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Singer Songwriter

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Album Review

One of many singer/songwriters who surfaced in the wake of Paul McCartney — a British phenomenon, to be certain; in the States, James Taylor was a catalyst — Clifford T. Ward had a gentle gift for melody, always emphasizing a graceful, sweet lilt in the flow from verse to chorus. He didn't toss off songs, he constructed them, and this care is certainly evident on his 1971 debut, Singer Songwriter, an uneven but largely appealing collection of melody-heavy pop tunes. More are grounded in acoustic guitar than you'd expect — "A Dream" feels like a remnant from British folk, eerie in its strums — but there are music hall flashbacks ("Anticipation") balanced with a bunch of propulsive midtempo pop ("Coathanger" [which begins in a manner not dissimilar to his best-known song, "Wherewithall"], "Rayne," "God Help Me"). The tongue-in-cheek "The Session Singer" demonstrates how clever Ward could be although there are times here when he's slightly mired in sincerity ("The Cause Is Good"), but even those slips are endearing, largely due to Ward's strong melodic instincts. There's a slight dourness to Singer Songwriter that prevents it from being transcendent — blame it on a singer/songwriter intent on proving his worth — but it still showcases a nimble, versatile singer/songwriter deserving of greater acclaim than he has received.


Born: 10 February 1946 in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, En

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

b. Clifford Thomas Ward, 10 February 1946, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England, d. 18 December 2001, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England. Ward typified the early 70s bedsitter singer-songwriter with a series of albums that were at best delightful and at worst mawkish. Ward left grammar school before A-levels to work as a clerk, but by 1962 was fronting local beat group Cliff Ward and the Cruisers. The group changed their name to Martin Raynor and the Secrets and made their recording debut for...
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Singer Songwriter, Clifford T. Ward
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