Friday, 21 June 2013

Happy Mondays - Double Easy US Singles

Double Easy: The US Singles is a 1993 compilation, specific to Canada and US (who would have guessed?) of Happy Mondays. As you could guess, it collects tracks from the US releases of their singles. It also features tracks that aren't available on other compilations and rarer mixes. I have to say, I have both Double Easy: The US Singles and Greatest Hits but I think Double Easy is a better compilation in all honesty. I got Double Easy online through Amazon second hand. Having said that my copy came with a sticker that said HMV Import (although it did look old). HMV don't do imports anymore but even still, copies of it are in circulation in UK I'd imagine. It cost me about £2 to get mine second hand so it's not the rarest thing to find. Moving on though, here's the tracklisting:

"24 Hour Party People" – 4:37
"Wrote For Luck" – 3:43
"Lazyitis" – 2:46
"Mad Cyril" (Hello Girls Mix) – 3:52
"Hallelujah" (MacColl Mix) – 2:39
"Step On" (Stuff It In Mix) – 5:52
"Tokoloshe Man" – 4:18
"Kinky Afro" – 3:59
"Loose Fit" (12" Version) – 6:24
"Bob's Yer Uncle" (12" Version) – 6:52
"Judge Fudge" – 6:17
"Stinkin Thinkin" – 4:18
"Sunshine & Love" – 4:02
"Angel" – 4:06
"W.F.L." (Think About The Future Mix) – 7:11
"Hallelujah" (Club Mix) – 6:28

It's important to note that Bob's Yer Uncle is mistitled on this compilation. The version here is actually The Grid remix which was available on a US promo release. As far as I'm aware, there's no actual mix of Bob's Yer Uncle known as the 12" mix in existance.

That minor error aside, as you can see there's some rarer tracks here indeed. Of course, you've got to thank their release history in the US for that. For instance, the original versions of Step On and Loose Fit were never released in the US, only in alternate mixes. In saying that, both the Loose Fit and Step On mixes here sound like extended versions as opposed to actual remixes. The business of alternate mixes is a double edged sword though. It does mean Double Easy sometimes has tracks on it that are inferior to the original version. The biggest offender here for me is Mad Cyril. I hate the Hello Girls mix quite frankly. It butchers what I'd have to regard as one of my favourite Happy Mondays songs. Of the originals, the weakest track is Judge Fudge. Again - I'm not keen on that song at all. Although there's utter gems here. The biggest gem for me? The Grid remix of Bob's Yer Uncle. It's a masterpiece quite frankly, and it's just as good as the original (which again is one of my favourites). Double Easy is the only place this terrific remix has been made available on a Happy Mondays compilation, and as far as I remember the only place at all you'd get that mix here in the UK is on the Loose Fix 12".

Another thing that's great about Double Easy is that it's geared towards the Happy Mondays rave sensibilites. That's when they're at their best I think. The first Happy Mondays single in US was Wrote For Luck, so it omits any material from their first album, other than 24 Hour Party People. Frankly I'm glad because although I'm a huge fan of Happy Mondays, I feel that Squirrel & G-man is patchy at best. 24 Hour Party People being by far the best song that album has to offer. The abundance of extended versions here and concentration on their Bummed/Pills n Thrills & Bellyache albums (their two best for me) give the album a definite club-oriented feel. Much more so than Greatest Hits even, which feels more geared towards the casual fan.

So, as you've probably surmised by now, I really recommend this compilation. The best of the remixes here are absolutely brilliant and essential listening for Happy Mondays aficionados. Add that to the fact that the compilation shouldn't be overly difficult to find in the internet age and you have a compilation that's really recommended. I probably would say that for newcomers it's best to start with Greatest Hits, but if you've heard all the studio albums and want more then I really would consider Double Easy: The US Singles.

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