Now Dance ’92 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1992)

Now Dance 92

Now Dance 92 r

Now Dance ’92 was the eighth volume in the series. Like Now Dance ’91 it contains 20 partially-mixed tracks of 7″ and single versions.. It coincided with a period of my life that was memorable for many different reasons and soundtracked a number of nights in our gang’s crash pad at Ard Na Greine. A number of 21st birthdays, Steiger, Jack Daniel’s, Black Russians, Knorr’s Florida Spring Vegetable Soup and vomit. The first half of the compilation is probably the greatest dance sequence of the decade. In a word: ghosts.

Let’s go to bed with Was (Not Was): The original version of Shake Your Head was released in 1983 and featured Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals. A pre-fame Madonna had auditioned for the vocal but was not used on the final release. In 1992, it was re-worked and remixed by Steve “Silk” Hurley, and features actress Kim Basinger alongside a re-recorded Ozzy Osbourne on vocals. The funky update is a treat. Time to check out the groove with Undercover and their frankly awesome re-working of Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. This song will end the planet. And the original bad boys of pop, East 17, brew up a stormer in House Of Love (Pedigree Mix). Real animal that continues to shine on and destroys our hearts. Equally naughty is Ebeneezer Goode; a neat entry into the chemical world of The Shamen. The kicker was that it hit number one during the BBC’s drug awareness week. Sorted. And watch your step while walking on the bedroom carpets.

What a carry on. Utah Saints continue the wicked groove with the pounding Bushwhacker of Something Good. The yeah becomes boom; a real beauty of a tune. The BBC used it during their coverage of the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympic Games while Carlton Television also featured it on the station’s pre-launch trailer. The sombre synths of U96’s Das Boot lead into a searing vocodered techno anthem. The party continues to pump with the positive swinging beat of Bizarre Inc. and Angie Brown’s I’m Gonna Get You. Meanwhile U2’s magnum opus Achtung Baby continued to be MLKed for hits and then some: Even Better Than The Real Thing got a makeover from Paul Oakenfold – known as The Perfecto Mix – and went four places higher than the original single version from a few weeks beforehand. During the summer and early autumn of 1992, we spent a lot of time in the Royal Hotel’s Cellar Bar, a converted underground coach house, where we would drink beer and dance to the hot new sound of The Stereo MCs and Connected.

It was almost time for Abba Gold. The shelf life of Erasure’s Abba-esque EP lasted from June until September. Voulez Vous was immense; a blinding interpretation of glitterball disco. Nothing promised, no regrets. And now a switch in tempo with Neneh Cherry’s rhythm-heavy Money Love and Soul II Soul’s strident Joy, the first of three consecutive tunes that also appeared on Now That’s What I Call Music 21. Ce Ce Peniston’s We Got A Love Thang works a little better in this arena as it rubs shoulders with Shanice’s beaming I Love Your Smile and Dina Carroll’s loyal tribute Ain’t No Man. The R&B set ends with Incognito and their sweet acid jazz cover of Stevie Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing.

Meet on the ledge: Ashley Abram steers the ship into rave waters. On A Ragga Tip is a proper old skool jump-up banger. 2 Unlimited stay the course with Twilight Zone but don’t consider sampling the eerie television theme. It still works, just. One more time. Children’s BBC favourite Tetris is next. Doctor Spin is the man: some might say It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock meets Quadrophenia’s Schizophrenia meets 2 Unlimited’s Get Ready For This all tied into one! I know you’re going to dig this. And a crazy Top Of The Pops appearance. Such a good feeling. We can only go one way: leave the building to the sound of Rage mashing-up Bryan Adams’ Run To You. Good times.

“Let us die young or let us live forever
We don’t have the power, but we never say never
Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip
The music’s for the sad man”

Favourite tracks
U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Perfecto Mix – Radio Edit)

Erasure – Voulez Vous (Abba-esque Version)

Utah Saints – Something Good

Lest we forget
U96 – Das Boot

Now Dance ’92 LP
Now Dance 92 LP

Now Dance 92 LP r

Let’s re-cap:

01 Was (Not Was) – Shake Your Head 3:37
02 Undercover – Baker Street 4:00
03 East 17 – House Of Love (Pedigree Mix) 4:19
04 The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode (Beat Edit) 3:37
05 Utah Saints – Something Good 3:27
06 U96 – Das Boot 3:21
07 Bizarre Inc – I’m Gonna Get You (Original Flavour Mix Radio Edit) 3:13
08 U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix – Radio Edit) 4:26
09 Stereo MCs – Connected 3:55
10 Erasure – Voulez Vous (Abba-esque Version) 5:28
11 Neneh Cherry – Money Love 3:27
12 Soul II Soul – Joy (Radio Mix) 3:58
13 Ce Ce Peniston – We Got A Love Thang 3:36
14 Shanice – I Love Your Smile (Driza Bone Single Remix) 3:44
15 Dina Carroll – Ain’t No Man 3:38
16 Incognito – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing 4:02
17 SL2 – On A Ragga Tip 3:35
18 2 Unlimited – Twilight Zone 3:09
19 Doctor Spin – Tetris 3:27
20 Rage – Run To You (Vital Organs Mix) 4:30

Side 1
01 Was (Not Was) – Shake Your Head (12″ Mix) 6:43 *
02 Undercover – Baker Street (Extended Mix) 5:01 *
03 East 17 – House Of Love (Pedigree Mix) 4:19
04 The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode (Beatmasters Club Mix) 6:07 *
05 Utah Saints – Something Good (12″ Mix) 5:49 *
06 U96 – Das Boot (Techno Version) 5:01 *
07 Bizarre Inc – I’m Gonna Get You (Original Flavour Mix Radio Edit) 3:13

Side 2
08 U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix) 6:30 *
09 Stereo MCs – Connected (Full Length) 5:03 *
10 Erasure – Voulez Vous (Abba-esque Version) 5:28
11 Neneh Cherry – Money Love (The Perfecto Mix) 5:40 *
12 Inner City – Pennies From Heaven (Kevin’s Tunnel Mix) 5:27 ^
13 Wag Ya Tail – Xpand Your Mind (Hendrix 7″ Mix) 3:09 ^
14 Soul II Soul – Joy (Brand New Heavies Remix) 5:04 *

Side 3
01 Ce Ce Peniston – We Got A Love Thang (Silky House Thang) 6:45 *
02 Shanice – I Love Your Smile (Driza Bone Club Mix) 4:15 *
03 Dina Carroll – Ain’t No Man (Lowmac 12″ Mix) 5:07 *
04 Incognito – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing 5:08 *
05 Loose Ends – Hangin’ On A String (Frankie Knuckles Radio Edit) 4:06 ^
06 Brand New Heavies – Don’t Let It Go To Your Head (12″ Version) 4:20 ^
07 Innocence – One Love In My Lifetime (7″ Edit) 3:45 ^

Side 4
08 KWS – Rock Your Baby (Boogaloo Investigator Mix) 3:14 ^
09 Salt ‘N’ Pepa – Start Me Up (Radio Edit) 3:30 ^
10 SL2 – On A Ragga Tip (Original Mix) 4:21 *
11 Messiah featuring Precious Wilson – I Feel Love (7″ Mix) 3:51 ^
12 K-Klass – So Right (Pearl Edit) 3:38 ^
13 Bassheads – Back To The Old School (Edit) 3:40 ^
14 2 Unlimited – Twilight Zone 3:09
15 Doctor Spin – Tetris 3:27
16 Rage – Run To You (Vital Organs Mix) 4:30

* a longer version than the one on the CD.
^ an extra track that is not included on the CD.
So that means 14 of the CD’s 20 tracks appear in extended form on the vinyl version.
Six are unchanged. And the vinyl has 10 more tracks that do not appear on the CD.

Why?: The rationale for this variance has never been fully explained but it may have been an attempt to return to the original ethos of Now Dance – full length extended mixes – with an added bonus of 10 additional club tunes in their single edits. The Music Week advert of the time just made reference to a 2LP version which was positive, given the exceptionally long Now Dance ’91 wax. However I got a surprise when I checked out the tracklist on the sleeve and counted 30 tracks instead of 20.

Lets go to bed (again): The original plan was to restore Madonna’s vocals to Shake Your Head for the 1992 re-release, but she refused to grant permission, hence Kim Basinger was approached instead. However, Madonna’s restored vocals were accidentally released on double LP and cassette formats of Now Dance ’92, and entitled 12″ Mix. Which makes this nice to have despite the extremely long running time – two LPs lasting approximately 75 minutes each.

Extended: Baker Street (Extended Mix) is even more evocative. The city never sleeps. And Ebeneezer Goode (Beatmasters Club Edit) is all about the bassline. Stretch out and wait. Yes, the single edit of Something Good was created by editing down the 12″ mix to create a version for radio. The vinyl of Now Dance ’92 contains the Utah Saints’ own original full length 1992 club mix. U96’s Das Boot is now the Techno Mix. Make love not war, a dirty epic. Maximum velocity with a more industrial sound.

Bigger: U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix): You can dance to this forever. The full glory here, not the radio edit that appears on the CD. Even some of the hipster haters can tolerate this one. Take me higher. POD, 1992. Also from the same stable is Oakenfold’s transformation of Neneh Cherry’s Money Love; a widescreen production with harder breaks and scratching. Connected (Full Length) prolongs the build-up and becomes an even hazier jam. Less essential is Joy (Brand New Heavies Remix) which loses a little in translation.

Longer: Ce Ce Peniston – We Got A Love Thang (Silky House Thang) sounds exactly like it a should; a more urgent extension. I Love Your Smile (Driza Bone Club Mix) improves on the regular single mix with some subtle differences in its extra 30 seconds running time. Nigel Lowes and CJ Mackintosh are the men behind Lowmac who give Dina Carroll’s Ain’t No Man a more garage feel. Meanwhile Incognito’s Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing has no remix credit and in fact is just the looser album version faded slightly early. Elsewhere we get On A Ragga Tip (Original Mix) with its teaser introduction. Super sharp shooters.

Bonus: Inner City’s Pennies From Heaven (Kevin’s Tunnel Mix) is hard-bodied house with a full-on flavour. Not just a slight return. Now lost is Wag Ya Tail’s Xpand Your Mind. The Hendrix 7″ Mix comes with a wicked guitar sample. And there’s a most welcome re-connection with the original of the species Now Dance – The 12″ Mixes when Loose Ends’ excellent Hangin’ On A String (Frankie Knuckles Radio Edit) pops up. It’s followed by the Brand New Heavies’ cover of Jean Carne’s Don’t Let It Go Down To Year. Smooth groove heaven that Gamble and Huff would surely approve of. Cut from a similar lathe is Innocence’s One Love In My Lifetime (7″ Edit).

Extra: KWS followed up Please Don’t Go with another cover of a 70s disco classic. Rock Your Baby (Boogaloo Investigator Mix) is still fresh. Start Me Up (Radio Edit) is an under the radar effort from Salt ‘N’ Pepa; it seems the flavour was not as potent in 1992. And Messiah were robbed at gunpoint in the US. The robotic 1977 thud of I Feel Love [would The Clash approve?] as filtered through the rave machine of ’92. Come together and let a dove soar to the sounds of K Klass and the blinding So Right (Pearl Edit). Lastly it’s Bassheads’ Back To The Old School (Edit) with its brilliant keyboard opening. A rare party gem. How’s everybody feeling out there?

Guide 1 – extended: So you want those vinyl-only tracks on CD? Here’s a rough map:
Undercover – Baker Street (Extended Mix). Dance Max 9.
Utah Saints – Something Good (12″ Mix). Only For The Headstrong.
U96 – Das Boot (Techno Version). Dance Now 3.
U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix). The Rave Gener8tor II.
Stereo MCs – Connected (Full Length). The Voice Of Dance 2.
Ce Ce Peniston – We Got A Love Thang (Silky House Thang). Body Heat: Maxi Dance.
Shanice – I Love Your Smile (Driza Bone Club Mix). New Beats #1.
I’m drawing blanks on various artists compilations featuring Was (Not Was), The Shamen, Neneh Cherry, Soul II Soul, Dina Carroll, Incognito and SL2. Check out their own releases.

Guide 2 – extras: These gems can be found on the following compilation CDs:
Inner City – Pennies From Heaven (Kevin’s Tunnel Mix). Maxi Dance Sensation 7.
Wag Ya Tail – Xpand Your Mind (Hendrix 7″ Mix). Energy Rush.
Brand New Heavies – Don’t Let It Go To Your Head (12″ Version). Best Of Acid Jazz 2.
KWS – Rock Your Baby (Boogaloo Investigator Mix). Big Dance Hits Of ’92.
Salt ‘N’ Pepa – Start Me Up (Radio Edit). Formel Eins – Movin’ On.
Messiah featuring Precious Wilson – I Feel Love (7″ Mix). Big Dance Hits Of ’92.
K-Klass – So Right (Pearl Edit). Dance Energy – Feel The Rhythm.
Bassheads – Back To The Old School (Edit). Rave Anthems – Relive The Rave!
No joy with Loose Ends and Innocence.

“You think you’re tired now
But wait until three”

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16 Responses to Now Dance ’92 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1992)

  1. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 23 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1992) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  2. Pingback: Now Dance ’93 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1993) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  3. Pingback: Wicked!! (EMI, 1992) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  4. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 1992: The Millennium Series (EMI / Virgin / Universal, 1999) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  5. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Me again! Picking up on an interesting comment about a track I’ve just replied about. Ce Ce Peniston’s Love Thang. I know you’re not the greatest fan but I like how you feel the 12″ version fits better. I agree. The American 7″ is about 40 seconds longer than the UK version and, for me, is a better radio edit.

    I still rate it as her best. I’m In The Mood second and Crazy Love third.

    Hope all is well during these times.

  6. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Hi Paul,

    I love this album. I remember buying it new at the time, wondered why the tracks were running into each other and took it back to Woolies and amazingly got my money back, thinking there was a fault with the cd. I hadn’t discovered Dino at the time.

    There’s been much debate about “extra” tracks on certain formats. Here’s a weird one for you.

    W/E 14/11/92 – Now Dance 92
    W/E 21/11/92 – Hard Fax 2
    W/E 28/11/92 – Rave 92

    All compilations where there were single CDs but double LPs. Now Dance 92 and Rave 92 increased the number of tracks on the vinyl versions. Hard Fax 2 didn’t increase the number of tracks. Instead it edited 28 tracks onto a cd. Badly. The vinyl version is what the double cd should have been.

    Strange that 3 wildly different companies should do such similar things.

    Not sure if you’ve reviewed Hard Fax as a 2 album series. Two great albums but more questions than answers!

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Andrew – now that is interesting info. Unusual step – unless, there was a particularly attractive deal at the pressing plant (we’ll press two LPs for the price of one) and the labels saw an opportunity to get some mileage out of a fading format. I haven’t reviewed the other two.

  7. Andrew Chinnock says:

    I’m back again!

    As I’ve mentioned previously this evening, I’ve been recording some vinyl onto PC. This vinyl pressing is quite poor, very bass light and quite feeble compared with the LP versions of Hard Fax 2 and Rave 92 that I’ve recorded. Running time for each side is about 10 minutes more than the other two compilations.

    That begs a simple question. Why on earth would Ashley Abram undermine the idea of a double disc of 12″ mixes etc by putting them on vinyl, seriously reducing the sound quality of them in order to squeeze them on? Hard Fax 2 on vinyl is a good listen. This isn’t. If this had been a double cd, everyone’s a winner. The single cd was a disaster.

  8. Andrew Chinnock says:

    A further comment – on the cd there are a few subtle edits (House of Love, Tetris). Why? CD running time wasn’t up in any way. No vinyl targets to meet. Odd stuff indeed.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Andrew – I have ripped this one as well – length wise it’s really stretched although the rip sounds ok. You could argue that all the previous Now Dances (with the exception of Now Dance ’91) also undermined the concept as they all cram c. five extended tunes onto one side of vinyl. It’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t wait for compilations to properly come out on CD. I have bought vinyl since 1981 and CDs since 1986 but for certain releases, the latter suit much better. I really don’t miss those days of 65/70 minute LPs on one record – I started DJing in 1989 and trying to play tunes off LPs like this was a serious challenge.

      On the CD edits – agree – doesn’t make sense. Nothing to hold them back. Although Hits 7 and Hits 8 have plenty early fades with no disc space pressure – it’s like they’re dictated by vinyl running times.

  9. Martin Davis says:

    Thanks for another interesting review. I didn’t ever think that there were any differences between the vinyl and the CD version.

    Out of interest, does the cassette version of the album match the vinyl version (with the extended tracks) or the CD version? Got a feeling I have the cassette somewhere but not 100% certain.

  10. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Hi Paul, yet another reply regarding this great compilation and possibly an answer to a question I pondered a while ago. If you listen to the start of ‘House of Love’ by East 17, 6 seconds into the track you hear the faint sax solo found at the start of the extended version of Undercover’s ‘Baker Street’. We covered similar ground on ‘The Mega Rave’ with a hint of ‘I’m Gonna Get You’ infiltrating ‘Broken Wings’ as a result of it following ‘Run To You’ on Now 23.

    Might that mean that Ashley Abram recorded his compilations from cd back then? Rather than keeping originals, he simply reused those tracks as compiled on future compilations.

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