Cliff Richard

The EP Collection: Ballads And Love Songs

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Between 1958 and 1968, Cliff Richard released 46 four-song EPs in the U.K., divided more or less equally between multi-volume excerpts from his latest albums, and otherwise exclusive collections of new material. A full reissue for this corpus of material would be admirable, replete as it is with some excellent and otherwise unavailable material (and some terrific picture sleeves). Until that time, this single disc collection of ballads and love songs at least highlights 20 of the better performances, including smart covers of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" and the Beatles' "Things We Said Today," a surprisingly emotional version of "Maria" (from West Side Story), and a beautifully desolate (if somewhat contrary) take on "Carnival" from Black Orpheus. Several of these tracks will be familiar to North American listeners from appearances on such collections as It's All in the Game and Blue Turns to Grey; others have surfaced on various U.K. collections. Overall, however, it's a well-chosen and neatly annotated gathering of material which really doesn't deserve its obscurity.

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