Title - 'Remixes & Rarities'
Artist - King
For those not in the know, King were a British pop band which formed in 1984. The band achieved chart success in 1985, and are best known for their hit single "Love & Pride", which reached number 2 in the UK.
The band also had two Top 20 albums (both certified Gold) and five Top 30 singles in the space of a year.
The band first charted in January 1985 with their aforementioned #2 smash, "Love & Pride which was followed up by "Won’t You Hold My Hand Now" (#24), "Alone Without You" (#8), "The Taste Of Your Tears (#11), and finally (and highly underrated) "Torture" that peaked number 23 in the UK singles chart.
King had a unique blend of rock/funk/ pop all dressed up in their own uniform of Doc Martins, bright suits and big hair do’s. After the success of King, singer Paul King opted to go solo before becoming a VJ (video jockey) on MTV and then VH1.
Just released via Cherry Pop / Cherry Red Records (UK), King's Remixes & Rarities 2CD is a unique 27-track collection devoted to the hard-to-find tracks and mixes from the popular '80s band.
All the tracks are sourced from the band’s 7” and 12” singles and features rare mixes, remixes and b-sides, many appearing on CD for the first time.
1. "LOVE & PRIDE (BODY AND SOUL MIX)"
2. "SOUL ON MY BOOTS (RUB A DUB MIX)" *
3. "AIN’T NO DOUBT" *
4. "FOOLS" *
5. "WON’T YOU HOLD MY HAND NOW (HEAVY TIMES MIX)"
6. "FISH (REPRISE) (LIVE)" *
7. "WON’T YOU HOLD MY HAND NOW (ENCORE) (LIVE)" *
8. "AND AS FOR MYSELF (LIVE)"
9. "WON’T YOU HOLD MY HAND NOW (SINGLE REMIX)" *
10. "ALONE WITHOUT YOU (SCORCHER MIX)"
11. "I KISSED THE SPIKEY FRIDGE (ROCK HARD MIX)"
12. "THE TASTE OF YOUR TEARS (BREAKER HEART MIX)"
13. "TORTURE (P. F. EXTENDED MIX)"
14. "GROOVIN’ WITH THE KINGS"
* Available on CD for the first time in the U.K.
The first CD features 14 tracks and includes seven extended mixes, b-sides and three live tracks recorded at Strathclyde University.
Personally, I've loved King since they hit the ground running with the highly infectious "Love & Pride," and have even discussed them whilst in the car with Wang Chung! So this 2CD set is pure gold to me, of that I tell no lie.
The first CD, which, along with the second disc, is firmly entrenched now (on rotation) in my car CD player, kicks off with a tremendous flashback double bill in both "Love & Pride (Body & Soul Mix)" and "Soul On My Boots (Rub A Dub Mix)". Just the shouted chant of an order for us to "Get your boots on!" is enough to have your ear buds standing at attention let alone the funky bass lines and added synth chords thereafter!
As soon as we get a "I'm takin' it 'round the world" mandate from King, the key synths now at full pelt, there he is, in full vocal glory - and yes, it still puts shivers down my spine to hear how great it still sounds today!
That's backed by a soulful, lush ballad "Soul On My Boots (Rub-A-Dub Mix)" which is also a delicious work of '80s musical art, trust me. Introduced to us on this remix my a sedate, high on life, but grounded King, it takes a while to get going, but once it does, it's gonna carry you away for the day, believe me!
And that's just the first two tracks! OK, so I'm not going to do this for each of the 27 tracks (although, f**k it, why not!), but suffice to say that having collected ALL the King 12" Singles (vinyl) whilst living in the U.K. for the first 26 years of my life, I may not have played them all regularly over the years, but I've had most all these new-to-CD mixes to hand regardless (as I'm sure all King fans have had, in truth).
That said, this is still a true delight to have all these mixes and even unheard (to me) live tracks under the one roof now, so to speak. The fast-paced bass guitar funk of "Ain't No Doubt" is backed by the tender ballad, "Fools." If any, this song showcases just how really good front man Paul King is/was as not only a vocalist, but a songwriter also.
The near-eight minute long 'Won't You Hold My Hand Now (Heavy Times Mix)" is top heavy with deep bass licks and jangly guitar, before King's vocals kick in, and that's backed by the piano ballad "Fish (Reprise) (Live)," a track that was recorded live at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, 26/1/85 (and subsequently released on the 7" / 7" Double Pack and 12" of the "Won't You Hold My Hand Now" single in 1985. [Oh, and the original studio version is available on King's debut album Steps In Time].
Continuing the live aspect of this portion of the first disc, we then get both "Won't You Hold My Hand Now (Encore) (Live)" and "And As For Myself (Live)," before launching into both "Won't You Hold My Hand Now (Single Remix)" and the always brilliant to hear, "Alone Without You (Scorcher Mix)."
Loaded with more bass lines and an abundance of "Na na, na na, Na na, na na's," the mid-tempo, upbeat so-called (at the time) ballad is another stand out cut from King.
One of my all-time favorite King tracks has always been the underrated "I Kissed The Spikey Fridge (Rock Hard Mix)" from their debut, and that's backed by the glorious, and nearly seven minute long, mid-tempo piano ballad "The Taste Of Your Tears (Breaker Heart Mix)."
The first CD is then rounded out by the controlled speeding train drum vibe of another highly underrated song in the form of "Torture (P.F. Extended Mix)", before rounding out with the Hammond, three and a half minute instrumental, "Groovin' With The Kings."
1. "SOUL ON MY BOOTS (SINGLE VERSION)"
2. "LOVE & PRIDE (EXTENDED MIX)" *
3. "WON’T YOU HOLD MY HAND NOW (THE MAGNIFICENT 12″ MIX)" *
4. "ALONE WITHOUT YOU (U.S. EDIT)" *
5. "LOVE & PRIDE (DUB MIX)" *
6. "TORTURE (SINGLE VERSION)" *
7. "WON’T YOU HOLD MY HAND NOW (YOUTH MIX)"
8. "ALONE WITHOUT YOU (CLUB MIX)" *
9. "LOVE & PRIDE (LIVE VERSION)" *
10. "WON’T YOU HOLD MY HAND NOW (85 REASONS TO HOLD HANDS MIX) (CLEAN VERSION)" *
11. "ALONE WITHOUT YOU (STREET MIX)" *
12. "WON’T YOU HOLD MY HAND NOW (DUB MIX)" *
13. "ALONE WITHOUT YOU (INSTRU-NANA-MENTAL MIX)" *
* Available on CD for the first time in the U.K.
CD 2 features 13 tracks including two single versions, six extended mixes, various dub mixes and a live version of "Love And Pride".
Featuring a lot of songs from the first CD, save for them being different versions, I won't go into them like I did above, but suffice to say they are as great as the others. That said, the only totally different song is the "Love & Pride (Live Verson)" that pops up toward the end.
Always lovely to hear the song, no matter under what circumstances, Paul King sings it live like he's in the studio; his vocals are just that crisp, so clean.
Cherry Red have also reissued the band’s two studio albums Steps In Time #6 (CRPOP50) and the follow up Bitter Sweet (CDMRED328). Where available we have sourced the tracks from the original production master tapes.
The CD booklet features lyrics of the singles plus a UK Discography featuring many of the band’s sleeves.
Official CD Purchase Link