Title - 'Boomania: Deluxe Edition'
Artist - Betty Boo
Alison Moira Clarkson, better known as Betty Boo, is an English singer, songwriter and pop rap artist who first came to mainstream prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s following a collaboration with The Beatmasters and her subsequent solo career. A career which spawned a number of chart-placing singles, most notably in 1990 with the highly infectious dancefloor smash it, 'Doin' the Do'.
Originally nicknamed "Betty Boop" for her similarity to the cartoon character, she changed it to avoid trademark disputes. Of mixed Dusun and Scottish ancestry, she had an unusual, striking Emma Peel-like look, dressed in mildly provocative and revealing outfits and proved to be an influential pop music figure whose "sassy, powerful music and image launched a thousand wannabe's".
Her big break came when she appeared as guest vocalist on the 1989 number 7 UK hit single, 'Hey DJ – I Can't Dance (To That Music You're Playing)' by The Beatmasters. Her first solo single, 'Doin' The Do', followed and was also a UK number 7 success for her in 1990, selling 200,000 copies and reaching #1 on Billboard's dance chart in the United States.
Boomania, her platinum-selling debut album, was largely self-written and self-produced in her bedroom. It contained her second solo single, 'Where Are You Baby?', which reached number 3 in August 1990, and '24 Hours'. Her follow-up album, GRRR! It's Betty Boo, sadly suffered very disappointing sales in the UK, peaking at just number 62. It did, nevertheless, spawn another UK hit single titled 'Let Me Take You There', which reached number 12 in August 1992. A further single, 'I'm on My Way' was very well received by the media, but did not sell well and entered the chart at number 44 in October 1992. Her next single, 'Hangover', fared even worse, barely scraping the Top 50 upon release in April 1993.
So look, I get that you might feel like you don't need to rush out and buy her sophomore album (although you damn well should, trust me, which is why I have included the purchase link for it at the bottom of this review page!), but now that Boo's debut album has been newly-remastered and turned into a 2CD Deluxe Edition, well, I'd hope you would realize that this is now one of those go-out-and-buy-it kinda moments!
Released in 1990, the aforementioned Boomania was not only her debut, but also Boo's most successful album. King John (a duo comprising Rex Brough and John Coxon) produced most of the songs on the album (Coxon continued to collaborate with Betty Boo on her second album, GRRR! It's Betty Boo) and, I guess, in a if-proof-was-needed, a similar album, Doin' the Do: The Best of Betty Boo, was released in 1999 and it consisted solely of tracks from Boomania! Indeed, alongside extended versions of two of its singles, plus a remix and a megamix, its actual cover art was a mirrored version of the photo from Boomania with the addition of Betty!
This new 2CD Deluxe Edition includes the 12 original album tracks plus 14 related bonus tracks. Thus, the original album kicks off with the Spice Girls-esque, and highly infectious single 'Where Are You Baby?', which is backed by the Hi-NRG 'Hey DJ / I Can't Dance (To That Music You're Playing)', then the Neneh Cherry-inspired vibe of 'Boo Is Booming'. The late nite techno lite vibe of 'Boo's Boogie' is a lovely touch, and that's backed by both the gentle chant of '24 Hours' and the mid-tempo 'Valentine's Day'.
The always-fantastic rap on 'Doin' The Do (King John 7" Mix)' is next and makes this album all it was cracked up to be. '('Til My Last Breath) Doin' It to Def' is followed by the ethereal 'Don't Know What to Do', the gently spoken word rap of 'Shame', the more hyper Spice Girls rap of 'Mumbo Jumbo' and then the transcendent 'Leave Me Alone' rounds the original album out. The first disc here in this new set adds both 'Doin' the Do (7" Radio Mix)' and 'Where Are You Baby? (King John Mix)', neither of which stray to far from their original takes.
The second disc kicks off with 'Hey DJ / I Can't Dance (Em-Q 7" Mix)' and follows that up with both '24 Hours (12" Version)' and 'Doin' the Do (12" Mix)'. In fairness, some 12" versions can suck, can just have been extended by adding more instrumental breaks to the songs, but here with these two, and both 'Where Are You Baby (12" Mix)' and ' Hey DJ / I Can't Dance (12" Mix)' it seems like additional vocals have actually been found - which is rather nice.
'24 Hours (Norman Cook Mix)' is then up to bat, and is great in its own right, and that's backed by by 'Shame (Hoodlum Mix)' (available on CD for the 1st time in the UK), 'Hey DJ / I Can't Dance (Em-Q Mix)' and '24 Hours (Oratonic Mix)' (available on CD for the 1st time in the UK), before we get a delightfully fun 'Boo's Boogie (12" Version)'. You see, there's just too many different versions of the same song, that once listened to for the third time tend to all blue into each other. Another of that ilk is '24 Hours (12" Instrumental)', but then, rounding the whole Deluxe Edition out in style, comes the brilliant, truly inspired (move, to leave until the final song) 'Boo Megamix (By DJ Streets Ahead)'.
This Boomania: Deluxe Edition has been remastered using original master tapes and the 16 page full color booklet features an expanded design of the original artwork, extensive sleeve notes written by Michael Silvester and a full UK discography featuring Betty Boo’s front cover images.
'Boomania: Deluxe Edition' CD Purchase Link
'Grrr! It's Betty Boo: Deluxe Edition' CD Purchase Link
Betty Boo @ Twitter!