A U.S. release which has no equivalent in Cliff Richard's U.K. catalog, It's All in the Game was created in the (belated) aftermath of the title track's 1964 chart success, drawing together a clutch of tracks previously unreleased on LP, and one which had never appeared anywhere -- "I Only Know I Love You." "Where the Four Winds below" came from the U.K. 1961 EP Why Don't They Understand; "Since I Lost You" was the B-side of the "Do You Wanna Dance" single that same year. "I Found a Rose" dated from the 1962 Love Is Forever EP; "Secret Love," "I'm in the Mood for Love," and "Love Letters" were all culled from 1963's Love Songs EP; "I Only Came to Say Goodbye" from the Angel EP; "Kiss" and "Magic Is the Moonlight" were excerpted from 1965's Cliff Richard album; "Fly Me to the Moon" from the following year's Kinda Latin. Despite such a broad time span, It's All in the Game emerges as a very cohesive (if somewhat eccentric) collection. The emphasis is strictly on ballads and standards; indeed, the biggest pitfall is that it concentrates less on Richard's finest performances than on his finest songs. Few record store browsers picking up the LP could have failed to recognize at least half of the songs included. Whether anybody really needed to hear a new version of "Fly Me to the Moon," however, is a moot point -- especially when it transpires that the artist's version is not numbered among his finest ever moments. The Love Songs EP material, on the other hand, is very powerful -- alongside Art Garfunkel's later rendition, Richard's "I Only Have Eyes for You" is the match of any version you could name, while "Secret Love," too, shines. "Where the Four Winds Blow" is another gem, while the title track's qualities should be familiar to all -- one of the artist's loveliest, saddest songs, it also boasts one of his most convincing performances. Gloria Stavers' liner notes excitedly inform us, "Cliff is frankly a sentimentalist," and as one wipes away another tear, it's hard to disagree. But one does wonder what she means when she refers to his new warmly romantic side. Whatever could have happened to his old one?
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson