankee Doodle
Do Me, Baby
Irresistible Bitch
Possessed
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
Let’s Pretend We’re Married
International Lover
God
Computer Blue

CD 2
Darling Nikki
The Beautiful Ones
When Doves Cry
I Would Die 4 U
Baby, I’m a Star
Purple Rain

Blu-ray
Let’s Go Crazy
Delirious
1999
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U
Yankee Doodle
Do Me, Baby
Irresistible Bitch
Possessed
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
Let’s Pretend We’re Married
International Lover
God
Computer Blue
Darling Nikki
The Beautiful Ones
When Doves Cry
I Would Die 4 U
Baby I’m A Star
Purple Rain

3 LP vinylbuy now

LP 1

Side A

Let’s Go Crazy
Delirious
1999
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U

Side B

Yankee Doodle
Do Me, Baby
Irresistible Bitch
Possessed
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore

LP 2

Side C

Let’s Pretend We’re Married
International Lover
God
Computer Blue

Side D

Darling Nikki
The Beautiful Ones
When Doves Cry

LP 3

Side E

I Would Die 4 U
Baby, I’m a Star

Side F

Purple Rain





Level 42 – The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 2 (1985-1989) boxset review

1 07 2021

Level 42 are releasing a 10 CD set titled The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 2 (1985-1989), that contains all the Level 42 albums from that era plus further discs containing B-Sides, 7” mixes, remixes and rare tracks.

Regarded as the bands most commercial period, this collection features all the hits from the era including Running in the Family, Lessons in Love and Leaving Me Now.

Discs 6 -10 contain all the B-Sides, 7” mixes, remixes and rare versions from 1985-1989. Level 42 – The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 2 was compiled in conjunction with Level 42 and band experts Paul Wallace, Paul Waller and Simon Carson.

The comprehensive sleeve notes were written by Record Collectors Daryl Easlea who has spoken to band members current and past.

The collection kicks off with the 1985 live album A Physical Presence on the first two discs. I spent my teenage years in Woolwich, but had moved away and so missed this tour, that included a show at The Coronet in Woolwich, one of the gigs featured on this album, along with tracks recorded at The Hexagon (Reading) and Goldiggers in Chippenham.

A Physical Presence captures the band at their jazz-funk peak, before the more mainstream success that followed with the next few albums. Highlights include a crowd-participating Turn It On and the flawless second disc, with six killer tracks in a row, including a powerful version of Hot Water.

World Machine saw the band start to move away from their signature style, towards a more electronic pop sound. Known for the massive hit singles – Something About You (a truly great pop song) and Leaving Me Now, other highlights include the sublime arrangement of the title track, the percussive Coup D’etat and the Rhodes driven Lying Still, with some wonderful Steely Dan sounding harmonies.

Disc four contains the Running In The Family album from 1987. The album opens with a staple of 80s nostalgia radio stations, Lessons In Love, which is simply one of the band’s finest singles. There is a real consistency in the song-writing and performances on this album, resulting in 5 of the 8 album tracks being released as singles.

“All the dreams that we were building
We never fulfilled them”

Children Say has a lovely refrain and other highlights include It’s Over, the band’s final UK Top 10 hit and album closer Freedom Someday. Brothers Phil and Boon Gould left the band after the release of Running In The Family.

Guitarist Alan Murphy (Kate Bush / Go West) and drummer Gary Husband joined for Staring at the Sun, the last studio album in this collection, which appears on disc five.

Heaven in My Hands was the biggest hit from the album, peaking at No12 in the UK single charts. I love Alan Murphy’s guitar style, particularly from his work with Kate Bush as well as his strong contributions to this album, sadly his only appearance with the band, as he died in 1989. Sting guitarist Dominic Miller also features on the album.

Staring at the Sun feels very different from earlier Level 42 albums, with a shift towards a more pop/rock sound. Key tracks include the top 30 single Take A Look (what a chorus, by the way), the addictive Silence and the rare later period instrumental Gresham Blues.

The final five discs round up b sides, 7″ and 12″ mixes plus live tracks from the period. My personal highlights from these tracks include one of my favourite 80s 12″ mixes, Something About You (Sisa Mix), World Machine (Shep Pettibone Remix), the very much of it’s time, drum-less Heaven In My Hands (Guitarpella Mix), the surprisingly effective “funky drummer” take of Take A Look (Remix) and the 2nd version of Starchild (Remix) on disc 9, that clocks in at nearly 8 minutes.

The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 2 (1985-1989) is a great way to collect the Level 42 albums from the most commercially successful period of the bands career, and is an 80s music fans dream.

Buy Level 42 – The Complete Polydor Years Volume Two on Amazon

Disc One: A Physical Presence (Part 1)

  1. Almost There
  2. Turn It On
  3. Mr. Pink
  4. Eyes Waterfalling
  5. Kansas City Milkman
  6. Follow Me
  7. Foundation And Empire

Disc Two: A Physical Presence (Part 2)

  1. The Chant Has Begun
  2. The Chinese Way
  3. The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)
  4. Hot Water
  5. Love Games
  6. 88

Disc Three: World Machine

  1. World Machine
  2. Physical Presence
  3. Something About You
  4. Leaving Me Now
  5. I Sleep On My Heart
  6. It’s Not The Same For Us
  7. Dream Crazy
  8. Good Man In A Storm
  9. Coup D’etat
  10. Lying Still

Disc Four: Running In The Family

  1. Lessons In Love
  2. Children Say
  3. Running In The Family
  4. It’s Over
  5. To Be With You Again
  6. Two Solitudes (Everyone’s Love In The Air)
  7. Fashion Fever
  8. The Sleepwalkers
  9. Freedom Someday

Disc Five: Staring At The Sun

  1. Heaven In My Hands
  2. I Don’t Know Why
  3. Take A Look
  4. Over There
  5. Silence
  6. Tracie
  7. Staring At The Sun
  8. Two Hearts Collide
  9. Man
  10. Gresham Blues

Disc Six: 7” Singles

  1. Follow Me – Live – 7ʺ Remix
  2. Something About You – 7ʺ Version
  3. Leaving Me Now – 7ʺ Remix
  4. Running In The Family – 7ʺ Version
  5. To Be With You Again -7ʺ Version
  6. It’s Over – 7ʺ Remix
  7. Children Say – 7ʺ Remix
  8. Heaven In My Hands – 7ʺ Version
  9. Tracie – 7ʺ Version
  10. Take Care Of Yourself – 7ʺ Version

Disc Seven: B Sides

  1. Coup D’état – Version
  2. Something About You – U.S. Remix – Edit
  3. Micro Kid – Live – Full Length Version
  4. It’s Over – Instrumental
  5. Physical Presence – Live
  6. Starchild – Remix
  7. Three Words
  8. Silence – Live At The NEC Birmingham
  9. Man – Live At The NEC Birmingham

Disc Eight: 12” Singles & Remixes

  1. Something About You – Sisa Mix
  2. I Sleep On My Heart – Remix
  3. Lessons In Love – Extended Version
  4. Something About You – Shep Pettibone Remix
  5. Something About You – Instrumental
  6. World Machine – Shep Pettibone Remix
  7. World Machine – Dub
  8. Lessons In Love – Shep Pettibone Remix
  9. Lessons In Love – Dub Mix
  10. To Be With You Again – A.D.S.C. Mix
  11. To Be With You Again – Dub

Disc Nine: 12” Singles & Remixes

  1. It’s Over – Extended Remix
  2. Running In The Family – Dave ‘O’ Remix
  3. Children Say – Extended Remix
  4. Starchild – Remix
  5. Heaven In My Hands – Extended Version
  6. Heaven In My Hands – US Remix
  7. Take A Look – Extended Mix
  8. Tracie – Extended Mix
  9. Tracie – US Remix
  10. Take Care Of Yourself – Extended Version
  11. Take Care Of Yourself – Remix
  12. Starchild – Remix

Disc Ten: Bonus Tracks

  1. World Machine – Live Hammersmith Odeon 1985
  2. Leaving Me Now – Live Hammersmith Odeon 1985
  3. Something About You – Live Hammersmith Odeon 1985
  4. The Platinum Edition Megamix
  5. Lessons In Love – Shep’s Final Mix
  6. Running In The Family – HTL Dub
  7. Children Say – Slap Bass Mix
  8. Heaven In My Hands – Guitarpella Mix
  9. Take A Look – Remix
  10. Two Hearts Collide – 7ʺ Remix
  11. Two Hearts Collide – Extended Remix
  12. Take Care Of Yourself – Radio Edit
  13. Heaven In My Hands – Original Album Mix

Buy Level 42 – The Complete Polydor Years Volume Two on Amazon

Buy the previous box-set – Level 42 – The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 1 (1980-1984) from Amazon





Level 42 – The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 1 (1980-1984) Review

31 01 2021

Level 42 are releasing a 10 CD set titled The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 1 (1980-1984), that contains all the Level 42 studio albums from that era plus 5 further discs containing B-Sides, 7” Mixes, remixes and rare tracks.

The collection was compiled in conjunction with Level 42 and band experts Paul Wallace, Paul Waller and Simon Carson. The sleeve notes are provided by Record Collector’s Daryl Easlea who has spoken to band members current and past. The booklet contains a full track annotation and pictures of rare memorabilia.

The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 1 opens with the band’s debut studio album from 1981, including singles Turn It On, Love Games and Starchild plus key album tracks such as Almost There with its tight rhythm guitar from the late Boon Gould. These early Level 42 albums also feature strong keyboard, synth and programming contributions from Wally Badarou (Robert Palmer / Power Station).

The second disc is The Early Tapes aka Strategy, which contains material recorded in 1980 and features a less polished, more raw production. Love Meeting Love evokes the memories of 80s bars and clubs and the jazz-funk of this era. Autumn (Paradise Is Free) recalls the work of mid-70s Stanley Clarke. One of the album’s many instrumentals 88 remained in the band’s live set for years to come, and is a highlight of their early catalogue.

The Pursuit Of Accidents was the bands third album, released in 1982. Like the first album, this was produced by Mike Vernon (Fleetwood Mac / Roachford / Eric Clapton) and saw Level 42 continuing to evolve its sound, attracting a more pop loving audience.

Singles Weave Your Spell, Are You Hearing (What I Hear)? and the band’s first top 30 hit (and one of their finest singles) The Chinese Way are included, along with the key album track Eyes Waterfalling, with is under-pinned by some of Phil Gould’s finest percussion work.

The next two discs feature my two favourite Level 42 albums. First up is Standing In The Light from 1983. The album perfectly captures the colourful pop / soul sound of this part of the 80s. Standing In The Light was produced by Earth, Wind & Fire’s Larry Dunn & Verdine White and includes the singles Micro Kid, Out of Sight, Out of Mind and the bands first top 10 hit The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) as well as the atmospheric I Want Eyes. Standing In The Light is one of the early eighties finest pop releases.

The final studio album in this set is True Colours from 1984. Produced by Ken Scott (David Bowie / Supertramp), this was a harder edged, more percussive sounding release. True Colours features two of my favourite Level 42 singles, The Chant Has Begun and Hot Water. Kouyate is a perfect example of the more powerful drum-led arrangements that decorate True Colours.

The remaining discs pull together bonus tracks, live cuts and remixes. I prefer having the albums in their original format and tracklisting, with bonus tracks presented separately, to mirror the experience of listening to the music as it was fist released.

Disc Six collects the bands 7” Singles, and includes a first CD release of the 7″ version of Level 42’s debut single Love Meeting Love. Disc Seven collects the B Sides.

The 8 and 9th discs consist of extended mixes and rarities. Highlights include a remix I had not heard before, by another of my favourite 80s dance acts, the I-Level remix of Micro Kid and on of my favourite extended mixes, the lively Hot Water (Mastermix).

Hot Water

The 10th and final disc contains bonus tracks. Along with lots of live tracks recorded at Regal Theatre, Hitchin (a venue long since demolished), the disc also includes the powerful Love Games (U.S. Remix).

The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 1 (1980-1984) is a perfect opportunity to collect all the early albums and key single tracks from Level 42 at a good price, and provides a musical snapshot of the jazz-funk, soul and pop scene of the early 1980s.

Buy Level 42 The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 1 (1980-1984) from Amazon

Disc One: Level 42

Turn It On
“43”
Why Are You Leaving?
Almost There
Heathrow
Love Games
Dune Tune
Starchild

Disc Two: The Early Tapes

Sandstorm
Love Meeting Love
Theme To Margaret
Autumn (Paradise Is Free)
Wings Of Love
Woman
Mr. Pink
88

Disc Three: The Pursuit Of Accidents

Weave Your Spell
The Pursuit Of Accidents
Last Chance
Are You Hearing (What I Hear)?
You Can’t Blame Louis
Eyes Waterfalling (The Prodigy)
Shapeshifter
The Chinese Way

Disc Four: Standing In The Light

Micro Kid
The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)
Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
Dance On Heavy Weather
A Pharaoh’s Dream (Of Endless Time)
Standing In The Light
I Want Eyes
People
The Machine Stops

Disc Five: True Colours

The Chant Has Begun
Kansas City Milkman
Seven Days
Hot Water
A Floating Life
True Believers
My Hero
Kouyate
Hours By The Window

Disc Six: 7” Singles

Love Meeting Love – (7ʺ Version) (First Time On CD)
(Flying On The) Wings Of Love (U.S. Mix – 7ʺ Edit)
Love Games (7ʺ Version)
Turn It On (7ʺ Version)
Starchild (7ʺ Remix)
Are You Hearing (What I Hear)? (7ʺ Version)
Weave Your Spell (7ʺ Remix)
The Chinese Way (7ʺ Version)
Out Of Sight Out Of Mind (7ʺ Version)
The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) (7ʺ Version)
Micro Kid (7ʺ Version)
Hot Water (7ʺ Version)
The Chant Has Begun (7ʺ Edit)

Disc Seven: B Sides

Instrumental Love
Forty-Two
Beezer One
Foundation And Empire (Parts 1 & 2)
The Return Of The Handsome Rugged Man
Dune Tune (Live)
Love Games (Live)
88 (Live)
You Can’t Blame Louis (Remix – 7ʺ Version) (First Time On CD)
Can’t Walk You Home (7ʺ Version)
Can’t Walk You Home
Turn It On (Live)
Almost There (Edited Version)

Disc Eight: 12” Singles & Rarities

(Flying On The) Wings Of Love (U.S. Mix)
(Flying On The) Wings Of Love (Remix ’81)
Love Games (Full Length Version)
Turn It On (Full Length Version)
Starchild (Remix – Long Version)
Are You Hearing (What I Hear)? – (Extended Version)
Weave Your Spell (Extended Version)
The Chinese Way (Extended Version)
Out Of Sight Out Of Mind – (Extended Version)
You Can’t Blame Louis (Extended Remix)
The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) (Extended Version)

Disc Nine: 12” Singles

Micro Kid (Extended Version) (First Time On CD)
Micro Kid (I-Level Remix)
The Chinese Way (New York Remix)
The Chinese Way (Dub)
Hot Water (Mastermix)
Standing In The Light (Extended Version)
Micro Kid (Specially Remixed Version)
Micro Kid (Dub Version)
The Chant Has Begun (Power Mix)
The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) (Upfront Mix)

Disc Ten: Bonus Tracks

Love Games (U.S. Remix)
Sandstorm (Live May 1982)
Mr. Pink (Live May 1982)
It’s A Happening
The Chinese Way (Dub – Edit) (First Time On CD)
Last Chance (Extended Version)
Heathrow (Live At Regal Theatre, Hitchin)
Turn It On (Live At Regal Theatre, Hitchin)
Eyes Waterfalling (The Prodigy) (Live At Regal Theatre, Hitchin)
The Pursuit Of Accidents (Live At Regal Theatre, Hitchin)
Are You Hearing (What I Hear)? (Live At Regal Theatre, Hitchin)
Standing In The Light (7ʺ Version)
Goodbye Ray Schmidt-Volk

Buy Level 42 The Complete Polydor Years: Volume 1 (1980-1984) from Amazon





Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet deluxe edition review

12 11 2020

Cherry Red Records are releasing a remastered and expanded deluxe version of Toyah’s debut album Sheep Farming In Barnet as the first release of a reissue programme of Toyah’s entire Safari Records catalogue. The 2CD/1DVD set is released on 4 December 2020, with a limited edition white vinyl version of the main album also released on the same day.

The main album has been given a quality remaster by Nick Watson. Key tracks such as Neon Womb, Victims Of The Riddle, Danced and Race Through Space sound crisper and clearer than the previous CD release, and if you are a fan of this album, you will love this 2020 remaster.

The album is expanded with the single tracks Bird In Flight & Tribal Look, plus rare / unreleased recordings, the highlights of which are the almost hard-rock Gaoler, an early version of The Blue Meaning‘s Love Me and four tracks from the BBC drama Shoestring – live in the studio recordings of Our Movie, Waiting, Neon Womb and an electrifying version of Danced.

The second disc is dedicated to rare and archive material, including many early demos. Whilst the demos are not of the same high quality as the main album, they give a unique insight into the band’s development. Close Encounters (Demo) would later become Danced and some of Watch Me Sane‘s lyrics ended up on Waiting.

My favourite track from the demos is Problem Child, featuring an expansive arrangement, veering from the pop / new-wave sound of the time to a lovely almost progressive outro.

The alternative mixes include a version of Neon Womb with no saxophone (I’m so used to the sax version, this take jars a little for me), and a less produced, more live sounding alt mix of Our Movie.

My favourite alt version on this disc is Waiting (Alternate Vocal Mix), I’ve always loved the bubbling synth lines underpinning the deep bass line on this track, and Waiting also has one of my favourite Toyah vocals. This alt mix goes on a little longer than the album version, with no fade out.

The final disc is a DVD featuring two 2020 interviews with Toyah Willcox (The Story Behind The Album and Track-By-Track Album Commentary), a 1979 What’s On interview plus TV appearances from 1979 and 1980 (including The Old Grey Whistle Test) and a 2020 acoustic Session featuring performances of Neon Womb, Computer & Bird In Flight featuring Toyah Willcox (vocals) & Nigel Clark (guitar). Note: the DVD’s visual content & the remastered vinyl was not provided for this review.

The sleeve notes for the 2 CD/ 1 DVD version feature a scene-setting intro from Toyah Willcox and August 2020 notes from Craig Astley with input from former band-member & co-writer/guitarist Joel Bogen, along with lots of band pictures from the era making this the definitive version of Sheep Farming In Barnet.

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: 2CD/1DVD Deluxe Digipak from Amazon

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: Limited Edition White Vinyl 11 track LP

Disc One:

  1. Neon Womb
  2. Indecision
  3. Waiting
  4. Computer
  5. Victims Of The Riddle
  6. Elusive Stranger
  7. Our Movie
  8. Danced
  9. Last Goodbye
  10. Victims Of The Riddle (Vivisection)
  11. Race Through Space

Bonus Tracks

  1. Gaoler
  2. Bird In Flight
  3. Tribal Look
  4. Love Me (Dangerfield Session)*
  5. Tribal Look (Alternate Mix)*
  6. Our Movie (Shoestring Version)*
  7. Waiting (Shoestring Version)*
  8. Neon Womb (Shoestring Version)*
  9. Danced (Shoestring Version)*
  • Previously Unreleased

Disc Two:

  1. Computers (Demo)*
  2. Little Boy (Demo)*
  3. Close Encounters (Demo)*
  4. Watch Me Sane (Demo)*
  5. Jailer (Demo)*
  6. Race Through Space (Demo) *
  7. Elusive Stranger (Demo)*
  8. Problem Child (Demo)
  9. Israel (Demo)
  10. Christmas Carol (Demo)
  11. Race Through Space (Alternate Mix)*
  12. Neon Womb (No Saxophone)*
  13. Our Movie (Alternate Mix)*
  14. Waiting (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
  15. Indecision (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
  16. Computer (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
  17. Vivisection (Improvisation)*
  18. Love Me (Demo)
  19. Tribal Look (Demo)
  20. Guilty (Demo)
  21. Three-Sided Face (Demo)

Disc Three (Ntsc – Region Free Dvd):

  1. The Story Behind The Album : 2020 Interview
  2. Track-By-Track Album Commentary: 2020 Interview
  3. Neon Womb: Acoustic Session 2020
  4. Computer: Acoustic Session 2020
  5. Bird In Flight: Acoustic Session 2020
  6. Race Through Space: What’s On 12/04/1979
  7. Toyah Interview: What’s On 19/04/1979
  8. Danced: The Old Grey Whistle Test 04/03/1980
  9. Indecision: The Old Grey Whistle Test 04/03/1980

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: 2CD/1DVD Deluxe Digipak

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: Limited Edition White Vinyl





News: Long Hot Summers: The Story Of The Style Council

10 09 2020

UMC / Polydor have released a new Style Council collection: Long Hot Summers: The Story Of The Style Council.

The collection is available on CD and vinyl, and contains key single and album tracks from the band formed by Paul Weller & Mick Talbot after The Jam split.

This impressive collection features many of the great singles / EP and album tracks such as My Ever-Changing Moods, The Paris Match, Speak Like a Child, Have You Ever Had It Blue as well as less celebrated songs such as the stark Ghosts Of Dachau and the breezy How She Threw It All Away.

The collection includes tracks featuring drummer Steve White and vocalist Dee C. Lee, and was endorsed and co-compiled by Paul Weller.

Long Hot Summers: The Story Of The Style Council contains two previously unreleased recordings – a demo of the top 5 single My Ever Changing Moods (with strings), and an extended version of Dropping Bombs On The Whitehouse (the original version featured on the band’s first album, Café Bleu).

The release ties in with a Sky Arts documentary about the band, featuring interviews with all key members, fans and collaborators.

Buy the double CD from Amazon

Buy the triple Vinyl from Amazon

CD tracklisting:

Disc One

Headstart for Happiness
Long Hot Summer
My Ever-Changing Moods
Walls Come Tumbling Down!
Party Chambers
Wanted (or Waiter, There’s…)
Shout to the Top!
It Just Came to Pieces in My Hands
Come to Milton Keynes
Why I Went Missing
Waiting
Ghosts Of Dachau
Down in the Seine
The Paris Match
Boy Who Cried Wolf
Life at a Top People’s Health Farm
Homebreakers
Dropping Bombs On The Whitehouse (Extended version)

Disc two

Speak Like a Child
The Lodgers (Or She Was Only…)
Money Go Round
You’re the Best Thing
How She Threw It All Away
A Man of Great Promise
The Piccadilly Trail
A Solid Bond in Your Heart
All Gone Away
Sweet Loving Ways
Promised Land
Have You Ever Had It Blue
It Didn’t Matter
Spin’ Drifting
Here’s One That Got Away
A Woman’s Song
Changing of the Guard
My Ever-Changing Moods (Demo)
Shout To The Top (Instrumental)

Vinyl Tracklisting:

Side A
Headstart for Happiness
Long Hot Summer
My Ever-Changing Moods
Walls Come Tumbling Down!
Party Chambers

Side B
Wanted (or Waiter, There’s…)
Shout to the Top!
It Just Came to Pieces in My Hands
Come to Milton Keynes
Why I Went Missing
Waiting

Side C
Ghosts Of Dachau
Down in the Seine
The Paris Match
Life at a Top People’s Health Farm
Dropping Bombs On The Whitehouse (Extended version)

Side D
Speak Like a Child
The Lodgers (Or She Was Only…)
Money Go Round
You’re the Best Thing
How She Threw It All Away

Side E
A Man of Great Promise
The Piccadilly Trail
A Solid Bond in Your Heart
Sweet Loving Ways
Promised Land
It Didn’t Matter

Side F
Have You Ever Had It Blue
Spin’ Drifting
Here’s One That Got Away
Changing of the Guard
My Ever-Changing Moods (Demo)





News: Kraftwerk coloured vinyl limited edition album reissues

9 09 2020

Parlophone have reissued eight Kraftwerk albums on limited edition 180g coloured vinyl. The audio included on these re-issued albums will be the 2009 remasters.

Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans-Europe Express, The Man-Machine, Computer World, Techno Pop (aka Electric Café), The Mix and Tour De France were released on 9 October 2020.

Pre-order limited coloured vinyl from Amazon

  • Autobahn (1974) – Translucent blue vinyl, 12-page booklet
    Buy now
  • Radio-Activity (1975) – Translucent yellow vinyl, 16-page booklet
    Buy now
  • Trans-Europe Express (1977) – Clear vinyl, 16-page booklet
    Buy now
  • The Man-Machine (1978) – Translucent red vinyl, 16-page booklet
    Buy now
  • Computer World (1981) – Translucent neon yellow vinyl, 16-page booklet Buy now
  • Techno Pop (1986) – Clear vinyl, 16-page booklet
    Buy now
  • The Mix (1991) – White vinyl, 20-page booklet
    Buy now
  • Tour De France (2003) – Disc 1: Translucent blue vinyl; Disc 2: Translucent red vinyl, 20-page booklet
    Buy now




News: Tears For Fears ‘The Seeds of Love’ reissue (CD, deluxe box-set and vinyl)

19 08 2020

The long-awaited reissue of Tears For Fears‘ 1989 album The Seeds of Love is now available.

The reissue is available in a number of formats, including a deluxe double CD, remastered vinyl and the most interesting version, a CD / Bluray box-set.

The boxset edition (which like the previous TFF box-sets, is likely to sell-out at some point down the line) includes a Steven Wilson 5.1 surround sound mix on the bluray, whilst the other 4 CDs in the boxset contain a remaster of the album, a CD of b-sides, remixes and edits plus two CD’s of unreleased audio (including alt mixes and demos).

The booklet for the box-set includes interviews and notes by Paul Sinclair who runs the excellent Super Deluxe Edition website.

Available now:

The Seeds Of Love [5 disc Boxset] from Amazon

The Seeds Of Love (2 CD Deluxe) from Amazon

The Seeds Of Love [Remastered Vinyl] from Amazon





News: Prince – Sign O’ The Times | Remastered & Expanded

25 06 2020

The Prince Estate is continuing to release his studio albums in expanded form, complete with material from his legendary Vault. Considered by many to be his masterpiece, Sign O’ The Times is being issued on vinyl and CD, remastered and overflowing with extras.

The super deluxe edition (8 CD and 1 DVD) includes all the audio material that Prince officially released in 1987, as well as 45 previously unreleased studio songs recorded between May 1979 and July 1987, and a complete live audio performance from the June 20 1987 show on the Sign O’ The Times Tour at Stadium Galgenwaard in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Also included is a brand-new DVD containing the complete, previously unreleased New Year’s Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park on December 31 1987, which was Prince’s final performance of the Sign O’ The Times Tour stage show and his only on-stage collaboration with jazz legend Miles Davis.

Weighing in at a hefty price, this is a real collectors edition – and includes a 120-page hardcover book with previously unseen images and hand-written lyrics.

The super deluxe edition (like the 1999 super-deluxe) is likely to sell-out, and become a collectors item. If you are fan of Prince, the super deluxe is a treasure trove of unreleased music, plus one of the greatest albums of all time in remastered form. Dig deep, it will be worth it!

Pre-order the Super-Deluxe CD edition

Super Deluxe Edition 8 CD+ DVD Set

Remastered Album (CD 1)

Sign O’ The Times
Play In The Sunshine
Housequake
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker
It
Starfish And Coffee
Slow Love
Hot Thing
Forever In My Life

Remastered Album (CD 2)

U Got The Look
If I Was Your Girlfriend
Strange Relationship
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
The Cross
It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night
Adore

Single Mixes & Edits (CD 3)

Sign O’ The Times (7” single edit)
La, La, La, He, He, Hee (7” single edit)
La, La, La, He, He, Hee (Highly Explosive) (7” single edit)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (7” single edit)
Shockadelica (“If I Was Your Girlfriend” B-side)
Shockadelica (12” long version)
U Got the Look (Long Look) (12” edit)
Housequake (7” edit)
Housequake (7 Minutes MoQuake)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Fade 7” edit)
Hot Thing (7” single edit)
Hot Thing (Extended Remix)
Hot Thing (Dub Version)

Vault, Part 1 (CD 4)

All tracks previously unreleased

I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (1979 version)
Teacher, Teacher (1985 version)
All My Dreams
Can I Play With U? (featuring Miles Davis)
Wonderful Day (original version)
Strange Relationship (original version)
Visions
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker (with horns)
Witness 4 The Prosecution (version 1)
Power Fantastic (live in studio)
And That Says What?
Love And Sex
A Place In Heaven (Prince vocal)
Colors
Crystal Ball (7” mix)
Big Tall Wall (version 1)
Nevaeh Ni Ecalp A
In A Large Room With No Light

Vault, Part 2 (CD 5)

All tracks previously unreleased

Train
It Ain’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Sings
Eggplant (Prince vocal)
Everybody Want What They Don’t Got
Blanche
Soul Psychodelicide
The Ball
Adonis And Bathsheba
Forever In My Life (early vocal studio run-through)
Crucial (alternate lyrics)
The Cocoa Boys
When The Dawn Of The Morning Comes
Witness 4 The Prosecution (version 2)
It Be’s Like That Sometimes

Vault, Part 3 (CD 6)

All tracks previously unreleased

Emotional Pump
Rebirth Of The Flesh (with original outro)
Cosmic Day
Walkin’ In Glory
Wally
I Need A Man
Promise To Be True
Jealous Girl (version 2)
There’s Something I Like About Being Your Fool
Big Tall Wall (version 2)
A Place In Heaven (Lisa vocal)
Wonderful Day (12” mix)
Strange Relationship (1987 Shep Pettibone Club Mix)

Live In Utrecht (CD 7 & CD 8)

All tracks previously unreleased

Intro/Sign O’ The Times
Play In The Sunshine
Little Red Corvette
Housequake
Girls & Boys
Slow Love
Take The “A” Train/Pacemaker/I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
Hot Thing
Four (With Sheila E. Drum Solo)
If I Was Your Girlfriend
Let’s Go Crazy
When Doves Cry
Purple Rain
1999
Forever In My Life
Kiss
The Cross
It’s Gonna Be A Bea
utiful Night

Live At Paisley Park – December 31, 1987 (DVD)

All tracks previously unreleased

Sign O’ The Times
Play In The Sunshine
Little Red Corvette
Erotic City
Housequake
Slow Love
Do Me, Baby
Adore
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
What’s Your Name Jam
Let’s Pretend We’re Married
Delirious
Jack U Off
Drum Solo
Twelve
Hot Thing
If I Was Your Girlfriend
Let’s Go Crazy
When Doves Cry
Purple Rain
1999
U Got The Look
It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night Medley (featuring Miles Davis)

Please note – video content is exclusive to the physical DVD and will not appear on digital download or streaming versions of the Super Deluxe Edition set.

Pre-order the 3 CD edition

Deluxe Edition 3 CD Set
Remastered Album + Single Mixes & Edits

Remastered Album (Disc 1)

Sign O’ The Times
Play In The Sunshine
Housequake
The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker
It
Starfish And Coffee
Slow Love
Hot Thing
Forever In My Life

Remastered Album (Disc 2)

U Got The Look
If I Was Your Girlfriend
Strange Relationship
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
The Cross
It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night
Adore

Single Mixes & Edits (Disc 3)

Sign O’ The Times (7” single edit)
La, La, La, He, He, Hee (7” single edit)
La, La, La, He, He, Hee (Highly Explosive) (7” single edit)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (7” single edit)
Shockadelica (“If I Was Your Girlfriend” B-side)
Shockadelica (12” long version)
U Got the Look (Long Look) (12” edit)
Housequake (7” edit)
Housequake (7 Minutes MoQuake)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Fade 7” edit)
Hot Thing (7” single edit)
Hot Thing (Extended Remix)
Hot Thing (Dub Version)








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