Cherry Pop is returning to the early days of the 1990s with expanded editions from the small discographies of two beloved artists: Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!, and Martika.
After breaking up Wham! in 1986, George Michael graduated to bona fide solo superstar, while his musical partner Andrew Ridgeley had largely shunned the spotlight to pursue other interests such as acting and motor racing. By 1990, however, Ridgeley was ready to return to music. The result was Son of Albert, his only solo album to date. Released on Epic Records (asserting its right for solo music from each of the Wham! members), Son of Albert was recorded with multiple producers in a variety of studios from London to Los Angeles.
In Michael Silvester’s fine new liner notes for this edition, the artist reveals that he initially planned on returning to music with a single, but the label insisted on a full album. “I had no vision for an album, per se,” he said. “I wanted to record tracks that had dynamism and catchy tunes.” He worked, separately, with Gary Bromham and David Austin, finding the same kind of creative spark in collaboration he had experienced with his friend George. In addition to the original songs, Ridgeley updated tracks from The Everly Brothers (“The Price of Love”) and CHIC (“Hangin'”). George even dropped by to add background vocals to Ridgeley and Bromham’s “Red Dress.” But the pop sheen of Wham! was largely absent from these more rocking, guitar-based tracks, inspired by artists such as Van Halen and Def Leppard: “a pop sensibility with a rock feel,” as Bromham remembered. Ridgeley and Austin’s “Shake” was released in advance of the album itself, arriving as a single in March 1990, peaking at No. 58 in the United Kingdom and No. 77 in the United States. (It found most success in Australia, where it reached the top 20.) The album Son of Albert was released in May, reaching No. 130 in the U.S., but missing the charts at home. It was followed by “Red Dress,” which was Ridgeley’s original choice for leadoff single. It failed to chart on either side of the Atlantic, despite its dash of Wham! magic. A third 45, “Mexico,” was scuttled by the label.
Cherry Pop’s reissue of Son of Albert has been expanded with seven bonus tracks, all drawn from the various single releases associated with the album as well as the extended CD version of the LP. You’ll hear three different mixes of “Shake,” two of B-side “Hangin’,” and two of “Red Dress.” The liner notes tell the story of the album, and the 24-page booklet also includes a discography, credits, and complete lyrics. There are no remastering credits.
A little more than a year after Ridgeley released Son of Albert, Martika dropped her second and final (to date) solo album: Martika’s Kitchen. Originally issued on Columbia Records in August 1991, it’s been reissued as a 2-CD edition from Cherry Pop. Teenaged Martika (born Marta Marrero) hit it big with her self-titled debut release in 1988, earning a U.S. No. 1 with “Toy Soldiers” and scoring further hits with her own “More Than You Know” and a cover of Carole King’s Tapestry classic “I Feel the Earth Move.” All three songs were also hits in the U.K., and Martika (produced by Michael Jay) reached the top 20 in both countries.
The artist diversified her sound for her long-awaited sophomore album, calling upon a starry roster of producers including, most notably, Prince. The Purple One greeted Martika in his home base of Minneapolis, collaborating on five tracks as composer, vocalist, arranger, and producer. (A fifth song, “Open Book,” wasn’t included on Martika’s Kitchen but was eventually recorded by Jevetta Steele.) Their gospel-flecked “Love…Thy Will Be Done” introduced a more mature Martika to listeners, and notched her a top ten hit in the U.S., U.K., France and Australia. Funk, soul, pop, and Latin music would all be among the ingredients in this Kitchen. Title track “Martika’s Kitchen,” “Spirit,” and “Don’t Say U Love Me” also were products of the Martika/Prince team. Another special guest, Cuban-American salsa legend Celia Cruz, appeared on “Mi Tierra,” Martika’s tribute to her Cuban heritage. Adding to the diversity of sounds, Michael Jay (producer of Martika) was represented as co-writer on “Safe in the Arms of Love” and “Take Me to Forever.” Michael Cruz (Kids Incorporated) also was responsible for co-writing “Safe in the Arms of Love” and “Pride and Prejudice.” A collaboration with Les Pierce and Frankie Blue, “Temptation,” was later covered by Patti LaBelle.
Cherry Pop’s deluxe Reheated Edition boasts a bonus disc with twelve additional remixes from the related singles including 7-inch edits and the Prince Mix of “Love…Thy Will Be Done.” Three tracks are new to CD, and one is previously unreleased. Martika has supplied a new introduction and track-by-track liner notes, and the 20-page booklet also has credits, full lyrics, and a discography. Tom Parker has remastered.
Both Son of Albert and Martika’s Kitchen are available today from Cherry Pop at the links below!
- Red Dress
- The Price of Love
- Big Machine
- Kiss Me
- Baby Jane
- Shake (Hardcore)
- Red Dress (12″ Mix)
- Shake (Accapella Version)
- Hangin’ (Alternative Extended)
- Shake (Extended Version)
- Hangin’ (Extended Version)
- Red Dress (Extended Version)
Tracks 1-9 released as Epic U.K. LP 466717 1, 1990
Track 10 released on Epic U.K. CD 466717 2, 1990
Track 11 released on Epic U.K. 12″ single AJR T2, 1990
Track 12 released on Epic U.K. CD single AJR C1, 1990
Track 13 released on Epic U.K. 12″ single AJR QT1, 1990
Tracks 14-15 released as Epic 12″ single AJR T1, 1990
Track 16 released on Epic U.K. CD single AJR C2, 1990
Disc 1: Main Course (released as Columbia CK 46827, 1991)
- Martika’s Kitchen
- Love…Thy Will Be Done
- A Magical Place (Duet with Christopher Max)
- Coloured Kisses
- Safe in the Arms of Love
- Pride & Prejudice
- The Arms of Forever
- Don’t Say U Love Me
- Broken Heart
- Mi Tierra (Duet with Celia Cruz)
Disc 2: Side Orders
* previously unreleased on CD ** previously unreleased
- Love…Thy Will Be Done (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Columbia 38-73853, 1991)
- Martika’s Kitchen (7″ Edit) (U.K. single A-side – Columbia 657568 7, 1991)
- Coloured Kisses (7″ Edit)
- Safe in the Arms of Love (Edit Version)
- Spirit (Radio Edit) **
- Love…Thy Will Be Done (Prince Mix) (B-side to “Martika’s Kitchen” U.K. CD single – Columbia 657568 2, 1991)
- Martika’s Kitchen (Remix 1 Alt. 7″ Video Version) (cassette B-side – Columbia 657705 4, 1991) *
- Coloured Kisses (Remix)
- Spirit (House Mix) *
- Martika’s Kitchen (Extended Version) *
- Spirit (Hip-Hop Mix) *
- Martika’s Kitchen (Alt. Dub Version) (B-side to “Martika’s Kitchen” U.K. CD single – Columbia 657568 2, 1991)