thu 13/12/2018

CD: Cliff Richard - Rise Up | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Cliff Richard - Rise Up

CD: Cliff Richard - Rise Up

Cliff steps out of the shadows with a new album

At 78, Cliff proves he can still move it

Cliff Richard has been the butt of many jokes down the years, but he’s always looked the other way, true to himself. But he couldn’t look the other way when BBC TV conspired to air live coverage of a police raid on his home. Vindicated in court (through all he wanted was an apology), Sir Cliff has now emerged from that dark period with his first album of new material in 14 years.

It’s an appropriate way to mark the sixtieth anniversary of “Move It”, which established the bequiffed Richard as Britain’s Elvis. And how extraordinary is it to think that his own career has been three times as long as Presley’s – and it’s not over yet.

There are generalised references to the trauma throughout the album but Rise Up’s title track says it all: “They’re never gonna to break me down, they’re never gonna take me down, they know I’m gonna rise up feeling stronger.” Written by Terry Britten (“Devil Woman”) and Graham Lyle (“What’s Love Got To Do With It”), it’s released as a single with the 1958 original of “Schoolboy Crush” on the B-side.

Recorded earlier this year in Miami’s Hit Factory Criteria Studios, it’s a strong album from a hardy perennial, a mix of up-tempo numbers and ballads that sounds contemporary while being Forever Cliff.

There are moments when it sounds as though Cliff is wearing ill-fitting dentures, though that has been the case throughout his career and his choppers are doubtless carefully attended to. His voice is in remarkable shape for a guy pushing 80 – assured and in tune, even in the higher registers. His old friend Olivia Newton-John, another survivor, duets on “Everybody’s Someone”, also sounds good, 40 years on from Grease.

Unsurprisingly, Cliff has snuck a Christmas song into the mix, “The Miracle of Love” which reminds us that “believing is a choice for everyone” – and there’s surely no doubt that believing is what helped get him through. Indeed, “Reborn” (by Chris Eaton, who wrote the gloopy “Saviour’s Day”) is one of a couple of songs that are clearly Christian but don’t hit you over the head.

“Miracle” closes the strictly new album – the last four of the 16 tracks are remixes of four of his biggest hits that feature original vocals with orchestral backing by the RPO: “The Minute You’re Gone”, “Miss You Nights”, “Devil Woman” and “Some People”.

For Cliff fans, what’s not to like. And few of those starting out today can look forward to a 60-year career.

Liz Thomson's website

His voice is in remarkable shape for a guy pushing 80 – assured and in tune, even in the higher registers

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