Updated March, 2002


Peter Lewry
Helter Skelter Publishing

Chronicle, Webster defines as "A record of events chronologically arranged" so does this this JC Chronicle do exactly "what it says on the tin?" Indeed it does, and with some style and panache too. Our Man In Black editor finally turns his detailed eye to the life and times of the incomparable Mr J R Cash. It's surprising to find in the blurb that Peter has authored several other musical books in differing genres before turning to this great labour of love.

It's a lovingly compiled piece of comprehensive research with many, many hours being spent in various archives or in correspondence/communication with other Cash experts. The fact that no less a figure than Lou Robin (the Cash's personal manager) provides the foreword speaks for itself.

Other major musical figures like the Beatles and Elvis have had chronicles published previously but with respect to those authors, Peter takes on a 45+ year career here and one spent consistently at the peak of success too. Whether you're a Walk The Line-r or a Solitary Man-r, this detailed overview will impress you. Well illustrated in b&w throughout, with stage shots, adverts, sheet music, sleeves etc to break up the prose. It's easy to read, either straight through or to dip in to occassionally.

I would strongly recommend that the publisher considers including a brief index in any future updates, particularly of geographical information for concerts tv shows etc. I understand that it may well have been a space problem but I strongly feel this would have enhanced the book further as a definitive reference tool to sit alongside the "bibles" of John L. Smith. Peter's concise discography at the rear points correctly to Mr Smith's awe inpiring works.

I've had great fun checking out what ole Golden Throat was doing on various family anniversaries, or even the stereotypical When "Kennedy Got Shot/When Elvis Died" game. Helter Skelter have done a fine all round job from the eye catching cover through the detailed 255 pages of this book. Hopefully it will trigger many a laugh and tearful reminisce amongst a certain family in Jamaica when they read through this.

We are given the Cash performed song titles from the legendary 69-71 JC TV series and I feel it would've been a useful indicator of musical evolvement to have included say a set list from either each major tour, or from each year or even when there was a major band change. Again it was probably down to space. This criticism is meant to be constructive and not sour grapes simply because my er "complicated" Welsh surname is spelt wrong in the acknowledgements!!!! And as for Ian Calford's claims of being able to operate a camera - - - my lawyers have been informed.

All readers of Man In Black and indeed anyone you know of with any kind of interest in the life and times of Country's longest serving king will eagerly devour every detail of this book. A grand piece of work young Mr Lewry, mind you this anorakian obsessive attention to detail, leads me to suspect your surname is more than likely that found on page 214, the venue of the April 16th 1993 Cash show ;-) !!

The dedication of this book to the memory of the great Luther Perkins is absolutely spot on. Well done PL for remembering.

Start those letters to Santa now. File this next to the Bear Family boxes, the autobiographies and the discographies. Soooooeyyyy!

Phil Davies

Live At The ABC Kingston 1962

The Shadows: - Apache/Shazam; Shadoogie; Wonderful Land; All My Sorrows; Quarter To Three; Nivram; Little B; FBI.
Cliff & The Shadows - Do You Wanna Dance; Dim Dim The Lights; My Blue Heaven; Razzle Dazzle; Rovin'Gambler; Save My Soul; When The Girl In Your Arms; I Got A Woman; Lessons In Love/Got A Funny Feeling/The Young Ones (medley); We Say Yeah.

Whilst R & B artists of the golden era like Muddy Waters, Ray Charles and James Brown were given live album releases way back when its surprising to find that none of the major rock n roll names of the era were given the same treatment. Imagine the impact a live 56 Elvis or Little Richard album would've had. Columbia did shelve a planned Carl Perkins live 50s album and Jerry Lee had to bring one out on a European label affiliate of Mercury's (the stellar JLL Live At The Star Club Hamburg)

Cliff Richard's debut album in 1958 was simply named Cliff and recorded "Live" in Abbey Road studio in front of some of his fans, this great new release finds him at the peak of his early popularity with his superb backing group (and instrumental hit makers in their own right) The Shadows. Recorded live on tour in March 1962 at the ABC Theatre in Kingston near London, Cliff was the Ukase biggest star and the Shadows were the most popular group. They open proceedings with their latest band member Brian Bennet on drums.

The excellent packaging, photos and notes confirm that both acts were riding high in the UK charts on March 7th. The sound quality is excellent on this time capsule, which has amazingly sat in the EMI vaults for 40 years. The Shads zip through instros Apache/Shazam, Shadoogie, Wonderful land with plenty of panache and to much audience acclaim, a folkie vocal in All My Sorrows before fendering their way through Quarter To Three, Nivram, Bennet's drum solo Little B and a rousing foot stomping FBI to close. Their corny stage patter and jokes add to the charm. A cracking performance and well worth buying for this alone if you're not a Cliff fan.

From his early Elvis clone days on Oh Boy in 58, Cliff had changed into an all round family entertainer/movie star in 62 (signs of things to come), but luckily for us, instead of churning out his biggest hits or latest product he takes several dips back into the rocking stuff that first made him a fan and then later a singer of some style.

He opens with Bobby Freeman's Do You Wanna Dance to audience approval, visits his early hero Mr Haley twice for Razzle Dazzle and Dim Dim The lights and Fats for My Blue Heaven before a folk styled Rovin'Gambler. This old 30s/40s hillbilly/folk tune is credited to one Mr Omar, apparently a pseudonym for David " Hippie" Crosby, Hmmm a bit more research in future please EMI! Earlier versions of this old Anglo traditional folk song inc Carson Robinson, Everlys, T Ernie Ford and the Brothers Four! Bet Cliff knew it from the Evs version off Songs Our Daddy taught Us.

Jack Scott's gospel mover Save My Soul is most welcome (this first surfaced on Cliff's RnR Years box set a few years back) as is his Presleyish take on I Got A Woman interspersed with a ballad from his latest movie. We also get a medley of the title The Young Ones/Got A Funny Feeling/Lessons In Love before closing with the stonking hand clapper We Say Yeah from the movie. I'm not a great fan of Sir Cliff but this was a really good performance and is recommended. There's an air of youth club/school prefect in Cliff's on stage demeanour and his somewhat patronising comments to the audience but all in all he rocks well when it matters.

This limited edition cd has stunning packaging, a cracking 7" triple gatefold EP with period cover photo and back sleeve, absolutely brilliant. RCA/BMG for instance, should look at this and quiver with shame at the much more expensive FTD series of meagre digi pack Elvis cds. Later editions will be housed in an ordinary jewel case so get this whilst its hot (and available). A second run of this edition has been made, testament to quality product and packaging selling well in the collector's marketplace.

Photos are priceless, like the post gig shot of Cliff and Shads'Bruce Welch staring out of the dusty back window of their tiny Thames van! The cod sits inside a pick of the Kingston ABC on the day of the gig, there's a list of the tour dates and the UK top 10 for that week. The inner sleeves house four loose b&w concert/Cliff ep sized photos and to cap it all, a mini replica of the actual tour brochure. All in all, as memorable a set of packaging as I've seen on a major label cd. Well done to all concerned especially Peter lewry and Nigel Goodall (authors of some of the best Cliff research books).

This is a fine souvenir of the final flourish of UK rock n roll just prior to Mersey beat sweeping the world. Whilst Cliff and the Shads remained popular both in the UK, Europe and all corners of the British Empire, they never made the same impact in the US during the so-called British Invasion. Perhaps if this had been released at the time - - - - - -

My thanks to Emi for the review copy
Phil Davies
March 2002

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