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)





Musik Music Musique 1980 – The Dawn Of Synth Pop album review

22 06 2020

Musik Music Musique is a 3 CD compilation from Cherry Red, chronicling the beginnings of the synth-pop music revolution that was to dominate the charts for years to come. Whilst containing well-known names from the era (Buggles, The Human League, Ultravox and Spandau Ballet) the tracks chosen from these artists are not the obvious big-hits.

The real discoveries and delights in this compendium are the more obscure tracks, from the likes of XYNN, Nick Nicely and other acts who often released just a handful of songs before disappearing forever.

The first of the 3 CDs contains one of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s finest earlier songs, the naggingly addictive Messages. The Human League are represented by their cover of Mick Ronson’s Only After Dark, taken from the final album produced by the line-up that featured Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who left the League to form Heaven 17 with Glenn Gregory later in 1980.

Victims of the Riddle was the debut single from Toyah (it was actually released in 1979, but we will let that slip!). A keyboard driven song, with minimal guitar, it sits well on this compilation. Waiting by Ultravox is a good choice, as is Hazel O’Connor’s Sons And Lovers, with tribal drums offsetting the sax and synth squelches.

My favourite track on Disc One is from one of the most under-rated albums of the 80s, Sympathy from the debut (and only) album from Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls. Pauline was the vocalist in new wave band Penetration, and this Martin Hannett produced album saw Murray move in a more electronic direction. If you haven’t heard this album, its definitely worth investigating.

The compilation’s title track is from Zeus aka producer Zeus B. Held (Fashion’s Fabrique, John Foxx’s The Golden Section, Pete Wylie Sinful) and is a charming vocoder delivered pop song. XYNN (German multimedia artist Michael Winter) delivers the sparse and haunting Computed Man.

Gina X Performance (another Zeus B. Held collaboration) is represented by Vendor’s Box, a fuller arrangement than a lot of the purely electronic tracks on this compilation.

Lawnchairs by US band Our Daughter’s Wedding uses a similar synth sequence to the OMD track that kicks off the first CD, and is a regular on alternative 80s compilations / 80s themed radio.

Two of my favourites (from the songs I was unaware of previously) sit on the first CD. Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne by Suicide was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars, and DCT Dreams by Nick Nicely is a lo-fi masterpiece, overflowing with more than it’s fair share of pop hooks.

The second disc opens with a key early Spandau Ballet track Glow, and a hidden gem from Robin Scott’s M in Official Secrets (avoiding the obvious Pop Muzik, great song as it is).

Galactica from French space-rock band Rockets is well sequenced next to Kim Wilde’s album track Tuning In Tuning On and Landscape’s European Man, which pre-dated their most well-known song from 1981, Einstein a Go-Go. Admit it,that song is stuck in your head now, isn’t it?

Melbourne band The Metronomes provide a “Ray Bradbury inspired tale of star-crossed love between two computing devices” with their contribution A Circuit Like Me, that cosies up to one of John Foxx’s early, icy slice of the future singles No One Driving.

The most well-known track on this compilation is the Midge Ure assisted Philip Lynott (Thin Lizzy) single Yellow Pearl, a song that was used as the theme for Top Of The Pops during the first half of the decade.

Dalek I Love You (Destiny) by Liverpool’s Dalek I is a premium slice of electronic new wave influenced pop. French band Taxi Girl contribute an early single in Mannequin. Fans of The Stranglers will remember Taxi Girl from the 1981 La Folie tour and the JJ Burnel produced / Jet Black featuring Seppuku album in 1982.

This World Of Water, a no 31 with a bullet UK singles hit by New Musik, a band formed by producer Tony Mansfield, sits in the track list just before one of my favourite Japan songs, the Roxy Music Manifesto influenced Quiet Life.

The third and final disc opens with one of Buggles finest songs, Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade). Last year there were rumours of a new, third Buggles album. Here’s hoping….

The second song titled Mannequin is from Glasgow’s Berlin Blondes, with a great mixture of new wave basslines and electronic synth lead lines. Yello supply a scratchy, discordant Bimbo and the pure-pop quota is increased by The Lonely Spy from David Balfe and Bill Drummond’s Lori And The Chameleons project.

Blood Donor serve up a quirky Doctor Who homage and The Korgis Drawn And Quartered highlights a different side to the band who had a huge hit with the dreamy Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime.

The debut album from Visage was so influential, and single Mind Of A Toy features here. The handclaps and slap-bass mutant funk of Mataya Clifford and the track Living Wild adds a wild sense of fun to the final disc.

Karel Fialka’s The Eyes Have It was a near-hit in 1980, and received lots of radio play at the time. The Russians Are Coming by The Red Squares is a short track driven by cold war paranoia.

The compilation ends with La Düsseldorf and their boozy sounding Dampfriemen, drawing on early Kraftwerk and what sounds like too many visits to Bavarian Bierkeller’s. Dampfriemen is the only song on the album featuring a kazoo solo along side the electronic instruments, so a fitting end to this entertaining glimpse into the birth of 80s synthpop.

Disc one

Messages – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Musik, Music, Musique – Zeus
Coitus Interruptus – Fad Gadget
Computed Man – XYNN
Metal Love – Rod Vey
Vendor’s Box – Gina X Performance
Lawnchairs – Our Daughter’s Wedding
Tokyo – Science
Only After Dark – The Human League
Victims Of The Riddle – Toyah
DCT Dreams – Nick Nicely
Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne – Suicide
Waiting – Ultravox
Money – Moebius
Falling Years – The Fallout Club
Da Vorne Steht Ne Ampel – Der Plan
No, Nothing, Never – Dark Day
Sons And Lovers – Hazel O’Connor
Sympathy – Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls

Disc two

Glow – Spandau Ballet
Official Secrets – M
Chip n Roll – Silicon Teens
Galactica – Rockets
Tuning In Tuning On – Kim Wilde
European Man – Landscape
Can’t You Take A Joke? Ha Ha Hi Hi! – Henriette Coulouvrat
A Circuit Like Me – The Metronomes
No One Driving – John Foxx
Kebabträume – D.A.F.
Harmonitalk – Gary Sloan And Clone
Yellow Pearl – Philip Lynott
Dalek I Love You (Destiny) – dalek I
Mannequin – Taxi Girl
This World Of Water – New Musik
Quiet Life – Japan
Chase The Dragon – Kevin Harrison
Diskomo – The Residents

Disc three

Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade) – Buggles
Mannequin – Berlin Blondes
A Certain Way To Go – The Passage
Between – Sic
Bimbo – Yello
Images Of Delusion – Genocide
The Lonely Spy – Lori And The Chameleons
Lucy – Craze
I’m A Computer – The Goo-Q
Doctor …? – Blood Donor
Brushing Your Hair – Alex Fergusson
Drawn And Quartered – The Korgis
Mind Of A Toy – Visage
D’ya Think I’m Sexy – British Standard Unit
Living Wild – Mataya Clifford
Private Lives – Systems
The Eyes Have It – Karel Fialka
Suis-je Normale – Nini Raviolette
China Blue Vision – Eyeless In Gaza
The Russians Are Coming – The Red Squares
Dampfriemen – La Dusseldorf

Released on 31 July 2020.

Buy Musik Music Musique 1980 – The Dawn Of Synth Pop





The Associates – Perhaps (remastered) 2 CD review

4 12 2019

35 years after its original release comes this 2 CD digipak edition of the band’s third studio album Perhaps plus related bonus tracks. Released via Cherry Red on 31 January 2020, the first disc features the 10 original album tracks plus four instrumentals that were included on the original cassette release of the album. These bonus tracks are appearing on CD for the first time.

Disc Two features all the related bonus tracks for which master tapes still exist. This includes the extended versions of singles Those First Impressions, Waiting For The Loveboat and Take Me To The Girl, plus single versions of Waiting For The Loveboat, Breakfast and Take Me To The Girl. Other tracks include 7” and 12” b-sides.

This is the best that the album has sounded. Perhaps was a long time in the making and featured four different producers, Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware, Martin Rushent (The Stranglers / Human League), Dave Allen and Greg Walsh. This new remaster was carried out by Dave Turner at 360 Mastering.

If you have not heard the original album from early 1985, it is very different from the playful and mischievous Sulk, its mind-blowing predecessor released in 1982. With Alan Rankine no longer a part of the band, this is a shinier, more radio-friendly version of The Associates. The album has mostly aged well and is certainly worthy of investigation if you are new to The Associates, or are a fan of 80s music.

Those First Impressions contains trademark Mackenzie vocals and a Club Country like bassline, but at a slower pace than a lot of the Sulk material. Waiting For The Loveboat feels like the theme to a long-lost saucy 80s sitcom, and contains wry lyrics and some awe-inspiring vocals from the boy Billy.

“Knowing what you want and taking full advantage”

The title track dials up the tempo and feels more like an early Associates track, with some fine guitar lines from Steve Reid. Unusually for the time, a lot of the tracks come in around the 6 minute plus mark.

“Perhaps, she’ll be my truest love.
Perhaps, I’m just not good enough.”

Schampout passed me by on initial release, and I feel the same today. Helicopter Helicopter is slightly better, but pales in significance compared to what comes next.

Breakfast is simply one of the best Associates tracks. The range of Mackenzie’s vocals, from the deep vibrato to the soaring, lung-busting high notes that give you goosebumps, still stops me in my tracks when I hear this song. It’s my favourite of all Billy’s vocal performances.

“Talk to me, I’ll stay these vagabond nights
Walk with me, someone is waiting in light”

And the end section – just a metronomic drum machine, the addictive piano motif and heart-wrenching strings, serves up one of my favourite endings to a song. So simple, yet so emotional.

Thirteen Feelings, with its fairground waltz keyboards, lifts you after the melodrama of the previous song.

“Deeper days of quintessential innocence
I’ve never felt so far away”

The Stranger In Your Voice always felt like something David Bowie would have recorded to me, and is another song that has grown on me over the years since first hearing the album on cassette back in the mid-80s.

The Best Of You is a duet with Eddi Reader (replacing two earlier ‘lost’ versions with Annie Lennox and Gina X). The album proper ends with the uptempo Don’t Give Me That I Told You So Look, and is completed with four instrumental cuts.

Highlights of Disc Two include extended versions of Those First Impressions and Waiting For The Loveboat with its manic end section.

Breakfast (Edit) features a very different mix and vocal to the original, and doesn’t have the same emotional effect as the album version. Though truth be told, there could never be a bad version of this song.

The Breakfast 12″ (and rare Associates cover version) Kites is a welcome addition to this reissue, harking back to the feel of early Associates releases.

Take Me To The Girl is a post Perhaps single release (I think I have a 10″ vinyl version somewhere) and a very commercial song, presented here in all its released versions (Single Version, the 12” Mix, instrumental and the delicious acoustic torch-song version The Girl That Took Me).

“So take me to the girl that I once knew
Does she know what I’ve been going through?
I’ve been searching for her everywhere
I think my darling’s gone; I didn’t care”

This 2020 reissue also includes a 20 page booklet, that includes a UK discography and extensive sleeve-notes written by Andy Davis.

So is it worth investing in this version of Perhaps? I would say yes (not perhaps!) – its a much more rewarding version than the only other CD release, a shared re-issue with The Glamour Chase in 2002, that included none of the associated tracks that appear on this definitive Cherry Red edition.


Buy the 2 CD Perhaps album on Amazon

Disc One: Perhaps + Bonus Tracks

Those First Impressions
Waiting For The Loveboat
Perhaps (Dave Allen Remix)
Schampout
Helicopter Helicopter
Breakfast
Thirteen Feelings
The Stranger In Your Voice
The Best Of You
(Billy Mackenzie & Dave Allan Remix)
Don’t Give Me That I Told You So Look
Perhaps (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *
Breakfast Alone (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *
Thirteen Feelings (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *
The Stranger In Your Voice (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks

Those First Impressions (Extended Version) *
Waiting For The Loveboat (Single Version)
Waiting For The Loveboat (Extended Version) *
Waiting For The Loveboat (Slight Return)
Perhaps Perhaps *
Schampout (Edit) *
Breakfast (Single Version)
Breakfast (Edit)
Kites
Take Me To The Girl (Single Version)
Take Me To The Girl (12” Mix) *
Take Me To The Girl (Instrumental) *
The Girl That Took Me *


* appearing on CD for the first time

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Buy Sulk by Associates on CD





News: Ultimate Dollar 6CD/1DVD (includes Trevor Horn era songs)

1 12 2019

Re-mastered from the original master tapes, Ultimate Dollar contains 6 audio discs and a DVD, which contains all their videos and several TV appearances.

The reason for my mentioning the collection on this site is that the box-set will be of particular interest to Trevor Horn fans. Discs three and four cover the Gold certified The Dollar Album era. This Dollar album includes four Trevor Horn productions and co-written songs, and also includes Trevor Horn on bass guitar plus Bruce Woolley and Anne Dudley (keyboards & synthesizers) on the Horn produced singles.

Also included is the Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour) (Demo), with what sounds suspiciously like Trevor Horn on vocals.

This expanded edition includes newly commissioned 12” versions of all five top 40 hits contained on the album, mixed from the original multi track tapes – Hand Held In Black And White (UK #19), Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour) (UK #4), Give Me Back My Heart (UK #4), Videotheque (UK #17) and Give Me Some Kinda Magic (UK #34), as well as backing tracks, B-sides and instrumentals of many songs.

The box-set also includes newly commissioned vintage style 12” mixes of Mirror Mirror, Give Me Back My Heart, Hand Held In Black And White, Videotheque, Give Me Some Kinda Magic and Love’s Gotta Hold On Me from the original multi track tapes.

The box-set also includes a detailed booklet containing track-by-track commentary from Thereza Bazar and many others involved in the releases, as well as photos, detailed liner notes on each disc, and The Dollar Songbook lyrics.

Buy the Ultimate Dollar box-set

Also available – Greatest Hits 2CD set





News: The Associates Perhaps 2 CD re-mastered re-issue

21 11 2019

35 years after its original release Cherry Red are releasing a 2 CD digipak edition of The Associates third studio album Perhaps plus related bonus tracks. The album has been re-mastered from the original master tapes.

The previous CD release was part of a double-pack featuring The Glamour Chase, from 2002. This new Cherry Red edition is the first CD release featuring an expanded track-listing.

Originally released in February 1985 after exhaustive recording sessions, Billy Mackenzie finally followed up the 1982 Associates album Sulk with this 10 track offering. The album featured four different producers, Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware, Martin Rushent, Dave Allen and Greg Walsh.

Disc One features the 10 original album tracks plus four instrumentals that were included on the original cassette release of the album. These bonus tracks are appearing on CD for the first time.

Disc Two features all the related bonus tracks for which master tapes still exist. This includes the extended versions of singles Those First Impressions, Waiting For The Loveboat and the wonderful single Take Me To The Girl, plus single versions of Waiting For The Loveboat, Breakfast and Take Me To The Girl. Other tracks include 7” and 12” b-sides.

Housed in a digipak containing a 20 page page booklet, a UK discography and extensive sleeve-notes written by Andy Davis.


Available for pre-order now.

Disc One: Perhaps + Bonus Tracks

  1. Those First Impressions
  2. Waiting For The Loveboat
  3. Perhaps (Dave Allen Remix)
  4. Schampout
  5. Helicopter Helicopter
  6. Breakfast
  7. Thirteen Feelings
  8. The Stranger In Your Voice
  9. The Best Of You
    (Billy Mackenzie & Dave Allan Remix)
  10. Don’t Give Me That I Told You So Look
  11. Perhaps (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *
  12. Breakfast Alone (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *
  13. Thirteen Feelings (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *
  14. The Stranger In Your Voice (Instrumental) (Bonus Track) *

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks

  1. Those First Impressions (Extended Version) *
  2. Waiting For The Loveboat (Single Version)
  3. Waiting For The Loveboat (Extended Version) *
  4. Waiting For The Loveboat (Slight Return)
  5. Perhaps Perhaps *
  6. Schampout (Edit) *
  7. Breakfast (Single Version)
  8. Breakfast (Edit)
  9. Kites
  10. Take Me To The Girl (Single Version)
  11. Take Me To The Girl (12” Mix) *
  12. Take Me To The Girl (Instrumental) *
  13. The Girl That Took Me *
  • appearing on CD for the first time

Buy The Associates Perhaps 2-CD on Amazon





Fader – In Shadow album review

24 09 2019

Fader are Neil Arthur (Blancmange) and Benge (John Foxx & The Maths / Gazelle Twin). In Shadow is the follow-up to their 2017 debut, First Light.

Neil Arthur is clearly experiencing a creative streak – along with Fader he has also recently released the debut of another duo project, Near Future, as well as delivering two new Blancmange studio albums, including one of the finest in the bands career in last year’s Wanderlust.

Summoning the spirit of early John Foxx, Always Suited Blue is a tale of the personal and the mundane, jostling with an upbeat, pure 1981 synth-pop soundtrack.

“Lost a tenner, found a pound”

An early album highlight is Midnight Caller, a distopian dismantling of picket-fence suburbia, with a hint of menace that offsets the addictive chorus.

Arthur’s often unsettling lyrics are underpinned by the warm electronic textures provided by Benge. Everyday objects become enemies in What Did It Say – which has one of the most disturbing lyrics coupling with one of the album’s sweetest and most mesmerising tunes.

Youth On A Wall bubbles and pulses, with a wonderfully treated vocal that has its own distinctive, delayed rhythm. A little bit of politics creeping in here.

“May is fading from our view”

The saccharine synths of Whispering echo the softly delivered vocals, that are delivered with such lightness of touch that you have to really concentrate to hear the message being delivered.

Aspirational is an ear-worm of a song, and is followed by one of my favourite tracks on the album, Enemy Fighter with its inventive, haunting vocal arrangement that is topped off with layered, frenetic percussion patterns.

The title track has sparse instrumentation, that builds slowly as the song progresses. Every Page feels the most current of the songs on In Shadow, with vocals scattering in and out of the chorus.

“Heading home now, if home still exists”

The album comes to a close on it’s bleakest song, Reporting, that seems to flit through the ages in a lyric about time and travel. The lyric reminds me a little of the time-travel premise of Kate Bush’s Snowed in at Wheeler Street, but that’s where the comparison ends. The lightest of touch backing makes you concentrate fully on the lyrics, and then the album is over.

“Pressure drop, pleasure stop.”

In Shadow is released on 25 October 2019.

Buy Fader – In Shadow on CD from Amazon

Always Suited Blue
Midnight Caller
What Did It Say
Youth On A Wall
Whispering
Aspirational
Enemy Fighter
In Shadow
Mindsweeper
Every Page
Reporting





News: Prince 1999 super-deluxe edition

12 09 2019

Prince’s 1999, his fifth studio album, is being given the expanded deluxe edition treatment, with a lavish super-deluxe edition.

The remastered album, which was originally released in 1982, also includes single / promo edits, two discs of unreleased material from Prince’s legendary vault, and two live performances (one audio and one on DVD).

Watch 1999 from the DVD below. Bear in mind that this is a recording from late 1982, so will not be up to current visual standards, but the performance is still electrifying.

https://youtu.be/udkRI514KSI

Pre-order the Super deluxe https://amzn.to/2Q7mjqL (5 CD & 1 DVD)

Pre-order the Super deluxe vinyl https://amzn.to/2NbLIgM (10 LP’s plus DVD)

Tracklist for new 1999 super-deluxe release, released 15th November 2019

CD1/LP1&2 (Original Album with 2019 Remaster)

1999

Little Red Corvette

Delirious

Let’s Pretend We’re Married

D.M.S.R.

Automatic

Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)

Free

Lady Cab Driver

All The Critics Love U In New York

International Lover

CD2/LP3&4 (Promo Mixes and B-sides, 2019 Remaster)

1999 (7″ Stereo Edit)

1999 (7″ Mono Promo-Only Edit)

Free (Promo Only Edit

How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore

Little Red Corvette (7″ Edit)

All The Critics Love U In New York (7″ Edit)

Lady Cab Driver (7″ Edit)

Little Red Corvette (Dance Remix Promo Only Edit)

Little Red Corvette (Special Dance Mix)

Delirious (7″ Edit)

Horny Toad

Automatic (7″ Edit)

Automatic (Video Version)

Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ Edit)

Let’s Pretend We’re Married (7″ Mono Promo Only Edit)

Irresistible Bitch

Let’s Pretend We’re Married (Video Version)

D.M.S.R. (Edit)

CD3/LP5&6 (Vault Tracks Pt 1, recorded between November 1981 and April 1982)

Feel U Up

Irresistible Bitch

Money Don’t Grow On Trees

Vagina

Rearrange

Bold Generation

Colleen

International Lover (Take 1) [Live In Studio]

Turn It Up

You’re All I Want

Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)

If It’ll Make U Happy

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? (Take 2)

CD4/LP7&8 (Vault Tracks Pt 2, recorded between April 1982 and January 1983)

Possessed (1982 Version)

Delirious (Full Length)

Purple Music

Yah, You Know

Moonbeam Levels (2019 Remaster)

No Call U

Can’t Stop This Feeling I Got

Do Yourself A Favor

Don’t Let Him Fool Ya

Teacher, Teacher

Lady Cab Driver / I Wanna Be Your Lover / Little Red Corvette (Tour Demo)

CD5/LP9&10 (Live In Detroit at Masonic Temple Theater, Masonic Hall (Late Show) – November 30, 1982, Previously Unreleased)

Controversy

Let’s Work

Little Red Corvette

Do Me, Baby

Head

Uptown

Lisa’s Keyboard Interlude

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?

Automatic

International Lover

1999

D.M.S.R.

DVD (Live at The Summit, Houston, TX, – December 29, 1982, Previously Unreleased)

Controversy

Let’s Work

Do Me, Baby

D.M.S.R.

Keyboard Interlude

Piano Improvisation

How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?

Lady Cab Driver

Automatic

International Lover

1999

Head





Prince – Originals album review (track-by-track)

9 06 2019

Originals is the third release using material sourced from Prince’s Vault / archive, following on from 2017’s expanded Purple Rain deluxe reissue and 2018’s Piano & A Microphone 1983.

Originals is a 15 song collection of Prince’s own versions of songs he gave to other acts, 14 of which are previously unreleased. As the album progresses, it is very clear that all the acts who received these songs totally trusted Prince’s vision, rarely altering the arrangements of the music or vocal lines that were provided.

Unlike archive releases from other artists, where the songs are often vague sketches or unfinished low-fi recordings, Prince did not make demos in the traditional sense. All the songs here are 16 or 24 track studio recordings, and considering their age (the oldest track is from 1981), they sound remarkable.

The sequencing of the album, mixing up the well-known hits with deeper cuts and interspersing the uptempo songs with ballads, makes this feel like a legitimate Prince album from the early 80s.

Originals opens with Sex Shooter (recorded in 1983), a song that was released on the Apollonia 6 album in 1984, and also featured in the Purple Rain film. The cheekily suggestive lyrics are driven by a nasty synth bassline and is very much of its time. Jungle Love is a delight and so damn funky, and the first appearance of Prince’s electric rhythm guitar grooves on the album.

“Somebody bring me a mirror!”

Manic Monday is the first of 3 songs that became massive, career-defining hits for other artists. Manic Monday shows that the song was pretty much fully-formed when given to The Bangles for their 1985 Different Light album. The iconic bar-room piano riff is intact, as are the breezy backing vocals and harmonies. Feeling like a close relative of Raspberry Beret, the song is Prince delivering pure, unadulterated pop and its a joy to hear.

Noon Rendezvous is the first of two songs that featured on Sheila E.’s The Glamorous Life in 1984, and highlights how Prince’s early to mid-80s ballads were his best. Stark and raw, with minimal percussion, just voice and piano, this is my favourite ballad on the album.

“The sound of your voice makes me weak”

Make-Up is one of the oldest songs on the album, and is pure electronica, featuring a synth line that would be recycled on the title track of Around The World In A Day. With deep bass and stuttering percussion, the song that was given to Vanity 6 in 1982 is the most experimental, left-field track on this collection. 100 MPH (1984) eventually appeared on the Mazarati album two years later, and is probably one of the less well-known songs on this collection, but works so well in this incarnation, and is a hidden gem.

You’re My Love is one of the real surprises in this collection, and is unlike any other song in Prince’s vast catalogue. The arrangement feels a little like it could have featured on Prince’s first album, but the vocals are unique. A pop / Country croon makes it clear why it was picked up by Kenny Rogers four years later.

Holly Rock (from 1985) is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Sheila E.’s version appeared on the Krush Groove soundtrack. This is classic mid-80s Prince, with his trademark pitched funk guitar. Holly Rock hints at the sound of the uptempo parts of Sign o’ the Times, and highlights how often, and how effectively, Prince could get inside the groove. Its one of those Prince songs that gets you on your feet. I dare you to try to keep still when listening to Holly Rock.

Baby, You’re a Trip was recorded by Prince in 1982, and was released by Jill Jones in 1987. Apparently Prince wrote the song for Jill Jones “about the time she snooped in his diary after he read hers.” The arrangement, the breakdowns, and the monotone backing vocals from Jill Jones lift this above the status of a standard ballad.

“Baby, you’re an ocean that’s too wide to cross”

The Glamorous Life has always been one of my favourite Sheila E songs, so it was emotional hearing Prince’s vocal on this song. The originals take does not disappoint.

As the album heads towards its final songs, we get a solo Prince recording of Gigolos Get Lonely Too, which later appeared on The Time’s What Time is It? album. A sweet, lyrically playful early 80s soul groove, what’s not to love?

The track I was looking forward to hearing most, the Prince take on Love… Thy Will Be Done, is the highlight of the album for me. I will always love Martika’s version, but the Prince original makes more use of the layered vocal harmonies, and as well as being one of Prince’s finest compositions, its also one of his best arrangements. Simply stunning.

Dear Michaelangelo heads back in time to the mid-80s and is a track that Prince provided for Sheila E.’s Romance 1600. With a naggingly addictive chorus, Dear Michaelangelo would not have sounded out of place on Parade.

“A life without love”

Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me? is a Prince song with its origins stretching way back to 1976, but the Originals version is from 1981. The song was covered by Taja Sevelle in 1987.

Sounding a little like it could have featured on 1980’s Dirty Mind album, Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me? is one of my most played tracks on Originals, and whilst it drops slightly below the production quality of the other tracks on this album, its a very good song, from one of Prince’s most exciting periods. Prince’s trademark falsetto is in full effect here, as is a subtle nod to The Beatles at around 2.25 in?

“I’m not trying to tease you
I only wanna turn you on”

The album ends with Prince’s take on Nothing Compares 2 U. Most people know Sinéad O’Connor’s massive hit single from 1990, but my favourite version has always been the 1985 version by The Family (a CD reissue would be appreciated please, Prince Estate!). This Prince version from 1984 was released on 7″ vinyl and download in 2018, but feels like a good way to close the album.

Posthumous releases are always difficult, as there is the risk of the artist’s legacy being tarnished by labels releasing music that the artist did not approve. Originals does not fall into this trap.

Whilst I am not sure Prince would have ever sanctioned this release during his lifetime, from a fan’s point of view the Prince Estate have done an excellent job in honouring his legacy, and releasing an excellent album that stands alone in its own right, not as a nostalgic curio, which was my initial (now unfounded) worry. If you are a fan of Prince’s work in the 80s, you will love Originals.

Sex Shooter (1983)
Jungle Love (1983)
Manic Monday (1984)
Noon Rendezvous (1984)
Make-Up (1981)
100 MPH (1984)
You’re My Love (1982)
Holly Rock (1985)
Baby, You’re a Trip (1982)
The Glamorous Life (1983)
Gigolos Get Lonely Too (1982)
Love… Thy Will Be Done (1991)
Dear Michaelangelo (1985)
Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me? (1981)
Nothing Compares 2 U (1984)

Buy Prince Originals on CD

Buy Prince Originals on vinyl





I-Level – albums available digitally for the first time

11 05 2019

I-Level were a 1980’s British Funk/Dance band who released two albums and eight singles between 1982 and 1985.

The trio had UK club hits with Minefield and Give Me from their first album, and are also remembered for the rare groove classic In The Sand from their second and final album Shake.

I-Level were Sam Jones on vocals, Joe Dworniak on bass & Duncan Bridgeman on keyboards. Jo & Duncan also appeared on John Foxx’s stunning 1981 album The Garden.

In early 2019 Give Me [U.S. Remix] featured on Gary Crowley’s Lost 80s compilation album, and shortly afterwards the two I-Level studio albums were released digitally for the first time. The albums are not available on CD but can be streamed and purchased via amazon (links below).

Download I-Level (1983) and Shake (1985) from Amazon.

The first I-Level album was a huge part of the soundtrack to my summer of 1982. I was a huge fan of the 12″ mix of single Teacher (sadly not included on this reissue), and I bought the album on vinyl.

There are so many great pop / dance tracks on the I-Level album. From the horn topped Minefield, with its wonderful jazz-funk bassline and the slow-burning ballad Heart Aglow, to the percussive Simmons-drum driven pop of Stone Heart, the debut I-Level album is 80s pop at its very best.

I love the arrangements on the first album, and Sam Jones soulful, often double-tracked vocals work so well with the electronic pop songs.

1985’s Shake has dated a little more than the debut, due to a heavy use of mid-80s sampling technology, but In The River and the more down-tempo In The Sand are classic pop singles, and worth investigating if you love eighties music.

So if you are a fan of early to mid-eighties pop, or are a fan of Level 42 or Seal, I can recommend the two I-Level albums.

Download I-Level (1983) and Shake (1985) from Amazon.

Follow I-Level on twitter @iLevelMusic.





David Bowie – Loving The Alien boxset album review

14 10 2018

Loving The Alien [1983 – 1988] is the 4th David Bowie box-set to be released, and the one covering his most commercially successful period.

Loving The Alien cover

The box-set comprises three remastered original studio albums (Let’s Dance, Tonight and Never Let Me Down), a newly re-imagined Never Let Me Down (2018) with Bowie’s original vocals and new musical performances from long time collaborators, two live albums (Serious Moonlight [Live ’83] and Glass Spider [Montreal ’87] plus two new compilations – Dance (original extended mixes) and Re:Call 4, a double album of single mixes, b-sides and soundtrack songs. As with the previous box-sets, Loving The Alien includes an excellent companion book with rare and unseen photos and essays from Nile Rodgers, Hugh Padgham and more.

Let's Dance (2108 remaster)

Let’s Dance was David Bowie’s 15th studio album and was originally released in April of 1983. Produced by Bowie and Nile Rodgers, the UK / US Platinum selling no 1 album crossed over into the mainstream more than ever before with three massive hit singles, Modern Love, China Girl and the title track.

The sound on the 2018 remaster from Ray Staff and Nile Rodgers is not a massive difference, as the album always sounded amazing anyway. The drums sound slightly fuller and there is more punch to the bass. China Girl and Let’s Dance suffer from less treble than the previous masters, so this version is definitely more sympathetic.

1984’s Tonight album is mastered slightly quieter than the previous version. The Ray Staff / Hugh Padgham 2018 remaster has a much softer snare sound. Tonight was not popular with critics, but sold well, though not on the Let’s Dance scale. Whilst by no means a classic album, it contains one of my favourite Bowie songs, the achingly beautiful Loving The Alien. A song so good they named the box-set after it!

Blue Jean sounds so much better on this remaster, as does one of my favourite Tonight tracks, the mighty Neighborhood Threat and the 80s pop-reggae of Don’t Look Down.

The final original studio album included on the Loving The Alien box-set is Never Let Me Down from 1987. Though Never Let Me Down was a commercial success, it was not well received by a lot of fans. Bowie also apparently disliked the arrangements and production, and it is probably no co-incidence that this was the last (solo) studio album release until Black Tie White Noise in 1993.

I must admit that Never Let Me Down is by far my least played Bowie album. The only two tracks I still play to this day are Day-In Day-Out and Time Will Crawl, so listening to the album in it’s entirety 31 years after release was interesting. The 2018 remaster is the best this album has sounded. Remastered slightly louder, and with more bottom end, Time Will Crawl and Beat Of Your Drum sound better than previous releases. The snare on Never Let Me Down sounds so much fuller and I will play this song more often, but the rest of the album still leaves me pretty cold I’m afraid.

I am happy to report that Never Let Me Down 2018 is a much more enjoyable listen. Mario J. McNulty, who was responsible for Time Will Crawl (MM remix) from the popular Bowie compiled iSelect album, gathered together musicians including Reeves Gabrels, David Torn, Sterling Campbell, Tim Lefebvre, Nico Muhly and Laurie Anderson to re-assemble the album at New York’s Electric Lady Studios in early 2018. Never Let Me Down 2018 is exclusive to this box-set, and is a must-have for Bowie fans.

Never Let Me Down (2018)

The difference is startling. Day-In Day-Out has a much better drum sound, and discordant Berlin-era buzzsaw guitars mixed with Adrian Belew like held notes, with Bowies vocals much higher up in the mix. The at times sparse mix really does justice to the underlying song.

Time Will Crawl builds on the previous MM mix, with a much less compressed master. Beat Of Your Drum feels more like a mid-70s Bowie song in this incarnation. The plucked strings work really well, and its a fine Bowie vocal performance.

Shorn of the 80s production, the title track is the highlight of Never Let Me Down 2018. Zeroes also works much better as a Hunky Dory meets Reality type track.

The newly re-imagined Glass Spider is longer than the original 1987 version, and this seemingly Nine Inch Nails influenced, dirtier electronic re-recording would have not sounded out-of-place on one of Bowies 90s albums. Shining Star (Makin’ My Love) is also more enjoyable. The short appearance from Laurie Anderson fits well into this 2018 recording, with its discomforting background electronics as a counterpart to the smooth Fame like backing.

LTA vinyl

New York’s In Love is a vast improvement, and feels a little like the sound of the second Tin Machine album mixed with The Next Day production. ’87 And Cry is grungier than the original, and has shades of the sound of Lodger at times.

The album closes with a string-heavy Bang Bang. The more restrained, much less frantic arrangement gives the lead vocals (and 70s sounding) backing vocals the room to breathe. I’m so glad this 2018 album exists, and I’m sure it will receive many more plays from me than the original album.

Serious Moonlight (Live '83)The two live albums are not of the quality of the recent Welcome To The Blackout (my favourite Bowie live album), but they are worth having, if just to replace the poor quality bootlegs that have been in circulation for years. The crowd for the Serious Moonlight (Live ’83) album sounds absolutely massive. This is the first full audio release for this concert, that was previously released as a VHS video album, and a shortened digital EP.

Highlights include the segue from Fashion into Let’s Dance, and I love the horns on the 1983 live arrangement of Breaking Glass.

Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87) draws heavily from Never Let Me Down, so is a less interesting live album for me. The theatrical nature along with the interludes has really dated this live show, and it doesn’t work as well without the visuals. Highlights from this album include Loving The Alien and Sons Of The Silent Age, but overall, this is not an album I will return to often.

The extended version’s disc titled Dance is literally dripping in the sounds and feel of the 80s, so loving that decade will surely influence whether this compilation hits the right notes for you. Make sure you slip into your 80s pastel clothing, and throw on your head-band before listening to Dance for the ultimate experience. Finally having the cream of the 83 onward extended remixes together on one album is a good thing. Shake It (Re-mix aka Long Version), Loving the Alien (Extended Dub Mix) and Time Will Crawl (Dance Crew Mix) are particular highlights.

Re_Call 4Re:Call 4 ties together the majority of the odds and ends from this era, including the 7″ edits of the Let’s Dance singles, and the Absolute Beginners and much-loved Labyrinth Bowie soundtrack pieces.

Less vital are the Never Let Me Down album vinyl edits and some of the poorer b-sides such as Julie, Girls – Extended Edit and the two tracks recorded with Tina Turner (Tonight and the Let’s Dance medley).

The personal highlights of Re:Call 4 are two of my favourite Bowie songs – This Is Not America and Absolute Beginners. Although sound-wise not an improvement on previously released versions, they stand head and shoulders above most tracks on this compilation, which is the most diverse but ultimately the poorest of the four box-sets Re:Call’s released so far.

Loving The Alien is much more of a mixed-bag than the previous David Bowie box-sets, but it has a potentially much larger audience due to the massive commercial success of Let’s Dance. The rehabilitation of Never Let Me Down with the 2018 re-recording makes this collection a must-buy for Bowie fans. I hope my David Bowie Loving The Alien review will help you decide if you want to add this release to your collection.

Loving The Alien cover

Buy Loving The Alien on CD from Amazon

Loving The Alien cover

Buy Loving The Alien on vinyl from Amazon








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