Clifford T. Ward - Anthology 
Clifford T Ward

Clifford T. Ward - Anthology (CD Insert)
1) It's Such A Pity
2) Naughty Boy
3) My My What A Day
4) All That Glitters Is Not Gold
5) Jenny
6) Learning My Part
7) Love In The Song
8) There's No Such Thing
9) Attraction
10) Evening
11) Escalator
12) Sidetracked
13) Wherewithal
14) Yesterday In Parliament
15) It's A Nice Day
16) Gaye
17) Jayne From Andromida Spiral
18) Some Uncertainty
19) My Goddess
20) Ocean Of Love
21) Taking The Long Way Round
22) Thinking Of Something To Do
23) Julia
24) The Dancer
25) Marble Arch
26) Jackdaw

Cherry Red Records

All songs written by Clifford T. Ward
All Vocals: Clifford T. Ward

Original recordings by Clifford T Ward and Leon Tipler

Additional production: David Paramor, Peter Robinson and Steve Urquhart

Additional musicians: Rodney Simmonds - guitar, rhythm guitar / Peter Lacey - guitar, bass, woodwind / Nicky Urquhart - bass, organ / John Mitchell - guitar / David Paramor - drums, percussion, guitar / Kevin Gammond - guitar / John Dunsterville - lead guitar, mandolin, bass / Steve Darrington - keyboards / Peter Hague - drums / Mark Tibenham - keyboards

A few notes from a press release on the album:

Clifford T. Ward died on December 18th, 2001. There aren't many one-hit wonders from the Seventies who still command such respect as Clifford T. Ward. He still has a devoted following and his records are played regularly on national radio, albeit, the same two or three songs. Yet the world in general still only remembers him-if at all-for gently pleading with Gaye, to let him have a say, on Top Of The Pops in August 1973.

His masterwork, Home Thoughts was released in July 1973, to unprecedented critical acclaim. Despite its impact on the media, the album hardly dented the UK charts. World-wide sales were eventually to become quite astonishing, but the good old Brits were too preoccupied with glam-rock.

But the unshakeable faith of Charisma boss Tony Stratton-Smith finally paid off. 'Gaye'-the single released way back in March to promote Home Thoughts-began a steady climb up the UK charts, eventually peaking around number seven in August. The rest of the world soon followed suit: France, Holland, Italy, Australia and even Brazil, where the single actually topped the charts for three weeks. Cliff Richard, Jack Jones, Art Garfunkel, Justin Hayward, Judy Collins and many others have covered his songs.

This particular selection charts his progress as a writer. Many of the tracks will surprise those who ever dismissed him, or who know just those two or three radio playlist songs. Litigation and the sheer bloody-mindedness of record companies will never allow a truly representative 'Best of Clifford T. Ward'' compilation, but thankfully the songs on this disc are free of such constraints. And they are much too good to lie around in boxes, sleeping silently on dusty reels of ancient Agfa tape.


My comments:

Essentially a compilation of tracks from Cliff's last four albums - Hidden Treasures, Bittersweet, The Ways of Love, and Julia and Other New Stories: however, these, in turn, were made up of demo recordings taken from several old tapes found in Cliff's garage, mixed with a number of unfinished and previously 'unused' tracks, so this 'Anthology' is certainly no 'Best of CTW' album; and, sadly, I feel, in no way lives up to its title! However, given that it is, in effect (with the exception of a few tracks such as Gaye, Wherewithal, Ocean of Love and Jayne From Andromida Spiral), a collection of Cliff's 'rejects', the quality of most songs remains surprisingly good - further testimony, if any were needed, to the man's sheer talent.

I found it a little disappointing that some of the tracks ride on a background hiss which is far more prominent, and annoying, than on the same recordings on the earlier albums. Another disappointment (for me) is that 'Julia' is the same version as that presented on the Julia and Other New Stories album: I had hoped it would have been the previously unreleased (officially) 'studio version', which I have always considered to be the better of the two. You will notice that a few seconds into this track the recording stops, then re-starts from the beginning - don't go rushing back to your CD store thinking you have a defective, 'jumping', CD - it's recorded that way!

Those who already own Cliff's last four albums may not consider this one worth purchasing, but for anyone who does not have them, and despite the hiss (and 'jumping' track), this compilation would certainly make a worthwhile addition to their CTW collection.

One thing I feel I need to add: the album-case insert includes a wonderful 'write-up' on Cliff by his biographer, Dave Cartwright.

Marks: 5 out of 10.

Copyright © 2002 Michael Armitage

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Mick Armitage (e-mail)