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on 13 September 2012
This review is for:Evergreen: The Very Best of Hazell Dean
First thing to say here before going into details is that this is a fantastic value 2CD set that really goes the extra mile in attempting to give the fans a quality product. I highly recommend it and give it 5 stars because I cannot think of any time there has been better value for money on a CD. The best thing is hearing all these tracks in glorious digital quality, finally replacing those well-played vinyl records. The photos of all the record covers in the booklet are a nice touch too, particularly underneath when you go to take out disc 2. A big thanks to Music Club for this CD and to Tom Parker who never lets the fans down when he is involved in these projects (and no, I don't know him, I just see his name around on the CD's and the Hit Factory Forum).

This release concentrates on "The Very Best" of Hazell Dean, which is her singles from the Proto label and the EMI/Lisson Stock Aitken Waterman/PWL years. To have all of Hazell's 7" single versions from this period in one place for the first time on CD is a joy in itself. I was able to cross 3 items from my wants list also, which were the 12" versions of "Evergreen" & "Jealous Love", plus the original 12" Dance mix of "No Fool (For Love)" which should have been on Cherry Pop's reissue of "Heart First", but the wrong mix was included. I wondered if it would ever see the light of day after that, so it is good to have it here along with the 7" version which has also not been released on CD before. The "first time on CD" delights don't stop there though, because we also get the fantastic Hi-NRG romp; "Better Off Without You (Touch Of Leather Mix)" from the Remix 12", the 7" version of "Turn It Into Love" (not much different, just seems to have the drum roll removed from the intro - I prefer it with the drum roll), and 2 alternative 12" mixes of "Who's Leaving Who" & "Maybe (We Should Call It a Day)". The latter is very similar to the original 12" version. The main differences are more chorus and less instrumental towards the end and a totally different section in the middle from just over 3 minutes where there is a "we say the same things - we say the same things" sampling section over a drum break, more stuttering stabs similar to the intro and the chorus acapella over just beats. I actually think that for me it may become more preferable to the original 12" in time, because it is a more varied and complete sounding mix.

As if all that isn't enough, we are further spoilt by some previously unreleased tracks: "Can't Help The Way That I Feel" (a track later destined for Sonia's excellent "Everybody Knows" album) in both 7" & 12" versions, 2 demo tracks; "Call And Say" & "Keeping It Together" (which would have made a passable B-Side). Then we have something truly thrilling, a Phil Harding & Ian Curnow track; "Tell Me (You'll Wait For Me)" which has been criminally hidden away in the vaults gathering dust for over 20 years. It is reminiscent in style to Kylie's "What Do I Have To Do" and sounds like a Hazell Dean classic. Knowing the way PWL worked there must be a 12" mix lurking somewhere. Hopefully we will see that on a further CD that covers "The Rest Of Hazell Dean" with the tracks post-PWL and if we're really lucky those early recordings like "Our Day Will Come".

"More Than Words Can Say" deserves highlighting here because it is a lovely song and would have made a great single. It had already been on Mel & Kim's "F.L.M." album, which may have been a factor in not using it for an A-Side. But that didn't stop Pete Waterman reusing Bananarama's "Last Thing On My Mind" for Steps, so... who knows? The song is here in the 7" version from the B-Side of "Love Pains". I have not seen this short mix on CD before, so being a completist I am pleased to get it. The 12" version is only 24 seconds longer, but this disc is so jam-packed to capacity at almost 80 minutes that those vital seconds saved here were clearly necessary and there is nothing missed from those few seconds anyway.

This release is 99% perfect for me. I just wish the acappella intro had been included on the "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man) (Mega-Mix)" as per the final ENA(T) 109 12" single. The full version on that 12" is 10:20, but here it is 10:01. Here is an explanation of the mixes for clarification:

The first 12" release was ENA(T) 109 with A-Side "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man)" original 12" version (which is on the Cherry Pop reissue of "Heart First") backed with "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man) (instrumental)".

The second 12" release was ENA(T)X 109 with "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man) (Mega-Mix)" which was 10:01 (the version included on this CD) backed with "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man) (Nightclubbing Mix)".

The third 12" release was the version that made the charts and reverted to the original catalogue number ENA(T) 109. This time it was a double A-Side using the two previous A-Side mixes. However, the megamix on this release was 10:20 including 19 seconds of Hazell bellowing at the top of her lungs completely acappella on the beginning. Hopefully at some point this will see the light of day on CD because Hazell's bellowing is a great intro to the track and I miss it not being there.

The version included here on this CD is the version from the second 12". I have this mix on 4 other CD's (none of them include the acappella intro) and they are all irritatingly faded out early, the longest being 8:27 and the shortest being 6:13, so to get the 10:01 version here for the first time I'm very pleased and I do see that at 79:56 there was no more room on this disc. The other disc is 79:54, so they really have crammed these two discs to absolute capacity.

Over all, this CD is AWESOME. Big smiles and much gratitude here!

I have also reviewed the Cherry Pop CD reissue of Hazell's Always: Expanded Edition which is another essential purchase.
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on 12 September 2012
This really is the ultimate greatest hits collection - combining not only all the hits and singles from the PWL era - but also unreleased material. There have been other best of albums from Hazell Dean before - the best of the bunch being Greatest Hits from 1996, the others mostly consisting of re-recordings and obscure material. This one presents all the well known hits from the 80s and early 90s in their glorious original form.

The well known songs are of course stand outs - "Whatever I Do", "Searchin" and "Who's Leaving Who" still sound superb and iconic. It also reminds us of the songs that should have been massive as well, such as the insanely catchy "Back In My Arms" and "Always Doesn't Mean Forever". This latter song epitomises all that's great about 80s music; SAW meets Human League with extra "oh whoahs" added, with Hazell's superb vocals. For the first time the late 80s/early 90s singles "Love Pains" and "Better Off Without You" are included on a proper Greatest Hits album, together with their respective b-sides.

The unreleased material is an unexpected delight. Two songs ("Keeping it Together" and "Call and Say") are demos and naturally sound weaker compared to the studio material, but are still great to have. In total there are 7 tracks ("new" songs and remixes) that are either unrelased in any form or previously released only as downloads.

The second disc collects together a selection of remixes, including some unreleased ones, including a lovely version of "Who's Leaving Who" which brings the guitar track to the top. It's also a (presumably intended) nice touch that none of the remixes on the second disc are on the recent reissues of Hazell's albums Heart First and Always, which themselves included a wealth of bonus tracks and mixes, so there's lots of new stuff for anyone who has those albums. Another nice touch is the reuse of the late 80s era Hazell Dean logo. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into this album's production, and it comes complete with extensive liner notes, including some written by Hazell herself.

This is an excellent introduction to this era of 80s music and Hazell's work. It's also a must for fans who have all her stuff - besides being the best collection of hits there's stuff here they won't have. The music's great of course, but with this one it comes in the package it deserves.
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on 10 September 2012
This has got to be the best Hazell Dean compilation. All of the 7" single mixes together for the first time on cd.
I can finally put my vinyl copies of No Fool (for Love) away now as both 7" and the (12" dance mix) have been released on this cd.
Well done Music club deluxe, this is a true masterpiece.

Disk 2 features some excellent 12" versions.
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on 18 September 2012
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on 27 December 2012
At last `Evergreen' presents a near-complete collection of Hazell Dean's singles - in their original studio glory, complete with some thorough liner notes and a piece from Hazell herself, a good selection of cover artwork and a second disc of rare/unreleased mixes, a real treat for long-standing fans while sounding familiar enough for new or casual listeners.

Disc 1 presents singles between 1984 and 1991. There are some real treats to be had here, `Turn it into love' is present as the original 7" mix -not the album version - complete with a snappier intro, and microphone echo on the mid-section. Similarly the rare (until 2012) single edits of `They Say It's Gonna Rain' and `Always Doesn't Mean Forever' can be found here too. Even `Love Pains' and `Better Off Without You', both from Dean's switch to Lisson records are both present and correct, having been absent from the preceding EMI Gold collection Greatest Hits. There are four previously unreleased recordings too - including Hazell's take on `Can't Help The Way That I Feel' which you may recognise from Sonia's debut album, `Everybody Knows'. If there's a downside to this disc it's the absence of the `Evergreen' edit, but it's a minor quibble given the richness of the other tracks here.

Of course, as a pioneer artist of the Stock/Aitken/Waterman sound there are some delicious extended mixes to be found on the second disc. `Who's Leaving Who' and `Maybe' are presented in previously unreleased mixes - making this an essential purchase for anyone who bought the recently reissued `Always: Expanded Edition' double CD, which excluded the original extended version of `Turn It Into Love' - present on this disc - which was notable by its absence from that earlier sterling release. `Can't Help The Way That I Feel' is also here in the 12" master mix, alongside a host of mixes that were originally only available on vinyl releases.

After so many years of re-recorded versions and the patchy EMI Gold collection from 1996 it feels churlish to criticise this release. `Evergreen' exceeded my expectations by successfully walking the line between presenting the hits for new listeners while offering enough new and rare material to entice fans to part with their cash. As with the `Always' reissue, there's a tangible sense of care and time that's been spent on this release, which is astounding given that it's a mid-price CD. If you're looking for a compilation of Hazell's hits, then there's no contest - this is easily the best starting point.
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on 16 October 2012
This is by far the best collection of Hazell Dean hits. The detail (packaging, tracklisting, pictures, booklet etc.) that went into compiling this is really awesome. The whole selection of songs is amazing but highlights for me includes having the Original 1985 12" Dance version of "No fool (for love)" finally on cd. It still is a fantastic pop song that should've charted much higher than #41 in the UK. Of the previous unreleased stuff, "Tell me (you'll wait for me"), is a standout track. Excellent vocal and production that still sounds up to date in 2012. I'm certain this could've charted if released back in 1991 and a much stronger song for instance than "Can't help the way i feel" for me which was apparently considered to be a single before "Love Pains" in 1989. The two biggest (pleasant) surprises on disc two are the Alternative 12" mixes of "Who's leaving who" and "Maybe (we should call it a day)". The mix of "Who's leaving who" is almost as good if not better than the "Boys are back in town" 12" remix as available on the Always Deluxe release. The mix of "Maybe" is now the definitive mix of this brilliant PWL track for me, like the regular 12" mix, just better! I don't agree with Hazell on her opinion that "Maybe" (#15)charted just on the strength of "Who's leaving who" (#4), to me it is still one of my favourate PWL tracks and one i listen to more than most. Everything about it is pure class. I'm also happy that they have included the "A touch of leather" mix of "Better off without you" on disc two. This should've been (as with the Who's leaving who mix)the official 12" version released in 1991. The mastering on this release is superb and Hazell's vocals and the productions never sounded so clear and strong before to my ears. A release i'm sure Hazell Dean can be proud of. A BIG thank you to all involved for making this happen.
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on 2 April 2018
very fast service and quick delivery at a very nice price leaves me with a satisfied customer.
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on 14 September 2012
AMAZING Collection of PWL masterpeices, all remastered and sounding crystal clear and for a bargain price! You can't get better than that!
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on 7 March 2017
Carnt be Hazel Dean classics .
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on 3 October 2012
I buy this item as a very long-time fan of HD. This issue contains the 12" mixes/remixes + unreleases tracks that never appear on CD. Though I have all 12" mixes/remixes of the released singles, I agree that the sound quality of this issue are better than the reissue "Heart First". The remastered sound is so clear that makes me hear something that I never heard before. For the unreleased tracks, I enjoy "Tell Me" which questions to my mind why it's not released as single at that time.

To conclude, this issue is worth buying and I hope to see her MV + TOTP show in DVD format available in the future.
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