Cherry Red Records’ Cherry Pop imprint has re-reissued a classic from The Queen of Hi-NRG, Hazell Dean. The singer’s 1984 album Heart First – her first commercially released LP and the first production of the Stock Aitken Waterman team – was previously expanded by Cherry Pop as a single disc in 2010. Now, ten years later, that iteration’s seven bonus tracks have grown to 21 for the album’s first 2-CD deluxe edition.
Heart First arrived on the strength of Dean’s singles “Searchin’ (I Gotta Find a Man)” and “Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go),” both of which became top ten hits on the U.K. Singles Chart. (“Searchin'” also reached the top ten of the U.S. Club Play chart.) Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman had helmed “Whatever I Do” and were enlisted to produce the entire LP. It was Dean’s first mainstream release; her previous album The Sound of Bacharach and David was a tribute to the songwriting duo and only released to radio. (Cherry Pop reissued it on CD in 2014.) She had brought a wealth of musical experience to the table, however. Dean had played the live circuit for years, and had even recorded a number of singles for the U.K. arm of Decca Records between 1975 and 1978. Whereas those recordings had featured her in a pop-soul setting, however, she transitioned in the 1980s to the hi-NRG style which made her a popular favorite with gay audiences.
While Heart First‘s release was hampered by the failing resources of its record label, Proto Records, it set the stage for Dean’s further successes. In the wake of the album’s release, she charted numerous 45s on the U.K. Singles Chart, culminating in the 1988 “comeback” LP Always, also produced (in part) by Stock Aitken Waterman. Cherry Pop’s expanded reissue of Heart First features the original album on Disc One plus nine bonus cuts. These encompass her other Proto singles (including a dance revival of Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams’ Oscar-winning “Evergreen”), most of which were released prior to the album, and four single and extended mixes. The second disc boasts a dozen more bonus mixes of songs associated with Heart First including Matt Pop’s new mix of the title track from the original multitrack masters.
Both discs are housed in a jewel case with a full-color 20-page booklet. While the booklet doesn’t contain a narrative essay about the album or Hazell’s career, it does have her track-by-track notes about each song as well as a discography of her 1983-1985 Proto Records releases and full lyrics. The art also includes images of her single sleeves as well as the master tape box scans. (Annotation as to the original source of each track is missing.) The compilation, design, and remastering from the original tapes are all by Tom Parker.
This floor-filling set from Hazell Dean and Cherry Pop is available now at the links below.
- Back In My Arms (Once Again)
- Break the Rules
- Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)
- You’re Too Good to Be True
- Back in My Arms (Once Again) (Reprise)
- Heart First
- No Fool (For Love)
- Devil in You
- Everything I Need
- Jealous Love
- Stay in My Life
- Young Boy in the City
- Take Me Home
- No Fool (For Love) (7″ Mix) (Proto single ENA 123, 1985)
- You’re Too Good to Be True (Extra Beat Boys Remix) (Capitol 12-inch single V-15416, 1988)
- Searchin’ (12″ Version) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) 109, 1983)
- Evergreen (Extended Version) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) 114, 1984)
- Heart First (Matt Pop Club Mix) (previously unreleased)
- Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go) (Dance Mix)
- Back in My Arms (Once Again) (Dance Mix) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) 122, 1984)
- No Fool (For Love) (Dance Version) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) 123, 1985)
- Jealous Love (Extended Version) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) 114, 1984)
- Searchin’ (Mega Mix) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) X 109, 1983)
- Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go) (Extended Remix)
- No Fool (For Love) (The Murray Mix) (Capitol 12-inch single V 15351, 1987)
- Searchin’ (Instrumental) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) 109, 1983)
- No Fool (For Love) (Part Two Instrumental) (Proto single ENA P 123, 1985)
- Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go) (Dub Mix) (Proto 12-inch single ENA (T) 119, 1984)
- No Fool (For Love) (Dubajoker Mix) (Capitol 12-inch single V 15351, 1987)