Now Dance ’86 – The 12″ Mixes entered the album charts on 8 November 1986. The timing was somewhat unusual given that the first volume was released in May 1985. An early summer release would have made more sense and helped bridge the long gap between Nows 6 and 7. It includes extended versions of three number ones – Chain Reaction, Don’t Leave Me This Way and I Wanna Wake Up With You. The 7″ mixes of the Diana Ross track had already featured on Hits 4 while the other two would end up on Now 8 and on the CD-only Now ’86. More about them next week. The front and back sleeve feature shots of a dancing silhouette in various poses with the caption “Over 2 hours of smash dance hits”.
The album is front-loaded with big tunes – Chain Reaction, We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off and Don’t Leave Me This Way. The Special Dance Mix of the former works best with a nice instrumental intro but the Jermaine Stewart tune is nothing special and there are better extensions of The Communards. All of these are overshadowed by the mighty Five Star and their extended jam of Can’t Wait Another Minute which was the lead single from their second LP Silk and Steel. It’s followed by the cool funk of Midnight Star’s Midas Touch.
Side 2 sees a move into deeper grooves. Gwen Guthrie’s club mix of Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent is a hot meld of disco and slo-mo funk while Farley “Jackmaster” Funk’s house classic Love Can’t Turn Around remains once the most essential 12″s of the era. Check out those Darryl Pandy vocals around the four minute mark. Next up is Timex Social Club and Rumors (Long Version) where the ill-speak is even more pronounced. Then the roof is blown off with Joyce Sims’ wicked joint All And All as produced and mixed by Mantronix before Ca$hflow’s funky Mine All Mine [with Cameo’s Larry Blackmon at the helm] brings us to halfway point.
Side 3 begins with two classic R&B numbers aimed directly at the dancefloor. Who’s Zoomin’ Who was Aretha Franklin’s first UK top 20 hit for 15 years while Tavares update their 1976 track Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel with a fine Irresistable Angel Mix. No stranger to 1986 compilations was Paul Hardcastle’s Don’t Waste My Time. This extended version hit the top 10 and is enhanced by Carol Kenyon’s vocals; a real urban sound. There’s more British soul to come with Jaki Graham’s joyful summer hit Breaking Away while Grace Jones’ 1981 classic Pull Up The Bumper gets a muscular remix update.
Sinitta’s So Macho had a false start in the spring before finally reaching #2 in August. The version featured here is super and made for those animated dancefloor routines. Bronski Beat’s second coming is marked by Hit That Perfect Beat while those Dutch rappers MC Miker “G” and Deejay Sven have us in broad smiles with even more jokes on the extended Holiday Rap. Phil Fearon repeated his top 10 success of 1983 and 1984 with his boogie take on Tony Etoria’s I Can Prove It while Boris Gardiner wraps things up with his chart-topping I Wanna Wake Up With You.
Farley “Jackmaster” Funk – Love Can’t Turn Around (House Remix)
Joyce Sims – All And All (Take Twelve)
Five Star – Can’t Wait Another Minute (Extended Dance Version)
Lest we forget
Gwen Guthrie – Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent (12″ Club Mix)
Missing tracks and other thoughts
This second volume has the right balance of big hits and club classics. I don’t think it can be improved upon. It’s a great pity that it’s only available on vinyl and cassette so like before I am going to outline my proposed tracklist for a single disc CD of Now Dance ’86 – The 12″ Mixes.
01 Diana Ross – Chain Reaction (Special Dance Mix)
02 Aretha Franklin – Who’s Zoomin’ Who?
03 Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper (Remix)
04 Sinitta – So Macho
05 Jaki Graham – Breaking Away (Extended Version)
06 Five Star – Can’t Wait Another Minute (Extended Dance Version)
07 Gwen Guthrie – Ain’t Nothin’ On But The Rent (12″ Club Mix)
08 Timex Social Club – Rumors (Long Version)
09 Joyce Sims – All And All (Take Twelve)
10 Farley “Jackmaster” Funk – Love Can’t Turn Around (House Remix)
11 Bronski Beat – Hit That Perfect Beat