From: Shadsfax Issue 49 (2006) 6–8
August 2005 saw four further Cliff Richard audio releases, annotated by Peter Lewry and Nigel Goodall, all film-related (it is quite misleading to use the blanket term “the original film soundtracks”). One of them, "Take Me High", did not involve The Shadows, but the other three did, to varying degrees. None of them attracts the lavish presentation accorded to the "Summer Holiday: Special Limited Edition" from January 2003 (see Shadsfax Issue 42  4–6), and the notes for each are sparser, though informative on most of the key issues. There could have been a bit more though on recording dates.
The three CDs in question, all of them offering bonus tracks, are:
Cliff Richard & The Shadows
Shadows’ numbers: Peace Pipe and The Savage
EMI, though slow to take to compact disc production, put out a CD of "The Young Ones" relatively early on, in 1988, and in 2004 Disky in Holland issued a rejigged version from the same masters (with the tracks swapped around, absurdly for film-based material). Is this one worth buying for the sound? The answer has to be an emphatic yes. The old disc, like many CDs of the 80s, has a recessed, plummy sound; the replacement boasts a significantly higher mean volume level and sharply-etched reproduction, well worth investing in for listening not so much to Tinkle, Tinkle, Tinkle as to Shadows-accompanied numbers like Got A Funny Feeling with its groovy solo and Lessons In Love, a stylistic throwback to that stupendous album “Me And My Shadows” from the year before.
The bonus tracks are of some interest. There is no sign of Witch Doctor, which could and surely should have been added to the 52-and-a-bit minutes’ worth (this is a Cliff & The Shadows’ release after all, and has a direct bearing on your actual film). There is however (track 16) an undubbed The Young Ones: as Simon Palmer rightly points out, this is the LP version without strings (contrary to what is said in the liner notes) as opposed to the mono single version with strings, track 5: the latter was in mono also of course on the 1988 CD referred to above.
Also included is the song’s USA substitute, the Bacharach/ David ever so pretty ditty It’s Wonderful To Be Young, in what is described as a "newly discovered" version equipped with a count-in and other preliminaries and stripped of the saccharine backing vocals found on the Cliff "At The Movies" release of July 1996. Considerable confusion seems to have arisen from the variant versions of this track, a subject which may be taken up at some future time in Shadsfax with the editor’s leave.
The disc closes with the post-movie, entirely distinct version of Got A Funny Feeling, recorded in 1962 with the Brian Locking line-up.
Cliff Richard & The Shadows
Shadows’ numbers: Walkin’ and Theme For Young Lovers
"Wonderful Life" found its way on to CD in 1992, the fourth in the "2 on 1" Cliff Richard "CD Collection", this coupled with "Aladdin And His Wonderful Lamp." Again, the new CD has more bite and immediacy, though the differences here are less pronounced.Many still shots from the film, some pictured in the insert of this fresh issue, look intriguing, cloaking the fact that the film itself was unspeakably dire and the music not a lot better when viewed as a whole, though, as the annotators are at pains to point out, "Wonderful Life" was by no means a box-office flop, and the spin-off LP climbed to No.2 and hung on in the Top 10 for 19 weeks. Still, the gulf between the vibrant On The Beach and the desperately laboured What’ve I Gotta Do is uncomfortably wide.
Bonus tracks (all previously available on CD): Wonderful Life is the one with The Shadows (a great improvement, though the song itself is no marvel), Do You Remember is the one without, Angel never involved The Shadows. That leaves Look Don’t Touch, a chirpy song recorded by Cliff and the group in 1963, "a possible contender for Wonderful Life" we are informed, but put to one side, to appear eventually on the "At The Movies" issue. It is credited here to an "Unknown", but last year I noticed the title mentioned incidentally in connection with Frank Ifield (who has well documented links with The Shadows). I sent the lyrics to Bud Gray, who runs the excellent “Unofficial Frank Ifield Web Pages”. He in turn was kind enough to transmit them to Frank himself, who confirmed that Look Don’t Touch was most certainly all his own work, though he was quite unaware that The Shadows had actually recorded it!
Cliff Richard & The Shadows
Shadows’ numbers: My Way, Spanish Music and Finders Keepers Medley
Previously available on the seventh "2 on 1" in a pairing with "Cinderella", "Finders Keepers" proved to be conspicuously lacking in clarity and dynamics, to put it mildly. There are no such drawbacks on this new release, which does full justice to a very fine set, from the explosive opening title track through the stellar My Way to the crispness of the instrumental medley, with some splendid performances along the way from the resident vocalist. The music, the work of The Shadows, was immeasurably more sophisticated than the film’s Comic Cuts storyline ("Rescuing a dishevelled Mrs Bragg from the boot of the Colonel’s car … Cliff raced …").
The bonus tracks from the period take in, aside from a beautifully resonant Visions (no Shadows), an “extended” version of Oh Senorita, an artificial East-Enders type construct, the rowdiness of which was more at home in the film, already available on "At The Movies"; In The Country, effectively revived for The Final Tour of 2004/2005, a No. 6 Single released in December 1966, as was this LP; finally, the B-side (in mono) of Visions, the extremely forced What Would I Do (For The Love Of A Girl), hitherto unavailable on CD.
In sum, Shadows as well as Cliff fans have good reason to thank Peter and Nigel for their sterling work on a whole run of remastered CDs, the sound quality and documentation of which are nearly always exemplary. A closing note of disquiet though. The recurrent Finder’s Keepers in the section on Bonus Tracks surely takes modern abuse of the wee-comma-above-the-line into unexplored, even scary realms. One maybe for the archives of the web-based Apostrophe Protection Society?
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