On April 1st we will see the release of an extended edition of the hugely successful debut album, Wonderful Life by Black (alias for British singer-songwriter Colin Vearncombe). Although Black released his first record in 1981 it wasn’t until 1987 and the release of top 10 single Sweetest Smile that he finally made his mark in the UK charts, what followed was a re-release of his classic melancholy worldwide smash hit Wonderful Life which really made people sit up and take notice. The album of the same name was released shortly after garnering similar success as well as earning commercial and critical acclaim, selling over 1.5 million copies in the process.
A special edition of this musical masterpiece is being re-released as a 2CD deluxe edition, it will comprise of the full original album plus a second CD of 14 bonus tracks, including the original Ugly Man version of the Wonderful Life single plus a selection of B-sides and four songs from a 1986 Janice Long session. The album’s liner notes come complete with a specially commissioned interview with Colin.
Wonderful Life is an exceptional collection of soulful/jazz pop songs infused with the sound of synths and electric guitar. This is an album that, although may sound dated to some, is a pure work of art, a diverse lyrical and musical rollercoaster all accompanied with the instantly identifiable vocals of Vearncombe. A selection of relaxed songs like the synth driven Paradise and I Just Grew Tired fused together with some upbeat tempo tracks such as the lively Just Making Memories, the guitar led rock number Everything’s Coming Up Roses and Sometimes For The Asking. Not forgetting the magnificent brooding ballads Sweetest Smile and Everything80s favourite Wonderful Life with a well-crafted musical and vocal arrangement that captures you from that opening riff.
It’s not surprising that this intellectual album spawned two Top 10 hits, as well as countless cover versions of the title track which still features in many adverts, TV programs and films. This classic album is a timeless body of work, one that doesn’t stay within one musical direction but gives you a selection of reflective instrumentals, superb vocals, strong rhythm’s, 80s synth pop beats as well as a distinguishable sound and poignant lyrics that are synonymous with Black.
Overall this edition will without a doubt sharpen the desire with loyal fans as well as present itself well to a new generation. The 2nd CD is full of captivating material and gives us some B-Sides, alternative mixes, extended versions, from the superb pan pipe sounds of Dagger, to the fantastic pop rock sounds of Life Calls as well as the original recording of Wonderful Life.
Colin Vearncombe may not have had the commercial success that this album once brought but he continues to record as well as perform today and after his passion for songwriting was rejuvenated in 1998 has since gone on to release a number of acclaimed albums. As a phenomenal songwriter and musician he will also undertake a 9-date, acoustic tour of the UK this April starting in Eastney on the 7th.
To find out more and to see if Black will be coming to a town near you then check out his website www.colinvearncombe.com
To Pre-Order a copy of the deluxe edition of Wonderful Life click here.
Review by Carli Davies
1. Wonderful Life
2. Everything Is Coming Up Roses
3. Sometimes For The Asking
6. I’m Not Afraid
7. I Just Grew Tired
9. Just Making Memories
10. Sweetest Smile
11. Ravel in the Rain
12. Leave Yourself Alone
14. It’s Not You Lady Jane
15. Hardly Star-Crossed Lovers
1. Wonderful Life (Ugly Man 12 Inch From Vinyl)
2. Birthday Night (Ugly Man 7 Inch From Vinyl)
3. Dagger Reel (7 Inch B)
4. Sometimes For The Asking (New Recording B Side)
5. Sometimes For The Asking (Echo Bass & Sax)
6. Everything’s Coming Up Roses (The Fairly Mental Mix)
7. Have It Your Own Way (B-Side)
8. My Lover (B-Side)
9. Life Calls (7 Inch B-Side)
10. Had Enough (12 Inch B-Side)
11. All We Need Is The Money (12 Inch B-Side)