Like the Lost and Found collection of unreleased material that was released alongside it, Rare B-Sides comes as both a blessing and a curse to the Cliff Richard collector -- a blessing, because its 25 songs serve up a fine snapshot of his B-side activity between 1963 and 1973 (plus three flips from the '80s that do feel out of place); and a curse because anybody who bought the 50th anniversary box set on the strength of its quotient of rarities and unreleased material is probably feeling a little sore right now. This disc rounds up a lot of that box's most stellar discoveries. For those who held out against that pricey collection, however, Rare B-Sides ranks among the most intelligent Richard repackagings of recent years. The vast majority of its contents have never seen CD release before; a couple of tracks (1973's "I Only Know I Love You" and 1983's "Back in Vaudeville" were never even released in the U.K.), and the sheer strength of the bulk of the material does the rest. So many of Richard's '60s singles could have been released as double A-sides, had the marketing men only seen fit to do so, and it's a genuine pleasure to revisit the likes of "Say You're Mine," "Just Another Guy," "Just a Little Bit Too Late," and "Somebody Loses." Enjoyable, too, are some of the songs he buried away on his B-sides around the end of the decade, a period that many fans consider his weakest -- "Annabella Umbrella" may be a silly song, but it's also thoroughly enjoyable! A full survey of all Richard's B-sides, similar to the multi-disc package of his A-sides released in 2002, is probably too much for fans to hope for, which means there's still another few disc's worth of material awaiting rediscovery. But for now, this collection will do very nicely, indeed.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson