STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 120208-18674 LABEL: EMI FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
No doubt there will be some music buffs who having suffered such songs as "Congratulations" and "The Millennium Prayer" have long since written off Sir Cliff as a purveyor of irredeemably cheesy music so that the news that the veteran has reinvented himself as a soul singer will seem a risible final throw of the dice of a wrinkled pop icon. But in truth 'Soulicious' is a hugely impressive album showing that down the years Cliff has developed vocal techniques (including an impressive falsetto) that you would never have imagined in his early years while the placing of Britain's longest running hitmaker with legendary Motown producer Lamont Dozier has resulted in Cliff's best album for a long, long while. Bringing in a heap of soul music legends to duet with Cliff has been almost wholly successful and from the opener "Saving A Life" where Cliff and Freda Payne bring all the poignancy out of a mid tempo soul shuffle to the clever revival of James & Bobby Purify's "I'm Your Puppet" where Percy Sledge shares the vocal duties the effect is entirely convincing. But the only disappointing thing is that Cliff didn't slip in one or two gospel songs, particularly as several of the duetting talents featured here - Brenda Holloway, Candi Staton, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr and Peabo Bryson - are Christians. Be that as it may, this is a quality pop soul album and you'll be hearing the song "Every Piece Of My Broken Heart", featuring Cliff with Valerie Simpson, on Cross Rhythms radio in the coming months.
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