Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard

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Cliff Richard's eighth album was something of a mixed bag, borrowing moods (and even songs) from the recent When in Spain set, but also kicking furiously against the doomsayers who'd written him off over the past two years. True, his chart positions were declining alarmingly; true, too, neither Wonderful Life, nor the Aladdin & His Wonderful Lamp pantomime ranked among his proudest achievements. This album, however, oozes class. The politely swinging "I Don't Want to Love You" and a near-country romp through "You Belong to My Heart" may be standard easy listening fare, and were duly condemned as such as the time. But one cannot help but feel that if the Beatles, say, had hauled the same songs and arrangements out of the vault, they would have been applauded for their audacity. Elsewhere, during a rocking blast through "Razzle Dazzle," the normally punctilious producer Norrie Paramor even overlooks the sound of Richard's voice cracking, so electric is the performance. Also included are English language versions of four songs included on the Spanish language When in Spain album: "Perfidia," "Te Quiero Dijeste" (as "Magic Is The Moonlight"), "Quien Sera" ("Sway"), and "Tus Besos" ("Kiss"). None improves on its predecessor, and all actually lose something of their initial charm. But still, the artist's eye for strong material remains as unflinching as ever, and his ability to deliver it remains undimmed. Indeed, from the doomy "House Without Windows" to a (surprisingly?) stirring "Reelin' and Rockin'," there are moments here when his voice sounds stronger than ever, as he not only makes the final transition from simple pop star to all-round family entertainer, but does so with such aplomb that only the vilest cynic could have failed to applaud his grace.

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