Now Dance – Summer ’94 or NOD 13 was the series’ third release of the year. It’s a double CD containing “40 sizzling dance hits”. Curiously Polygram were off the pitch. The main plugs on the front cover are M People, Haddaway, D:Ream, Cappella, CJ Lewis, Tony Di Bart, Jocelyn Brown and Kym Mazelle, Maxx, Blast, Reel 2 Real, 2 Unlimited and Eternal.
CD1: Dawn Penn’s slowburning reggae toaster You Don’t Love Me (No No No) melds with CJ Lewis sugary skank of Sweets For My Sweet. Maxx’s Get-A-Way is the sound and vision of old skool MTV; a totally awesome bomb. Eurodance continued as Haddaway rocks our hearts while M People’s acid jazz princess Heather Small kills the funky Renaissance. Next comes the sound of May 1994: Tony Di Bart’s mysterious and atmospheric Real Thing. And Crazy Man’s brooding slo-mo Italo of Crazy Man is followed by Gloworm’s divine Carry Me Home. More World Cup memories; this time it’s Orlando. Carefree relaxation. Kym Mazelle and Jocelyn Brown’s Enough Is Enough comes with a Paradise Garage vibe.
The second Real Thing comes from 2 Unlimited; circus techno which moves into Club House’s frantic Light My Fire. Euphoria strikes again for Cappella with the superb Move On Baby. We stay in the Euro zone with the slick rhymes and rhythms of Omen III’s Magic Affair. After D:Ream’s uplifting UR The Best Thing, the ladies Eternal serve up poptastic R&B on Just A Step From Heaven. And then there’s Gabrielle’s gorgeous Because Of You, which, like Doop, comes fresh from Now That’s What I Call Music 27. Bitty McLean slows things down on Dedicated To The One I Love while SWV throw down some crucial jack swing on Anything from the Above The Rim soundtrack. Bring on the dancing girls for Urban Cookie Collective’s manic High On A Happy Vibe. Do the Charleston with Doop.
CD2: Lets move to a Reel 2 Real cacophony. Groove to Loveland’s uptempo Let The Music (Lift You Up) and break into a sweat with Bobby Brown’s Two Can Play That Game. K-Klass return with What You’re Missing but it lacks the edge of their earlier work. The goosebumps pop up for Degrees Of Motion and the pulsating Shine On. Atlantic Ocean’s Waterfall gets a second run-out, having already featured on Now Dance ’94 – Volume 2 – along with Move It. And Alex Party’s hypnotic floor-filler Read My Lips is so good, they included it twice [see Now Dance ’94 – Volume 1 where it’s titled differently]. Twist and shout to the soul tip of Judy Cheek and Carleen Anderson while expressing yourself as Black Machine’s How Gee bursts with killer funk and nifty sax breaks.
Now I’m A Cowboy: The Grid’s summer club banger Swamp Thing is molten southern comfort. Almost inevitably it’s followed by Bravado’s twanging Harmonica Man. Good times. Slip inside this house to JX and the STP-soaked Son Of A Gun. Then it’s husky hip house from Disco Anthem with Scream before Motiv 8’s stunning Rockin’ For Myself. Opus III blasts in with the biblical When You Made The Mountain. It’s no Halcyon. There’s an old favourite in tow as Junior Boys Own tear up Machine’s NY disco anthem There But For The Grace Of God. Heller and Farley magic. Meanwhile Level 42 are guaranteed to rekindle old funk memories on All Over You. The O.T. Quartet’s Hold That Sucker Down builds like a skyscraper, up and up. Mmmm, I love it. We say goodnight with a proper classic: Awesome 3’s Don’t Go ’94. Perfect bassline and a hands in the air smasher.
Alex Party – Read My Lips (Saturday Night Party)
Fire Island – There But For The Grace Of God
SWV – Anything (Old Skool Party Mix)
Level 42 – All Over You
Awesome 3 – Don’t Go (’94 Remix)
Lest we forget
Bravado – Harmonica Man
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Polygram left the Now Dance franchise after Now Dance 94 vol 2, presumably to concentrate more on their Dance Zone series. After this there appears to be a few examples of Emi/Virgin tracks appearing on a later Dance Zone, while Polygram tracks are a bit of a rarity on Now Dance. Not sure if that makes them stronger in giving them more of a different identity, less similarity when releases occur at the same time, or weakness in less bigger hits on the albums. Probably the former.
I remember the label credits changing then. Think it’s good for us fans (who buy multiple compilations), less crossover with the same tracks appearing on everything.
HI Paul, after thinking about this last night, I decided to have a listen to this today. It was a compilation that passed me by originally and it was about 20 years after its release that I finally picked it up. Unusually slow start with two reggae openers and there are quite a few older tracks on this. However it fills a few gaps and the rarities on here are generally excellent. It was far better recorded than its predecessor. It outsold Dance Zone 2 but lost the summer battle to Telstar’s Ultimate Dance Album (which I never really liked).
However, I can’t work out Abram’s compiling style for the year. Vol 2 and 3 of Dance to the Max were poorly done, as was Now 27, yet most of the Now Dances (bar vol 2) were fine.
Hi Andrew – yeah, this one gets summer plays here. Usually on drives. I wonder was it case of too many projects on the go that caused Abram’s inconsistencies around this time?
Pass. Abram, in the Best Dance Album series usually found a way early on of editing a slow start. Jump Around, Don’t Turn Around being some of the cases. He never did the same with any other series. Dance to the Max copied the Best Dance Album format. Shame as he ruined many albums.
Another thought is that Best Dance Album in the World 95 could also be considered Now Dance 95 Best Of, but one franchise was more valuable at the time.
Another spot here, Hold That Sucker Down is lifted from Dance to the Max 2. For the first 2 seconds or so, you can faintly hear the kick from the end of Real Love by The Time Frequency.
Thanks Andrew – that practice really was rife