Saturday, 2 January 2016

"Infatuation: Singles & Demos 1966-1968" by THE SECRETS [featuring Clifford T Ward] (2015 Grapevine CD) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"…See It Through…"

Before schoolteacher CLIFFORD T. WARD went all solemn singer-songwriter in the early Seventies with sensitive album classics like "Mantle Pieces" in 1972 on John Peel's Dandelion Records and especially "Home Thoughts" from 1973 on Charisma which featured his best known songs "Gaye" and "Wherewithal"  – he had a stab at Pop stardom with THE SECRETS in the 60ts. And that's what this feature-packed CD compilation from Grapevine of the UK gathers together – the ten sides of their five 7" single releases (last two credited to SIMON’S SECRETS) - adding on 18 other demos and other rarities from long deleted compilations – five of which see the CD light of day for the first time. Here are the embryonic details…

UK released December 2015 – "Infatuation: Singles And Demos 1966-1968" by THE SECRETS featuring CLIFFORD T. WARD on Grapevine CRSEG031 (Barcode 5013929183124) is a 28-track CD and plays out as follows (76:22 minutes):

SINGLES:
1. Infatuation (A-side of a UK 7" single on CBS 202585, released February 1967)
2. I Think I Need The Cash (B-side of "I Intend To Please" - UK 7" single on CBS 2818, released 23 June 1967)
3. She's Dangerous (B-side of "Infatuation" - a UK 7" single on CBS 202585, released February 1967)
4. Such A Pity (B-side of "I Suppose" – a UK 7" single on CBS 202466, released 2 December 1968)
5. Naughty Boy (A-side of a UK 7" single on CBS 3406, released April 1968)
6. I Know What Her Name Is (A-side of a UK 7" single on CBS 3856, released December 1968)
7. Keeping My Head Above Water (B-side of "I Know What Her Name Is" - a UK 7” single on CBS 3856, released December 1966)
8. I Suppose (A-side of a UK 7" single on CBS 202466, released 2 December 1966)
9. Sympathy (B-side of "Naughty Boy" - a UK 7" single on CBS 3406, released April 1968)
10. I Intend To Please (A-side of a UK 7" single on CBS 2818, released 23 June 1967)
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 10 credited to THE SECRETS
Tracks 5, 6, 7 and 9 credited to SIMON'S SECRETS

DEMOS and OUTTAKES
11. Path Through The Forest
12. What A Nice Surprise
13. The Gloria Bosom Show
14. I’ll Keep On Closing My Eyes
15. Looking Down The Glass
16. The Same Applies To You
17. Teacher
18. Coathanger (Demo Version No. 1)
19. Naughty Boy (Demo Version No. 1)
20. The Session Singer (Demo Version)
21. The Mule
22. Poor Johnny
23. Sympathy (Demo Version)
24. I Know What Her Name Is (Demo Version)
25. Keeping My Head Above Water
26. Coathanger (Demo Version)
27. Naughty Boy (Demo Version)
28. Path Through The Forest (Demo Version)
Track 11 first released 2001
Tracks 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24 to 28 were released 2009 on the 2CD compilation "Path Through The Forest: The Secret World Of Clifford T. Ward 1964-1971" on Wooden Hill WHCD028
Tracks 15, 18, 19, 22 and 23 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

The 12-page booklet is nicely laid out with new liner notes from noted writer DAVID WELLS – label repro’s of those CBS 7” single demos – trade magazine mentions and even a signed sheet from a dapper-looking Cliff Ward and the Cruisers. The Audio is a very mixed bag indeed (remastered by Simon Murphy) with the liner notes admitting that master tapes (especially for the demo stuff) are 'extant'. But what is on here sounds really good given the limitations of the sources. The singles are in Mono and pack a punch - but the rest of it has to be taken as is...

Those looking for "Gaye" or "Wherewithal" should immediately look elsewhere – this is more 60ts Pop than 70ts singer-songwriter – although you can hear the cleverness of the lyrics already – the intelligence behind them. There's even a few moments of Beatles "I Am The Walrus" madness in the very rough sounding "Path Through The Forest" and rude humour in the ample "Gloria Bosom Show". Of the five 45s – I'm digging the Hollies/Love sounding "Such A Pity" and the Tremeloes pop of "I Suppose". Signs of his mellow future are evident in "Poor Johnny" and "The Same Applies Toy You" – if you can get past the ropey Audio and the slightly lacklustre nature of the material…

Not genius by any means and surely one that's for Clifford T. Ward fans and purists only – but at least Grapevine have presented it to them with real style and class...

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