State Of Shock (Great Pretender Records GPR-001)
(79:51): State of Shock (Freddie and Michael Jackson), There Must Be More To Life Than This (Freddie and Michael Jackson), In Every One of Us (with Cliff Richard), Made in Heaven (demo), Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow (early version), Love Makin’ Love (demo), Mr. Bad Guy (early version), She Blows Hot and Cold (alternative version with Brian May), Money Can’t Buy Happiness (demo), It’s So You (Barcelona demo), Guide Me Home/How Can I Go On (Barcelona alternate version), Holding On (Barcelona demo), New York (demo), Your Kind of Lover (vocal & piano version), I Can’t Dance/Keep Smilin’ (demo), The Great Pretender (original demo), When This Old Tired Body Wants To Sing (late night jam), Yellow Breezes (demo), The Duet (The Fallen Priest) (with Montserrat Cabbale), Secret Track 1, Secret Track 2, Secret Track 3 (with Mike Moran and Peter Straker), Have A Nice Day (fan club message)
State Of Shock follows the pattern of recent Queen releases by placing astounding new finds with filler that most Queen/Freddie Mercury collectors already have. The new material here are demos recorded by Freddie and Michael Jackson in Los Angeles in early 1984 that never came to fruition. They demoed three tracks, two of which are finally included in this collection. “State of Shock” is very basic with Freddie and Michael singing with a drum machine.
It’s great to hear Freddie doing his thing with Michael and makes one wish this song was finished and released. The second track “There Must Be More To Life Than This” was originally intended for The Works, but finally found a home on Freddie’s 1985 solo album Mr. Bad Guy. This version consists of Michael singing lead with Freddie at the piano telling instructions. The third song is “Victory” which is still buried and was later re-recorded for The Jacksons. Hopefully one day that might come to light.
The other brand new material are the secret tracks recorded on November 29, 1988 and have been called the “Pink Elephant Tape” because the cassette recorder used was in the shape of a pink elephant. It simply consists of Freddie, Mike Moran and Peter Straker playing the piano and vamping to show tunes. It’s a very interesting document. Nothing astounding musically but a rare glimpse into Freddie’s private home life.
The balance of the tracks are demos taken from the massive Freddie Mercury Solo ten-cd box set that was released in December 2000 and unfortunately unavailable here in the states. Luckily Great Pretender Records included some tracks that are not available on the three CD US version of the box set like “She Blows Hot And Cold” with Brian May. I’m assuming this will be the only release on this label unless other Freddie gems are unearthed. Until then, State of Shock is definitely a title worth owning.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)