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not half bad

Are You Ready (Bucks Fizz album)

Are You Ready is an album by pop group Bucks Fizz.

Overview

By the end of 1981, Bucks Fizz had proved that they were no one-off Eurovision act by releasing three follow-up UK top 20 singles and album. In November, the group released the first single from their forthcoming second album. "The Land of Make Believe" became a big hit over Christmas 1981 and in the early weeks of the New Year made number one in the UK Charts. The record eventually outsold "Making Your Mind Up" to become their biggest selling single in the UK.

Buoyed by this success, the group concentrated on recording the second album. A second single was released in March 1982, entitled "My Camera Never Lies". Well regarded in the press for its production values and intricate vocals, the song also made number one in the UK Charts.

This became the peak of the group's career, bolstered by an award for best group at the Daily Mirror Rock and Pop Awards and a nomination at the Brit Awards.

For the cover of the album, the group employed a parachuting theme. The cover depicts them in parachuting gear in an aeroplane, the gatefold sleeve opens out to show them flying through the air, while the back reveals a silhouette of them having landed. Are You Ready was released in May and swiftly rose to the top ten. It remains Bucks Fizz's most successful album and was met by positive reviews.

Like the previous album, Are You Ready was produced by Andy Hill, who complimented the group on their ability to effortlessly adapt to the intricate harmonies and overlaying vocals on many of the tracks.

A third single, "Now those Days are Gone" was released from the album a month later. Seen as something of a departure for the group, it was a largely acapella ballad and also became successful in the UK Charts when it duly made the top 10.

No further singles were issued from the album after this, although some European countries released album tracks "Easy Love" and "Are You Ready" as singles - the latter also being released in Australia. In Japan the track "Another Night" was issued following its receiving an award in the Yamaha Music Festival, held in Tokyo. The group also recorded many of the songs from this album in Spanish for the Latin American market and released an album, El Mundo de Ilusion later in the year.

Are You Ready remained on the British Charts for much of the year and was listed as #61 on the year end chart in 1982. The singles "The Land Of Make Believe" and "My Camera Never Lies" were also both placed in the year-end top 50.

The album was re-issued twice. The first time in 2000, and again in 2004, both times with bonus tracks.

In 2006, a demo of track "Breaking and Entering" and alternate versions of "My Camera Never Lies" and "Easy Love" were released on The Lost Masters compilation. Two years later saw a follow-up, which featured an alternate recording of "Another Night" and remixes of "Easy Love" and "The Land Of Make Believe".

Track listing

ORIGINAL ALBUM:

Side One

  1. My Camera Never Lies
  2. Easy Love
  3. Love Dies Hard
  4. One Way Love
  5. Are You Ready

Side Two

  1. Breaking and Entering
  2. Now those Days are Gone
  3. Twentieth Century Hero
  4. Another Night
  5. The Land of Make Believe

CD RE-ISSUE (2000)

(Bonus tracks:)

  1. Now You're Gone
  2. What am I Gonna Do
  3. What's Love Got to Do with It
  4. When We Were Young (Extended Club Mix)
  5. Rules of the Game (Extended Mix)

CD RE-ISSUE (2004):

(Bonus tracks:)

  1. Now You're Gone
  2. What am I Gonna Do
  3. My Camera Never Lies (12" version)
  4. Takin' Me Higher
  5. One Touch (Don't Mean Devotion)
  6. Censored
  7. Twentieth Century Hero (Live)
  8. Don't Pay the Ferryman (Live)

Personnel

Bobby G - lead vocals on "Love Dies Hard"
Jay Aston - lead vocals on "Easy Love"
Mike Nolan - lead vocals on "Now Those Days are Gone"
Cheryl Baker

Producer:
Andy Hill

Writers:
Andy Hill
Pete Sinfield
Nichola Martin
Pete Willsher and Daisy Parks
Bucks Fizz

Reception and Reviews

Although Bucks Fizz generally faced harsh criticism in the press for being a lightweight pop act, their albums usually met with favourable response. Are You Ready in particular received some of their best ever reviews.

Smash Hits gave the album a rare 10 out of 10 rating, stating that it was "(almost) the perfect pop album". Album track "Twentieth Century Hero" was listed by another staff writer as the best song of the month.

The Daily Express also called the work "perfect pop" and noted the craftsmanship of the production.

Other reviews favoured the tracks "Another Night" and "Now those Days are Gone". The latter song was said to give Bucks Fizz "credibility".

Q Magazine on the 2000 re-release stated that the album was "harmless fluff" and gave the album a 2 out of 5 rating, but singled out "The Land of Make Believe" as being "not half bad". "The Land of Make Believe" itself was credited in Smash Hits as "pure genius". Members Cheryl Baker and Bobby G both rate "The Land of Make Believe" as the best of their own songs. While future members Shelley Preston and Heidi Manton both list album track "Love Dies Hard" as their favourite Bucks Fizz song, and is also mentioned by Jay Aston along with "Easy Love" as among her favourites. Baker has also stated that Are You Ready is their best album.

Chart Performance

Release date Single title UK Chart position
November 1981 "The Land of Make Believe" 1
March 1982 "My Camera Never Lies" 1
June 1982 "Now those Days are Gone" 8

Release date Album title UK Chart position
May 1982 Are You Ready 10
October 2000 Are You Ready (CD re-issue) -
June 2004 Are You Ready (2nd CD re-issue) -

References

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