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  • Rob


I was watching the reruns of Top Of The Pops on BBC 4 last Friday while having a couple of drinks and 'Saturday Love' by Cherrelle featuring Alexander O'Neal came on which started a conversation about my having one of his albums on CD and how I haven't listened to it in years. That led to a scouting expedition on eBay followed by a drunken purchase and then today this arrived!

O'Neal released the album 'Hearsay' in 1987 it is a concept album loosely based around a party at O'Neal's house and covers themes of trying to bag off, gossiping women, fake people and nagging exes! It was 40 minutes of sweet soul and power pop that spawned the hit 'Criticize'. The LP was a critical and commercial success.

Building on the success of this album, O'Neal released a remix LP called 'Hearsay - All Mixed Up' the following year which included extended and reworked versions of some of the tracks from 'Hearsay'. This record wasn't as warmly received but do you know what, I couldn't care less, I love it!

Christmas 1988 I got a Philips hi-fi system for Christmas, a record player, a mad graphic equaliser that lit up like Blackpool, twin cassettes and one of those new-fangled CD players. I also was given a pile of discs which must have cost a fortune at the time, one of which was 'Hearsay - All Mixed Up' which I hammered.

There were only 10 tracks on the CD and just 7 songs in total as there are multiple versions of the biggest hits 'Criticize', 'Fake' and '(What Can I Say) To Make You Love Me'. This vinyl version only has 8 songs, presumably due to space constraints as some of the remixes are over 7 minutes long.

So what is included on the record? There is a bouncy house mix of 'Fake' courtesy of Keith Cohen (previously reworked tracks by The Bangles, Luther Vandross, Paula Abdul and many more), he also creates a great version of '(What Can I Say) To Make You Love Me'.

Prolific remixer Ben Liebrand (Phil Collins, David Bowie, Yazoo and many more) is on hand to create a cracking version of 'Criticize' complete with sampled dialogue from the nagging girlfriend. Elsewhere there are extended versions of 'The Lovers' and the track 'Never Knew Love Like This' which features Cherrelle who started all this a week ago.

I know this album won't be for everyone but it is very close to my heart. A few beats into the first track and back to being a 15-year-old fascinated by the concept of the remix, hungry for more, making endless mix tapes for friends.

Tracks To Try: 'Fake 88 (House Mix)', '(What Can I Say) To Make You Love Me (Hateful Club Mix)', 'Criticize (Ben Liebrand Remix)', 'The Lovers (Extended Version)'.


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