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Simply Irresistible: Edsel Plans Expanded Robert Palmer Two-Fers

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The point is irrefutable! Edsel is releasing two double-disc sets containing all of the late, great Robert Palmer’s albums for EMI, with a few audio extras.

One of the best blue-eyed soul singers from across the pond, Palmer had been well-known among pop gurus for his eclectic discography on Island Records in the 1970s and 1980s, including hits like “Every Kinda People” and “Bad Case of Loving You.” His big break in the U.S., however, came when Andy and John Taylor, the guitarist and bassist for Duran Duran, hired Palmer to sing as part of supergroup The Power Station with CHIC drummer Tony Thompson (and bassist Bernard Edwards in the producer’s chair). The Power Station’s “Some Like It Hot” and a hard-driving cover of T. Rex’s “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” were U.S. Top 10 hits, which inspired Palmer to bow out of a Power Station tour and get back into the studio.

The result, Riptide (1986), was his last record for Island and a continuation of The Power Station sound (with all but John Taylor, who’d continued on with Duran Duran, joining in the sessions). Armed with another clutch of hits and an unforgettable, model-filled promo video for chart-topper “Addicted to Love,” Palmer left for EMI on a high note. His first album there, Heavy Nova, released two years later, was more of the same eclectic rock sound with another peppy single and video, the U.S. No. 2 hit “Simply Irresistible.” Heavy Nova also included U.K. Top 10 hit “She Makes My Day” and a cover of the Michael Omartian co-composition “Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming,” made famous by Jermaine and Michael Jackson on Jermaine’s Dynamite album in 1984.

As the 1990s dawned, Palmer drew less from the bag of tricks he’d dug into on the last two albums and opted for back-to-basics soul (and even some eclectic standards!) on 1990’s Don’t Explain, an ambitious double-length album bolstered by U.K. hits “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” with UB40 and a medley of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “I Want You.” 1992’s Ridin’ High leaned even harder on standards (including three tracks that appeared on Don’t Explain), covering the likes of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Witchcraft.” 1994’s Honey saw him return to a more soul-oriented rock sound, with originals “You Blow Me Away” and “Know by Now” as well as a cover of Devo’s “Girl U Want” making minor U.K. chart impact. Palmer briefly regrouped with The Power Station for 1996’s ill-conceived Living in Fear (marred by the failing sobriety of John Taylor, in turn replaced by Bernard Edwards, who tragically passed away during a CHIC tour in Japan that year) and released several more records independently before a heart attack silenced his great voice at the too-young age of 54.

Edsel’s double-disc reissues feature all four EMI albums and bonus tracks between three of the four albums, including remixes and non-LP tracks, and new packaging including new essays and single artwork. Look for these in the U.K. on January 14 and a week later as U.S. imports. Order links and full track details are after the jump.

Heavy Nova…Plus / Don’t Explain…Plus (Edsel EDSK-7024 (U.K.), 2012)

(Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Disc 1: Heavy Nova (originally released as EMI EMD-1007 (U.K.)/EMI-Manhattan E1-48057 (U.S.), 1988) plus bonus tracks

  1. Simply Irresistible
  2. More Than Ever
  3. Change His Ways
  4. Disturbing Behaviour
  5. Early in the Morning
  6. It Could Happen to You
  7. She Makes My Day
  8. Between Us
  9. Casting a Spell
  10. Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming
  11. Simply Irresistible (Extended Version) (12″ A-side – EMI 12EM-61, 1988)
  12. Nova (B-side to “Simply Irresistible” – EMI EM-61, 1988)
  13. Simply Irresistible (E.T. Remix) (B-side to “Change His Ways” CD single – EMI CDEM-85, 1989)
  14. Change His Ways (Wed 9PM Mix) (12″ A-side – EMI 12EM-85, 1989)
  15. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Extended Version) (12″ A-side – EMI 12EM-167, 1990)
  16. Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You (12″ Remix) (12″ A-side – EMI 12EM-173, 1990)
  17. Happiness (12″ Remix) (12″ A-side – EMI 12EM-186, 1990)

Disc 2: Don’t Explain (originally released as EMI EMDX-1018 (U.K.)/EMI-Manhattan E1-95464 (U.S.), 1990) plus bonus tracks

  1. Your Mother Should Have Told You
  2. Light-Years
  3. You Can’t Get Enough of a Good Thing
  4. Dreams to Remember
  5. You’re Amazing
  6. Mess Around
  7. Happiness
  8. History
  9. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (with UB40)
  10. Housework
  11. Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You
  12. Don’t Explain
  13. Aeroplane
  14. People Will Say We’re in Love
  15. Not a Word
  16. Top 40
  17. You’re So Desirable
  18. You’re My Thrill
  19. Deep End (B-side to “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” – EMI EM-167, 1990)
  20. Oh Yeah (B-side to “Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You” – EMI EM-173, 1990)
  21. All Shook Up (B-side to “Happiness” – EMI EM-186, 1990)

Ridin’ High / Honey…Plus (Edsel EDSK-7025 (U.K.), 2012)

(Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Disc 1: Ridin’ High (originally released as EMI 07777 80543 2 0 (U.K.), 1992)

  1. Love Me or Leave Me
  2. (Love is) The Tender Trap
  3. You’re My Thrill *
  4. Want You More
  5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside
  6. Aeroplane *
  7. Witchcraft
  8. What a Little Moonlight Can Do
  9. Don’t Explain *
  10. Chance
  11. Goody Goody
  12. Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me
  13. Honeysuckle Rose
  14. No, Not Much
  15. Ridin’ High
  16. Hard Head

* indicates track was previously released on Don’t Explain

Disc 2: Honey (originally released as EMI 72438 30301 2 5 (U.K./U.S.), 1994) and bonus tracks

  1. Honey A
  2. Honey B
  3. You’re Mine
  4. Know by Now
  5. Nobody But You
  6. Love Takes Time
  7. Honeymoon
  8. You Blow Me Away
  9. Close to the Edge
  10. Closer to the Edge
  11. Girl U Want
  12. Wham Bam Boogie
  13. Big Trouble
  14. Dreams Come True
  15. Know by Now (Pinaxa Mix)
  16. In the Stars
  17. Blow Me Away (Remix Edit)
  18. Blow Me Away (Alge Mix)

Tracks 15-16 from EMI CD single CDEM 343 (U.K.), 1994. Tracks 17-18 from EMI CD single 72438 81892 2 4 (U.K.), 1994.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 2, 2013 at 15:07

2 Responses

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  1. I’ve enjoyed all of these albums since they were new releases. “Honey” should have been successful in the US since it was a return to classy adult top 40 pop/rock after the standards on Ridin’ High, but for some reason it wasn’t. Of course Honey also had lots of other styles thrown in it as well, from bossa nova (“Honeymoon”) to metal (“Big Trouble”). This was similar to the range of styles found on his biggest and best album Riptide.


    November 9, 2012 at 16:29

  2. ….and no information from Edsel about re-mastering, Mike? I don’t profess to know why it is that Artists Back-Catalogues are open to being chopped up and issued piece-meal, but it’s very frustrating to see Palmer’s first two solo albums NOT included in the recent Culture Factory releases – with no clear information on re-mastering – and now a gap where his outstanding Island albums aren’t featured in any re-mastering//re-released form… yet, I guess. Am also annoyed by the Rhino Joni Box – delighted by the whole grouping of the albums I really want, and 10 albums for $4 apiece, is great value for money – but I’d happily pay double for a quality re-mastered set & so far, I still haven’t seen any info to suggest these have been re-mastered at all! Maybe someone can educate me on the sound quality and the complications surrounding Palmer’s and Mitchell’s BAck-Catalogues?

    Des Cotter

    November 10, 2012 at 03:13

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