Released three days before his 70th birthday, Bold as Brass is Cliff Richard's 33rd full-length studio album from a career spanning an incredible six decades. After 2009's Reunited, his long-awaited collaboration with former backing band the Shadows, and 2006's duets album, Two's Company, Bold as Brass is his first entirely solo release since 2004's critically acclaimed Something's Goin' On. Surprisingly for an artist who has previously tackled everything from rock & roll to disco, from contemporary R&B to The Lord's Prayer, this 2010 LP is the first time he's focused on the swing classics of the Great American Songbook. Coinciding with six sold-out shows at London's Royal Albert Hall, Bold as Brass is a collection of '40s and '50s classics which finally realizes his life-long ambition to record the Rat Pack standards he grew up with. Produced by Armenian-American Michael Omartian (Rod Stewart), its track list isn't as predictable as you'd expect, with faithful renditions of both the familiar, (Frank Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin"), and the lesser-known (the DeCastro Sisters' "Teach Me Tonight"). Richard rarely attempts to ape the jazz-style vocals of the original crooners, instead delivering its 12 tracks in his own unique pop manner, a trick which works on the carefree interpretation of Eddy Duchin's "Let's Fall in Love," but one which fails to provide the right tone on the cover of Etta James' bluesy "I Just Want to Make Love to You." But backed by an impressive array of Nashville's best musicians, including an all-male vocal group on "Accentuate the Positive," Richard's joy in performing these timeless songs is infectious, particularly on the more upbeat numbers "Love Me or Leave Me" and "Lazy River." While Bold as Brass isn't likely to give Michael Bublé any sleepless nights, it's an endearing collection of songs which, if nothing else, proves that more than 50 years into his career, Richard isn't afraid to tackle something outside his comfort zone.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien