Cliff Richard

The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook

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Billed as Sir Cliff's 100th album (compilations and live records are added into the equation), The Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll Songbook finds Richard going back, way back, to the birth of rock & roll. Richard was there at the start, turning into the first genuine British rock & roll star to emerge in the wake of Elvis Presley, so this collection of '50s standards is a return to roots of sorts. The difference is, Richard isn't quite interested in reviving the renegade spirit of early rock & roll (nor is he bothering to dabble with the sound of the long-departed Shadows): he's in it for the memories. This is enough of a nostalgia fest that Cliff Richard dotted its 15 songs with sock-hop bop and sweet, slow paeans to puppy love. When placed next to "Poetry in Motion" and "Sealed with a Kiss," "School Days" and "Stood Up" have their adolescent themes accentuated but Sir Cliff doesn't sound teenaged, not in the slightest. He's not rebellious, he's jovial, delighted to be taking this magical history trip -- and while this may be too clean, crisp, and conventional to convince doubters, this happy party will please many fans who've stood by Cliff through the last 99 albums. The old men know what the little girls don't understand.

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