Yow! I’ve been waiting ever since 1985 for the complete, UK edition of Mari Wilson’s debut album “Showpeople” to reach the silver disc and after suffering the indignity of countless compilations instead, finally saw to compile the project myself, on CD-R. Of course, I took it further, and made it a 4xCD set of every rarity Mari had not sitting on an album up to the 2016 time frame. And added a DVD of her and the Wilsations “Sight + Sound” BBC live TV concert from 1983. The until I did that, the actual “Showpeople” album was m.i.a. on CD. Yeah… there was that Japanese copy in 2010, but it had the usual track substitutions [later on those…]. This is no longer the case!
Mari Wilson: The Neasden Queen of Soul – UK – 3xCD 
Disc 1 – Showpeople + Bonus Tracks
- Wonderful To Be With
- The End Of The Affair
- One Day Is A Lifetime
- Dr. Love
- Remember Me
- Cry Me A River
- Just What I Always Wanted
- This Time Tomorrow
- Are You There (With Another Girl)
- I May Be Wrong
- This Is It?
- Just What I Always Wanted (12” Mix)
- Cry Me A River (Smooch Mix)
- Baby It’s True (Discotheque Version) +
- Ain’t That Peculiar (Extended Version) +
Disc 2 – A-sides, B-sides & Rarities
- Love Man
- If That’s What You Want
- Dance Card
- She’s Had Enough Of You
- Beat The Beat
- Baby It’s True
- You Look So Good
- Woe, Woe, Woe
- (Beware) Boyfriend
- It’s Happening
- Ain’t That Peculiar
- The Maximum Damage
- Let’s Make This Last (De Lorean Style)
- Would You Dance With A Stranger
- What’s Going On
- Stop And Start
- Love And Learn
- I’m Just Happy To Dance With You
- Let Me Dream
Disc 3 – 2022 Remixes + Bonus Tracks
- Baby It’s True (2022 Remix) +
- Beat The Beat (2022 Remix) +
- Glamourpuss (2022 Remix) +
- Ecstasy (2022 Remix) +
- Rave (2022 Remix) +
- She’s Had Enough Of You (2022 Remix) +
- You Look So Good (2022 Remix) +
- Glamourpuss (Scenario) (2021 Remix) +
- Just What I Always Wanted (U.S. Remix) +
- Ecstasy (Alternative Version)
- One Day Is A Lifetime (Alternate Version)
- Tu No Me Llores (Cry Me A River – Spanish Version)
- Would You Dance With A Stranger (Instrumental)
- Wonderful (7” Dj Edit)
- Let’s Make This Last (Stereo Shift Mix Loop One)
- Let’s Make This Last (Stereo Shift Mix Loop Two)
Of course, the title of this set is more of a boxed set. “Showpeople” has been swapped for Mari’s descriptive of “The Neasden Queen of Soul.”And “Showpeople” is merely the first twelve tracks on disc one. But they do seem to be there! One of the sticking points on all of the other CDs was that two tracks from the album [“Cry Me A River” and “Ecstasy”] were not the album versions. The other discs used the demo of “Ecstasy” and the voice and piano only “Smootch Mix” of “Cry Me A River.”
Of course, the title of this set is more of a boxed set. “Showpeople” has been swapped for Mari’s descriptive of “The Neasden Queen of Soul.”And “Showpeople” is merely the first twelve tracks on disc one. But they do seem to be there! One of the sticking points on all of the other CDs was that two tracks from the album [“Cry Me A River” and “Ecstasy”] were not the album versions. The other discs used the demo of “Ecstasy” and the voice and piano only “Smootch Mix” of “Cry Me A River.” The one exception to this rule was the French 1991 compilation shown at left!
Of course, the devil is in the details! It remains until the November 25th release date until we can actually hear the songs and determine if the correct versions have been sourced. Until then, Cherry Red get the benefit of the doubt. And the clamshell package has a 24 page booklet with liner notes by the artiste herself. I was to blame for my own copy, though Mari’s webmaster saw than and enlisted me to do the honors on Mari’s website. Though that’s now a few years out of date and in need of an update [mental note to self…]. I’ve just gone over the contents of my own project with this one at hand to see what differences may manifest. Here’s what we have that I can parse within a lunchtime.
The Cherry Red project benefits from being compiled after the 2016 date of my own set. Back then, I did not have the 12″ single of “Would You Dance With A Stranger.” So my copy is lacking the instrumental version of that torch song. Also, there was a DJ promo 7″ single of “Wonderful” that I [sputters] …just found out about!! And the third disc has eight post-modern remixes that were never before heard by human ears [save for those involved]. So these join the “Mari Wilson Revival” JPN CD of 1997 as being part of genus remixus moderna.
Of course, this little puppy is diabolical to source. I still need a copy but not at the likely prices.
Then there are the cuts that I have on my set not found here. Primary of these are the five smoking hot live tracks from the “Born Lucky” cassette included with copies of the “Wonderful single” as a premium. These showcased the large, fantastic 11-piece band that proved that the records were not a fluke! Their show was so great that Roxy Music tapped the group to open for their UK “Avalon” tour of England! Their loss here is the one disappointment that makes me glad that I made my set six years ago!
The rest not shown here is down to the live version of “Rave” from the “Cry Me A River” single and the B-Side of the “Ain’t That Peculiar” 12″, “Use Him.” But that track is out there on both the aforementioned French compilation, and this one from the Great Expectations imprint in 1992.
And you Mari Wilson fans surely have that one, yes? Good. Because if you do you have the final track not on the new boxed set. That CD had a 5:02 long mix of “Let’s Make This Last” which was reputedly an extended mix of “Let’s Make This Last (Stereo Shift Mix Loop One)” with an added 30 seconds of remix [with lots of backward tapes] in the extended intro.
When all is said and done, this is still by far the most coherent package of the Compact Records period of Ms. Wilson’s career, and all and sundry would do well to snag a copy for their own personal Record Cell. Pre-order from Cherry Red is open with early orders getting an autographed Mari Wilson postcard in the package in that Cherry Red way we know and love. Yours for only £22.98, so hit that button.
Figures. I just went on a Mari Wilson spending spree and spent much more than the price of this Cherry Red release for early singles, Showpeople and other assorted Compact ditties. Pretty amazing considering I waited decades for some of these and this comes out in less than three months and would have scratched much of my itch.
Brian – But you’ll have so many amazing sleeves with Rex Luxore’s fabulous sleeve notes that it was worth it! I will admit that the first thing I did when I realized that I could buy records from catalogs instead of waiting to find them in stores some time in 1985, was to immediately obtain all of Ms. Wilson’s oeuvre. Believe me, they are objects of desire beyond the music carried on them! I envy anyone going on a Mari Wilson spending spree for the first time, no matter how long the delay!
I too have been waiting an eternity for the proper Showpeople album to come out on CD. Kinda wish there was a stand-alone (compact) disc of the album, but will greedily take it as part of a box set. I’m not even sure how much of the material on the box I already own, but no matter as I’ve already pre-ordered.
Taffy – Exactly! But as wonderful as “Showpeople” is, it’s only half the story with those many non-LP singles and B-sides being almost a different story altogether. The album was a glossy, Tony Mansfield production that mixed the band’s 1959 aesthetic with synths and drum machines for something contemporary yet still with a Joe Meek feel in production. Meek would have loved to have made a record like “Wonderful.” The material that Tot Taylor produced, in contrast, sounded like actual lost 59-61 sides! And those skits on the B-sides that put the storyline of “Mari Wilson + The Wilsations” across were priceless. This project entertained on multiple levels.
Speaking of Tot Taylor, what did you think of his single from early last year (“This New Abba Record”)? I hadn’t much kept up with him, but thought that tune zippy and enjoyable. I should probably should do a deeper dive and see what else he’s done besides producing and writing for Mari Wilson and Virna Lindt.
Taffy – That was my favorite single of last year! All of the Tot Taylor music I have is crisp and exceptionally witty. What I’m very eager to hear are his earliest recordings with the Power Pop band Advertising! But they are hard to get!
I’m so happy to see Woe Woe Woe included (first time on CD I believe). Such a fun track.
Wayne Davidson – Welcome to the comments! You are correct, sir! In retrospect, it’s a little amazing that the B-side to her biggest hit has never made the leap.
It might be because of all the studio chatter etc included in the track, but that makes it all the more appealing :)
Wayne Davidson – The sketches sometimes included in the B- sides were the gold!
I cannot resist bragging again that I met the Divine Miss W(ilson) at the BEF gig in Manchester as chronicled on this very blog, and while the meeting was brief both her set and chatting with her backstage was lovely and she is as sweet as you might imagine. The PPM box is a treasured artifact!
But of course I’m also happy to support any new interest in her music, so I’ll be pre-ordering this (hopefully in time to get an autographed postcard — something I foolishly failed to ask for in person).