Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Song of the Day: 'The Maximum Damage' by Mari Wilson

My devotion to the Queen of the Beehives is well-documented. ("Just What I Always Wanted" was without question the most delightful single of the 1980s!) But as was the case with the recent Blondie box set, I can only be so excited about the upcoming Mari Wilson collection, which feels at least 20 years late. Set for release on Nov. 25, Cherry Red's "Mari Wilson: The Neasden Queen of Soul, 3CD Box Set" brings together Mari's best-loved material from her time signed to the Compact Organization spanning her classic debut, "Showpeople," and 10 single releases over the period of 1980-85. 

According to the label, the set features a 24-page booklet with sleeve notes written by Mari and a U.K. discography, together with previously unseen photos. The newly designed front cover uses an iconic photograph taken by Adrian Boot. 

CD 1 is centered around the 12-track debut album "Showpeople," originally released in 1983 plus four bonus tracks: the 12” mixes of the singles "Just What I Always Wanted" her 1982 top 10 hit, "Cry Me a River" a top 30 hit in 1983, "Baby It’s True" and the soul classic "Ain’t That Peculiar," the latter two of which for the first time on CD. 

CD 2 features the single versions of eight A-sides, nine B-sides and five rarities, including seven non-album singles, "Love Man," "Dance Card," "Beat the Beat," "Baby It’s True," "Ain’t That Peculiar," "Let’s Make This Last" and the theme tune to the 1985 film "Dance With a Stranger": "Would You Dance With a Stranger?"

CD 3 includes eight new remixes by the original writer/producer Tot Taylor, ably assisted by Joe Dworniak using the original multi-track tapes. Tracks remixed include the A-sides "Beat the Beat" and "Baby It’s True" plus the B-sides "Glamourpuss," "Ecstasy," "Rave," "She’s Had Enough of You" and "You Look So Good." 
I already own nearly everything here, save for a remix or two I'm not particularly keen to acquire. But as with Blondie's "Against the Odds," the release may add the classic Mari catalog to streaming services, which will be handy for me, and perhaps, perhaps, perhaps help expose new people to her wonderful brand of music. 

Today's SOTD was the B-side to her cover of "Ain't That Peculiar," which I purchased in high school at the original Zia Records in Tempe when it was on Mill Avenue, a stone's throw from Roads to Moscow. Although Mari's cover of the classic Marvin Gaye song was a winner, I always thought the less-obvious "The Maximum Damage" had hit potential of its own. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Mr. Satan A. Chilles said...

Thank you! Many great memories of wearing the Showpeople vinyl out, I had to buy an extra copy when I found one in a cutout bin years later. Showpeople is one of the best Neo-Motown '60s pop albums of the '80s, a treasure from start to end. It's truly 'wonderful to be with', an instant party. Irresistible.!