Cliff rehearsing What'd I Say for the finale of his first
What'd I Say was a perennial favourite of Cliff's, which he performed many times in his early concerts from 1960 to 1965; it would often be the closing number in his act.
The second of these three performances is a frantic early take of Ray Charles' rhythm and blues classic probably cut at the Luxembourg recording studios in 1960. The song is faster in tempo than the other two takes, and there is a distinct hard and exciting edge to Cliff's upper vocal range that had disappeared by 1961. This version also contains a change of lyric in the verses " Your kisses get me incensed. But they ain't gonna pay the rent….. I need money, that's what I say" replacing the usual lines. It also has a hard rather than a faded ending, and is identical to Cliff and The Shadows' arrangement of the song in concert and on television. Sound quality is only average but without too much interference marring the recording.
The second and third takes of What'd I Say listed above were recorded at Radio Luxembourg during 1961. The first is shorter than the second, and includes Cliff's introduction to the song broadcast just after the Christmas period in December 1961. Both are similar in arrangement to the officially released version on the Listen To Cliff! album of May 1961. The only change in lyric on both these 1961 takes is the final line with "keep on the go" replacing the well known repeated line "I said one more time". Both songs have the more usual faded ending.
Cliff closed with this track at the Copenhagen concert recorded for broadcast by Radio Mercur in August 1961 and on BBC Radio's 'Parade Of The Pops' on 6 August 1960. Another version was recorded for BBC Radio's 'Saturday Club' on 13 July 1963.
Several vintage television performances also survive – the earliest, the soundtrack to which survives entire, being Cliff's first ATV Spectacular from 19 March 1960 when he used it to close the show. This early live performance reveals the energy and excitement which the young Cliff, just nineteen years old at the time, used to inject into his live performances.
Cliff also sings this song to close show number two of his 1961 ATV series simply entitled 'Cliff', which was televised on 23 February 1961. Fellow 'Oh Boy!' star Marty Wilde joins Cliff for the final verse on this loud and brassy performance backed up with the big band sound of Jack Parnell's Orchestra as well as The Shadows. The full soundtrack to this show has also survived.
Cliff is captured live on film for a third time singing What'd I Say on the short ten minute concert footage from Valkenburg, Holland, on 18 September 1965. Cliff creates hysteria among the fans, with one teenage boy leaping onto the stage, only to be thrown back into the audience by security and Cliff's personal manager David Bryce.
The quality of all these three recordings is only poor to average however – no better copies have ever surfaced.
MC: Hank's fine solo on Listen To Cliff!, followed up with a second, even finer one, compensate for the OTT vocal support from the group. The first of the three RLs is even more rowdy, and this time the solos seem pretty uninspired (sounding much more like 1959 Hank). The second and (partial) third representatives are more restrained, though the second with its ropey reproduction definitely outstays its welcome, booming along excruciatingly for over three minutes.
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