Title - 'Son Of Albert: Special Expanded Edition'
Artist - Andrew Ridgeley
For those not in the know, given that his musical partner always got the headlines and, quite literally, the highlights associated to him, Andrew Ridgeley is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer, best known for his work in the 1980's as a member of Wham!
Wham! enjoyed worldwide success from 1982 to 1986, selling more than 28 million records worldwide and made their US debut appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. They soon became the only British act in the 1980s to have three No. 1 singles in both the UK and the US.
In 1986, The Edge of Heaven became Wham!'s fourth and final UK No. 1 single. With Michael keen to move into a more adult market, Wham! broke up after a farewell concert entitled "The Final" in front of 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 28 June 1986.
The first reissue for Andrew Ridgeley’s debut album Son Of Albert originally released in 1990, four years after the break-up of Wham! will soon be released as a Special Expanded Edition via Cherry Red Records (UK).
Remastered using the original production master tapes, this Special Expanded Edition includes the nine original album tracks from the vinyl release plus 7 related bonus tracks. This includes ‘Shake (Hardcore)’ that was featured on the CD version of the album.
1. 'Red Dress'
3. 'The Price of Love'
7. 'Big Machine'
8. 'Kiss Me'
9. 'Baby Jane'
10. 'Shake (Hardcore)'
11. 'Red Dress (12" Mix)'
12. 'Shake (Accapella Version)'
13. 'Hangin' (Alternative Extended)'
14. 'Shake (Extended Version)'
15. 'Hangin' (Extended Version)'
16. 'Red Dress (Extended Version)'
Personally, I didn't have any negativity toward Ridgeley and his vocals, although it has to be said that the album did nothing to enhance his third wheel media perspective re: George Michael, Wham! and then came Ridgeley.
To bring full disclosure to this review, Ridgeley's record company, CBS, passed up the option of a second album from him after unsuccessful sales of this debut. In fact, it was universally panned by critics and failed to make the top 75 in the UK.
Worse yet, Son of Albert was one of the worst received albums of 1990, achieving only half a star in a savage Rolling Stone magazine review. Ridgeley himself later said: "It was disappointing and depressing to receive quite such a beating over that album."
Regardless, and again for the record, this album is not as bad as they all made it out to be, the first track is the "biggest" single off the album, the fired up 'Red Dress' (which notably features backing vocals by George Michael), and that's followed by the slow to start, but then fires on all cylinders second single 'Shake'.
Indeed, Son Of Albert is a predominantly guitar and drum driven solo recording from Ridgeley on which his brother Paul, an occasional percussionist for Bananarama, played drums also. The harmonica-driven, and The Everly Brothers cover 'The Price Of Love', is a fun track that still manages to harken back to the '60s, and is backed by both the heavy 'Flame', and then the jaunty, pop-lite, albeit repetitive, keys-enhanced 'Hangin'.
A quick "woo-woo" or two later and we're rolling along nicely with 'Mexico', a track that sure doesn't showcase Ridgeley's vocals at any stretch of the imagination, but does have a rather nice back beat, that's for sure. Then comes some more harmonica on the motorcycle (hog) inspired 'Big Machine', with the original album coming to a close with both the funky 'Kiss Me', and then the slow poke, blues harmonica and piano track, 'Baby Jane.'
Trying to leave his manufactured pop days behind him here, Ridgeley obviously tried to delve neck deep into some kick-ass rock and roll tunes, but all you really focus on are the endless guitar licks spread throughout. That said, he wanted to break away and so should be applauded for having given it a shot, at the very least.
The additional tracks on this Special Expanded Edition are all primarily extended versions, and only serve to either prolong your agony of hearing Ridgeley's vocals, or, in my case, and for the most part, go a long way to spread him out a little thinner, whilst enhancing the musical vibe overall.
Stand out's for me include the near six minute long instrumental 'Shake (Hardcore)' - which includes so many new elements that its like a smorgasbord of what the late '80s and early 90's musically had to offer - and both versions of 'Red Dress (12" Mix and Extended Version)' - which manages to not only serve up more George Michael, but at nearly seven minutes long, also seemingly allows Ridgeley to add some new lines to what was easily his best song.
The 24 page full color booklet features an expanded design of the original artwork, a recent interview with Andrew Ridgeley and Gary Bromham reflecting on the making of the album, album lyrics and a UK Discography.
Son Of Albert: Special Expanded Edition CD is being released by Cherry Red Records (UK) on January 19th, 2018.
'Son Of Albert: Special Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link
Andrew Ridgeley @ Twitter!