I was so pleased to receive this album. I still have this album on cassette from the first time around, but not having a player anymore it's one of several consigned to the back of a cupboard.
On playing this CD the opening bars of "Who's Leaving Who" immediately took me back to '88 in the blink of a (slightly misty) eye and I remembered why I enjoyed it so much the first time I heard it.
Hazell's album "Always" was a little unusual in that it collected together some of the singles she had released over the previous few years, together with some new songs. Several of these were presented on the original album in the 12" Extended version, even on the LP version, though as was commonplace at the time the CD and cassette had more tracks on.
This expanded edition instead uses the 7" versions of the songs as the basis for the album, covering the first 9 tracks on CD1. This is an improvement as each song is shorter and can be enjoyed as a collection of rather fabulous pop/dance tracks rather than long SAW extended mixes, building up from drum program with each element of the track being layered on top. Naturally all the 12" versions on the original album are here as bonus tracks, with a lot more besides.
We are treated to several B-sides and remixes, one of which (a 12" mix of "Turn It Into Love") is previously unreleased, in addition to the remastered original album. The remaining singles (such as "Stand Up" and "E.S.P.") which were not included on the first release are also included here, making it more of a complete album. The attractive booklet even has liner notes written by Hazell herself to accompany the release. An extra nice touch was the re-use of the fonts and artwork from the original release, even Hazell's little hand-written "A" and "B" signs for the respective sides of the tape/LP, used here to signify CDs 1 and 2.
There are so many highlights, the rare songs, the mixes, the title track "Always Doesn't Mean Forever", but my favourite is still "Who's Leaving Who", which still stands up so well as smart and classy pop. With its guitar and sparkly keyboards it sounds a little more mature than a lot of SAW's productions. One thing that struck me, which it shouldn't have as I should have known, is what a superb singer Hazell is. Her voice sounds so strong on these tracks.
Very good stuff!