Missing Persons was such a big part of the early ’80s for me, with Dale Bozzio’s style, unique voice and the amazing songs…I was an instant fan. Of course, being a teenage boy, Dale was a big reason I loved the band…I did mention her style, right? Anyways, there is a new album out and let’s get to it.
You get twelve songs and three are originals with covers of The cars, The The, Joy Division and others. Starting off with the cover of “California Dreamin'” all I can say is wow! Her voice is amazing and the band keep the tempo down and it flows so well. New songs “Lipstick” and “Dreaming” are fantastic and I had to hit replay on them to hear them right away. So slinky, sexy and perfect. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” made popular by The Animals is played slow and similar to the first song and is another cool version. “This Is The Day” originally by The The is a winner sounding as good as the original version and is very ’80s sounding. “Images In Heaven” by Peter Godwin is a peppy track that I really enjoyed and takes you back to the early ’80s with the sound of Missing Persons from back then. Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints” is another fast-paced cover that really works and sounds like it could have come out in 1982.
All-in-all, a great return from an artist that I had hoped would put out something new after seeing her in concert last year for the first time ever. This will fit in perfectly with the earlier albums and will be one to play the hell out of. Great album, thank you for making my wish come true.
Released in October 1986, One To One was produced by the legendary producer Arif Mardin and saw a change in Howard’s writing and musical style. The album reached No.10 in the UK Album Charts selling over 100,000 copies and achieving Gold status. It contained three tracks that were released as singles in the UK, “All I Want” peaked at No.35, “You Know I Love You… Don’t You?” at No.43 and “Little Bit Of Snow” at No.70. It also contained the single mix of “No One Is To Blame” (a song featured on his previous album Dream Into Action) with Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals. As well as achieving great success in the UK, One To One and the various singles that were taken from it, also enjoyed tremendous success internationally in such countries as USA, Canada, Australia and throughout most of Europe. Packaged in a digipack with a fully illustrated 16-page booklet containing rare photos and brand new sleevenotes and track by track annotation about ONE TO ONE by Howard Jones as told to acclaimed writer Anil Prasad. Featuring an expanded selection of previously unreleased studio and live versions plus newly remastered tracks. Includes a DVD (NTSC/Region Free) containing BBC TV appearances on Top Of The Pops, Saturday SUperstore, Wogan and The Roland Rat Show as well as promotional videos.
I was really looking forward to this album when I heard that it was coming out when I was in high school, and after hearing “You Know I Love You… Don’t You?” on the radio, and then seeing the video, I knew that I had to get it. I went out and purchased it the day it came out, rushed home and put it on. After that great track, I kind of sat there wondering what happened. I couldn’t get my head around the new sounds that he was playing on this album after the more synth-pop on the first two albums. I filed it away and hoped the next one would be better, but as I got older, I started to appreciate the album more and more. I now find that it is a great transition into a more mature artist and really stands up after all these years. The songs are tight, fun and funkier than in the past and keep your feet tapping all the way through. The addition of remixes, demos and live tracks just adds to the greatness of this album. I also really enjoyed the videos and the interview with Howard, especially him talking about the songs.
This is an album that really has impressed me and gets a lot of play in my house and car. Give the album a chance and lose yourself in the maturity and funkiness of this album.
This 2 CD collection brings together the entire 1980’s recorded output of synth-pop pioneers, Fiat Lux. The original Hired History album and all of the bonus tracks are appearing on CD for the very first time. Fiat Lux hail from Wakefield and were formed by Steve Wright and David Crickmore in 1982 with Ian Nelson joining soon after. The band released 5 singles for Polydor Records dating from August 1983 to January 1985. The band enjoyed minor hits with “Secrets” and “Blue Emotion.”
As a fan of synth-pop, I was a fan of this band back in the early 80s and had trouble finding their releases back then. Not very easy to find and I just gave up since even news about them was impossible to find. To my surprise, they have been collected and have finally been given the respect that they deserve…many years later. The remastering is great since Cherry Red sourced and re-mastered from the original production master tapes after months of searching tape archives and exhaustive listening sessions to trace the correct versions. So we can finally hear just how great the songs are and get them all collected here. With remixes and a couple of unreleased Bill Nelson versions, this is a great CD. Disc 1 features the band’s commercially released tracks including the band’s debut single for Cocteau Records and the five released by Polydor over the years 1982-1985. Disc Two is the lost and previously unreleased second album Ark Of Embers as the band originally intended it when it was made with producer, Hugh Jones. This album shows that the band got ripped off by the record company because it’s a great addition to the songs you already know. The CD booklet features the original album cover plus extensive sleeve notes written by band members Steve Wright and David Crickmore telling the band’s story from a unique perspective. There is also a foreword written by the producer, Hugh Jones.
A collection that I never thought would come out, but to my surprise, it’s better than I thought it would be. Great songs from a very underrated band.
Cherry Red is issuing the first ever expanded re-issue of Re-Flex’s first album. Formed in the early 1980s by musicians John Baxter on vocals and lead guitar and Paul Fishman on keyboards and backing vocals, by late 1982 the band recorded their debut album, The Politics of Dancing. The album, produced by John Punter of Roxy Music fame was released in 1983 through EMI. The album’s title track was released as a single in late 1983 and met with much great success becoming a big international hit in 1984, reaching the Top 40 (and in some cases the Top 20) in numerous countries including No. 28 in the UK, No. 24 in the USA, No. 9 in Canada, No. 25 in Germany and No. 11 in Australia as well as being a success in Switzerland, South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. Five further singles were released from the album each enjoying varied international success. This expanded 2 CD version of the original album release contains a comprehensive selection of extended mixes and B-side bonus tracks many which are appearing on CD for the first time as well as a deluxe 16 page booklet using the fully restored original album artwork.
I was extremely excited to get this CD since I remember seeing the video on TV when it first came out. I bought the album back then and taped a live gig of theirs from the El Mocambo in Toronto off of the radio…still have it too! I played the album to death back then, and when I got this, I did the same thing. The album, of course, has their most famous song on it, but “Hitline,” and “Praying To The Beat” is just as good. The sound is greatly improved on this release and the bonus mixes are what really make this stand out for fans. Yes there are some remix omissions, and it does suck that they couldn’t find them all and put them all on here, but man-o-man, what a great bunch of mixes. The bonus mixes are thankfully all original ones from the band’s heyday, not new versions that you sometimes get stuck with, and they would make the dance floor full if they were played in an ’80s club night. You will want to dance on your sofa when you put this on…I did! The booklet is great, so much info and lots of pictures that I read it a couple of times.
If you are a fan…get this! How obvious is it really? If you are curious as to what else they did besides “that one song,” you need to get this so you can hear a band that took its time and produced a very entertaining and satisfying album that sounds just as good now as it did then.
Australian synth-pop band Pseudo Echo formed in 1982 and were influenced by the emergent British New Romantic bands Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Ultravox. By 1984, Pseudo Echo were second in popularity in their homeland only to INXS. Their international breakthrough hit was their pop-rock makeover of the Lipps Inc track, the disco classic “Funky Town.” This was a worldwide smash hit in 1987 reaching #1 in Australia and Canada, #8 in the UK and #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This is a 2-disc expanded edition of their second album, Love An Adventure, that “Funky Town” originally appeared on. The tracklisting replicates the European / North American version of the album that was released in 1987 but with the addition of 18 bonus tracks. The bonus tracks include the definitive collection of the contemporaneous promotional remixes that were hitherto exclusive to North America as well as the B-sides and 12” versions of the singles that were commercially released from the album in the UK and US. Also contains an amazing booklet with tons of pictures and information.
I remember hearing about these guys when their first album came out, and really enjoying the new romantic sound and how chock full of hooks it had, then I saw the video for “Funky Town” and I laughed that they were covering a disco song, but damn it, they did a good job! With a guaranteed hook, synth galore and a touch of rock, this song grabbed me and I was hooked. Adding to the power of this album was “Listening,” another hook-filled song that was a killer remixed from their first album. They also had two more beefed up songs from their first album, “A Beat For You,” and “Destination Unknown.” A bunch of remixes, which everyone seemed to do back then, made sure that you had to get more and more from them. Not to say that the “big” single is the only thing on here, you can’t go wrong with this harder-edged version of the band. Now add on a ton of remixes and you have a double CD collection that will bring back memories, plus get you dancing, singing and laughing with how good it will make you feel.
If you want an album to bring you out of the doldrums, this is it. Put it on, and head to Funky Town all on your own again.
Midge Ure, lead singer of Ultravox and solo artist came to Austin for a solo acoustic show at 3Ten Austin City Limits Live in downtown Austin. The weather was great, not too much traffic and away I went to the show.
I did miss the opening act; Robert Harrison of Cotton Mather, but I was really excited to see Ure who I have been a fan of since the early ’80s. The venue is small, intimate and was perfect for this show. Dark atmosphere, cool air blowing on me from the air conditioning system and my growing excitement all made it thrilling and made the hair stand up on my arms when Ure came on stage. With a perfect amount of story-telling, jokes and some aw-shucks moments, Ure thrilled the crowd with songs from Ultravox and his solo career. as well as a beautiful rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Man Of The World.” Ure told the crowd about listening to the song on the radio when he was small back when the UK had one radio station and how much he loved this song. He asked for people to help him sing-along with “The Voice,” but said that if you didn’t know it, please don’t do it, which got a large laugh from the crowd. With his mix of songs, he wove a set of beauty and heartfelt singing that was a pleasure to witness. “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” actually had some tears in my eyes since the raw emotion that Ure gave to the performance was striking. It was actually supposed to be the last song, but he got caught up in it and admitted that he forgot to leave the stage. After a lot of laughter, we were treated to the final song, “One Small Day,” and a standing ovation later, it was sadly all over…except for the buying of the souvenir t-shirt of course.
Having never seen Ultravox live, nor been able to see any of Ure’s previous solo shows, this was a delight and is something that I will never forget. The perfect venue, perfect sound, and perfect performance…what more could you ask for?
A strictly limited edition 3-disc dance remix companion set to the recent Bronski Beat release The Age Of Reason. Steve Bronski has been the driving force behind Bronski Beat for 35 years. This album features their most recent singer; the powerful soul-pop, multi-octave ranged Stephen Granville. The Age Of Remix reorientates Bronski Beat’s recent The Age Of Reason album; itself a contemporary remake of Bronski Beat’s landmark debut album The Age Of Consent. Featuring no less than twenty-five all new and previously unreleased remixes from a plethora of current dance floor remixers. The third disc in this deluxe 3 1/2 hour set is a bonus continuous mix by Sordid Soundz, also known as Bronski Beat programmer Ian Donaldson, which itself contains some exclusive snippets of further previously unreleased mixes.
I remember watching the video shows after school in the early ’80s, waiting to see the newest clips and the exciting new sounds that seemed to come out every week, and low and behold, I saw “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat. What a different and interesting synthpop sound, plus the video and song had meaning to it, the pain and suffering of a gay man growing up. I was fascinated and couldn’t wait to hear more from them. I saw the album in the store, picked it up and was a fan, then the video for “Why” came out and it was great. Now Jimmy Somerville is no longer with the band and has had a great solo career, and only Steve Bronski is left, but he has got a great new vocalist that takes the songs, and adds his own twist to them and does a terrific job with them. So many remixes, so many to choose from and you will definitely find one that appeals to you, I love the ones based on “Smalltown Boy” and “Why,” but I am biased since those songs are so massive and remind me of my youth. The songs are upbeat, full of energy and will cause booty shaking to happen, whether you want it to happen or not. The band did a great job finding remixers and picking great mixes for this collection.
This will get you dancing and loving the songs all over again, and will hopefully get people that weren’t there the first time, to hear them in this collection and get the message and the love for the band. Just so you know, the third CD is one long song that cannot be skipped to the next song, so just put it on and shake your thang…all night long.
This remaster of their singles and some digging through the depths of their recorded output to find songs that have been on other compilations, but some new to CD as well. A band that most people know because of a haircut and one song, but actually had a lot more going for them than just being a jokey footnote.
I remember hearing “I Ran” on the radio and loving it, and having to get that song, so on my birthday, my father bought me a K-Tel compilation that I still own, with this song on it. Like most of their compilations, the song was cut short and the sound wasn’t great, but I had that song. I soon after saw the video and at the time, I thought it was great…not so much now…lol. Luckily, I lived in a fairly big city and was able to get the album at a local record store and fell in love with the rest of the songs. Of course, I also became a fan of the band’s continued output and was excited to see this CD come out. I had picked up some of their 45’s, and 12″ singles as I went along in my music hunts and now I can listen to them with the pops and crackles of my old vinyl. So many great songs are on this collection, with single edits, live versions, and remixes that I bought and lots that I never heard before. The sound is terrific with clarity and crispness that brings out the interesting sounds from the keys, and a booklet with an interview from Smash Hits, lyrics for some of the songs and a great discography as well. The remixes are sometimes a bit on the long side such as “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” which is over minutes long and goes on far too long, but still, this is a treat for the fan of this band and the person curious to hear some remixes that add to the enjoyment of the original song. The only things I was unhappy about was that they could have made a third CD of even more remixes and rare songs, and the mediocre cover.
An album that will take you back to the early and mid ’80s and carry you up into the sky with the birds and soar into the clouds. This will make you dance, sing, and smile…a fantastic thing.
If you were around for the early New Wave era, or just curious about when it was still hungry and vital, then this is a box set that you will love. It showcases the early sounds of the synthesizer used in bands to create sounds, noises and in most cases, songs that still raise the hair on your arms. This collection has sixty tracks across four CD, a great detailed booklet, and has bands that you’ve heard of like the Human League, Blancmange, and OMD, to obscure artists that will make you try to hunt down their music….if you can……
This collection goes from the very experimental, with beeps and other strange noises making up songs, to beautiful soundscapes and early industrial. This was just as punk rock at the time as picking up a guitar, maybe more so, since a lot of these were done on homemade machines and with even cheaper materials. The CDs are packed full of songs that were made in a hurry and not with any eye on being on a chart, just made to do something in the spirit of the times and to create something. To think that a lot of these people have moved on and have forgotten about a lot of this, it’s a great collection to get people to hear things that would have been forgotten except for the greedy and horrible collectors who charge an arm and a leg for these singles online. The big song on here is the Human League track “Being Boiled,” but the others all have their charms and I’m glad to have the chance to hear a lot of music that I never had the chance to hear back then. The remastering is fantastic, especially since some of this came off of cassettes, the sound is clear and makes for a great listen.
I could go on and on about the artists and songs, but you just need to go out and get a copy of this collection. While not being definitive….and how could it ever be? The collection is a great beginning to expanding on your idea of what synthesizer music started out as, as well as being sad at how bad a lot of it turned out later in the ’80s.
The Age of Plastic is the debut studio album written, produced and performed by British new wave duo The Buggles, which consisted of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. With the big hit “Video Killed The Radio Star,” this album became a real worldwide success. This deluxe edition features three bonus tracks.
The Buggles have a place in music history because “Video Killed The Radio Star” was the first music video shown on MTV, but don’t think that this album is just that one song, it has a lot more to offer. “Kid Dynamo,” is a great song with electric guitars and strings that propel the song along. “I Love You (Miss Robot)” has great female vocals midway through the song and its synthesized vocals make this seem like it was the future at the time. “Clean, Clean” has a slow beginning before going full force with guitar and drums, and has an inspired synthesizer solo in the middle of the song. “Johnny On The Monorail” is a quick-paced soundscape of synthesizer playing. The bonus songs add some depth, and time to this short album. The three bonus tracks on this reissue are; the delightful lite-reggae “Island,” the quirky “Technopop,” and a different version of “Johnny On The Monorail.” The remastering job makes this a lot clearer and crisper, you can hear sounds and bleeps that were hidden on the original release, plus the quieter passages no longer have that mild hissing noise.
A great album that holds up just as well now as it did when it was first released and actually may be just as relevant of technology taking over. Grab this and relive the fun and excitement of early new wave, just remember to play it loud.