Now’s first release of 1985 was not what we expected. With the spring’s big tunes carved up by Hits 2 and Out Now!, EMI decided on a spin-off of extended dance versions. While there’s no doubt that the single edits of some of these tracks would have made Now 5 if it came out three or four months earlier, there’s a definite underground feel to many of these choices – many of whom were successes on the Record Mirror and Music Week disco charts rather than for the standard Gallup listing. This is a good thing as it showed that the brand creators were not afraid to diversify.
Now Dance – The 12″ Mixes entered the album charts on 1 June. It includes extended versions of two number ones – Easy Lover and Move Closer. The 7″ versions of this pair had already featured on Hits 2 and Out Now! The front and back sleeve feature shots of a sleeping beauty with the captions “2 hours of wicked mixes to keep you moving all night long” and “The album you’ve been dreaming of.”
The Phil Collins and Philip Bailey chart-topper gets the album off to a rather rock-orientated slant which becomes more pronounced with the second number, Some Like It Hot from Taylors / Palmer super-group The Power Station. Both are fantastic in 12″ form while the winning formula continues with the underrated Eurythmics hit Would I Like To You?
Cosmic force, cosmic force.
The home run continues with Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy’s Kiss Me. This had also appeared on Hits 2 but the longer mix [known but not credited as Mixe Plural Mix] is so much greater with its addictive first minute. The urbane sophistication of Belouis Some’s Imagination [Dance Mix] bring an amazing first side to a close. Check out that jazzy outro.
The second side is primarily soul and funk-flavoured. Loose Ends’ Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating) is a prime example of the smooth homegrown talent that was in abundance during the era. A dope, beefy slice of groovy goodness. Providing equally strong company are remixes of The Cool Notes’ hot boogie tune Spend The Night and Jermaine Jackson’s slick Do What You Do. Another Hits 2 number, the slow chart-climbing Solid from Ashford and Simpson appears halfway through – the more potent club mix. But the real diamond in this mine is the monstrously sad Clouds Across The Moon. It’s even more harrowing in extended form. Space age soul.
The second half of Now Dance maintains the high standard of the first. There is an abundance of riches to enjoy here – especially the feelgood Rhythm Of The Night from Motown’s DeBarge. The two Curtises [Hairston and T.C.] both provide upfront dancefloor numbers with the latter’s You Should Have Known Better proving to be an enduring pirate radio hit through the late 1984 / early 1985. War’s Groovin’ outstrips the Young Rascals in the easy funk stakes and slides effortlessly into Phyllis Nelson’s grinding Move Closer [New Mix].
And if that wasn’t enough we get a top notch Isaac Hayes cover to get side 4 out of the traps. Dutch-based Eddy and The Soul Band gave Shaft a new impetus [I heard this version before the original] with its funked-up motorik vibe. And then it’s go-go time with Little Benny and The Masters facing off with Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers. Who Comes To Boogie and Bustin’ Loose are two sides of an immensely funky coin. This outstanding compilation ends with Aurra’s top drawer R&B mover Like I Like It and Lillo Thomas’s cool party-closer-one-more-joint Settle Down.
T.C. Curtis – You Should Have Known Better
Belouis Some – Imagination (Dance Mix)
Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy – Kiss Me (Mixe Plural Mix)
Lest we forget
The Rah Band – Clouds Across The Moon
Missing tracks and other thoughts
This compilation pretty much nails it and there’s nothing else I can think of substituting. It’s worth noting that the Dutch series of Now Dance commenced in 1986 and its first two volumes did get a CD release – fewer tracks than the vinyl and cassette versions but at least they exist. With that in mind I am going to outline my proposed tracklist for a single disc CD of Now Dance – The 12″ Mixes.
01 Philip Bailey and Phil Collins – Easy Lover (Extended Remix)
02 The Power Station – Some Like It Hot
03 Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy – Kiss Me
04 Belouis Some – Imagination (Dance Mix)
05 The Rah Band – Clouds Across The Moon
06 Phyllis Nelson – Move Closer (New Mix)
07 Lillo Thomas – Settle Down (Extended Remix)
08 Loose Ends – Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating) (Extended Dance Mix)
09 T.C. Curtis – You Should Have Known Better
10 Eddy and The Soul Band – Theme From Shaft (Hot Pursuit Mix)
11 Aurra – Like I Like It
12 Ashford and Simpson – Solid (Special Club Mix)