Title - 'Blast - Expanded Edition' (Cherry Red)
Artist - Holly Johnson
This first solo album from the legendary Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer and songwriter was #1 in the UK Album Charts and even went Platinum (almost immediately) after release back in 1989. Produced by the brilliant, and sadly late Dan Hartman, and Stephan Hague and others, this 2011 expanded edition contains all the mixes - inclusive of some unreleased in the UK ... and the whole of 'Hollelujah!' (the remix album that shortly followed 'Blast.'
Also included is a DVD of all 5 promo videos made for the project and a booklet containing sleeve notes by Holly about the making of the record.
OK, this incredible album kicks off with one of the original hit singles, 'Atomic City' - a song that shows Holly's voice off to its fullest immediately. Then we flow (literally) into the pleasant 'Heaven's Here,' before the major hit single from back in the day, the bouncy, full-of-fun 'Americanos.' The hip, Caribbean sway of 'Deep In Love' hits us next, before 'S.U.C.C.E.S.S.' comes to the fore.
The next hit single, 'Love Train' steams into our ears and hearts, before the highly-infective dance of 'Got It Made' and album filler 'Love Will Come.' But all gets back on musical track again with the funky 'Perfume' and the original album end track, 'Feel Good.'
But, this is where the first part of the Expanded Edition of this album kicks in as we go straight into the dreamy 'Murder In Paradise' ... which was the original b-side to 'Love Train.' After the prolonged drum solo has brought that to an end, it is followed by 'Americanos: Mambo Dub' ... an instrumental that was the original b-side to the actual 'Americanos' single.
The beat-laden 'Beat The System' is next (original b-side to 'Atomic City'), before the expansive, Church choir-esque 'Hollelujah' is unleashed! Originally the b-side of 'Heaven's Here,' it actually comes from the follow-up album of the same name (as already noted above)! A mighty work of musical art for sure, it is followed by a by-the-numbers rendition of Elvis' 'Love Me Tender.'
The first of three discs ends with two different versions of 'Perfume' - the first, the Aromatherapy Mix is also from the album 'Hollelujah,' whereas the last version, the Aromatherapy Instrumental Mix is previously unreleased.
Disc two, entitled The Blast Singles Remixed, begins with six (6) versions of 'Love Train'! Yup, six ... and the first five are remixed by the legendary Frankie Knuckles! The first is the Americanos Big Beat Version and once you hear it, the great Frankie Knuckles floods through. A great way to begin this CD as it puts the funk back into the song. The next version is the Iron Horse Instrumental and previously unreleased in the UK.
The next version of 'Love Train' is the Americanos 12" Version, again previously unreleased in the UK, and is another musical reason why this track needed Frankie Knuckles on board from the start. The fourth version is the Bonus Big Beat Radio Version (again, previously unreleased in the UK) and comes complete with Knuckles trademark pump-n-funk beats.
The fifth version of 'Love Train' is Americanos Pop Version (again previously unreleased in the UK) and is a true contender vibe-wise for my favorite remix track on this second disc. But if you're done with this song by now, well, you still have one more version to go! Sans Knuckles, the 'Love Train: Ride The 'A' Train' version is originally from the UK 12" Single, and is another terrific version.
And so, halfway through this second CD we swap to five (5) versions of 'Americanos'! The first, The Perfect Taco Mix (remixed by some of the team behind PWL) is wonderful, truly the best version of the five. The next, the Liberty Mix is from the UK 12" Single and fairly bounces along also.
The third version, the Justin Strauss Extended Version is just that; albeit bass'd out with a 'tin' reverb effect, and is yet another previously unreleased track in the UK. But the Megamix (from the UK 12" Remix Single) I expected more from. I mean, a Megamix is meant to be, well, 'mega,' is it not? Anyway, the last version is the previously unreleased 7" Megamix Version and, well, based on the above, try not to get too excited about this version either!
The second disc closes out with 'Atomic City: Bona Biodegradable Mix' (aka Enviro-Mental 12" Mix) and is remixed in fine style by Julian Mendelsohn and comes from the UK 12 Remix Single. Starting with a very theatrical, Bond-ish opening, it becomes very danceable soon thereafter. The last song is 'Heaven's Here: Mount Olympus Mix', again remixed by Julian Mendelsohn (and from the UK 12" Single), and is a great way to bring this lengthy disc to a close.
The third disc is simply promotional videos for the singles: 'Love Train,' 'Amercianos,' 'Atomic City,' 'Heaven's Here' and the Enviro-Mental 12" Mix of 'Atomic City'!
UK CD Purchase Link