Sir Cliff Richard is my favourite living male singer. He still holds the record of having a Number 1 hit in each of the five decades (50s to 90s). It is still a puzzle why he was not more popular in North America.
This CD by Ace contains 24 songs of the original artists, later made popular by Cliff. Cliff showed great taste when it came to cutting songs first recorded by other artists. The following are the 24 originals he was savvy enough to cover on the way to superstardom.
The song listing (with chart and year, and Cliff’s chart performance) is as follows:
01 Schoolboy Crush – Bobby Helms (b-side to Borrowed Dreams, 1958)(Cliff Richard: b-side to his first hit, Move It, 1958) 02 I’ll Try – Conway Twitty (b-side to his No. 1 hit, It’s Only Make Believe, 1958) (Cliff Richard: sang live in Oh Boy! LP, 1958) 03 Razzle Dazzle – Bill Haley & His Comets (15/1955) (Cliff Richard: b-side to Angel, 1965) 04 Apron Strings – Billy the Kid (1959) (Cliff Richard: b-side to his first No. 1 hit, Living Doll, 1959) 05 Save My Soul – Jack Scott (73/1958) (Cliff Richard: sang live in LP Live at ABC Kingston, 1962) 06 The Night Is So Lonely – Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps (1959) (Cliff Richard: album track in 21 Today, 1961) 07 Pointed Toe Shoes – Carl Perkins (93/1959)*rare gem (Cliff Richard: album track in Cliff Sings, 1959) 08 Somebody Touched Me – Ruth Brown & Her Rhythmakers (1954) (Cliff Richard: sang live in LP Oh Boy!, 1959) 09 It’ll Be Me – Jerry Lee Lewis (1959) (Cliff Richard: UK 2/1962) 10 We Have It Made – Pete Votrian (1959)*rare gem (Cliff Richard: album track in Me And My Shadows, 1962) 11 Tough Enough – Johnny Otis & Orchestra (1959)*rare gem (Cliff Richard: album track in 21 Today, 1961) 12 The Snake And The Bookworm – Richard Barrett (1959)*rare gem (Cliff Richard: album track in Cliff Sings, 1959) 13 I’m Looking Out The Window – Peggy Lee (b-side to Hallelujah, I Love Him So, 1959) (Cliff Richard: UK 2/1962) 14 D In Love – Curtis Lee (1960)*rare gem (Cliff Richard: b-side to I Love You, 1960) 15 Angel – Elvis Presley (found in EP Follow That Dream, 15/1962) (Cliff Richard: uncharted single, 1965) 16 I’m Afraid To Go Home – Brian Hyland (63/1963) (Cliff Richard: b-side to The Twelfth Of Never, 1964) 17 La La La La La – Little Stevie Wonder (1962) (Cliff Richard: EP La La La La La, 1966) 18 A Forever Kind Of Love – Bobby Vee (UK 13/1962) (Cliff Richard: EP A Forever Kind Of Love, 1964) 19 Look In My Eyes Maria – Jay & The Americans (b-side to Come Dance With Me, 1963) (Cliff Richard: EP Look In My Eyes Maria, 1965) 20 The Minute You’re Gone – Sonny James (95/1963) (Cliff Richard: UK 1/1965) 21 Blue Turns To Grey – Dick & Dee Dee (1965)*rare gem (Cliff Richard: UK 15/1966) 22 Hangin’ On – The Gosdin Brothers (1967) (Cliff Richard: UK 13/1974) 23 I’ll Come Running – Neil Diamond (b-side to Cherry, Cherry, 1966) (Cliff Richard: UK 26/1967) 24 It’s All Over – Everly Brothers (1965) (Cliff Richard: UK 9/1967)
As per usual high standards of Ace Records, the sound is clean with no hiss. Good job in remastering.
Other songs that can be included are Daddy’s Home (originally done by Shep & The Limelites) and Mumblin’ Mosie (originally done by Johnny Otis), The Twelfth Of Never (originally done by Johnny Mathis), and Lucky Lips (originally done by Ruth Brown & Gale Storm).
There is an excellent 20 page booklet with detailed discography and many beautiful pictures of labels and picture sleeves. The front cover is outstanding, using a similar design as the front cover for Cliff’s Hit Album.
Ace Records is a reputable UK reissue label, similar to Rhino Records in US. There is a similar issue for Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond, plus two volumes of You Heard It Here First!, all containing original versions of songs made famous later for major artists.
Being a loyal Cliff Richard’s fan, this set is a welcome addition to my record library. The entire CD is enjoyable with great sound. The information in the 20-page booklet is invaluable plus many rare photographs of labels of 45 rpm singles and picture sleeves. Ace Records has done an excellent job with this release, and is recommended, especially for collectors and Cliff’s fans.
`Ace' records come up trumps again (pardon the pun) with another instalment of their `Heard them here first' compilations. This time taking in 24 tracks that Cliff chose to cover, the tracks were originally recorded in between 1954 - 1967. I must congratulate Tony Rounce on a fine selection of tracks, a mixture of obscure, lesser known tracks and a couple of hits topping things off. Starting with the obscure - two great tracks are `Apron strings' by Billy the Kid, and the wonderful teen pop ballad `We have made it' by Pete Votrian on Rendezvous from 1959. As for the many lesser known tracks a couple of favourites would be `It's all over' by The Everly Brothers from the `In our image' LP and one of my all-time favourite Elvis tracks `Angel' from Follow That Dream. It's great to hear both in superb sound quality. There are many other good tracks on here such as 'The night is so lonely' by Gene Vincent, 'I'll come running' by Neil Diamond and the heartbreaking 'Hangin on' by the Gosdin Brothers, there's no filler, I liked them all (some to a lesser degree). This compilation (59mins running time) comes with a great 20 page colour booklet which has a break-down of each track. Overall a must buy, 4.5 stars really.
Ps. Now let's have a `Billy Fury heard them here first' compilation.
This is just so good. I'm amazed by the sound quality of these old recordings of which I've only heard 2 or 3 before.(and I've heard quite a lot). The diversity and quality of the selections makes this an outstanding collection of rock'nroll/pop '57-'67.(Even without the CR connection). The highligts are for me Carl Perkins' version of 'Pointed Toe Shoes' (How did that one elude me?) and 'Apron Strings' by the mysterious Billy the Kid. Both rock the socks off the Cliff versions. Especially the backing on 'Apron strings' is textbook-stuff. In all fairness it has to be added that Cliff recorded these two songs before his own style was developed. In several other cases Cliff's versions compare favourably to the originals. Tony Rounce has written informative and thorough notes on each track. He even admits to speeding up Elvis - which has to be a historic first. A nice touch is selecting the rarer(LP)version of Jerry Lee Lewis' 'It'll be me' instead of the commonly known single-version. So there.
The first single EMI selected to start Cliff Richard's career was typical of the mindset at the time-play safe with high school pop. Jack Good was having none of it as he was no fan of high school so had enough influence as to have it reversed.So Cliff kicked off with a string of original rockers. Cliff would return to high school from 1959 well into the 60s but a question no interviewer ever asked him was where did some of the American songs come from-how did he find them. The answer to what is if it wasn't from what he heard on Radio Luxemburg then it was from demos sent to Denmark Street. Which accounts for songs like D In Love and Apron Strings-a song which has seen many versions but not a hit apart from it being the B side of Living Doll Cliff was being supplied by American writers Kaye & Springer and Tepper & Bennett who offered him the song The Young Ones which has just been recorded by Pixie Girl CATHY CARROLL but not yet released.By the time the Cliff version was issued in the States the Cathy Carroll one came out and both were reviewed at the same time when the film was retitled It's Great To Be Young
It's a great collection of songs and the booklet has obviously been lovingly prepared; it's a fascinating and informative read.
Example: Dick and Dee Dee - who'd have thought they got there first with "Blue Turns To Grey"?
But - and there had to be one, of course - all that care and attention has been spoiled by the careless assertion that "Apron Strings" was on the back of "Travellin' Light"; it wasn't, it was the "b"-side of "Living Doll".
The other side of "Travellin' Light" was "Dynamite".
Anorak moment over, but that really is a reputation-wounding error, Mr Rounce.
However, please don't let my pedantry put you off buying it, it's an excellent selection.