So how do you follow two million-selling albums such as Human’s Lib and Dream into Action? Well that’s precisely what Howard Jones was doing in October 1986 with the release of his third album, One to One.
Produced by Arif Mardin, One to One reached No.10 in the UK Album Charts selling over 100,000 copies and achieving Gold status. The release featured three tracks that were released as singles, You Know I Love You… Don’t You? Little Bit of Snow and No One Is To Blame (a song featured on Howard’s previous album Dream Into Action) featuring Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals.
Following on from his established successes One to One also achieved acclaim internationally in the USA, Canada, Australia and throughout most of Europe.
Over three decades on from its original release, Cherry Red Records have reissued, remastered and expanded One to One as a 3 CD plus DVD Digi-pack including the original album, demos, remixes, live performances and rarities as well as tv appearances from the time.
This up close and personal release enhances Howard’s music from 1986 and brings the era to life with an ever present creative energy . Although the singles All I Want and You Know I Love You…Don’t You ? weren’t as big hits in the UK as his earlier releases, it showed Howard wasn’t afraid to step up the lyrical and musical creativity in keeping with previous releases. The showman was still prominent, as the DVD demonstrates with TV appearances on Wogan and Top of The Pops of All I Want performing alongside a band and masked dancer (whose facial features were softened for the Roland Rat Show). There is also the animated video for You Know I Love You. which itself was ground-breaking at the time with its crayon-style shading and computer stylised pixel effects.
For me, One to One’s album highlights are the beautiful Little Bit of Snow (a track that should get more prominence on those tired and to familiar Christmas playlists surely), the stark truth of the lost potential in many of us to better ourselves in Where Are We Going? and the jazz-fuelled electro-pop of I Don’t Want to Fight Anymore. The bonus discs also include some beautiful orchestrated versions of Hunger for the Flesh and the classic, Hide and Seek displaying how well Howard’s music can transfer to other musical genres.
Anyone witnessing Howard’s live performances over the last few years will notice he carries honesty and magic in his presentation and musicianship, its clearly evident in this expanded release of One to One, right down to a simplistic but lovely interview with Mike Read on the Saturday Morning TV show Saturday Superstore. Unlike many albums of the era, One to One remains contemporary, fresh and as alive as ever and this intimate reissue certainly goes the extra mile in giving fans and appreciators of Howard Jones music value for money.