Top critical review
Quality, but could have been even better if Sara & Keren were not involved!
31 August 2015
Despite being annoyed that the price has dropped considerably by £54, to around £46 (from a high of £99), since I purchased this admittedly much longed for bespoke collection . . It is indeed an excellent and glossy package.
In relation to the 'I Heard A Rumour', 'B' Side 'Clean Cut Boy' being referred to as 'Party Size', I can't help wondering why it was originally given that designation (surely referring to length) back in 1987, if not to differentiate it from another length mix (presumably 12" mix), also being created & STILL unearthed in the vaults, (much like the 7" Edit of 'Amnesia'), which luckily WAS discovered & included (however, out of all tracks referred to in this review, that is the only one that does not have solid confirmation of it's existence, all the others detailed below, do)!
I am irritated by the failure of this Boxset to have officially included (as a bonus), the recently leaked final Bananarama/ PWL collaboration EVER! "Changes" (the David Bowie Cover, that finally leaked, after 22 years - on the day of his death), which is NOT included!
If Edsel/ Demon can license "It Ain't What You Do", it figures they could have licensed "Changes" also.
It is annoying to the extreme when yet another vintage track from the archive appears online, that was omitted from this Box-set, the failure to have included them here (for the most part), remains something which I ruminate over & feels like a wasted opportunity.
As a result, It's a shame there is not a bonus disc of demos & unreleased tracks also containing the unreleased song 'One In A Million' (& it's inevitable 'Original 12" Mix') that was almost green lit as the follow up single to 'Love, Truth & Honesty' & was publicly performed by the group only once on an Italian TV Awards show in 1988.
However (unlike the 2013 Edsel Album Remasters), this release WAS co-ordinated with the input of Sara & Keren, who disapproved of the original recorded lyric for 'I Want You Back', ('Reason For Living') being released as part of the 'Wow!', 2013 Edsel Remaster, so on that basis the absence of 'One In A Million', is really not surprising here.
Hopefully one day 'One In A Million' will be restored & finally receive a belated release, along with finished demos from the unreleased 1988/ 89 Stock/ Aitken/ Waterman recording sessions 'Wake Up And Love Me', 'Nothing Lasts Forever', 'Don't Throw It All Away' & also 'Love Generation' (with more refined, better lyrics written by Jacquie) which previously all leaked in low quality!
It would also have been nice if the original demo of 'Cruel Summer' (from which the '89 Mix was mistakenly remixed from), containing the lyric "Who can I find while I'm trapped here inside these four walls?" was also included here, in order to finally hear that original version in its full glory, but alas it is not to be & I can't imagine where that would fit into any other future release schedule which is sad.
(Given this is supposedly an 'end of cycle' product & Edsel's license over the Bananarama Catalogue is anticipated to soon expire, further desired releases are not expected to happen in the near future).
75% of the Re-Mastered Audio sounds cleaner than many, previous releases that came before, with a few notable exceptions. For example 'Scarlett' (7" Mix), from the 'True Confessions' (2007 Rhino CD) audibly sounds sharper & has a richer, more vibrant dynamic range, with clearer treble & bass tones (than here, where it sounds somewhat compressed in comparison), which was unexpected.
Likewise the 12" Extended Mix of the same track, suffers from the same EQ problems (however this was already apparent on the "True Confessions" 2013 Re-master & it is the 2013 Re-master that has been Re-used of the 'Scarlet (Extended Mix)', here. The proverbial ball was most definitely dropped during the most recent Re-mastering of that particular track (in both its forms)!
However, unlike the 2007 Re-master of the 7" Mix, there is no alternative WAV source available for the 12" Version (so the 2013 Re-master of the 12" Version recycled here is the only digital source available) & as such I must reconcile myself to this fact, despite it being a favourite track of mine that personally gets played often.
Similarly 'Love In The First Degree (Jailers Mix - Without Intro) for example, has a clearer, thumping bass line on the 'Please Yourself' (Disc 2, 1993 Edition), which defies all logic, as that disc is 22 years old!
After Re-auditioning the audio of various tracks (where available) I elected to source the originally mastered tracks, namely "Tripping In Your Love" (7" Mix)" & "Nathan Jones (7"/ Extended Version)", from the original CD Singles for similar reasons.
Aesthetically, two minor flaws are that the red "Do Not Disturb" typeface is clearly visible on the "Cheers Then" front cover. Quite separately, on the back cover of the 'Tripping On Your Love' disc, some of the remixes have been mislabelled but this is totally forgivable, considering the otherwise overall high quality execution & excellent level of attention to detail over the entire package as a whole.
Congratulations to Tom Parker (for the most part), in successfully mastering & overseeing the release of so much of this fully realised, much coveted project in an overall respectful & high end manner!
Perhaps, with a little more time, care & a less pressing deadline for completion of the Project, to meet the factory production pressing plant schedule, some of the mastering (mainly in the middle chunk of the catalogue) could have been 'tweaked' & the much coveted metaphorical bonus disc, containing the content known to exist & detailed above could have finally been released.
To summarise, if Cherry Pop want to take over the licensing baton from Edsel (for the first time since the "30 Years of Bananarama" CD/ DVD set), delve deeper into the archive & sell me the following "Bananarama - Rarities from the archive" CD at £10.99, I (& others of the same demographic), will be more than happy to part with the cash en masse:-
01, One In A Million (Final 7" Mix)
02, Wake Up & Love Me (Demo)
03, Nothing Lasts Forever (Demo)
04, Don't Throw It All Away (Demo)
05, Love Generation (Work In Progress Demo)
07, Love, Leave, Forget
08, Blue Skies
09, Live In The Sun
10, Here Comes The Rain
11, Cruel Summer (1983 Demo)
12, Clean Cut Boy (Carnival Size)
13, One In A Million (Original 12" Mix)
If due care & attention was taken, a future licensee holder (whether Edsel/ Cherry Pop - or another), could pay Pete Hammond a one off fee, to get back on the mixing desk & finally finish of the mixing process (that he began but never completed) of tracks 2 to 5, back in 1989 . . . Then & only then, the torturous process of relying on YouTube rips might finally come to an end!