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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2013
The original cassette of this was the first Album and holds great memories for me. The original Album has the hit's (The Riddle, Wide Boy and Don Quixote) plus some great album tracks (Easy, Roses and Wild Horses being my favourites). The other tracks are great too although I'm not a great fan of Save the Whale. To release this album so soon after debut, Human Racing shows that Nik appreciated that you should strike when the Iron's hot. The rest of his career did not have near the success of 1984 and 85.

On the plus of the extra material, The extended mixes are there (I love "Extended Riddle") along with Studio B-sides Don't Lie and So Quiet (Probably one of his better songs). The live track are also good and a great extra to this album. On a whole, if you were someone out to buy an acceptable double CD version of the original or just wanted this album on CD (which wasn't easy before this release) then I'd recommend this.

As a collector though, I'd expect 7" versions of Wide Boy and Don Quixote to be there. I also would expect Progress (the b-side to The Riddle) to be here. If it hadn't been on the Human Racing edition, I would also have expected Shame On you Remix (B-side track of Wide Boy 12") to have been there. Wild Horses 12" was the B-side to When a Heart Beats 12", so I can't see why this is missing.

Thompson Twins, Kim Wilde and many others have crammed the re-releases with as much as possible. It's a pity the same wasn't done on this and Human Racing reissues.
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on 12 August 2013
So chuffed to find that this newly expanded/remastered edition has been given the same loving care and attention that Human Racing was given in 2012. In a nutshell it sounds superb! Better than ever...
There's a new-found sonic clarity and depth in the remaster, and I found myself hearing some instruments/effects I'd never noticed before. It's like discovering it all over again!

As for the nay-sayers who are slagging off the track-listing on Disc 2: Come on guys!! You're getting the full remastered classic "The Riddle" album PLUS a 2nd disc of extra material......all for a tenner!!
(Just count yourself lucky you're getting a bonus disc in the first place!)
Personally, I'm not that fussed about the live tracks myself either, but So Quiet (forgot how wonderful this track is), Don't Lie (ditto) and the bonus extended mixes of The Riddle, Don Quixote and Wide Boy more than make up for it.

Very pleased. Highly recommended!
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on 20 May 2007
Having just upgraded from a well worn cassette to an expensive and not easy to find CD I felt it time to do a quick review of a superb record.

The Riddle boasts the talents of a very underrated artist.I always found Nik Kershaw to be a cut above some of the mid 80's male solo artists.His music was unfortunately catergorised to a certain extent to only having an appeal to a younger female audience.This should'nt have been the case though as it's genius should have gone much further than that.

Stand out tracks are "Easy" "City Of Angels" "Know How" and "Wild Horses"..this is on top of the tracks released as singles from the album.

Sitting in the middle of his 3 best known albums...'84's Human Racing and '86's Radio Musicola this album showcases an artist at the peak of his talents.It gets my personal 5 stars as it is,in my opinion, a standout album from one of Britain's foremost singer/songwriters.

A Classic!
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on 12 August 2013
Nik Kershaw was always something of a reluctant popster/popstar. And if his concert audiences were dominated by screaming teenies after the huge success of his debut album, there was enough evidence of his musical talent to appeal to more grown-up/discerning listeners. Such interest was cemented by the release of this second album, recorded only 9 months after his notable debut. No difficult second album this and the expanded edition is remastered superbly and nicely presented with colour photos and lyrics reproduced in a glossy booklet. Nik himself has written some informative and entertaining (as to be expected!) notes which explain why all is not as it seems with regard to the the live tracks - he has re-recorded his vocals on half of these. "Roses", "City Of Angels" and "Save The Whale" have their original live vocals. "Know How", "You Might" and "Wild Horses" have newly re-done vocals, for what may be termed 'technical' reasons (Mr K wasn't happy with his performance with the then new headset mic. I have to say, I caught the Manchester Apollo gig on this tour and that sounded fine). Having the live tracks alternate with the 12"mixes and B-sides on Disc 2 might annoy some but the re-done 'live' vocals work well and the original vocals aren't so bad. Disc 1 is a classic slice of pure pop which has stood the test of time well, as quality music does.
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on 12 August 2013
What some of the other reviewers are on about here, I have no clue. It's an excellent re-master of a classic 80s album with a bonus disc, all for a tenner. And yes, Amazon messed up the AutoRip stuff on it--the CD is just fine.

It's the album I was after, and I am very pleased: an excellent piece of work on a criminally-underrated long player from 1984. Disc 2 is labelled as being a "bonus" and that's what it is: some B-sides and some live material. All good, and very nice to have. The hysteria that has accompanied this release beggars belief.
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on 27 September 2012
When I was an impressionable 13 year old, back in 1984 when this album came out, I remember not only being madly in love with Nik Kershaw, but also having a copy of The Riddle and his earlier album Human Racing back to back on a cassette tape that I played to death on my Sanyo portable stereo.

28 years later, this album still sounds just as good, Nik's ability to write catchy melodies and lyrics that can veer wildly from the environmentally conscious exhortations of Roses and Save the Whale to the wry comedy of Wide Boy to the downright unfathomable masterpiece that is the title track itself standing the test of time far better than his ridiculously short pop career ever did. For me, the three singles, The Riddle, Don Quixote and Wide Boy are still favourites, along with Roses and Know How.

Go buy. And while you're at it, have a look at the four albums he's produced since 1999 - all brilliant and criminally overlooked!
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on 15 August 2013
I've been a closet Nik Kershaw fan since his heyday in 1984, the time of the original release of "Human Racing". And like I mentioned elsewhere I never got round to buying any of Nik's albums first time around and that also went for the CD's on initial release.

As this is almost 30 years old (Wow!) and the contents has been reviewed scores of times elsewhere, I am not going to review this track by track. What I will do is comment on the other aspects like sound quality and tracks etc.

This release has been controversial for two reasons, even getting to the point where I think Nik himself got a little riled.

First, the choice of tracks on the Disc 2-lots of people wanting every available mix of every track Nik and his record company released at the time. Some of these have disappeared and only poor multi generation tapes remain which in Nik's opinion were just not worth doing. I can't see Nik wanting to withhold anything he had previously released unless he wasn't too sure of the benefits.

Sometimes these things happen. Just listen to some of the Queen "pre Queen" tracks which show up occasionally and you'll see what I mean!

Second-the Live tracks. Lots of moans here. Nik has already stated he had to re record his vocals due to initial bother with his mic at the time of recording and the deterioration of the original tapes over almost 30 years. Well he had three choices. Release them as they are and risk the ridicule of the fans and critics alike "They sound AWFUL what was the point of that?" etc. Second not release them at all or Third save as much of the original recording as possible and re record the vocals. Nik chose the third option right or wrong. And whatever the moans he's been up front and honest. I'm glad to have them at all so thanks Nik.

Anyway coming onto the album. This has been an exercise just like "Human Racing" of an awful lot of work on both the original tapes and the remastering and remixing process. To keep the tapes at their best they had to go through a comprehensive physical restoration which involved baking then in an oven to keep the oxide on the tape. Then of course was the remastering itself which would have been very extensive and time consuming.

But did it work?

Oh YES and then some.

Putting it bluntly this is the very best sounding release of 'The Riddle' of all time. Failing Nik playing the album in front of you its as good as it gets. It has a bite and a snap far in excess of the hurried initial release onto CD. Whilst we should have had this years ago the end result is simply AMAZING!

So even if you've got the initial release on CD do yourself a very big favour and BUY IT! I'm listening to it and discovering sounds just not there on the previous releases I've heard.

Totally recommended even if its years overdue.

Just waiting for 'Radio Musicola' now.
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on 12 August 2013
The new album bursts out HD sound and I can identify instruments on this Remastered edition which I couldn't notice on the 1984 release. Absolutely amazing album!! I highly recommend!
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on 22 May 2007
I remember rating Nik and his music quite highly back in the 80s and coming under flak for it. I stand by my opinion still: despite being marketed (and successful) as a chart topping pop artist his albums always contained more depth than chart success would suggest. Of course, with hindsight the album is let down by excessive 80s' production: gated and reverb heavy drums and drum patterns, fat analog (or analog style) synth patches and so on, but the songs themselves largely stand out in spite of this.

But high points include excellent bass from Mark King (epitome of 80s production values perhaps...) on Easy, the fine melody of City Of Angels, the title track (which acording to Nik has no solution as it was just rambling to fit the music) and the album's closer, Save the Whale.

Worth a listen, and in its context one of the better "pop" albums of the 80s.
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on 17 January 2014
What a splendid remaster! I first got this album in December 1984 for £5.99 on vinyl, and it marked the beginning of my (semi) regular album buying as a kid. I've played it quite a few times over the years having a couple of different vinyl cuts, and various stereos too. So I've heard it a lot. It sounds REALLY good!

In a music industry where there has been a frustrating trend to obliterate music with over compression and nasty EQ, comes this beauty, which demonstrates neither. I have read reports of a scraping noise on The Riddle - which I could not hear at the beginning, nor the end despite turning up loud, and footsteps on Wide Boy, which I also could not hear. Has the CD been corrected at some point? I have no idea. What I can tell you is that this is a worthy upgrade to the vinyl. The most impressive part to me has been hearing vocal parts, and the seperation therein, that just didn't leap out before. The last two tracks on each side seem to benefit most from the remastering, presumably due to the original LP cutting tapes being EQ'd to compensate for the greater limitations at the end of a side.

The bonus disc is a bit of a conundrum, to be honest. The sound quality is generally very good, although the 12" of The Riddle sounds a little muted, and the live stuff is limited by the quality of recording and various issues that Nik dips into in the brief inlay notes. (Oh, how I wanted to say sleeve notes.) There are six live tracks, seperated by five studio tracks. I have no issue with this myself, and bar from a notable omission of Easy, we are presented with alternate versions of the whole album, be it in remix or live form.

Three of the live tracks apparently have re-recorded vocals, although You Might sounds like a mixture to me. It does demonstrate that Nik's voice has worn remarkably well in 28 years. He was in a tough position, as his original vocal mic clearly was not very good - and he says he's allowed the better sounding vocals into the wild. It seems tape damaged limited was could be released too, although in what way (parts of a performance damaged, or actual tracks on the multis) is not clear. Roses and Know How appear to rely fairly heavily on a backing track when they were originally performed to some extent too. All the live stuff was mixed by Nik especially for this release - so thanks, Nik!

The 12" version of Don Quixote sounds superb, and without the sssssibilence that came with the vinyl, or the rougher sound as it approached the end of the side. Good mix too. I do wonder if there is some kind of minor NR or tape machine line up thing going on in places - nothing major at all though. The 12" of Wide Boy also sounds good, but is a pretty bad listening experience artistically IMHO. So Quiet sounds very nice (but there's something I'm not sure about that bothers me a little on this track.) I am wondering at the moment if it's an alternate mix - but maybe I'm not used to it without the clicks! Don't Lie sounds good - again the backing/layered vocals sounding beautifully clear.

Like many other people, I would have liked to have had the 12" version of Wild Horses, and Progress (live b-side of The Riddle single) even though it is IMHO pretty bad. There's also the 7" remix edit of Don Quixote and the 7" remix of Wide Boy MIA. The lack of completion is a little disappointing, and made moreso by how good the remaster sounds. It makes sense in terms of being a better, more cohesive listening experience with no repeated tracks across a single disc, but whichever way you look at it, it's clear Nik really did rather have nogress than progress.
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