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'Remix' stitches Cassidy's songs in new patterns

March 1, 2007
By Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY

The first time David Cassidy heard a finished track from David Cassidy: Part.II: The Remix, his reaction was nothing short of physical.

"I got chills," say Cassidy, 56. "My palms started sweating."

Watching the actor/singer who played Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family flush, remixer Craig J, who has worked on tracks by Kelly Clarkson and Madonna, started to worry.

"I'm doing that back and forth: 'He hates it, maybe he likes it,' " Craig recalls. "He doesn't open his eyes, but he starts singing along, and I'm like, he doesn't just like it. I think he loves this."

Remix features club versions of such Partridge Family songs as I Think I Love You and I Woke Up in Love This Morning, as well as some Cassidy solo hits. It's one of 15 titles in retailer Target's new Spotlight Music Series, launching this week.

Cassidy recorded his vocal tracks in the original keys and tempos before handing them off to Craig J. After that, most similarities between the new versions and the originals stopped.

There's hardly a harpsichord to be heard. Cherish gets a chill-out groove. I'll Meet You Halfway becomes a gospel/disco anthem.

"I changed tempos. I created harmonies out of some of the melodies that he sang. I did all sorts of stuff," Craig J says. Adds Cassidy: "It was like taking the material from an old suit, then ripping it up and putting it back every possible different way. Yeah, it's all the same material, but it doesn't look anything like the suit."

Says 180 Music founder Jim Brandmeier, whose label partnered with Target for the Spotlight releases, "Part of our philosophy is mixing something tried-and-true with something new."

The series also includes new albums from Kenny Loggins, Stephen Bishop and a compilation of performers from A.J. Croce to Salvador Santana singing songs made famous by their fathers. On New Music From an Old Friend, renowned producer Phil Ramone takes such singer/songwriters as Burt Bacharach and Brian Wilson into the studio to record old and new songs.

"We're taking some pretty legendary artists and putting them in a fresh setting," Brandmeier says.

When producing television shows or appearing on Broadway, Cassidy has gone stretches of several years without performing his Partridge hits, so he hasn't developed the distaste some teen heartthrobs get for the songs that made them famous. "I've done so much other work, I never got sick of them."