If you like Cliff Richard and don't have the original, this album is a must.
Jack Smith 2004
According to Steve Turner's biography of Cliff Richard "Ever since hearing Michael Jacksons Thriller...Cliff had nursed the idea of recording an album chock full of hits, the ultimate Cliff Richard Collection."
It was quite an ambition. At the time, things weren't exactly going badly: a single with Sara Brightman, "All I Ask Of You", had just hit the Top 5 and Cliff was starring in the West End sci-fi musical Time...but a seriously big selling album of new solo material? That was an entirely different proposition.
Cliff turned to writer, producer and former Shadows bass player, Alan Tarney. He'd helped Cliff hit the jackpot once before, penning the brilliant "We Dont Talk Anymore" in 1979. Ten tracks were recorded in the autumn of 1986 and put out a few months later under the album title Always Guaranteed. It went on to sell 1.3 million copies world wide and yielded four UK Top 40 singles, including the timeless "Some People." For Cliff, it was (another!)mission accomplished.
The digitally remastered 2004 version, featuring no less than eight bonus tracks, arrives in surprisingly fresh condition. British chart music from the 80s often comes laden with drum and synthesiser sounds that evoke the era in all too garish detail; this is not the case with Always Guaranteed, which displays a pleasing, and timeless,American pop/rock influence.
Many of the additional offerings are B-sides from the singles which, as might be expected, fall short of the standard set by the original tracks. The ten 'proper' tracks, however, have been expertly remastered with a genuine appreciation for the unique texture and enunciation of Cliff's vocals.
If you like Cliff Richard and don't have the original, this album is a must. If you do, the remastered songs may bring heightened joy second time around - but only if you've got ahigh qualityhi-fi system.