Title - 'Are You Ready: 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 first track (which was also the second single released off this sophomore album from 1982) is the brilliant revenge song, and soon-to-be number one smash hit, 'My Camera Never Lies' ("I'll put you in the picture and cut you down to size"), and that bleeds seamlessly into the more serious tones of 'Easy love' (another single, just not the UK or Japan!). Although, listening to it again today, well, it's easy to see why the Jay Aston-sung track could have ridden the UK Singles Chart back then, for sure. Oh, and for true fans of Bucks Fizz, I'm sure you'll be overjoyed to hear that future BF members Shelley Preston and Heidi Manton both list this very same album track as their favorite Bucks Fizz song ever! Also, Aston herself has mentioned it, among a couple of others, was among her own favorites. Oh, and wrapping this song up completely, Cheryl Baker has also stated that Are You Ready is their best album to date!
Anyway, moving on and next comes 'Love Dies Hard,' a track that allows Bobby G to vocally take command is another great mid-tempo ballad, and is followed by both the ABBAesque 'One Way love' and the title track itself, 'Are You Ready.' Weirdly, a song that was never released as a single, the track is bouncy, upbeat, and I can instantly see a fun video to without blinking an eye! Next we have 'Breaking And Entering,' a cut that opens with the breaking of a window, footsteps running away, police sirens closing in on the subject, and then a piano break that introduces the quite imaginative BF song to date; for my money, at least!
The lovely 'Now Those Days Are Gone,' their third released single, and one that reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart, is next, and a happy, feelgood song it is - regardless of the title, of course. The Adam & The Antsesque intro to 'Twentieth Century Hero' is next, and it has always been one of my favorite BF songs to listen to, in truth. It's BF bounce allows Bobby G's vocals to take control and drive it home, each and every time, for my money. The original album is then rounded out by both the Hammond organ-inspired 'Another Night' and the very first UK Singles Chart #1 single released from the album, 'Land Of Make Believe.'
This album, much like all their albums, is honestly, chock full of greatness, especially (or maybe only) if you are a Bucks Fizz fan to begin with, of course. And, if you are indeed one of those true fans, you'll easily recall that the vinyl album was released in a glossy gatefold sleeve, depicting the foursome "skydiving" - whilst looking at the camera! Ahhhh, the memories, they come flooding a-back! Anyway, back on track and 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, 'Now You're Gone' is the first of the four tracks on the first disc. The mid-tempo ballad 'What Am I Going To Do' is next, and then the disc is rounded out by both 'My Camera Never Lies (Original 12" Version)' and then a rarely heard cut, 'Takin' Me Higher.'
Compiled, collated and produced by long-standing Bucks Fizz experts Fat Dog Productions, it's actually hard for me to realize that there was only three (3) singles released from this album, the group's sophomore studio album and one that only reached #10 the UK Albums Chart. But, the memory will always play tricks on you as we get older, and so the fact that their debut got into the Top 10 is enough for them to smile broadly back then, one assumes!
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 found here on Are You Ready: The Definitive Edition contains the Rarities portion of this musical gem. Remastered from the original master tapes it is a 13 track bout of wonderment, for all Bucks Fizz fans and other interested parties! We begin with 'Another Night (Alternate Version),' before we continue onward with another 'Another Night (Yamaha Song Contest Live Version)' (which is actually something new for me to listen to, after all this time), and then three versions of 'Land Of Make Believe' re: 1991 Chris Paul Remix, 1991 Dance Funk Remix, and 2008 Extended Version.
Next we get a track that sounds exactly the same as the original, save for the abrupt ending, 'My Camera Never Lies (Dead Ending Version),' and then four (4) more versions: 'My Camera Never Lies (2006 'Good eyes' Remix),' 'My Camera Never Lies (2014 7" Remix),' 'My Camera Never Lies (2014 Extended Mix),' and finally (trust me, even as a fan, enough is enough!) a special newly-created remix of the number one song 'My Camera Never Lies (2014 Ross Alexander Remix - Radio Edit).' This second disc then comes to a close with 'Now Those Days Are Gone (2006),' before the disc finally comes to a close with two versions of 'Easy Love (European Version) and 'Easy Love (2014 Extended Version).'