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Cliff Richard - The Fabulous Rock 'N' Roll Songbook (2013 UK)

Cliff Richard - The Fabulous Rock 'N' Roll Songbook (2013 UK)


Cliff Richard - The Fabulous Rock 'N' Roll Songbook (2013 UK)

The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook is a studio album by Cliff Richard. Promoted as his 100th (!!!) album, the album was released through Rhino Records on November 2013 and is made up of 14 covers of classic rock 'n' roll songs and one new song "One More Sunny Day". The album reached number #7 in the UK Albums Chart and was certified Gold for sales over 100,000 in the UK.
The album was recorded live at the Blackbird Studio and at The Parlor in Nashville, Tennessee, as a tribute to the greats of rock 'n' roll who inspired and influenced Cliff, including Johnny Tillotson, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Everly Brothers and Little Richard. The album is produced by Steve Mandile and Eddie Healy is the executive producer. The debut single from the album is a cover of the Little Richard hit "Rip It Up", it is Cliff Richard's 140th (!!!) single.


Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958 (1968)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958  (1968)

Established 1958 was a tenth anniversary effort by Cliff Richard & the Shadows, reuniting singer and band after several years of establishing separate musical identities. It showcases the songwriting of the bandmembers -- Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Brian Bennett, and John Rostill, who, singly or in combination, wrote everything here -- and Richard's preferred style of the period, an adult pop/rock style not too far removed from what Neil Diamond was doing on the opposite side of the Atlantic (except that Richard didn't write songs). Seven vocal numbers feature Richard and seven mixed instrumental and vocal numbers showcase the band exclusively, but little of it ever gets near to the sounds contemporary to 1968, and it was albums like this -- far removed from Richard's efforts at sounding up-to-date, such as Don't Stop Me Now -- that pegged the singer as a British-only pop phenomenon for the next half-decade or more. "Oh La La" is the only up-to-date, real rock & roll number here, and it might've passed muster as a comeback single in the same manner that "Kentucky Rain" did for Elvis Presley, keeping his credibility alive at the time, separate from his movies, for those still listening -- it has some of the urgency and allure of Richard's best solo singles. Some of the other cuts, such as "Somewhere by the Sea," sort of rock, with a beat and some crunchy guitars out in front, and the novelty instrumental "The Magical Mrs. Clamps" shows off the most informal, comical side of the Shadows (who could sound like the early Nitty Gritty Dirt Band when they wanted to). Otherwise, this record is more identified by the slow, very sentimental ballad "The Girl on the Bus," which features Richard and the band with accompaniment arranged by producer Norrie Paramor, or "Maggie's Samba" by Brian Bennett, which sounds like part of a movie score in search of a film. It was a natural fit for U.K. listeners accustomed to Richard and with their own pop perceptions, but would have flown right past American listeners, although its has its moments and some nice, somewhat formalistic pop/rock virtuosity to recommend it four decades on

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958  (1968)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958  (1968)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958  (1968)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958  (1968)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958  (1968)


Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Thank You Very Much (1978)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Thank You Very Much (1978)

Thank You Very Much: London Palladium Reunion Concert

Recorded at the London Palladium on March 4, 1978, this live concert release is one of the most appealing and rewarding of all post-'60s Cliff Richard releases as a career overview as a well as a performance document, and one of the best Shadows releases of the late '70s. On vinyl, it was a choice import for much of the first half of the '80s, although the CD version has been much more difficult to find. Reuniting Richard with guitarists Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch for a 20th anniversary commemorative concert, Richard and the Shadows perform a selection of their best-known songs across the decades -- for the band these include the instrumentals "Apache," "Shadoogie," "Atlantis," and "Nivram," while Richard performs "Move It," "The Young Ones" (with a surprisingly effective electronic keyboard accompaniment in lieu of the strings used in the original), "Willie and the Hand Jive," "Do You Wanna Dance," "The Day I Met Marie," and "Devil Woman." Richard is in fine voice and Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch are both in stunning form throughout, Marvin's fiery yet clean and tasteful leads and Welch's melodic yet powerfully propulsive rhythm guitar (supported by Brian Bennett's drumming) drawing the listener in and adding just enough that's new to the material to make it worth adding to one's collection. One does wish that there was some more annotation about the event or the full personnel, but as pure music this is a first-rate release, whose only frustrating point is its length -- when it was on vinyl, the hourlong show was mastered at a very low volume, whereas on CD (paired with Richard's Green Light album) one wishes it ran longer. Indeed, the only real question is whether the 15 songs here were all that was performed at this show -- and also, while we're at it, what became of the video that was shot simultaneously with the recording. But regardless, this CD is a keeper, not just for Cliff Richard or Shadows fans, but for anyone who wants to hear what pre-Beatles British rock & roll at its best could sound like.

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Thank You Very Much (1978)



Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday (1963)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday (1963)

Originally released in summer 1963, Summer Holiday was the most successful movie and soundtrack that Cliff Richard ever put his name to, an almost absurdly feel-good flick accompanied by some of the best (and best-loved) songs in his entire catalog. Even today, no Richard hits compilation would be complete without the title track, "Bachelor Boy," "The Next Time," and "Dancing Shoes," while songs that were essentially regarded as soundtrack filler have likewise taken on a life of their own. The first serious attempt to mine the Summer Holiday archive arrived in 1996, when EMI's Cliff Richard at the Movies compilation included the radically altered movie versions of "Bachelor Boy" and "Summer Holiday" among its bonus tracks. Both reappear here, alongside fellow cinema-only takes of "The Next Time," "Big News," and the Shadows' solo "Big News"; also featured are rehearsal takes of "The Next Time" and "Bachelor Boy," plus both sides of an advertising EP distributed to movie theaters on the eve of the film's release. It's a solid gathering, with the movie versions at least the equal of the LP and single cuts. Of course it is difficult, after all these years, to fully reappraise Summer Holiday in the light of these new excavations -- the original album itself remains such a classic that any deviation from the familiar arrangements seems somehow wrong. But still, the 40th anniversary of one of British cinema's greatest successes needed celebrating and, in the absence of a fully remastered and bonus-packed DVD reissue, this set fulfilled that need very well.


Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday (1963)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Finders Keepers (1966)

Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Finders Keepers (1966)





Finders Keepers is very much the forgotten film in Cliff Richard's '60s catalog, a strangely strained tale that revolved around Cliff Richard & the Shadows' discovery of a lost atom bomb off the coast of Spain — and an excuse, therefore, for our hero to wrap his tonsils one more time around a clutch of Latin-themed ballads. Lame as it all sounds, however, Finders Keepers is, in fact, one of Richard's stronger mid-'60s albums, with the hit "Time Drags By" just one of several genuinely memorable moments — the Shadows' instrumental "My Way," the title track, and a lovely rendering of "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" are all powerful numbers, while another Shadows showcase, a medley of the album's main themes, works as well on record as it does in the film. Of course, the whole package can't hold a candle to the effervescent joy of earlier Richard soundtracks, but it's as enjoyable as it ought to be and, should history ever come to reappraise the team's '60s soundtrack work, Finders Keepers could itself be found again.

Cliff Richard - The Fabulous Rock 'N' Roll Songbook (2013 UK)Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Established 1958  (1968)Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Thank You Very Much (1978)Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Summer Holiday (1963)Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Finders Keepers (1966)Wanda Jackson & Cliff Richard- The Best Of Rock'N'RollVA - Embassy Record Story - A Tribuye To Cliff RichardCliff Richard and The Shadows – Do you Want To Dance With CliffCliff Richard - Rare EP Tracks & Rare B-Sides (1961-1991)  2008

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