Friday, June 22, 2007
The Collection 79-87
This 2 CD release is identical with the albums ”Slade Collection 81-87” from 1991 and ”Slade Collection Vol. 2 79-87” from 1993. I must admit that those 2 albums have never been the ones that I put on to convince people of Slade’s greatness. Although they contain great Slade tunes, they also contain some of their less superior tracks. However, I’ve always liked the cleverness of putting live-tracks on as well, in this way being able to include songs prior to 1979 such as “Everyday”, “Gudbuy T’Jane” and “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. Not only does it allow for older hits to be on, it also gives the listener a feel of Slade’s energetic live performances.
Union Square Music’s double CD is as usual brilliantly remastered by Tim Turan and it comes with a 12 pages full colour booklet with a track by track mention of the songs. The concert photos fit in neatly with the concept.
The cover photos is from the “Slade Smashes” photo session, but reversed. This way the guys are shown it the reversed order from the “Slayed?” cover and looses a bit of its resemblance to that.
This was the last of Union Square Music’s re-releases so I’ll take this opportunity to thank USM for their brilliant work this past year, bringing out Slade’s back catalogue in a fashion that loads of fans have been waiting for. A special thank you to Steve Fruin for pleasant co-operation and to Paul Lowe and Chas Chandler as well.
You Boyz Make Big Noize
You Boyz Make Big Noize was Slade’s final album and although it is not their best, it has never sounded better than in USM’s re-issue perfectly remastered by Tim Turan. The album has some highlights such as Still The Same, Ooh La La In L.A. and Me And The Boys, but the album comes across as a bit disparate with no common denominator.
Union Square Music’s re-release is accompanied by a 12 pages booklet where Chris Ingham captures the nearing end of Slade, dwells on the affair between Don and the daughter of Bob Dylan and explains the story behind the album title, which was a phrase uttered by Betty, the tea-lady at Wessex recording studio. Not surprisingly the booklet photos are all of Slade and Betty.
The album comes with nine bonustracks: the 12” version of Still the same and the three B-sides Gotta Go Home, Don’t Talk To Me About Love and Wild Wild Party. The brilliant Don’t Talk To Me About Love with Jim on lead vocal was replaced on the album by The Roaring Silence. The track You Boyz Make Big Noize wasn’t included, either, which is a shame as it is one of Slade’s best 1980es tracks. That one along with Don’t Talk To Me About Love would in my opinion have made the album much better and a lot more “Slade”. Anyway, the bonus tracks include all 4 versions of You Boyz Make Big Noize, not just the original track, but also the noize remix with the “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”-ending, the instrumental version and the USA mix with the altered and cleaner lyrics.
The last of the bonustracks is the Let’s Dance 1988 mix. As usual it seems to escape attention that Let’s Dance is NOT written by Jim Lea but by Jim Lee. It was a big hit for Chris Montez in 1962, but that’s quite a different story!
Like on Rouges Gallery the bonus tracks are in the wrong order, but it should only affect the first batch of the CDs.
Once again a nice product from USM where especially the bonus tracks are interesting.
Union Square Music’s brilliantly remastered Rogues Gallery is also out now. It was Slade’s first album as a studio-only group and you have to get used to the polished sound, but then it’s really quite good with highlights such as Myzsterious Mizster Jones, Walking On Water Running On Alcohol, 7 Year Bitch and the minor hit All Join Hands.
In the accompanying 12 pages full colour booklet Chris Ingham tells the story of why Slade stopped touring and it includes some never seen before pics.
USM’s re-release comes with no less than 9 bonus tracks: The B-sides Here’s To (The New Year) and the Leave Them Girls Alone where Jim and Nod exchange lead vocal on the latter. Mama Nature Is A Rocker which was the B-side to Myszerious Mizster Jones and the My Oh My demo piano and vocal version with the slightly different original lyrics. The 1985-single Do You Believe In Miracles and the My Oh My swing version recorded with Monty Babson Big Band, which to me is the best of the bonus tracks. Probably because My Oh My has never been a favourite of mine and the only way I can stand listening to it is in the swing version! In the booklet Ingham writes that this version was made at Frank Sinatra’s suggestion, but as far as I know it was more or less the other way around, namely that the swing version was suggested to Frank Sinatra for consideration. The last 3 bonus-tracks are the 12” version of 7 Year Bitch, the extended 12” version of Myzsterious Mizster Jones and the 12” version of Do You Believe In Miracles.
The bonus tracks come in wrong order, but this should only affect the first batch of CDs.
All in all Rogues Gallery is a pleasurable re-release from USM.
The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome
I’ve always found The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome one of Slade’s best 1980es albums. It includes the hits Run Runaway and My Oh My and also other great tracks like (And Now The Waltz) C’est La Vie, Ready To Explode and High And Dry. Tim Turan’s remastering of the album is as brilliant as we have come to expect of USM’s re-issues.
The CD comes with a 12 pages full colour booklet with good photos and a guide through the tracks. It is especially nice to see that Chris Ingham, who’s written booklet text, notices the thematic of the albums side 2, beginning with Ready To Explode and finishing off with Razzle Dazzle Man. Ready To Explode has always managed to divide Slade-fans, either they hate the track or they love it, and I must admit that I love it. Apparently Jim wrote it, influenced by Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell”-album.
Union Square Music’s re-release comes with six bonus tracks, Keep You Hands Off My Power Supply which is more or less a Jim Lea solo-track and the 12” version of My Oh My with different guitar solos. Don’t Tame A Hurricane, the B-side of My Oh My and the 12” version Run Runaway with more violins, drums and guitar licks. Two Track Stereo One Track Mind which has always been a favourite of mine and finally the ”hotter mix” of Slam The Hammer Down, a promo-only CBS 12” by Shep Pettibone for the USA. With the distinct saxophones this is a very good closer for the bonus-tracks.
I think this CD is a very appealing product and the choice of bonus-tracks suits the album. Very recommendable.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Don Powell Q & A
Last month Don and I met in order to do an interview. This interview was very different from what we’d done before, because this time it was the fans asking the questions with me as the middleman. I got the questions from fan forum members of www.slayed.co.uk and I then went through them with Don. You can read the whole thing on my Don Powell-blog. Just scroll down past the intro.