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Jam-packed to capacity - All the hits and amazing bonus tracks
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.