On the heels of 2014’s career-spanning box set The Lot and the single-disc anthology The Best, Omnivore Recordings continues to unfold the solo story of Queen’s Roger Taylor with two reissues due on March 24. On that date, the label will unveil expanded editions of Taylor’s first two solo albums, 1981’s Fun in Space and 1984’s Strange Frontier.
Fun in Space found Taylor truly striking out on his own, as all of the sounds heard on the record were performed and played by him save “approximately 50 per cent of keyboards” handled by engineer David Richards. He also produced and wrote the entire album. Fun in Space wouldn’t have been unrecognizable to those familiar with Taylor’s songwriting contributions to Queen, but the overall vibe was less theatrical and more purely rock-and-roll – in all its forms. Highlights (which can be sampled on Omnivore’s The Best) include the Police-meets-Steely Dan-style “Future Management (You Don’t Need Nobody Else),” the amped-up adaptation of The Parliaments’ funky “I Wanna Testify” and the rockabilly-inspired “Let’s Get Crazy.”
In addition to the CD release, Fun in Space LP will be available on vinyl for the very first time since its original issue in 1981. The first run will be pressed on clear vinyl (with standard black vinyl to follow) and contains a reproduction of the original album’s full color inner sleeve with lyrics. The CD version, housed in a digipak, adds three bonus tracks to the original sequence: both sides of Taylor’s 1977 solo single (“I Wanna Testify” b/w “Turn on the TV”) and the U.K. single version of the album’s “My Country I & II” (issued as “My Country”).
For his 1984 sophomore album Strange Frontier, Taylor again handled the lion’s share of vocals and instrumentation, but also welcomed Messrs. Mercury, May and Deacon of Queen, as well as Rick Parfitt of Status Quo. He produced Frontier himself along with David Richards and Reinhold Mack, a.k.a. Mack. The prevailing electronic production style of the 1980s is more in evidence on the tracks from Frontier, including the catchy, driving “Man on Fire” with May’s rhythm guitar and the sleek ballad “Beautiful Dreams.” Taylor also found room for covers of Bruce Springsteen (“Racing in the Street”) and Bob Dylan (“Masters of War”).
Strange Frontier will be reissued on translucent red vinyl for its first pressing (with standard black vinyl for future runs) with all original packaging elements replicated. The CD, housed in a digipak, adds five bonus tracks: remixes of the album’s singles “Man on Fire,” “I Cry for You (Love, Hope and Confusion)” and “Strange Frontier.” It also contains the B-side of the title track, “Two Sharp Pencils (Get Bad).”
The material on these two CDs is currently only available in the 10-CD/1-DVD box set The Lot; these reissues mark the first time the remastered and expanded individual albums have been released outside of that set. Both titles are due from Omnivore Recordings on March 24!
- No Violins
- Laugh or Cry
- Future Management
- My Country I & II
- Good Times Are Now
- Magic Is Loose
- Interlude in Constantinople
- Fun in Space
- I Wanna Testify (EMI (U.K.) 2679-A, 1977)
- Turn on the TV (EMI (U.K.) 2679-B, 1977)
- My Country (Single Version) (EMI (U.K.) 5200-A, 1981)
- Strange Frontier
- Beautiful Dreams
- Man on Fire
- Racing in the Street
- Masters of War
- Killing Time
- Young Love
- It’s an Illusion
- I Cry for You
- Man on Fire (Extended Version) (EMI (U.K.) 12-inch single 5478, 1984)
- I Cry for You (Single Remix) (EMI single 5490, 1984)
- Strange Frontier (Extended Remix) (EMI (U.K.) 12-inch single 5490, 1984)
- I Cry for You (Extended Remix) (EMI (U.K.) 12-inch single 5490, 1984)
- Two Sharp Pencils (Get Bad) (EMI (U.K.) 12-inch single 5490, 1984)