Hidden Treasures 
Clifford T Ward

'Hidden Treasures' Case front
1) All That Glitters Is Not Gold
2) Jenny
3) My, My What A Day
4) I'd Like To Take You Out Tonight
5) Wait A Minute You Fool
6) Session Singer
7) Learning My Part
8) Love In The Song
9) The Mule
10) Sympathy
11) The Gloria Bosom Show
12) Sylvie
13) Not To Mention Her Smile
14) Got To Get Into Your Way Of Life
15) Trousers
16) Here's 'Til Then
17) There's No Such Thing
18) Attraction

(Available on C.D. only)
RP Media Ltd
CDRPM 0041

'Cliff Ward' - Early picture
'Cliff Ward'
(Sleeve-notes picture)
'Hidden Treasures' - rear-cover picture
'Hidden Treasures'
(Rear-cover picture)
Hidden Treasures - 'Hidden' front picture
'Hidden' Front picture

All songs written by Clifford T. Ward

All Vocals: Clifford T. Ward
Rhythm Guitar: Rodney Simmons
Lead Guitar/Mandolin/Bass Guitar: John 'Dusty' Dunsterville
Lead Guitar on 'Attraction': Kevin Gammond
Keyboards/Bass: Steve Darrington
Drums and Percussion: Peter 'Yorkie' Hague

Original recordings by Leon Tipler
Produced by David Paramor and Peter Robinson

All songs published by Boulevard Music/RP Media Publishing Limited
except 'Session Singer' and 'Sympathy' which are Island Music.

The two sets of CD sleeve notes are presented below.

35 years ago, when Clifford T. Ward was the lacquer-quiffed, star-struck local hero Cliff Ward, playing one-night stands across the width and breadth of Merrie England with his Kidderminter pop-group The Cruisers, he acquired an old upright pub piano, which he immediately painted moss-green.

Using a self-taught chord style, he began to write songs, combining sardonic wit with his unique gift for melody. He then painstakingly taught these songs to his erstwhile rhythm guitarist Rodney Simmons, and together they entered the home studio of Mr. Leon Tipler and his amazing recording machines.

If we can forget for a moment the bland precision demanded by today's music industry, and concentrate instead on the very core of any successful recording - i.e. the song - you will find here eighteen neglected gems, 'hidden treasures'.

Recorded on a two-track Ferrograph, the tracks were bounced until they were dizzy, layering Cliff's peerless three-part harmonies behind his stainless vocals. With Rodney's tight rhythm so far upfront it sounds as if the singer and guitarist are as one, you will hear echoes of Scott Walker, Jackie De Shannon, The Crickets, John Sebastian, Bobby Vee, even Jagger-Richards balladry: all poured into the melting pot and given that surreal Cliff Ward alchemy, until they emerge as total originals. They are not only catchy, but infuriatingly so.

Try this simple test. Stop the CD after any one of these tracks and, whether you are ironing 'The Times', shelling peas or black-leading the grate, that song - whichever one it may be - will be in your head. Play the whole CD and your concentration will be seriously disturbed for a week or more. The simply beautiful melodies, the subtle, quirky humours - Gloria Bosom, Mule and yes, even Trousers - will bring you a strange, yet emotional pleasure.

David Paramor, on hearing a cassette copied straight from Leon's masters, recognised the potential immediately and, after twiddling a few knobs here and there to digitalise these already wonderfully competent demos, added minimal instrumental backing.

All the voices are Cliff Ward. All the songs - the ideas, the construction - came from within his head all those years ago, the halcyon days of youth and expectation.

Within a short time, changing his style completely, he would find the perfect vehicle for his sui generis and the world would rightly acknowledge his masterpiece album, 'Home Thoughts'.

But for now, enjoy these historical tracks. Hear a young man abundant with talent, finding his way, sounding as unique now as he did then: strong, fresh, confident.

A head full of song.

Dave Cartwright, author of Bittersweet,
the official Clifford T. Ward biography.

We were contacted by Kevin King sometime in January 1998, who in turn had been approached by Clive Edwards, a long-term friend of Clifford T. Ward, advising that some archive recordings of Clifford's, dating back to the sixties had been discovered by Clifford's wife, Pat.

After listening to the guitar and voice recordings of Clifford with guitarist Rodney Simmons, we were committed to do something with the tapes. Our idea was to embellish the recordings using a set of musicians that we knew were sympathetic to Clifford's style of music. As good as Rodney undoubtedly is, there were inevitably some rhythm fluctuations and, without the expertise of drummer Pete Hague, we could not have achieved such a good result as we did. Steve Darrington, the bass and keyboard player and co-arranger and John 'Dusty' Dunsterville, guitarist and co-arranger, made up the trio. We had a few days very hard work in the studio, but the results have made the whole exercise so worthwhile.

It isn't just the unusual lyrics and beautiful melodies alone that are a joy to listen to. It's the way Clifford manages to deliver the songs in that totally original manner of his that literally sends shivers up the spine.

Peter Robinson and I, as well as all our associates at RP Media, are proud to be associated with songs of such quality and hope that you will share our feelings listening to the "Hidden Treasures" of Clifford T. Ward.

David Paramor
RP Media Limited.

My comments:

The general style is certainly different to that which abounds on his later albums - a little more conventional, and in the approach of 'Singer/Songwriter', as one might expect considering the period the songs were recorded. The album certainly has a distinct 'late-60s' feel to it, but this in no way lessens the enjoyment attained from listening through this collection. I fully agree with Dave Cartwright's remark (above) - that many of the tunes are extremely catchy - the sort that keep buzzing though your head all day long on an alternating basis - as if your brain has an 'auto-record changer' built-in to it. I am very surprised that Cliff didn't re-introduce many of these songs on his later albums. The humour is undeniable: I nearly fell off my chair laughing the first time I heard 'Trousers'. It's not so immediately obvious in 'The Mule'; where, initially, Clifford appears to be singing to his lady-friend, informing her that she is holding him back, and he wants his freedom etc. etc. Then comes the middle verse which leaves one thinking "what on earth is he on about?" -

'You keep your carrots,
I don't want one . . .'

Then comes the punch line - right at the end. I just cracked up laughing once more. But, of course, there's more than just humour: there is the usual abundance of romantic material too.

From a composition point of view - some songs lack a little polish here and there, and the recording quality leaves a little to be desired in places; nevertheless; this album is extremely good, particularly when one considers its pedigree; and, despite its 'dated' feel, is certainly amply equipped to take its rightfull place, among Cliff's musical arsenal. Aptly named - it is well worth obtaining - no question at all!

Marks: 7 out of 10.

Copyright © 1998 Michael Armitage

   'Julia and Other New . . ' 'Hidden Treasures' 'Bittersweet'   

         RETURN:      Clifford T Ward

7  -  August  -  98   
Mick Armitage (e-mail)