Cliff Heard Them Here First
This compilation should appeal to both Cliff Richard fans – and people who like music (make your own joke about them being mutually exclusive if you must). But I think you’d struggle to find a reason to not like at least some of what’s on offer here, the original versions of many of the songs that Cliff had a hit with in his early career. So it’s mostly rock’n’roll, rockabilly and teen dance-craze pop music fare. But there’s also touches of country and folk via Neil Diamond and The Everly Brothers and there are plenty of big-name rockers here: Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Bill Haley and Bobby Vee to name a few.
The church is present with Ruth Brown and Little Stevie Wonder providing links – and all up it plays through as a fascinating document; a groovy wee playlist-idea.
But all of this music was covered by Cliff – in many cases he was the hit-maker; the one who took these songs to the charts. But you don’t have to be a Cliff Richard fan to enjoy this.
Praise must once again go to Ace – the record label that cares. Here the compiler is Tony Rounce and he provides liner notes which are a crucial part of the journey, individual song info and credits with contextual thread regarding Cliff Richard’s treatment/approach. There’s even an apology mentioning a handful of songs they would have liked to include but were not able to license. In an era of serve-em-up/hit-and-hope this is an extra-care compilation designed for record-buyers, collectors, music-lovers; people who perhaps treat their own collection like a mini-museum. Well there’s lots for archivists here, from Peggy Lee singing Looking Out The Window (from 1959) to Dick & Dee Dee covering The Rolling Stones’ When Blue Turns To Grey (1965) and Bobby Helms’ opening Schoolboy Crush.
Great tunes, 24 tracks in total and a fascinating story when heard in this context.
You really don’t have to like Cliff at all but I just can’t imagine music fans not loving the work that Ace does.