Cliff Richard

Sincerely Cliff

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Buoyed by the electrifying success of then-recent live work (both Cliff in Japan and Cliff Live at the Talk of the Town were still hot off the presses), late spring 1968 saw Cliff Richard embark upon a marathon series of sessions that would provide material for his next three LPs -- Established 1958, Tracks 'n Grooves, and Sincerely Cliff. Spread out over the course of more than a year, these recordings were not, in themselves, that different from the material he recorded on either side; despite teaming up with both the remnants of the Shadows, and orchestra leaders Mike Vickers, Mike Leander, and Alan Hawkshaw, he remained locked in a seriously MOR mode. But the albums themselves would each possess their own dramatic character and flavor, with Sincerely Cliff, the second of the three to be released, standing proud among his best overall sets since the early '60s. The choice of material is especially revealing. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," Paul Simon's "For Emily Whenever I May Find Her," Michael d'Abo's "Punch and Judy" and Cook and Greenaway's "You'' Want Me" pack a melancholy that readily matches the moody sleeve art, while there is also a delicious take on Albert Hammond and Lee Hazlewood's "I'm Not Getting Married," which itself could have made a fabulous 45. In other words, it was the sound of Richard hauling himself out of the easy listening vault to which he'd been confined for too long, and searching again for songs that actually spoke to the audience, rather than buffeted them with so much cotton-candy. His final album of the '60s, Sincerely Cliff clearly signposted the direction he would eventually take through the '70s. Unfortunately, there would be a lot more dross to wade through before he finally returned to these same pastures in earnest. But at least it proved that the spirit was willing.

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