Album review: BLACK – Wonderful Life

 

 

 

 

Universal (Released 15th April 2013)

Black’s ‘Wonderful Life’ was originally released back in 1987 (this reissue is the CD version that had fifteen songs, the vinyl version only featured ten songs) and of course the title track was a hit single, along with ‘Sweetest Smile’. The re-issue adds a second disc of b-sides and that staple of the 80’s, the 12” mix.

Black is singer/songwriter Colin Vearncombe and he still records and tours now, albeit under his own name. Although on this album Dave Dix plays a pivotal role in adding the synths, keys and programming so important in backing the vocals. The original album features the aforementioned title track, a song so understated in its melody yet such an unforgettable tune. His vocal is melodious and a joy to hear on a song like ‘Everything Is Coming Up Roses’.

The jazzy pop of ‘I’m Not Afraid’ can sound a little dated but then music is of a time and place. ‘Sweetest Smile’ sounds great even now, with its swirling Vangelis like synths, sultry sax and another 80’s staple the fretless bass.

The bonus disc adds the original version of ‘Wonderful Life’ and its 12” version which was released as a limited release on Ugly Man records. There is not a massive difference in the versions, mainly in the sound. B-side ‘My Lover’ and ‘Life Calls’ are very good indeed and could have made the original album, perhaps instead of ‘Finder’ a song that for some reason has me hitting the skip button!

Nice little re-issue from Universal here of a classic 80’s album that appeals to fans of pop and of course fans who will be keen to have the second disc.

***1/2

Jason Ritchie


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