The companion CD to Now This Is Music 6 – Volume 1 shares a similar sleeve to the first instalment but the artists are changed to reflect the content therein. This is in contrast to Now This Is Music 5 – Volume 1 and Now This Is Music – Volume 2 which looked exactly alike aside from the number denoting the part.
Eight of the compilation’s 14 tracks had already featured on UK compilations such as Now That’s What I Call Music 8 [Huey Lewis and The News], Now That’s What I Call Music 9 [Freddie Mercury, Housemartins, Blow Monkeys, Ward Brothers, Gary Moore] and the The Hits Album 6 [Starship, Carly Simon]. Three of the Now 9 songs had not been included on its truncated 16 track CD version so their appearance here is very welcome.
The Great Pretender is an underwhelming start; one of Freddie’s low points. Order is immediately restored with The Housemartins sublime acappella #1 Caravan Of Love. Lionel Richie’s Love Will Conquer All is exceptionally smooth with intricate chords and transitions. We go stateside for Starship’s slick big-budget Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now and Huey Lewis’ charming Stuck With You. Bruce Willis takes a break from Moonlight with a competent cover of Respect Yourself while the renaissance of Steve Winwood continues with the optimistic Back In The High Life Again. Carly Simon’s elegant Coming Around Again concludes this Atlantic 252 wave of sound but marks are deducted for using the album versions of the Lionel Richie and Steve Winwood tracks.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way is the Blow Monkeys at their best; the epitome of ’80s cool with a killer saxophone solo. This is followed by Chico DeBarge’s vital body rock of Talk To Me. In a curious twist, we go right back to my roots with track 11 – In Tua Nua’s stirring Seven Into The Sea. Their name translates as The New Tribe and the single reached #24 in the Dutch charts. Meanwhile The Christians arrive on the world stage with their soul and gospel-tinged Forgotten Town. To Barnsley then and The Ward Brothers. Dave, Derek and Graham. Their richly-melodic Cross That Bridge was produced by Don Was and stalled at #32 in the UK; it remains one of my favourite sophisti-pop tunes. Last man standing is Gary Moore and his anodyne rocker Over The Hills And Far Away. I’ll leave you with the words of Cathal Coughlan and Microdisney: Goodbye it’s 1987.
Housemartins – Caravan Of Love
Blow Monkeys – It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way
Lest we forget
In Tua Nua – Seven Into The Sea