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"…Might As Well Face It…" – Pride and Riptide by ROBERT PALMER (2013 Remasters)
on 26 March 2014
After stints with THE ALAN BOWN in the Sixties, DADA in 1970 and three albums with VINEGAR JOE (featuring Elkie Brooks) between 1972 and 1973 – ROBERT PALMER was finally ready to go Solo. I’ve already reviewed Volume 1 with "Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley" and "Pressure Drop", Volume 2 with "Some People Can Do What They Want" and "Double Trouble" and Volume 3 with “Secrets”, “Clues” and “Maybe It’s Live”. This 2CD reissue on Demon's Edsel label celebrates the next stage – his 8th and 9th album breakthroughs in the 80’s.
UK released 26 August 2013 - Edsel EDSK 7040 (Barcode 740155704032) breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (78:49 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 8th studio solo LP "Pride" – UK released March 1983 on Island ILPS 9720
Tracks 11 to 17 are BONUS TRACKS: “You Are In My System (12” Mix)”, “Ain’t It Funky (Si Chatouillieux - Extended Version)” [PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED], “Pride (12” Mix)”, “Parade Of The Obliterators” [Non-Album B-Side of “Pride”], “You Can Have It (7” Mix)”, “You Are In My System (Instrumental Mix)” and “Deadline (12” Mix)”.
Disc 2 (68:39 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 9th studio solo LP "Riptide" – UK released November 1985 on Island ILPS 9801
Tracks 10 to 17 are BONUS TRACKS: “Discipline Of Love (12” Mix)”, “Riptide Medley”, “Sweet Lies” [from the film of the same name], “Let’s Fall In Love” [PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED], “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On (12” Mix)”, “No Not Much (Live On The Tube 30/10/85)” and “Trick Bag (Live On The Tube 30/10/85)” [both non-album B-sides to “Riptide”] and “Les Planches” [PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED].
Fans will also know that outside of the "Gold" anthology on Universal – Palmer’s Island catalogue has been languishing without remasters for decades. Although it doesn’t say who mastered these album at Universal – they’re licensed from the Music Giant and the sound quality is leagues ahead of the dull Eighties discs we’d had for years. One reviewer is ranting on about MP3 files but I don't hear anything of the sort - and if these are sourced from Universal's 2006 remasters (prepped but never released for some contractual reason) then they are vast improvements on what we had before.
The outer card wrap is generic to all these Edsel reissues and certainly gives the whole thing a classy feel. The chunky 28-page booklet is substantial – pictures of the front covers, full-page colour photos of Palmer in various Eighties garb, lyrics to both albums and affectionate and knowledgeable liner notes by CHRIS JONES – (same as all the others) it’s a bang-up job done.
With only two covers and eight of 1983’s “Pride” tracks written by Palmer – the album say him take the sound he’d pioneered on 1980’s “Clues” and surrender completely to the synth sound of the Eighties. The results worked. Even his cover of Kool & The Gang’s “You Can Have It” has that electronica feel as does the hit single “You Are In My System” (penned by David Frank and Michael Murphy) while the menacing pump of “Say You Will” is a co-write with Rupert Hine. But then he finally hit commercial paydirt with his next album…
Almost as famous for its videos as its music – “Riptide” was Robert Palmer’s “So” (Peter Gabriel) and “Back In The High Life” (Steve Winwood) – an old timer suddenly modern - and with the dancefloors of the globe digging it the most. Even now the sheer punch of “Addicted To Love” is visceral and the funked up version of Earl King’s “Trick Bag” is a brilliantly reworked interpretation. And I’m utterly soppy for the dancefloor slayer “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On” written by hit-maestros Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. But I could probably do without the heavy-handed “Flesh Wound” and “Discipline Of Love” though which now sound dreadfully dated.
Best of the extras is the radically reworked (and almost unrecognizable) smooth-as-silk seven-minute 'Instrumental' of "You Are In My System" that will catch the ears of any DJ wishing to mix up his dance and Rock. The near seven-minute previously unreleased mix of "Ain't It Funky (Si Chatouillieux)" is full of wild ZTT guitars and spoken French language (Trevor Horn would be proud). Just as good are the surprising good and previously unreleased “Let’s Fall In Love Tonight” and the reggae-vide of “La Planches” which sounds like “Some Guys Have All The Luck” but with French lyrics. The others are good but feel like so many 12” mixes of the Eighties – over the top and superfluous to requirements.
I’ve always thought Robert Palmer was a class act – not just as singer – but also as a vessel for other people’s songs – and the two studio sets on these 2 CDs provide wads of both. And the extras are both substantial and good.
There’s a lot of primo Robert Palmer on here for the money and I for one am glad to be rehearing it in such style…