The first release from Dover Records [a Chrysalis sub-label] was a tie-in with Channel 4’s music programme The Chart Show. When it started in 1986, the show was unique in that it had no presenters. Instead computer-generated displays took their place. Various information snippets popped-up on screen and in 1987 were replaced with the more familiar display which featured an Amiga-generated mouse-pointer. This was deemed to be a cutting-edge interface and Friday nights during July of that year were particularly memorable as the show was stretched to a hour for five successive weeks.
Dance Hits ’87 reads like a volume of Now Dance – if one had been released that year. The double LP and cassette contain 20 tracks with the CD having 11. Six of these appeared in 7″ form on The Greatest Hits Of 1987 – Fatback Band, Jonathan Butler, Jody Watley, Vesta Williams, M/A/R/R/S and Housemaster Boyz. The Fatback Band’s classic club tune I Found Lovin’ is out first. What a jam! The inlay tells us that Jellybean has been “musically and romantically linked with Madonna”. Between September 1987 and March 1988 he had four top 13 hits; The Real Thing with Steven Dante is gloriously funky in extended form.
Jonathan Butler’s Lies is a slick R&B joint while Robbie Nevil’s 12″ of C’est La Vie can be filed in the Celestial Urban section. The eponymous debut from Living In A Box is somewhat deconstructed in its dance mix form and comes across as less powerful than the 7″ variant. Great instrumental section though with a slowed-down synth breakdown. “Hasta La Vista Baby”: Jody Watley’s emancipation continues with the rare club mix of Looking For A New Love. Sly Dunbar (drums) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass). #12 in May 1987. Boops is a sugar daddy. A weird and wonderful slice of enigmatic funk with a cool string sample. Killer rhythms.
Vesta Williams’ Once Bitten Twice Shy is a salutory tale that crossed over from the clubs to the charts in February 1987. A diva with a hypnotic voice. Pump The Volume topped the national, indie and dance charts. M/A/R/R/S never made another record; their place in history assured. After gorging on the various mixes of the track I then went backwards and bought the self-titled Colourbox album. The extended remix of House Nation saw it shoot into the top 10. More bassline can only be a good thing. Finally it’s the turn of Mel and Kim’s rather under-appreciated F.L.M. which is simply divine in 12″ form. Its lengthy intro just makes your feet just glide across the floor.
“You can’t get the answers if you don’t take chances”.
Fatback Band – I Found Lovin’ (Remix)
Sly and Robbie – Boops (Here To Go)
Lest we forget
Mel and Kim – F.L.M. (Extended Mix)