Now Dance – Volume 2 (EVA, 1987)

Now Dance 2

Now Dance 2 r

Review
The second volume in the Dutch Now Dance series was released during the spring of 1987. While Now Dance had focused on 12″ mixes, this new album featured standard or 7″ versions with a handful of extended cuts. The vinyl edition contained one 14 track LP bundled with four long mixes on a separate 12″. The CD loses two numbers from the LP – Chico DeBarge’s Talk To Me and General Kane’s Crack Killed Applejack. The former can be found on EVA’s Now This Is Music 6 – Volume 2 which I’ll be reviewing next month.

Five of the CD’s 16 tracks were included on Now That’s What I Call Music 8 [Duran Duran, Grace Jones, Communards, Jaki Graham and Swing Out Sister]. The latter also included four more songs that appear in alternative guises on Now Dance – Volume 2 [Mel and Kim, Cameo, Pet Shop Boys and Jermaine Stewart]. It’s a funk ‘n’ brass beginning with the Nile Rodgers produced Notorious, one of Duran Duran’s most underrated singles. It’s followed by Five Star’s sparkling If I Say Yes [sadly not the 7″ edit but the slightly inferior Silk And Steel take] and Robbie Nevil’s soul-fuelled club banger C’est La Vie.

“Gimme a beat!”

Janet Jackson’s Control is still one of my favourite LPs of all time. The whole package fascinates: the promotional videos, the three remix albums, the single edits. Nasty is fabulous, a heavy drum production from the genius team of Jam and Lewis. Grace Jones is next, the difficult groove of I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect For You) before the jammin’ goodness of the Pointer Sisters’ Goldmine. The version of Mel and Kim’s Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend) runs longer than the single mix but shorter than the FLM cut. Perfect pitch. Familiarity breeds contentment on The Communards’ disco juice of Don’t Leave Me This Way and Jaki Graham’s addictive feelgood rhythms of Step Right Up.

I bought a lot of Street Sounds albums in the 1980s. Street Sounds 16 featured the amazing Extensive Remix of Total Contrast’s The River. The slimmed-down 3:32 mix is a taut jam of jagged and busy beats. They also appeared on Dance Aid and went to form, produce and write for Tongue ‘n’ Cheek. Swing Out Sister’s breakthrough was Breakout; it still hasn’t lost its freshness and vitality. Meanwhile the Gap Band’s joyous Big Fun remains a song you dance to all night. Each and every day. A funk delight for the ages.

Four Special 12″ Dance Mixes: Cameo’s Word Up (Remix Version) is one ill beast. Stunning funk interlude. Disappointingly the Sly Fox track is mislabeled – instead of Let’s Go All The Way (Multi Mix) we get the standard 5:06 album version. The 7″ mix is on Now This Is Music 5 – Volume 1. Julian Mendelssohn created The Full Horror of Suburbia for Parlophone / 12 R 6140 and did a magnificent job. Sweeping, orchestral, majestic and totally epic. Please was another classic album of 1986 and the subsequent remix LP Disco have remained permanent fixtures on my turntable and CD player ever since. We end with a nod to the UK series’ Now Dance ’86 – The 12″ Mixes: the bouncing fluff of Jermaine Stewart’s We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off (Remix Version). Fun, fun, fun.

Favourite tracks
Janet Jackson – Nasty

Pet Shop Boys – Suburbia (Full Horror Mix)

Lest we forget
Duran Duran – Notorious

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