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2CD+DVD - a reason for living
on 2 November 2013
Bananarama's most fun and camp album is reissued here and it's very impressive. There's much more of a good thing, much more of Bruno Tonioli not wearing very much and most importantly lots of rare and unreleased tracks.
The group's first 100% Stock/Aitken/Waterman (more or less) album still sounds as much fun now as it did back then (I still remember buying the vinyl on Oxford Street first time around). Some classic singles are here... "I Heard a Rumour", "I Can't Help It" and most of all the seminal "Love In The First Degree", which must be the best SAW production of them all. The rest of the album has their touch too, though the original album version of "Nathan Jones" has an interesting alternative sound. "Once In A Lifetime", a pretty Siobhan lead vocal ballad is another favourite, a pretty and thoughtful song to end the original LP on. Here though an incredible 19 bonus tracks come after it!
Their forays into the dance market are here in the B sides, including the original and remixed versions of "Mr Sleaze", the former being great fun with more lyrics, almost being a "proper" song. I remember the girls doing this song well on their 1989 tour.
As with all the other Edsel reissues there's a plethora of bonus tracks, some unreleased. "Reason for Living" is my favourite of the lot, being an earlier, pre-rewrite version of "I Want You Back". Same verses but different chorus, it's great to hear this from the studio master. There are other early version of the well knowns too, including a lower-NRG 12" version of "I Heard a Rumour" and another 12" of "Nathan Jones" which is a hybrid of the bass tone album version and the later single release.
We are also treated to a number of other scarce remixes, many on CD for the first time. The Hammond Version Excursion of "I Can't Help It" is a classic, and Pete Waterman's sentencing on the Jailers' Mix of "Love In the First Degree" is cheesy fun. All these however are superior in their album versions, all together in the first 10 tracks.
Anyone who has the 2007 Rhino release will be pleased to note "Strike It Rich" is here in its full 12" and album versions, rather than the edit mistakenly released on that album.
The DVD brings more greats, with all the videos, including the Jacqui tracks right up to the Comic Relief single "Help" featuring French & Saunders (& Kathy Burke). This is nicely produced as with the other Edsel reissues. The background music for the menus is an unreleased instrumental of "Love In The First Degree", and there are evocative late 80s TV clips from Wogan and Going Live. Seems like yesterday...
This is the definitive reissue of this classic album. Beautifully produced in hardback with extensive liner notes, lyrics and the original artwork. A must have!