From: Shadsfax Issue 42 (2003) 4–6
Cliff Richard & The Shadows
Seven Days To A Holiday / Summer Holiday* / Let Us Take You For A Ride / Les Girls** / Round And Round** / Foot Tapper** / Stranger In Town / Orlando’s Mime / Bachelor Boy* / A Swingin’ Affair / Really Waltzing / All At Once / Dancing Shoes* / Yugoslav Wedding / The Next Time* / Big News* “Extras”: Summer Holiday Advertising EP Part 1* / The Next Time* [rehearsal Take, with count-in] / Bachelor Boy* [alternate Take: count-in, breakdown, further count-in; prominent piano] / Les Girls** [film version; heralded by cue “Remix for film, Take 18”] / Summer Holiday Advertising EP Part 2* / Brass Band Opening: Summer Holiday [film version] / Bachelor Boy* [film version] / The Next Time* [film version] / Big News* [film version] / Summer Holiday* [film version: end-titles]
Those tracks with Shadows’ involvement (whether exclusive or with added orchestral accompaniment) are marked *, the Shadows’ own tracks are marked **. — Tracks 17–26 are in mono.
General presentation of this handsome package is similar (though much more brightly-coloured, in keeping with the subject) to that of the deluxe Kingston “CD Special Version”, also annotated by Peter Lewry and Nigel Goodall. It is not known at the time of writing whether EMI will follow up as before with an issue housed in an ordinary jewel case. This time around, one part of the casing holds a folded sheet with a reproduction of a cinema poster (not full-size I hasten to add), and no less than eight Lobby Cards for the film (in colour), including one of “Les Shadows” in degenerate-looking surroundings!
Also supplied is a decent-sized 16-page booklet with lots of pics and background information on the actual film, together with a related Discography taking us back to the good old days of vinyl. The icing on the cake: three pages of session notes on the various recordings included (or not included), in this collection. The accounts given are generally lucid if sometimes inconclusive, but I found the observations on Foot Tapper rather opaque (more on this later). And of course the whole business is bedevilled by the fact that the term “Take” can denote anything from a more or less immediate halt to a whole run-through.
The tracks on this CD have been remastered by Keith Bessey, whose name will be familiar to anyone who takes an interest in EMI output of the 1960s. This is a brightly lit recording, with Cliff’s voice projected beautifully. The wide dynamic range will allow you to crank up the volume without strain: the punchy accompaniment from the A.B.S. Orchestra on a number of the tracks comes over particularly well.
One item stands out as unusual in the portion updating the ‘Summer Holiday’ CD of 1988. This is Track 6, Foot Tapper, which has its stereo channels reversed compared with both its predecessor and with the four other examples which have appeared on (legally marketed) CD to date.
The hitherto unreleased material is to be found from track 17 onwards, but there are two exceptions. Tracks 23 and 26, the film versions of Bachelor Boy and Summer Holiday respectively, were featured on the Lewry-Goodall 2CD set ‘At The Movies 1959–1974’. Not included here are the undubbed versions of Summer Holiday and The Next Time with studio chat (etc.) made available on that other indispensable collection, the 4CD Box ‘The Rock ’n’ Roll Years 1958–1963’.
The extracts from American International radio advertising EPs add some colourful background with their extravagant imagery (“ Birds chirp, bees buzz and you’ll roar …”, and that’s one of the more restrained ones), and their repeated boasts of “blushing technicolor” (a pretty apt description as it happens). But the real interest lies in the music tracks. It is good to have the film versions on CD, though the obvious point has to be made that such numbers were meant to be appreciated as part of what one might call an audiovisual experience: and in fact they sound more spontaneous, and so usually less polished, than the formal studio versions designed for listening pure and simple.
In keeping with this, the film version of The Shadows’ Les Girls (originally filled out with “atmospheric overdubs”, not reproduced here) lacks the well-oiled smoothness of the exhilarating familiar version, particularly at the beginning with its stops and starts, and the close, which sounds rather over-extended when listened to in isolation.
As Shadows fans will be aware, the film itself harbours an arrangement of Foot Tapper that differs from those currently available. It is stated in the booklet notes that the track in question may have been located (“This is probably the film version …”) but that the tape box makes mention of sonic flaws throughout the reel. The approach taken here is scarcely satisfactory. Are we talking about the film version or not? Did anybody have a look, when piecing together this CD, at the tape in question to determine whether its faults were beyond repair by the digital wizardry of today? (My understanding, from a source I do not now recall, is that the film version was indeed located some years ago, but that it was pretty much a write-off). One wonders though why no move was made to retrieve a copy from one of the eighty pressings of the Elstree Label Soundtrack which we hear about so often. Those who consider life not worth living without this version could always capture just over half a minute of it, such as it is, from a DVD! In fact, I think there are quite enough versions of the tune in circulation to be going on with. It is much more of a pity, I would say, that no alternate takes of the fabulous Dancing Shoes could be traced.
Track 25, the “previously unreleased film version” of Big News, lists as contributors Cliff and The Shadows. I am willing to believe that a beat group is in there somewhere, but why no mention of the (at times overpowering) orchestral accompaniment and the (often pretty raucous) backing vocalists?
So, what next? This release was tied in with the fortieth anniversary of the film. But maybe EMI could be persuaded to forget about anniversaries and get on with the job of doing justice to some of the undisputed classics of the 1960s. Let’s hope that Peter and Nigel already have another major project up their sleeves.
While on the subject of Cliff & The Shadows, a couple of points are perhaps worth noting by Shadsfaxers who like to have all there is involving the group in the various implementations:
(i) ‘When In Spain’:
The 1992 ‘32 Minutes…’/ ‘When In Spain’ labelled the Spanish material stereo and it is; the 2002 ‘When In Spain’/ ‘Kinda Latin’ (EMI 7243 541086 2 4) labels it stereo and it isn’t, or at least not all of the tracks are: Amor Amor Amor, Vaya Con Dios, Tus Besos, and Canción De Orfeo are properly described, the other eight tracks are in mono. This corresponds exactly to the presentation in the Cliff CD Box Set ‘On The Continent’, and, we may presume, to the way in which this body of material is now, and will continue to be in the future, archived at EMI.
(ii) ‘Cliff Richard’ (1965 Album):
On the 1992 ‘Cliff Richard’ / ‘When In Rome’, all the tracks on the former are in stereo. On the 2002 ‘Cliff Richard’/ ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ (7243 541084 2 6), there is a vague label ‘Mono/ Stereo’, so somebody was at least alert on this occasion. Of the eight tracks on the ‘Cliff Richard’ Album with Shadows involvement, four are in stereo but Sway, Magic Is The Moonlight, You Belong To My Heart and Perfidia [English lyrics] are in mono.
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