12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, Great Expanded Version (and sorry to be an "Anorak")
Great to see this release being give a new lease of life. The sound is excellent and can't be faulted, and at £8.99 is a steal for the deal on offer. All the original songs and production are brilliant. No album filler just 10 strong tracks, and 4 great singles.
I do have some "anorak" points to make. Having been a fan for since the beginning and having...
Published 14 months ago by Max
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't It Be Good if Universal could actually get one of these Deluxe Editions RIGHT?
Well, it's good to have this album finally available again on CD, and expanded with a second disc of B-sides and remixes. And yet...it doesn't quite hit the mark. The problem is not what's been included (for the most part, more on that later) but rather what has been left out...
Human Racing was released possibly at the height of the 12" remix craze, and as a...
Published 14 months ago by Steven Roberts
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album, Great Expanded Version (and sorry to be an "Anorak"),
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)Great to see this release being give a new lease of life. The sound is excellent and can't be faulted, and at £8.99 is a steal for the deal on offer. All the original songs and production are brilliant. No album filler just 10 strong tracks, and 4 great singles.
I do have some "anorak" points to make. Having been a fan for since the beginning and having purchased all versions of singles on vinyl, cassette and CD (bit sad I know) there are some omissions that I think would have been nice to add.
I agree with both previous reviews who have said they wanted more and some liking the album on disc one as is. I think the B sides could have been tagged on the end to make more space for some missing remixes.
The Wouldn't It Be Good Simon Boswell mix which was on the B Side on the 2nd Human Racing 12".
The Hi Energy 12" of Dancing Girls by Alan Coulthard (also known as the Special New Mix). This was a second 12" and the B side had a Simon Boswell remix of Drum Talk too. Both sadly missing.
It would have been nice to have the 7" version of Dancing Girls as well. The 7" had a slightly different intro and the end had some brass overlays on it.
It would have been also great to see the original rare 12" of I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me which came out in 1983 and wasn't a major hit. When re released after Dancing Girls the 12" changed to the mix on the CD by Simon Boswell.
This leads to another point, Nik's sleeve notes say that some of the mixes were by Simon Darlow and that he can't remember some others. The ones he listed as Simon Darlow were actually listed on the original vinyls as Simon Boswell, so not sure where the Darlow name comes from.
He says he can't remember who did the remix for Human Racing or Bogart. The former on the 12" says Simon Boswell and listening to Bogart for the first time it sounds in Boswell's style. Similar to his remix of Faces.
Though I know it sounds like complaining, but if they were getting the original tapes out it would have been great to get them all out and give us some real rarities for us completists. All of this could have been fitted onto the 55 minutes of spare space on the 2 discs. (yes, sad - I checked)
I do hope they do a similar job of The Riddle, though I know there are less rare mixes available for this album (or are there, we didn't know about Bogart!).
Please Universal do us proud. I expect the same treatment for Radio Musicola and The Works is pushing it too far, but we can but ask as they are great albums (and mixes) too.
Buy It Now - you won't regret it.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overdue but worth the wait,
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)Ah...what it was to be 13 years old, without a care in the world and living through an era when pop music was colourful, flamboyant and full of character (unlike the plastic autotuned talentless pretty boys and bimbos of today). Two debut albums of 1984, both with similar titles, hit my radar and have pretty much stuck there ever since, mainly because of their superb songwriting but also because they're quite simply brilliant albums. Howard Jones Human's Lib was the first and Nik Kershaw's Human Racing was the other. I have to admit to being a huge fan of both this and follow up, The Riddle, before my teenage interest wandered off to pastures new. I bought the singles, the remixes, the albums (like you did back then). I've found it quite remarkable and an incredible oversight that Human Racing has never been revisited before and has, for a number of years, been totally out of print. So when I discovered that Universal were to finally dust off the masters and reissue it on their new 'Re-presents' imprint I was pleasantly surprised. My faith in catalogue departments has taken a battering recently with lack lustre reissues and over-priced, underwhelming 'super-deluxe' editions so it's nice to know that the biggest player of them all, Universal, has finally decided they have gold that is worth mining.
The album itself is a product of it's time. No doubt about it but listening to it again it's astounding just how good it still is. Superbly dynamic and brilliantly arranged with an emphasis on melody and hooks. Catchy choruses a-plenty, guitar solos and the customary 80s keyboards and brass section. The four singles released were radio friendly slices of pop/rock that touched on thought provoking lyrics backed up by memorable tunes.
Included here are the remixes that graced the obligatory 12" format of the day (RIP real format), many available on CD for the first time. Typical of their time, they rejigged the tracks, looped various aspects of it and gave it a punchy back beat. Some of them went on a bit, got a little annoying and probably drove you nuts but listening to them today makes me realise just how superior the sound was to the saturated, compressed and ear-fatiguing trash of today.
Amusing notes from the man himself who, almost 30 years later, is able to recall his memories as an emerging artist in a business that has now changed beyond recognition (and not for the better).
Finally, the remastering is quite simply brilliant. Sadly, nobody is credited in the liner notes but whoever did the job should be proud of their effort. Amazing clarity and detail, superbly balanced with incredible dynamics. Sounds very faithful to the original vinyl. No ridiculous compression and artificial boosting of levels here. Turn it up and be moved by the sound. Exactly how a good remaster should sound.
At £9 this is a brilliant value reissue in every way and hopefully Universal will see fit to at least do the same with The Riddle which is as equally deserving.
Also, let's hope the 'Re-presents' imprint brings us many more forgotten gems that deserve another spin in these dying days of physical media.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty darn sweet,
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)I'm not claiming to be as big a Kershaw fan as some of the other reviewers on here, but I do have a soft spot for Human Racing. It was one of the first CDs I bought when I got my Ferguson player in 1985. There weren't a huge number of titles available so I took a chance on Nik's debut.
27 years later, I was pleased to see this upgrade and took advantage of the low price. I have to say that the remastering is first rate. Too many times nowadays, our ears are assaulted by overly compressed reissues that have you running back to the originals. Human Racing sounds lovely and it's nice to be reminded what an excellent singer and songwriter Kershaw is.
I'm not a massive remix fan so Disc 2 was largely redundant to me. There are a few new (to me) songs that I presume are the B-sides to HR's vinyl singles and these are decent enough to warrant repeated plays. There's also witty sleevenotes from Mr Kershaw himself, which makes it a splendid package, all in all.
So, Human Racing 2012 is absolutely worth your time, and like other reviewers here, I hope something similar for The Riddle is planned.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 28yrs in a day,
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)Nik Kershaw is one of those artists from the 1980's that I liked at the time yet never bought any of his records. Anyway times change and so did my musical tastes. Had I probably bought his albums on Vinyl they would have almost certainly ended up as part of my great Vinyl massacre when I changed to CD.
28yrs later and things are very different but I've shied away from buying any of Nik's albums still?
Well Nik's albums have been rather hard to acquire apart from compilations. And an equally important reason is that I could see no evidence at all that any of Nik's releases had been remastered. The original CD release (like an awful lot at the time of the CD format starting)was take from a goodness knows what generation tape mastered for Vinyl. The sound quality wasn't exactly outstanding and I passed.
You can imagine my surprise when I read a few days ago (20th October 2012) that 'Human Racing' had been rereleased,expanded and remastered. I was a bit slow but this had to be a compulsory purchase so using my phone I ordered a few hours later.
And a little bit of more background info. According to reports the master tapes were discovered after some faffing around and in need of some work-they had to be 'baked' to keep the tape coating in place amongst other things.
The album is superb Eighties Synth pop at its best featuring "Wouldn't It Be Good", "Dancing Girls" and " I Won't Let the Sun Go Down On Me". In addition there are other superb offerings including the title track "Human Racing". For once there isn't a single filler track-all are worthy songs all on their own.
An unexpected bonus is the 2nd CD full of 12" remixes which back in 1984 was all the rage. These as far as I know are released on CD for the very first time.
And the sound quality is stunningly superb. The whole CD has a clarity and an edge to it simply unobtainable with the original release. It has been a long time in coming, IMHO far too long. But I think I can forgive everybody concerned.
My advice would be to grab a free listen off Spotify etc then buy this awesome work. it might be 28yrs since 'Human Racing' burst onto the scene but believe me this album has still got it.
Excellent and recommended.
And we now need "The Riddle" and "Radio Musicola" given the same treatment...please.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Remaster of an 80's Classic,
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)Back in the day, this was one of the must-have albums amongst my muso friends and I. Red-blooded heterosexual males that we were (and still are), Kershaw's pretty boy looks and female adulation meant nothing to us. But what we loved about this album was the story that Kershaw played all of the instruments himself. Looking at the sleeve notes on this excellent reissue, I can see that this wasn't quite true: Kershaw is only credited with Vocals, Vocal Percussion and effects, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards and Percussion. Paul "Wix" Wickens, now part of Paul McCartney's band, played additional keyboards, and Charlie Morgan was on drums.
I only had this album on cassette, and haven't been able to get hold of it on CD until now, with the release of this remastered and extended edition. The remastering is superb, with plenty of depth and dynamics and much more bass than on the original release. The distorted guitar on "Wouldn't It Be Good" has a real crunch to it, and the drums on "Drum Talk" finally make the song live up to its' promise to "let the drums do the talking", especially on the extended version on the second disc.
Ah yes - the second disc. A number of these have seen release on CD over the years - specifically the singles and their B-sides, most of which can be found on the various Kershaw compilations. But this disc also includes some tracks that have not previously seen digital release, and one that has not been released at all. If I were being picky, then like others, I would argue that there are some omissions, and that the Brass Mix of "Shame On You" would have been better placed on a re-release of "The Riddle" (and here's hoping that a remaster of that album is on its way). But like the album itself, all of the extended mixes have been remastered and all sound much better than on previous releases. With one exception: "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" sounds like it's been mixed from a slightly sticky tape - a shame really because it's a good remix. As it is, there is a slight pitch wobble through the whole track. Even if the original release was like this, they could have fixed that nowadays with Celemony's Capstan software.
There is one track that is intriguingly missing from the album. The November 1983 master tapes, shown in the booklet, show that there was an early version of "Wide Boy", originally positioned on side 2 of the album between "Faces" and "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me". How this differs, if at all, from the version that eventually appeared on "The Riddle", we may never know.
The sleeve notes are a little sparse: a few paragraphs on the making of the album, a few more paragraphs on the remix process, and that's it.
So is it worth it, if you already own the album and the remixes elsewhere? Yes, definitely. The remastering is a vast improvement on the previously available digital versions, which were made from the original 1984 vinyl masters.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great album finally given its due!,
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)First off, we are presented with a first class remastering job on the original classic album. (I have the old cd and it didn't sound much better than a cassette) Second, we can finally put away most of our old vinyl the hear the 12" mixes.
Honestly, I would have bought it without the second disc, but I'm a sucker for remixes.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grab it while you can!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)Given that it's normally virtually impossible to find CD versions of any of Nik's albums (with the exception of his outstanding new album "15 Minutes"), you'd be mad not to grab a copy of this import, especially at this price! Even though it's an import, it's actually the English version, and all the packaging is in English. Of course, many of the tracks can be acquired in the various compilation CDs that are available, but others (Bogart, Gone To Pieces, Shame On You, Faces) aren't available anywhere. If you're a Nik Kershaw fan, buy this now!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Behind my dark glasses...,
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)...there's a man who has a point of view." I loved that song (Dark Glasses, b-side to I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me). It appears on the second disc of this worthy re-release of Kershaw's debut album. I must say the remastering is superb and much better than recent efforts by Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. They've used the original mix tapes for this release as according to Kershaw when the album was mastered originally on CD, it was from the vinyl master. It's what happened in those days, since CDs were in their infancy and no one realised how big they were going to get. So this is the first time you can actually hear it remastered from the original mix tapes, as they came out of the studio.
Some reviewers have mentioned their disappointment that more 12 inch versions aren't included, but personally I like the fact that the first disc is just the original album, remastered, with no extra remixes thrown on to the end. Saying that, I wouldn't have minded if they'd added the three B sides to the end of the original album, rather than spread them out across the second disc (they should have grouped them together at the start of that second disc.)
I gave this expanded edition 5 stars for the remastering alone. I bought all the original 12 inch records on vinyl and actually played them recently. Kershaw's extended versions were not in the same league as Frankie Goes To Hollywood's for invention, but neither were many other artists. They do sound better remastered, especially the additional brass mix of Shame on You which actually featured on the 12 inch of 'Wide Boy'. There's a newly uncovered extended mix of Bogart, which is OK. I noticed that the Simon Boswell remixes of Wouldn't It Be Good and Human Racing aren't on here which might upset a few people as they were quite experimental with a few samples thrown in (one from TV programme 'The Prisoner' if I recall). A live version of Cloak and Dagger is tagged on at the end and it sounds great, although it's a bit odd as I think it belongs somewhere else, a live album perhaps! Overall, very pleased with my purchase and can't wait for Nik's second (and better album in my opinion) The Riddle to get the same treatment. Finally. if you have the original CD of Human Racing then I recommend you flog it on eBay like I did. It was actually a difficult album to get on CD and I sold mine last week for a tenner - more than this superior version cost on Amazon! Hurry fast though before people realise this 2 disc version has been released!
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album of the 80s?,
This review is from: Human Racing (MP3 Download)It's been 28 years since Human Racing was released, and this re-mastered version manages to demonstrate just what a brilliant album this still proves to be, including extra tracks, 12" remixes (remember those?) and live tracks which just make an already fantastic album even more fantastic!
I think I can honestly say that there isn't a duff track on this entire album. My favourites will probably always be the singles Wouldn't It Be Good, Dancing Girls and I Won't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, but honorary mention has to go to nearly every other track on the album - the best probably being Drum Talk (which Nik and band performed spectacularly on their recent tour), Gone To Pieces, Cloak and Dagger and Faces. Nik's always been a master of the catchy melody, and while the title track comes on a little bit loungy at the start, I guarantee you you'll be humming it by the time the album's over!
Still a superb album and well worth your pennies! (Go buy his last four albums while you're at it!)
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
This review is from: Human Racing (Audio CD)I bought this CD as I had it as an album when I was teenager and a huge Nik Fan. I'm still a Nik fan and this ditgtal version has brought it up to date. I enjoyed the 2cd which comprises of his B sides and 12" remixes, for those fans who didnt get all the singles its a chance to catch up with a fantastic singer/songwriter.
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Human Racing by Nik Kershaw (Audio CD - 2012)