wed 18/09/2019

CD: Cliff Richard - Soulicious | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Cliff Richard - Soulicious

CD: Cliff Richard - Soulicious

Hard as he tries, Sir Cliff can't connect with soul music's raw, bleeding heart

Cliff Richard: soul imagery with added cheese

With Cliff Richard it’s tempting for commentators and critics to pull a conceptual double bluff. Cliff is regarded as naff, safe and beloved of grannies, so restating that angle and sneering is tired - it was tired 40 years ago. So what to do? Dig around his back catalogue for a corner to be fought? (I’m Nearly Famous and Wired for Sound are the usual contenders.) Make the valid case that he was the British stepping stone between rock’n’roll and The Beatles? Or simply quote the stats – upwards of 200 million records sold, a national treasure, etc?

It doesn’t wash, any of it. Cliff and the Shadows' early work may have been vital when Conway Twitty was king but today it sounds anaemic. Compare it to, say, Jerry Lee Lewis and it’s a hairdryer beside a Pontiac. Fifty years later Sir Cliff is duetting in Memphis with a who’s-who of black music – Percy Sledge, Candi Staton, Freda Payne and so on - and it’s still tepid. The songs are mostly original - which is admirable - composed by Lamont Dozier, Ashford & Simpson and others, but Cliff removes all meat, grit and feeling, singing like a karaoke George Michael with a mouthful of marbles, while tasteful strings and power-ballad guitars schmaltz about behind him.

There are moments when he raises his game, as on the falsetto groover “Every Piece of My Broken Heart” and the brassy froth of the Womack & Womack classic “Teardrops” but, from the twee barber-shop moves of “Are You Feeling Me” to rock-funk closer “Birds of a Feather”, it’s all so horribly controlled and antiseptic, as if sex didn’t exist. On which point, on “When I Was Your Baby” (with Roberta Flack) he does some weird panting thing, possibly intended as erotic but which made me feel in need of a good scrub.

This isn’t autopilot Cliff - he could just turn out the same MOR dross and his fans wouldn’t mind. He’s trying something, experimenting, but the results are as earthy and sensual as Tupperware - which is surely not very soulicious?

Watch Cliff Richard and Freda Payne perform "Saving a Life"

Comments

And what are Conway Twitty and Jerry Lee doing these days? Green's point about Cliff and the Shadows' music paling a little in comparison with The Killer is somewhat valid but in UK terms, they rocked. When compared with Little Richard and Chuck Berry, Elvis was tepid but he had the advantage of being white and the starmaker machinery convinced us that he was the king. Elvis is dead, Jerry Lee is loopy and Twitty might be dead too for all I know but Cliff is still entertaining at 70. Sure, Soulicious is a bridge too far but the guy is still giving it a go, His 50 Year World Tour with the Shadows was a testament to their standing in rock music history. Will Mr. Green's critiques be relevant after 50 years? I think not.

I agree with comments her about Sir Cliff himself being more worthy of respect than given by Mr Green. his album Something' Goin On was well worth a listen, very different, almost up there with Almost Guaranteed, if only reasearchers would bother to hear all the back catalogue....but... The review is about this album, which I too find a bit bland and pointless, but all hail to Cliff for trying. What does slightly irritate me is when Sir Cliff complains about lack of airplay /media attention etc. For every singer there is a season (forgive the Biblical) and when Rock came on the scene the likes of Sniatra did not whinge but carried on performing to the audience that appreciated him. Cliff IMO could and should do this. Music genre smove on - probably a good thing,( love The Killers b.t.w.) but the obsession with remaining at the top is getting a bt old and does him no favours IMO

Disgusting review. Totally disrespectful of a man who made British music what it is today. He started it all. 53 years later and his voice is still as brilliant as ever. I have heard the majority of tracks on this new album and I have to say each one has made me more and more excited. Cliff is trying something new indeed and it has worked. His best album for at least 7 years and I think one of his best ever. The guests are equally as great. I detect your not a fan of Sir Cliff's and your just out to get him. Well I am sorry he has nothing to prove anymore. Sir Cliff is cool. I am 17 so shove that in your pipe and smoke it.

What a horrible man you are to give such a dispicable review as that! You obviously do not give a s---t for quality, longevity and the fans who are not grannies. At least Cliff has not gone 'stale' as so many older entertainers do! He's game enough to try something new for him and I take my hat off to him for that! He has absolutely NOTHING to prove to you or anyone else after more than 50yrs in the business. You are too sad a case of disrespect to even consider your review as having any validity.

Did someone kick you out of bed on the wrong side, or did you actually not listen to Soulicious before you 'reviewed' it? I think Soulicious is a triumph for Sir Cliff, easily one of his best albums ever, and the man has done some great albums, so that is saying something. What the writers have done is accepted Cliff for the great artist he is now, rather than focusing on the past. They have realised there is more to Cliff's ability than Christmas singles etc. It's a far cry from the way the man is treated at home, where he gets treated like a has-been, a religious fanatic nut, or a museum piece, assuming of course he is noticed at home at all by people like you. Frankly the 'normal' way to regard Cliff in the UK is to keep him off radio playlists and allow people like you, people who wouldn't know good music if it smacked them on the nose, to critique him. It was always obvious that Cliff could sing soul and on Soulicious he has demonstrated that. I defy any current act to sound that good when they've been performing for over 50 years.

What YOU -yeah, you who wrote this piece of shit - is a good night of sex...when was the last time??? and more important - when will be the next time?? ... big laugh, big joke.

I am a big Cliff fan and will confess that throughout the last 53 years of his career, he has made some duff, safe songs. He also has made some fantastic songs and surprised everyone. The main thing is 53 years. As a previous person said..where is everyone else who started out in the late 50s???The soul singers on this CD did not need to sing with Cliff, they did so because they respect him and his musical career. He is trying something new, not sitting in a rocking chair, retired. His lives shows are professional and polished, which is not a negative. Be at the 02 on 26th October and see what the people filling this auditorium think of your review!!!

Firstly may I say rather politely, when I read this article, I thought “what a load of rubbish” this man Thomas H Green is writing. Who is he? Well I can tell you, he is a person who doesn’t like Cliff Richard. Never has done and never will, by the disgusting bilge that has been written on his page. It is a pity that people like Mr Green would prefer to write disparaging comments, rather than favourable. As for MOR dross, Cliff Richard hasn’t turned anything like that out that for a long while. Maybe a bit of research into the back catalogue of his latest albums and you will discover, he has experimented many times with different styles of music and sounds and he is adaptable enough to be able to do this. Unlike some of the so called legends that are mentioned in this article, who do churn out the same old stuff, Cliff Richard has managed to change his style of music and continue his career through 53 years, despite the critics like Thomas H Green.

Cliff has always been a multi faceted performer. A man on the pulse who can adapt & embrace many musical styles & Ideas. He really can turn his hand to anything Rock, Soul, Gospel, Big Band, Country & Swing are all in his repertoire. He may be an elder statesman & seen as old hat by some but he is very well respected & revered by many others including well known people in the industry (Cilla, Tarby etc). A man of substance & Integrity who really cares about his fans & never leaves anything in the locker. As anyone who has seen his live shows can can vouch for. He really is a true showman with Panache, energy, timing & impeccable dress sense

Did you listen carefully to the new album before you wrote this review? It is one of the best albums out there Even if you don't like Cliff's music a respect to this project is necessary. Ther are so many new and good songs in this album. I see almost all of them big hits

Hi there Mr Green!... a bit green behind the ears I guess or may be inside. Please listen to the album once more, go to one of the 'Soulicious' concerts and I bet you'll write a different review. I'm no granny, I have no blue rinsed hair with all respect to his faithful fans of his age... but CLIFF doesn't fail to surprise me in a positive way at his tender age of 71. You're looking for sex... for a sexy sound, then please listen to Shakira and write a review about her sexy curring voice with her swinging hips in mind and you'll be happy. All I can say, there are good songs, especially those written by Beau Dozier and Nickolas Ashford ... I bet you overlooked who produced the album? Lamont Dozier, known as one third of the songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, he's the Number 1 songwriter and producer in the US... well I stop and I invite you dear Mr Green to do your job before criticising blisteringly an English famous Pop artist! Regards

When you first read a charactor assination instead of a music reveiw on any artist, then alarm bells start ringing. Such reviews reek of amateurism at base level. I'm willing to bet that Thomas the journalist, was barely out of nappies, or not even thought about when such performers such as Cliff Richard crafted their skills during the "Rock "n" Roll" era. Not all of Cliff Richard's albums were great works of art, however anyone with any musical common sense can tell that "SOLICIOUS" is worthy of some praise . Yes, I've reveiwed this album myself . This album rates in Cliff Richards top 10 all time best albums. Safe to say on a production level this may well be Cliff's best produced album. Mind you, I did play it through a super expensive audiophile setup. Maybe it's time Thomas should take the time to do the same as I have, and give his IPOD the flick. This will be a hit album, if given air play. The title of the album is somewhat misleading, as not all tracks sound soulful. However, most of the songs are tasteful and delivered at higher level than most artists half Cliff's age.Soulicious is a definitely worth a listen. Its' best that album reviews are left to experts, not cynics.

Funny - the only character assassination (difficult word, I know) seems to be on the author. Why do the dullest commenters always resort to insult on the name of the reviewer? Why is it all so personal if you're not worried about your idol's ability to take it?

Well Janis, just as respected artists set themselves up to be praised or denigrated by those of lesser talent (i.e. critics), so should the critics be prepared to take a pasting (character assassination is a bit too strong but I know that you didn't use the term first. Anyone who writes what Green did about an entertainment icon is obviously suffering from Tall Poppy syndrome . He must surely know that it's pointless to have a go at Sir Cliff because the millions of diehard fans will quickly reduce Green to absolute irrelevancy, which is the deserved fate of most critics. He is perfectly entitled to dislike the album but why the media engages people to provide us with their personal and very subjective opinions about something which most of them can't do themselves, I'll never know.

I don't think character assassination (spelt it correctly this time) on Cliff Richard is too strong a term. This is a review on a album by a artist called Cliff Richard. It takes one and paragraphs of thinly veiled insults before the reader gets a smidgen of real information on the album. Mr Green needs to forget about the image of the artist, and focus on the content of what the artist delivers. Forget about naffness, put away the agest remarks, and forget about the comparisons, it's all about the content. And if it's not about the content, I suggest Mr Green trades places with Mr Richard and performs center stage at " THE SOULICIOUS TOUR ". See who's fairs better Mr Green as a singer, or Mr Richard as a music critic. As dumb as this sounds, I have a sneaking suspicion Mr Richard may well draw in more readers as a journalist than Mr Green.

@Baz to answer your question Conway Twitty is dead. Jerry Lee Lewis is not dead but is still producing excitement on record and in his 'live' shows. He celebrated his 76th birthday last month and is still The Killer. Albums Last man standing and Mean old man the two most recent both selling well and very enjoyable, showing a true original still having what it takes. I am sure Cliff Richard would not want to hear one of his fan's calling one of his idols 'loopy'.

Yes Ian, those albums aren't bad. However, I've seen a couple of interviews with Jerry Lee in the last few years and he wasn't making much sense to me or the audience. He might still be able to knock out a killer tune but intellectually, I don't think he's moved on much from about 20 years ago when he was arrested for throwing empty beer bottles at the Graceland gates in the middle of the night.

Well Baz yet again facts seem to elude you when it comes to Jerry Lee I don't think you know enough to comment! Jerry did indeed arrive outside Graceland a few months before Elvis died after Elvis had called him as they were friends. It was not beer bottles it was a gun that a local sheriff had given Jerry that was in the car. The security at Graceland panicked the police came and arrested Jerry. He was released a short time after by the sheriff who confirmed his story. As for interviews Jerry is usually not given a chance to answer most questions, there is usually a pause as he considers an answer and in this quick answer celebrity world they are not use to that.Usually it just easier for him to just say yes or no as believe it or not he mistrusts the media. He has been misrepresented so many times I don't blame him. I think it is more a matter of trust rather than him being 'loopy'. I still say to you as a Cliff Richard fan why are you putting down one of Cliffs idols? I have never said anything to put Cliff down I leave that to the media who obviously know the facts just like you.

I'm glad most comments shoot down this obviously biased reviewer. This album is excellent with great production and complimentary soul greats. Why review an album with something that could have been, and probably was written without listening to the album, is shameful. To Thomas Green, in future stick to what music you like and leave those with better taste to listen to what they want to without your biased comments

Here, here!! The concert was great, song selection and Cliff and artists amazing. My expectations were far exceeded.

Hey, Mr Green what's it like eating hunble pie ? This album already TOP 10 in the UK charts.

An album making the Top 10 does not make it any good. Surely we have learnt that by now?

So Thomas H Green does exist then, he has replied, after reading the replies with much thought and deliberation. I thought he may be some sort of glitch in the computer system that pops up now and again to "have a go at Cliff Richard". There are a lot of them about.

Nowt so blind to any hint of criticism as hardcore fans. And if anyone has hardcore fans in the shape of ladies of a certain age, it's our Cliff

I checked out some of Cliff's recent album's -didnt really like Bold as Brass, but i think Soulicious Rocks! this album is fantasic and hard to believe that Cliff is at least 71 years right now. -this is one of good works in a very long time. -don't know how the Live concerts transpired but the album is great. Cliff is the Best!

I guess if Cliff Richard jabbed a needle in his vein, popped pills, be a chronic alcoholic and released the worlds crappiest album critics like Mr Green would think he was cool.

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