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4.6 out of 5 stars
16
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 October 2010
This is a gem of an album that still sounds great 27 years (really?) later...
Great pop songs, wonderful musicianship, superb arrangements and fantastic production. Definitely the high point of Mr. Heyward's career.

There isn't a duff track on here and the high points are many and varied. My personal favourite parts include:
- the wonderful acoustic guitar twiddles that change from left to right in Blue Hat...
- the 'rap' at the end of On a Sunday
- the stirring string arrangement at the end of Club Boy at Sea (and the way the whole track starts slow and reaches a crescendo is just gorgeous)
- the piano parts in Whistle...
- the jazz intro/outro to Kick of love
- the strings on the Day it Rained...

This reissue is up the usual Cherry Red standards. I have bought the various resissues of this album over the years and they have managed to dig up a gem that has not appeared before (to my knowledge) in Love Sublime on a Sunday the reworked version of On A Sunday plus the whole of the live In Concert broadcast (quite good renditions of various Heyward/Haircut songs).

Well worth rediscovering this masterpiece!
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on 12 November 2010
I've done some A/B-ing with the previous versions. Overall there's quite a bit more detail, but it's annoying they've enhanced the bass so much, given it was a very dense and bass-heavy album in the first place. The treble is quite harsh too. This remaster is also A LOT louder than previous versions - some of the dynamics are badly squashed, tracks 1, 6 and 10 especially look fairly brickwalled, or at least heavily limited. Under headphones the whole thing is quite an earbleeder, though it's bearable with some EQ-ing. I also noticed a glitch on "Whistle" around 1:18. Though not bad for a modern remaster, I feel this could have turned out a bit better, especially for a recording that bears the stamp of Geoff Emerick. Having said all that, the extra studio tracks and 12" versions on the second disc are worth it IMO, not least because they sound fantastic, in fact much better than anything on the first disc. A quick analysis shows all the dynamics are intact. I'm guessing this is down to a different mastering engineer. If the first disc sounded as good as the second, this could have been a real winner.
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on 9 November 2010
Good comprehensive re-issue with excellent sleeve notes and loads of extra tracks.
The only issue I have is with the excessive compression applied to this re-master which makes it a bit tiring to listen to, and therefore I would recommend the earlier release North of a Miracle if you don't need the extra tracks as it sounds more like the original album.
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on 25 April 2011
Having been a fan of Haircut 100 and Nick Heyward I had this album on vinyl from the first time round. Updating the library so that I can listen on MP3, I downloaded this album and rediscovered how good it is.

Aside from the chart releases 'Take That Situation', 'Blue Hat for a Blue Day' and 'Whistle Down the Wind' I always enjoyed the less well known tunes like 'On a Sunday' (which was released and reached #52), 'When It Started to Begin', 'Club Boy at Sea' and 'Atlantic Monday'. This version also has 7 tracks not featured on the original album including the minor hit 'Laura' released in 1985.

The mix of guitar, strings, piano and trumpets and upbeat, uplifting tunes just makes you feel good. If you own this, go and have a fresh listen. If not, go and buy it!
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on 20 November 2001
I have waited for this CD re-release for so many years. This is the perfect CD for a top down drive or a sit at home alone on a cool overcast day. When Nick Heyward left Haircut 100 this solo CD was his first release, and it is rumoured that many of the tracks were originally earmarked for Haircut 100's original follow-up to "Pelican West". (also now available as a bonus track filled re-release)This disk contains the original classic album featuring the singles "Whistle Down The Wind", "Take That Situation", and "Blue Hat For A Blue Day". There are album tracks like "When It Started To Begin" and "The Day It Rained Forever" that are as good as the singles. The CD contains hard to find bonus tracks such as the 12" mixes to "Whistle Down The Wind" and "Take That Situation", non-album single release "Laura", and B-sides "Cafe Canada", "Love At The Door", "Stolen Tears", and "Don't Get Me Wrong". Perfect grown up pop classics all!
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on 21 May 2002
Toothy grin, chunky jumpers, winsome photos in front of cricket lawns, Nick in his early Haircut 100 days always had the opportunity to wind me up. Being a Jam fan, their music to these ears, sounded tepid, ineffectual at the time. All these years later, surrounded by boring, pre-packaged boy bands, who couldn't write a good tune if it knocked them on the head, Nick's songs sound fresh, endearing, reflecting a time when pop music still had a touch of naiviete, and eccentricity.
'North Of A Miracle' was Mr Heyward's first solo album and was in many ways the flipside to the good times expressed on the Haircuts album. In fact 'Miracle' with its big orchestral sound always seemed to have a parallel for me with Scott Walker's first album, and the similiarities appear obvious; teenage hearthrob leaves successful pop group and goes out on his own to record a more serious, grown-up album revealing the stresses of the previous year and the broken relationships as a result. Even the picture covers are interchangeable, dark and forlorn, heads bowed, the boy lost growing up at last.
Suffice to say the songs accompanied by Paul Buckmaster's string arrangements work the best, in particular the first single 'Whistle Down The Wind', and the song which even outdoes Morrissey in the melancholy stakes, 'Blue Hat For A Blue Day'. If there any downsides to the album, the so-called funkier tracks 'Take That Situation' and 'Atlantic Monday' are pleasant but sound a touch dated.
Glad to see this neglected gem on CD for the first time in the UK, the added instrumental B-sides 'Love At The Door' and 'Cafe Canada' only enhance the overall quality.
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on 21 November 2001
A reissue presumably fuelled by Nick's involvement with the 2001 80's revival tour. This UK Top 10 album from 1983 is repackaged here with 7 bonus tracks having been unavailable on CD in Britain for many years except on Japanese import.
As well as several hit singles, including 'Blue Hat For A Blue Day', 'Whistle Down The Wind' and 'On A Sunday'(which should have been a much bigger hit) there are several other gems here, not least the glorious bonus track 'Don't Get Me Wrong' - a 12" only harmonica-infused relentless jam which would have graced one of Nick's three sublime albums from the 90's.
The main downside of this release is the poorly reproduced artwork which is grainy and dark and uses some, but not all, of the original sleeve photos. The lyrics are also omitted and there are no sleevenotes or clues as to the origins of the bonus tracks. I suppose this might be expected of a budget release but this is shame because it will predominantly be bought by fans, most of whom I'm sure would have been prepared to purchase at mid price for a better product (newcomers would be best advised to pick up Camden's useful but flawed "Greatest Hits"). The CD could even have been enhanced with original promo videos.
Some of the extras appear on CD for the first time including B sides 'Cafe Canada', 'Love At The Door' and 'Stolen Tears'. 1985 single 'Laura' is here but there is no sign of the superb 'Love All Day' from the previous year. Also featured is the 12" version of 'Whistle Down The Wind' and the Rhythm Mix of 'Take That Situation'(which was also on "Greatest Hits") whereas non album tracks such as 'Love Sublime On Sunday' and the re-recorded 'When It Started To Begin' are nowhere to be found.
Hopefully the disappointments of this CD will be rectified if Nick's following album 'Postcards From Home' also receives a CD issue. If this happens Camden should definitely consider adding the Jap only single 'My Pure Lady' along with all of the relevant B sides from the era, sleevenotes and an interview with Nick.
I'll give this 1 out of 5 for the packaging but 4 out of 5 for the music which set the tone for the brilliant albums that followed.
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on 24 August 2002
The best first and Heyward solo offering (only Tangled comes close in my opinion). You can play this album from start to finish, and quality of tracks like The Kick of Love, and Club Boy at sea, as well as the obvious singles such as Blue Hat etc really shines through.
Great instrumentals (Cafe Canada), and energy of the live studio tracks, (Atlantic Monday) show this is Nick at the top of his game
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on 15 September 2015
Nick Heyward is by far the most underated songwriter ever! I have to say I love Nick's later albums much more than the earlier ones but this album is by far the best of the early releases (Postcards and I love You Avenue sound too poppy George Michaelish for my taste). This album has the excellent Whistle Down The Wind and so is worth the money just for that one track. But of course there are other brilliant tracks here too. Highly recommended.
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on 16 August 2011
I originally bought this in 1983 on vinyl and I loved it's slick polished and lush production then. I decided to get this CD version because of the extra tracks and the fact that Nick had a hand in its remastering.
Second time around and it's just as remembered it - I haven't played in over 20 years - but it still sounds amazing and dare I say not dated.
As a player myself, I had forgotten some of the musicianship on the album and when I heard the bass lines it brought it all back to me - Pino Palladino! His fretless bass sound was the sound of the era, notably the responsible for the bass sounds for Paul Young at the time too. Pino Palladino was is demand back then for his innovative, lush and unique fretless bass riffs. I'm glad I re-visited this album and it just shows how strong the songs are from such a young man, right off the back of Haircut 100 back in 1983. A credit to Nick Heyward.
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