So re-buying the Pretenders' first four albums -- remastered and expanded -- wasn't enough fun for me. (Ditto for Blondie and Culture Club.) This week I got the first six Bananarama albums, gloriously reissued and expanded by music-loving Rhino Records in 24-bit mastering with the complete catalog of the girls' b-sides and non-album tracks from over the years, along with remixes and single versions, sprinkled on the respective albums. Imported yet still only $10.99 each, this is the kind of CD I can feel happy (re)buying. It gives the artists new income (well, hopefully) and makes me smile. If Dolly Mixture had ever caught on they may well have been Britain's most successful group ever. But that honor was saved for Banana Girls Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey, and I don't think my childhood would have been half as much fun without them.
Since these six albums came out between 1983-1992, Bananarama (as a duo) have released three more albums: 1995's dance-friendly "Ultra Violet"; 2001's disasterous French-only "Exotica"; and 2005's return to form, "Drama." During the same time founding member Siobhan Fahey has gone on to do considerably more interesting things, first as the leader of Shakespear's Sister ("You're History," "Heroine," "Goodbye Cruel World," "My 16th Apology" and the worldwide No. 1 "Stay"). More recently she's been a prolific songwriter and artist, usually making her solo material available only on her Web site, siobhanfahey.com. Without the constraints of record executives and labels, she's tapped into a dark, glam-inspired side that is like nothing else out there these days. Occasionally, she lends her voice to slightly more mainstream projects, like Agent Provocateur (aka Erreur Fatale)'s cover of "She's Lost Control" (the old Joy Division song). Siobhan -- gorgeous as ever and sounding great -- and Dita van Teese starred in the video that pokes fun at the Bush White House (below):