The huge box set reissue of Howard Jones’s ‘Humans Lib’ was a real treat for fans. A multi format set, it presented the classic album with a wealth of bonus materials, including unreleased demos, alternate versions and radio sessions. The biggest draw, though, came from its visual content. The lavish set finally gave a DVD release to the long out of print ‘Live In Japan’ VHS, much to the delight of almost everyone.
Unfortunately, that box was both prohibitively expensive and a really limited run, meaning that only hardcore fans would get to see that footage in decent quality, and in some cases for the first time in many a long year. Luckily, the 2022 release ‘Live At The NHK Hall, 1984’ comes to the rescue, since it offers the same film at an affordable price, but improves upon the previous release by presenting it alongside an uncut version of the audio soundtrack.
Alex Lifeson is a legend. More importantly, he’s a legend that’s never been afraid of musical change. The early Rush albums introduced fans to a hard edged and very distinctive guitar sound; the classic era of Rush from 1980-91 found him exploring various cleaner sonic textures that were distinctive in a very different way, but equally as cool. His Victor project from 1996 showed how his complex approach could be applied to a whole range of rock moods, and while some of that album’s heavier moments didn’t sit well with everyone, it was a very interesting release.
Since the release of the ‘Human’s Lib’ box set in 2018, the Howard Jones reissue programme from Cherry Red has been very well curated, but in terms of giving the bigger fan something long overdue and exciting, a five disc box set of BBC recordings (released at the end of 2021) proved essential. It rounded up lots of early radio sessions and also gave an official release to a couple of oft-bootlegged gigs, creating a listening experience that felt comprehensive without being overwhelming. Also, by being offered at a sensible price, it showed how a premium product need not be exclusive to those with deep pockets. In many ways, this collection should set the benchmark for a decent box set. [Read a full review of the Howard Jones BBC box here.]
In September 1983, a young man from Southampton made his first appearance on Top of The Pops. Armed with a then state of the art synthesiser, huge pineapple shaped haircut and a visual aid in the form of a bendy mime artist, he requested we “throw off our mental chains” and made an instant impression with many teenagers watching. That man was Howard Jones. His debut hit single ‘New Song’ was at the cutting edge of the synth pop movement and his gift for a catchy chorus quickly set him apart from hundreds of other potential electronic pop stars. With the help of subsequent hits ‘What Is Love’ and ‘Pearl In The Shell’, Jones became one of the biggest stars of the following year.
For a year or so now, there have been rumours that Howard Jones would be releasing his 1984 debut LP ‘Human’s Lib’ as a super deluxe box set. It has now been confirmed that will be released in November, along with a similar box set for the follow up ‘Dream Into Action’.
A full press release from Cherry Red follows.
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