Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases, including Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Dollar and 60s pop…
Cliff Richard & The Shadows
The Best Of The Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneers
Playing much more than a peripheral role in the rise of Cliff Richard, The Shadows’ contributions are often marginalised, with compilations frequently failing to even acknowledge their presence on tracks. That’s not the case here, however – 60 years after they changed their name from The Drifters, to avoid confusion with the American act of the same name, this is a full-on 2 CD, 60-song set that consists only of Cliff’s output with The Shads, as they were affectionately known. The seven No.1s and 16 Top 10 hits that bore their name are the backbone of this set – tracks like Move It, Living Doll, Blue Turns To Grey, Bachelor Boy, The Young Ones Summer Holiday and In The Country. In his quest to become the UK equivalent of Elvis Presley, The Shadows were truly Cliff’s Jordanaires, with Bruce Welch’s pumping rhythm guitar, Hank Marvin’s distinctive lead guitar, and the bass first of Jet Harris, then of John Rostill melding with the drums of Brian Bennett to provide a slick foil for Cliff’s vocals. Their famous fans include Roy Wood, who said they created ‘the cleanest sound I ever heard’, Tim Rice, Mick Jagger and The Beatles, with the latter’s Paul McCartney and George Harrison joining forces to pen their own salute, Cry For A Shadow, which was among their early Polydor recordings. A useful Christmas present for relatives of a certain age.
(Cherry Pop QCRPOPD 203)
Previously members of MOR hit group Guys ‘N’ Dolls, David Van Day and Theresa Bazar forged an even more successful career for themselves as Dollar, under which sobriquet they racked up 14 hits between 1978 and 1988, five of them reaching the Top 10. Streaming services are bristling with later remakes of their best-known songs but this album, for the first time ever, brings together the original 7-inch A-sides of all of their hits. Initially produced by Chris Neil and later by Trevor Horn, their output was bright, melodic and uplifting, with the simplicity of early earworms like Shooting Star and Who Were You With In The Moonlight contrasting with the later (Horn-produced) complexity of Mirror Mirror, the episodic Give Me Back My Heart and the futuristic Videotheque. Housed in a digipack with a 24-page booklet, this two-disc, 33-song set provides the CD debut of some of their hits, the previously unreleased It Doesn’t Matter and a bonus disc of newly-commissioned vintage style mixes, all taken from the original master tapes and all remastered to a high standard.
She Came From Liverpool: Merseyside Girl-Pop 1962-1968
(Ace CDTOP 1561)
While The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas and many other Liverpool groups were the focus of attention during the early to mid 1960s beat boom, a myriad of other acts from the city were signed to recording contracts, many of them women. Cilla Black was, of course, the most enduring of these, but a compilation rounding up the best of the rest was long overdue, and is duly delivered by this new Ace compilation, which consists of 25 recordings, some of which are scarce and new to CD. Amongst these Liverbirds are, appropriately, The Liverbirds, who didn’t release any records in The UK, but were fairly successful in Germany, where they were based. They contribute a spirited version of Long Tall Shorty – a Don Covay song most famously recorded by The Kinks and Tommy Tucker – and the sublime Why Do You Hang Around Me, penned by their own lead singer, Pam Birch. The Vernons Girls – formed to generate publicity for The Liverpool-based Vernons Football Pools company – shine with Only You Can Do It and Lover Please, and many of their former members are responsible for other tracks here. They include one time lead vocalist Samantha Jones, who sings the pleasant and obscure Just For Him and a rousing previously unreleased version of I Don’t Want To Be The One, a US hit for The Royalettes which is very similar to the original, not least because its writer and producer Teddy Randazzo came to the UK to produce it and seems to have brought the original backing track with him. The blessed Cilla is represented by A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues – a song many other Merseysiders recorded – and her introductory hit, Love Of The Loved, as gifted to her by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Younger and arguably more talented than Cilla, Beryl Marsden never really made it, but turns up here on two of her many excellent recordings, Everybody Loves A Lover and What’s She Got? Glenda Collins, Tiffany, Nola York and Cindy Cole – the latter solo and pseudonymously as the leader of Jeannie & The Big Guys - also impress. A 28-page booklet full of forensically-researched information and rare pictures completes an excellent addition to Ace’s range of British female pop compilations.