12"/80s/Dance (CD set) Review
This is the third in a series of ‘80s extended mix collections from Family Recordings. It comes as a set of three themed discs. Disk 1 is Pop; Disc 2 is Club and Disc 3 is R&B.
The inclusion of Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round is well timed given the Pete Burns revival following his time in the Big Brother household. Over the years this track has been released in all kinds of different versions including the modern mix which was a hit recently. The version on this collection (The Murder Mix) is much closer to the original single, albeit with an extend intro of typical Stock/Aitken/Waterman-style disco percussion. At around eight minutes in length, this track is, for me, the highlight of the entire collection. This is what the ‘80s extended mix was all about. A real dance-floor filler if ever there was one!
The tracks haven’t all weathered the years so well, though. The instrumental opening of Wham!’s Everything She Wants sounds frighteningly like John Shuttleworth playing a bossa nova riff on a portable organ. Then there are some tracks which are barely extended at all. Shakatak’s Down On The Street runs for a mere 4 minutes and 46 seconds; Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me goes to 4:53; Shalamar’s Friends only manages 5:01; and Donna Summer’s State of Independence lasts for a mere 5 minutes and 50 seconds (i.e. 85 seconds more than the non-extended version). Ah, how this makes me yearn for Donna’s much longer classics from the ‘70s (I Feel Love ran to a truly extended 8 minutes 14 while her MacArthur Park Suite ran to an epic 17 minutes and 47 seconds – now that’s what I call extended!)
The blend of songs on the three CDs is, in some way, curious. In particular, the third disc (R&B) seems a bit of an oddity. The whole point of the ‘80s extended mix was to get people dancing; the tracks were mainly to be heard at nightclubs and discos. I can’t say I recall hearing much of Cameo’s Single Life, Stephanie Mills’ The Medicine Song or Colonel Abrams’ Trapped at the discos I used to frequent! At least, it’s good to have The Art Of Noise’s Close To The Edit in all its percussive might; then again there is Eric B & Rakim’s Paid In Full (“This is a journey into sound….”) – ah, I’d almost forgotten that one! Freeez’s IOU is another track that probably qualifies as an ‘80s extended classic – and at 8 minutes 40 seconds it is provided at a satisfying length. Black Box’s Ride On Time is, for me, another highlight from disc #2.
All in all, this is a bit of a mixed collection. Not all the tracks are really what I would call extended classics. In my opinion, the collection is not as good, for example, as set 2 (12"/80s/2) in this series. Still, there are enough good songs and rare mixes to make this a worthwhile addition to any ‘80s dance fan’s collection.
12"/80s/Dance is released on February 27th, 2006
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