CLIFFORD T WARD Path Through the Forest: The Secret World of Clifford T Ward 1964-71 (WHCD028)

Disc One
1. What A Nice Surprise
2. I Think I Need The Cash (THE SECRETS)
3. The Same Applies To You
4. I Know What Her Name Is (demo version) (SIMON'S SECRETS)
5. Terribly Unkind
6. Attraction
7. Coathanger (demo version) (THE SECRETS)
8. She's Dangerous (THE SECRETS)
9. Sylvie
10. Consideration
11. The Session Singer (demo version)
12. Rachel (CLIFF WARD & THE CRUISERS)
13. No Money Down (CLIFF WARD & THE CRUISERS)
14. All That Glitters Is Not Gold
15. I Suppose (THE SECRETS)
16. It's Better To Believe
17. Discernible
18. Path Through The Forest
19. Misfit On Your Stair
20. Keeping My Head Above Water (single version) (SIMON'S SECRETS)
21. Complicated
22. I've Got To Get You Off My Mind
23. Realisation
24. Such A Pity (THE SECRETS)
25. You're A Wonderful One (MARTIN RAYNOR & THE SECRETS)
26. My My What A Day
27. Cartagena
28. Don't You Ever Take Yourself Away
29. Trousers

Disc Two
1. Candy To Me (MARTIN RAYNOR & THE SECRETS)
2. Naughty Boy (SIMON'S SECRETS)
3. I've Got Love In My Song
4. I'll Keep On Closing My Eyes
5. The Gloria Bosom Show
6. Infatuation (THE SECRETS)
7. Don't You Know She's Mine
8. Teacher
9. Sympathy (SIMON'S SECRETS)
10. My Goddess
11. I'd Like To Take You Out Tonight
12. Jenny
13. Oo-Wee Baby (CLIFF WARD & THE CRUISERS)
14. Wait A Minute You Fool
15. I Know What Her Name Is (single version) (SIMON'S SECRETS)
16. Think About You
17. Thinking About You
18. Always Think About You
19. The Mule
20. I Intend To Please (THE SECRETS)
21. Lady With The Book In Her Hand
22. My Heart Cries Out To You
23. Maybe You Know
24. Today Is Taking Too Long
25. Keeping My Head Above Water (demo version) (SIMON'S SECRETS)
26. Learning My Part
27. Baby There's No Such
28. Path Through The Forest (demo version)

When 'singing schoolteacher' Clifford T. Ward finally made a commercial breakthrough in the early 1970s, it brought to an end nearly a decade of toil within the soft white underbelly of the British pop scene. Path Through The Forest: The Secret World of Clifford T. Ward 1964-71 assembles his early work for the first time, featuring his scarce 1960s singles as leader of the Secrets and a breathtaking treasure trove of locally-recorded demos and works-in-progress recordings, including two versions of a song that is now revered as a genuine British psychedelic pop classic, 'Path Through The Forest'. A prodigious collection of beguiling ballads and melodic, hook-laden pop songs, Path Through The Forest (featuring 57 tracks, most of which come from the master tapes and are being released for the first time) reveals that, some years before the winsome singer-songwriter glories of 'Gaye' and Home Thoughts, aspiring pop star Cliff Ward was already a highly significant talent.

Long before Clifford T Ward achieved a measure of fame in the 70s as a gifted progenitor of gorgeously autumnal balladry, he was slogging it out as one of the more industrious foot soldiers of 60s pop. Path Through The Forest, a compilation of demos and single sides assembled with customary dedication by Wooden Hill, reveals Ward to have been in full possession of his songwriting smarts straight from the off. While endearingly eager beat group versions of Chuck Berry’s ‘No Money Down’ and the Holland-Dozier-Holland bantamweight ‘Candy To Me’ make up the numbers, it’s Ward’s own compositions which really impress. Tirelessly prolific, Ward was already knocking out the good stuff in his early 20s, while airing one of the most underrated voices in British pop: a mellifluous light tenor from the Zombies’ end of the spectrum. ‘Keeping My Head Above Water’, ‘My Goddess’ and ‘Terribly Unkind’ could happily displace even the strongest material on the first Bee Gees album, while the starkly emotional ‘Don’t You Ever Take Yourself Away’ prefigures the naked candour of John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band. ‘Path Through The Forest itself’ – revered in psych circles thanks to the Factory’s pulverising cover version – is White Noise-grade disquieting, overlaid with close-miked giggles and muttering.” (Record Collector)

This anthology collects together no fewer than 57 tracks recorded between 1964 and ’72 before Ward established himself as a singer songwriter of some repute through classic albums such as Home Thoughts. And what a great collection it is, covering not just the six A and B-sides he cut with various incarnations of his mid-60s band the Secrets, but also a wealth of unreleased material and demos. This overview provides a unique perspective of a fledgling talent trying on different styles and finding they fit like a glove. With the track listing eschewing any sense of chronology you never know what you’re going to get next – from blue-eyed soul to paisley pop to exquisite piano-led tropes on love and loss. Of particular interest to Shindig! readers will be the inclusion of both the original and demo versions of the title track, a genuine psychedelic classic later covered by the Factory.” (Shindig!)

 

© Tenth Planet/Wooden Hill 2008-2014