Rare Cuts Vol. 5 (Master Stroke FFMS-009)
(79:41): Hammer To Fall (Multitrack Drumless Remix), Princes Of The Universe (Soundtrack Version), Gimme The Prize (The eYe Version), Friends Will Be Friends (Extended Version), Back To Storm (Demo), Who Wants To Live Forever (Freddie Vocal Version), The Miracle (Multitrack Remix), Breakthru (The Almost Now Edit), Hang On In There (Fiddly Jam Demo), Scandal (Remix), A New Life Is Born (Demo), I Want It All (Multitrack Remix), Dog With The Bone (Demo), The Invisible Man (Video Mix), Was It All Worth It (Instrumental), I Guess We’re Falling Out (Demo), My Baby Loves Me (Demo), Hijack My Heart (Demo), Too Much Love Will Kill You (Instrumental), The Show Must Go On (Multitrack Remix). Unlisted secret bonus track: Have A Nice Day (Fan Club Message)
By 1986 Queen’s flirtation with film soundtracks had pretty much come to an end. They weren’t prolific, but what began in 1980’s Flash Gordon with fill involvement with the film score ended with the band writing several original songs to Highlander and lending “One Vision” to the Lou Gossette Jr. flick Iron Eagle. The fifth volume of Master Stroke’s Rare Cuts series continues the documentation of Queen rarities, focusing upon some material from the A Kind Of Magic sessions and continuing with The Miracle, their final artistic statement in the eighties.
The disc begins with a rather pointless remix of “Hammer To Fall” from The Works. It’s identical to the studio track except all of the drums omitted.
The next five tracks originate from the A Kind Of Magic sessions. “Princes Of The Universe” is one of the songs written specifically for the Highlander film and one of their heaviest rockers. Master Stroke present the “soundtrack version,” a re-edit of the studio track with various snippets of dialogue from the film. It’s followed by “Gimme The Prize,” another Highlander track edited for The eYe video game. This version has no guitar intro but instead starts with Freddie’s vocals. All of Kurgan’s lines and the sword-fighting sound effects are edited out of the track.
“Friends Will Be Friends (Extended Version)” is found on the 12″ vinyl. Basically the studio track, it has a repeating chorus with a long instrumental break.
An unreleased track named “Back To Storm” follows. A forty-two second piano instrumental and a ninety second take with piano, drums, bass and rudimentary vocals both circulate. Master Stroke present the two in one track. The instrumental serves as a introduction and segues right into the vocal take. It’s an interesting edit of what could have been an exciting piece if it were finished. The descending piano melody sounds vaguely similar to “Hit The Road Jack.” It sounds like Freddie is in one of his snotty, vindictive moods.
The final A Kind Of Magic track is the Freddie vocal version of “Who Wants To Live Forever.” It’s the same as the commercial track except Freddie, not Brian, sings the opening lines.
A bulk of the rest of the disc covers sessions for The Miracle, released in 1989. A couple of these tracks also appear on Ultimate Miracle (Digital Queen Archives Q-004A/B), but most do not and forms a good compliment to the older title. The first is the title track “The Miracle.” Listed as a “multitrack remix,” it is the commercial version found on the original CD except the guitars are mixed much higher and the keyboards are mixed down. It sounds like an attempt to make the song sound “heavier” but doesn’t quite succeed.
The “Breakthru (Almost Now Edit)” is a strange re-edit found on the 1989 “Breakthru” promo CD. It’s the same as the studio cut with introduction but with a different mix in the latter half. It’s followed by the demo for “Hang On In There.” Freddie scats the vocals and the instruments are much more raw than the polished version.
The remix for “Scandal” is a bit odd. It is slowed down and there is a deep resonant drum sound thoughout the track. Otherwise it sounds like the commercial version. A demo for “A New Life Is Born” follows. Lasting a minute and twenty-two seconds, the beginning chorus of this song was used for “Breakthru” on The Miracle. But it continues into a gorgeous little ballad featuring Freddie on piano.
The “multitrack remix” of “I Want It All” is simply the single edit of the song found on the 7″ vinyl, Greatest Hits II, etc. The opening guitar squeals are omitted and instead the chorus singing “I want it all” is repeated three times. In some ways this edit is an improvement over the album version.
“Dog With A Bone” is an unreleased song recorded for the 1988 Queen Fan Club Convention in London. It features Freddie and Roger on vocals and spoken greetings to the fans in the song’s middle. It lasts seven minutes and is in excellent sound quality, one of the gems of this collection.
The video edit of “The Invisible Man” follows. Found on Greatest Video Hits 2 and Greatest Flix II, it starts with the sound effects found on the “extended version” until Roger singing his lyric, then it returns to the album edit. It’s followed by an instrumental version of “Was It All Worth It” taken from The eYe video game.
Three demos follow the instrumental. “I Guess We’re Falling Out” is a Freddie penned piano based tune. It starts off with the same rhythm as “My Baby Loves Me” but then moves into a ballad with the great opening line “you stab your knife right in my back.” It could have been another tempermental Freddie tune if it were completed.
“My Baby Loves Me” is a demo of The Miracle track “My Baby Does Me.” It’s quite similar to the final version. Not all of the words are there so Freddie sings some filler. A demo of “Hijack My Heart,” the B-side to “The Invisible Man,” is close to the final version. Roger sings the lead and the instruments are much louder. Maracas can be heard throughout the track and the ending features a little piano coda.
“Too Much Love Will Kill You” is a straight instrumental cut of the Brian May song and is followed by “The Show Must Go On” from Innuendo. The “multitrack remix” has higher guitars than the commercial version. The disc ends with a secret unlisted bonus track called “Have A Nice Day (Fan Club Message).” It was recorded Townhouse Studio in London on April 18th, 1987 by Freddie with Mike Moran for the Fan Club convention.
The sound quality of all the tracks is uniformly excellent. There are enough newer tracks to recommend this as a good supplement to the above mentioned Ultimate Miracle and is worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)