Autumn 1986: Bärenstark! was the sixth of the High Life series to be released on CD and the first to include all the songs from the vinyl version – a total of 16 tracks.
Cast your mind back to the summer of ’86. Madonna + 80s rap + two Dutch dudes. No holiday gets better than that. Step right to it with Five Star and the imperial R&B of Find The Time. As smooth as silky with a steely edge. Rock your shoulders to the best choreography and the hottest steps. This could equally refer to Janet Jackson and the funk perfection of Nasty (Edit of Remix). Also worth checking out is Yello’ Goldrush and its zany video: “You’ve got that nugget in your hand. . . clouds, love, stars colours. . . rush”.
Bananarama’s More Than Physical was their follow-up to Venus. Unfortunately this sexy funk beast stalled at #41 in the UK charts. It also featured in the sensual British film Rita, Sue and Bob Too which starred Michelle Holmes and Siobhan Finneran. The song is featured in the scene where the girls are babysitting for Bob and Michelle; they dance around the living room while the video to More Than Physical plays on the television. Elsewhere the Moody Blues sound oddly out of time here; The Wildest Dreams would be more suited in Flight Of The Doves. And Beagle Music Ltd’s Ice In The Sunshine is a head-melting mess. Order is restored with Falco’s rapping delight The Sound Of Musik.
Time for some tropical new wave on Trio Rio’s New York-Rio-Tokyo before going into the light Chris De Burgh’s edgy Fire On The Water [not released in the UK / Ireland – we got Fatal Hesitation instead]. Samantha Fox’s blistering Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me) is rock for the ages and showcases her truly versatile talents. Don’t forget the country twang of Hold On Tight that was included on her debut album. Animotion stay in the red zone with the sleek and sinister beat of the obsessive I Want You while Gwen Guthrie’s Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent remains one of the year’s quality soul tunes.
Johnny Nash’s Baby You’re Mine plunges the lift right through to the shaft. It’s followed by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin tackling The Locomotion. A sort of slowed-down death march that doesn’t really go anywhere. Finally Scottish pop combo Hipsway formed in 1984 with ex-Altered Images bassist Jon McElhone and Graham Skinner on vocals. They signed to to Mercury and Ask the Lord was their second 45 reaching #72 in October 1985. The breakthrough came with The Honeythief during spring ’86 but it’s the former that’s the better tune; sprawling sophisti-soul with a driving rhythm. Heavenly pop hit.
Bananarama – More Than Physical
Five Star – Find The Time
Lest we forget
Hipsway – Ask The Lord
For great pop, follow the bear.
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