Title - 'I Hear Talk: The Definitive Edition'
Artist - Bucks Fizz
For those not in the know here in the States, Bucks Fizz is an English pop group which achieved success in the 1980s, most notably for winning the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Making Your Mind Up.'
The group was formed in January 1981 specifically for the contest and comprised four vocalists: Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston. They achieved instant attention with the dance routine which accompanied the song, involving a skirt-rip.
The group went on to have a successful career around the world (albeit largely; and weirdly ignored here in the States), while the UK remained their biggest market, where they had three #1 singles and became one of the top-selling groups of the 1980s.
And thankfully for all us BF lovers, Cherry Red Records (UK) have just released all four (4) of the original Bucks Fizz albums - Bucks Fizz, Are You Ready?, Hand Cut and I Hear Talk - as Definitive Edition 2-CD collections. Combining the original album - now fully remastered from the original master tapes - with all the B-Sides from the 7" singles, together with extended mixes and rarities associated with the original album, having all these together in one place has just never happened before. Well, unless you had the original LP, all the 7" singles and 12' singles released along with it from back in the day, of course!
The title track, 'I Hear Talk' (which was the third single released) kicks the party off, and in some fine style, my friends. The building blockbuster sounds so warm, so crisp on this collection, quite like nothing I've ever heard from it before, in truth. It truly is a magnificent powerhaus of a track, especially it's chorus, of course, but somehow only managed to reach #34 on the UK Singles Chart of that year. The stern, adamant, strongly sung vocal tones of 'Indebted To You' is next, and like most all of these tracks, it's yet another blockbuster. This album is, honestly, chock full of greatness, especially (or maybe only) if you are a Bucks Fizz fan to begin with, of course.
Next up is the slow disco vibe of 'Tears On The Ballroom Floor,' an album track that could easily, so easily have been a single all of its own. Cheryl's solo turn up front makes the track so warm, so enjoyable, and that's backed by the Bobby-sung 'Cold War.' Mike takes the lead on the quite spectacular 'Golden Days,' a reworking of a Cliff Richard song that I have always loved from first hearing it back in 1984. It's such a euphoric cut, full of life, and with Cheryl's top note pitches hitting at just the right time, well, I just don't know how it only peaked at #42 on the UK Singles Chart. That said, check out the fun b/w video for it - you'll be amazed!
Compiled, collated and produced by long-standing Bucks Fizz experts Fat Dog Productions, next up is the thumping 'Talking In Your Sleep.' Originally a massive hit for Detroit rock band, The Romantics, funnily enough it was a #3 U.S. hit in early 1984 for them, and became reached #15 on the UK Singles Chart in the UK in August that year for Bucks Fizz! It's actually hard for me to realize that there was only three (3) singles released from this album, the group's fourth studio album and one that only, weirdly, obtained #66 on the UK Albums Chart. But, knowing that the third single (the title track) was released in December of 1984, but sadly, and horrifically coincided with a coach crash that the group suffered while on tour, it's no wonder the promotion and publicity for the album ceased to exist at that juncture.
Another powerhaus track is 'Breaking Me Up,' as from the moment it starts until the very last beats it careers along like a speeding train under the vocal guidance of Bobby. Mike sings the beautiful ballad, 'January's Gone,' and the original album is brought to a close with both the Bobby-sung, somewhat melodically stoic 'She Cries,' with the original album rounding out with the pulsating, simply runaway train vibe of the Jay-sung 'Thief In The Night.'
With nearly three hours of hits, hard-to-find tracks and extended mixes, the first disc of two continues on with a set of bonus B-Sides. A delightful thing to have all under one roof, now we really get to see what's under the hood of this band. I mean, B-Sides are made that way as they are meant to be never as good, never as polished, never inclusive of even a note of a hit chorus ... aren't they? Well, think again, because from the off, 'Don't Think You're Fooling Me' comes out of the joyful, fun and bouncy blocks like a restrained hit making a break for it!
That's followed by Cheryl's, slightly angry-sounding 'Where Do I Go Now,' which in turn is backed by both the sultry vocals of Jay on 'One Touch Too Much' and then the soft pop rock of 'Pulling Me Under' from Bobby. The vocals of soon-to-be a member of Bucks Fizz, Shelley Preston get a strangle hold on the harder edged 'Invisible,' then comes Jay with the warning flare of 'Evil Man,' before the first sides rounds out with both a 'I Hear Talk (7" Mix' and a 'I Hear Talk (Disconet Remix).' [FYI: For all you other BF fans out there reading this, yes, you are correct - the 2004 reissue of this album closed with both the other Shelley-sung track 'Here's Looking At You' and then Cheryl's 'Young Hearts.']
Containing all the relevant found and remixed tracks from the acclaimed Lost Masters series, making this the definitive version of this album, the second disc I Hear Talk: The Definitive Edition begins with 'I Hear Talk (1984 Extended Remix)' and never stops from being totally awesome! 'Talking In Your Sleep (Extended Version)' is another wonderful, lengthy addition to this collection, and that is followed by a delightful 'Golden Days (2008 Extended Version).' 'Thief In The Night (Extended Version)' is next and followed by 'Cold War (Extended Version),' a vibrant 'Invisible (Extended Version), and then 'Breaking Me Up (Extended Version).'
'She Cries (Original Version' is "new" to hear, but doesn't stray too far from the track we all know and love today, and that's backed by 'Indebted To You (Jay Aston Lead Vocal)' is definitely interesting though. Now known for Bobby G's vocals, it seems it was originally created as a vocal vehicle for Jay. Of course, Bobby's backing vocals are still overpowering at certain times, but it's another great "unknown" blast from their past, for sure. Next up is a monster LIVE Rock Medley that features portions of: 'Eye of The Tiger,' 'Hot Legs,' 'Since You've Been Gone,' a quite stunning Cheryl vocal on 'Heartbreaker,' 'Dead Ringer For Love,' and 'Whatever You Want' from Status Quo. This INCREDIBLE double album then rounds off with the inspiring, soaring 'One Touch (Don't Mean Devotion)' and then, finally, the pop overload of 'Censored.'