Rug munching dance diva Hazell Dean has been a favourite of mine since her glory days as the pre-Kylie queen of Stock Aitken Waterman. Songs like "Searchin'", "Whatever I Do (Wherever I Go)" and "Who's Leaving Who" are pop classics and rank as some of the finest material to ever be churned out by the hit factory. Unfortunately, the hits began to run dry in the late 80s and like any sensible down on her luck diva, Hazell turned her focus to the club scene and frequently collaborated with Hi-NRG guru Ian Levine (with varying degrees of success). At her lowest point in the mid-90s, the leading lesbian of dance recorded an album of Hi-NRG ABBA covers.
Words can not adequately describe the agony and the ecstasy that is "Hazell Dean Sings ABBA". The musical equivalent of a car crash, reason dictates that the album should be set on fire or thrown in the nearest garbage bin but I can't get enough of Hazell's Hi-NRG ABBA covers. Apart from its obvious camp appeal, the joy of Hazell's ABBA tribute album lies in the unusual song selection. Hazell gives a batch of lesser known ABBA gems a makeover. "If It Wasn't For The Nights" and "Andante, Andante" are two obvious standouts. Several ABBA classics are still represented. You haven't lived until you hear the tacky keyboards on "S.O.S." or Hazell's hilariously upbeat interpretation of "The Winner Takes It All" (a lofty #89 "hit"). Not surprisingly the album flopped to an extent that would shame La Toya Jackson but Hazell's misunderstood masterpiece has found a loyal cult following and has been re-issued at least 5 times. Fuck "ABBA Gold"! Who needs the real thing when you could be listening to Hazell's trashtastic covers? "Hazell Dean Sings ABBA" is a pop trash classic.