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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Remixes & Rarities' (Cherry Red)
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, Chery Red Records (UK) have released this wonderful Remixes & Rarities 2-CD collection. Combining rare tracks from the archive (including early B-sides) alongside Bucks Fizz’s hit singles from the golden era of the 1980s, most you will now be able to here in their original 12" extended form for the very first time (unless you had some of the vinyl's back in the day, of course!).

We begin this wonderful musical journey - where nineteen tracks appear on CD for the first time - with ‘Heart Of Stone (Extended Version)’ that in this take comes with Cheryl on lead vocals. It’s definitely one to start such an album of rarities off with as her vocals do change what we’ve always known to be the original vocals. Indeed, the whole song seems to be a few beats slower, but nevertheless it’s always been a favorite of the fans. That said, the only thing “extended” about it is the ending that just repeats, repeats, and repeats over and over! Anyway, next up is ‘My Camera Never Lies (2014 7” Remix)’ that sounds no different whatsoever and that is backed by one of my all-time favorite Bucks Fizz tracks, the fast-paced ‘I Hear Talk (Extra Talk Mix).’ Always a crackin‘ song to listen to, this version comes complete with all five members harmonizing!

‘Big Deal (1984 Extended Version)’ was the lead track from the TV series of the same name and brings Bobby Gee’s vocals to the fore. Next comes the guitar-led pop grit of ‘Breaking Me Up (Extended Version)’ which is itself backed by the now “duet” ‘Oh Suzanne (Cheryl vs. Jay).’ Featuring the vocal battle between both Cheryl and Jay in this version you would have to be a true fan to distinguish the subtle female vocal differences. A great, fast-paced fun track nevertheless, of course.

‘Every Dream Has Broken (2010 Extended Version)’ is another exclusive debut on this wonderful new release. A rarely-heard before track in general, it is followed by ‘Thief In The Night (Extended Version),’ a song that has always been up there in my list of Top 10 favorite Bucks Fizz songs. And it has to be said that for the first time on this CD this track is truly an elongated “extended” version of a song that held more punch in its original 7” form, sadly!

The bubblegum fluff of ‘Young Hearts (2013 Remix)’ is next and is backed by a never-expected-that carousel karaoke Caribbean version of ‘You & Your Heart So Blue (So Blue Mix).’ A subtle change of lyric allows Cheryl to take the lead before ‘Always Thinking Of You (Restored Version)’ showcases Aston’s vocal range to the max. The Mike Nolan-led ‘Another Night (Alternate Version)’ is backed by the piano/keyboard-fused ‘Indebted To You (Jay Aston Lead Vocal),’ and then rounding out the first disc, ‘Making Your Mind Up (Original Multi-Track Edit).’

The second disc kicks-off with ‘When We Were At War (2013 Mix),’ admittedly a song that I had never heard before. As much as I’ve detailed above that I loved this band since day one, I guess even I can still be surprised by “something new” coming my way from them. That said, it’s simply not a “Bucks Fizz song” as it is depressing, tedious and grey in sound. Anyway, moving on and we get another version of ‘Big Deal (1984 7” Inch Version),’ before anther version of ‘Another Night (Yamaha Song Contest Live Version).’ Now this one is a real gem as it is an ultra-rare cut that has never (officially) made it out into public before this release.

Next up is another version of ‘Oh Suzanne (Extended Version)’ - the “extended” part of the song title down to some stretched out, repeated drum soloing at songs end - and that’s followed by ‘Land Of Make Believe (1991 Chris Paul Remix).’ A track that’s as synonymous with the band as milk is with tea (in the UK), the song has been slowed down here - and, weirdly, it works! ‘Invisible (Extended Version)’ is next and is yet another Bucks Fizz song that doesn’t ring a bell with me! That’s backed by another version of ‘Every Dream Has Broken (Original Sugar Cube Remix),’ but this time a more House Mix version. Next up is ‘Cold War (Extended Version),’ which was always another favorite of mine, but this version doesn’t do it for my like the original 7” version. Then comes the exclusive debut (on CD) of ’One Of Those Nights (Extended Version),’ which mysteriously (but not badly) breaks into Spanish halfway through!

Compiled and collated by long-standing Bucks Fizz expert Dean Murphy, that’s followed by a vibrant ‘I Hear Talk' (U.S Disconect Mix),’ before ‘Easy Love (2014 Extended Remix),’ a ‘Bucks Fizz Medley 1991 (Recreated Version)’ [ = ‘Land of Make Believe’ + ‘Making Your Mind Up’ + ‘If You Can’t Stand The Heat’ + ‘London Town’] and both a bouncy ‘My Camera Never Lies (2014 Extended Version)’ and finally a highly “in-demand,” according to all sources ‘Making Your Mind Up (Original Fat Dog Remix)’ brings this delicious collection of remixes and rarities to an end.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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