ANDREW RIDGELEY: Son Of Albert

This is the first reissue for Andrew Ridgeley’s debut album Son Of Albert that was originally released in 1990, four years after the breakup of Wham! Andrew Ridgeley as one half of the 80’s Supergroup Wham! sold more than 28 million records worldwide between 1982 and 1986. This Special Expanded Edition includes the nine original album tracks from the vinyl release plus 7 related bonus tracks. This includes “Shake (Hardcore)” that was featured on the CD version of the album.

One day at the record store that I worked at, a label compilation was given to me be the rep and I took a look at it and saw that a solo song from Ridgely was on it and I was interested in hearing it. I cued it up on the old CD player and there it was, the first single, “Shake.”The song starts off with guitar and vocals, then the band kicks in with a catchy chorus and I was kind of shocked that it had nothing to do with the way that Wham! sounded. A lot more rock and not pop at all, so I was interested in hearing more from the album. For whatever reason, the album never seemed to appear in the store and I promptly forgot about it, until one day, Was in another record store and saw the CD in the used bin on sale for 3 for $10. I dug around and grabbed a couple more discs and headed home. When I put this on, was I ever surprised with what I heard! This was a hair metal CD, not a guy from Wham! I had thought that I got a mislabeled CD, until I heard “Shake” and realized that this truly was the real one. Starting off with “Red Dress,” I was shocked to hear a rocking song with more than a touch of hair metal, almost Poison-like in sound. Next was “Shake,” then “The Price Of Love” which is a more rockin’ out tune with an early Alice Cooper vocal sound. “Flame” is a dirty sounding track with ripping guitar playing. “Hangin'” is more pop-oriented, less hard rock and a ridiculously catchy chorus. “Mexico” sounds almost exactly like Poison and is really hair metal. “Big Machine,” “Kiss Me,” and “Baby Jane” all carry on the hard rock sound. I sat there and couldn’t believe that the guy who helped put out songs like “Wake Me Up,” and “Wham! Rap” was doing a metal album now! I can see why that this was not a hit because where would it have gotten air-play? Rock radio would not touch an album from a guy from Wham!, and pop radio wouldn’t play a metal album, so then what? Now, after a lot of years, we get a remastered version with bonus tracks and a chance to re-think the whole thing. This version contains a recent interview with Ridgeley and co-producer Gary Bromham, remastering from the original tapes, the single “Shake” in “Hardcore,” “Accapella,” and “Extended” mixes, second single “Red Dress” which features backing vocals by George Michael, with “12”” and an additional “Extended Mix,” and “Hangin,” with the “Extended” and “Alternative Extended Version.”

“Shake (Hardcore)” is mostly just music and effects added to it, “Acapella” really isn’t since it has a guitar in it, and “Extended” is not as dancey, more open sounding. “Red Dress (12″ Mix)” is a fairly rocking mix that sounds great, “Extended Version” is exactly that, an extended mix. “Hangin’ (Alternative Extended Version)” is more of a dancey track, and “Extended” is, even more, pop-oriented and dancey than the other mixes.

The sound is great, and listening to this again, with al the years between the first listen and today, this isn’t that bad of an album, kind of fun and definitely something that stands as his own statement. Take a chance and give it a listen for yourself.

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