Clifford T. Ward

Sometime Next Year

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Clifford T. Ward's 1986 album, released at a time when the singer/songwriter was just developing multiple sclerosis, was more a collection of demos than a finished product. Ian Summers, the A&R man who signed Ward to Roger Whittaker's Tembo label, has said that he intended to re-record the album with an orchestra, though that didn't come about. The production certainly has a cheapish, dated mid-'80s feel, particularly in the cloddish drums. But the record's insignificance isn't all due to the fairly bare arrangements -- no amount of sugar-coating could disguise the essential mediocrity of the songs. Ward offered middle-of-the-road, adult contemporary-leaning singer/songwriter music, perhaps a little close to Elton John in feel, though lacking the large musical and lyrical hooks that have made John so successful. When his horizons broadened beyond the usual singer/songwriter introspection, he commented -- oddly, considering on how much his music sounded like second-rate filler on commercial radio -- on the bland crassness of radio ("Another Radio Station") and television, in the so-bad-it's-not-laughable blather of "Quiz Show." The 2005 CD reissue on Cherry Red adds four bonus tracks, including the limited-edition single "Cricket," which like "Quiz Show" is an unfortunate forced commentary on the banality of the broadcast media.

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