leejohnson's current selection is:
by Clifford T Ward
by Clifford T Ward
I previously featured this late artist back in June (with "Gaye"), but I think he is significant enough a songwriter (and singer) to deserve a second look this soon afterwards. "Scullery" continued the slightly antiquated, Victorian feel unique to his writings - as I probably said before, in a 1970s decade which had long since forgotten the (then) longest-serving British monarch and all her customs and conventions. (For the uninitiated, a "scullery" was the forerunner of today's kitchen, though smaller in size and very rudimentary, with perhaps a large sink, block soap and hard scrubbing utensils kept there for the task of cleaning after food had been served to the house owners by the staff who worked for them. The cooking range - or cooker - would have been kept in a separate clean part of the servant quarters.)
The blog "Pop On The Run - '60s, '70s, and sometimes more" gives info from a year ago below - you may already be acquainted with some of the facts stated, but there are also some which are less familiar hopefully:
Britain produced a large number of singer/songwriters in the 1970s who never achieved the full appreciation their sensitive and incisive work deserved. One such was a former schoolteacher who featured briefly on the charts, but long in the hearts of those who discovered him. Clifford T Ward, who passed away at the all-too-early age of 57 on December 18th 2001.
Ward will forever be best remembered for his charming ballad "Gaye", a UK Top Ten hit in 1973 which was one of many delightfully English compositions. He followed it up with another Top 40 hit, "Scullery", and a number of the airplay-only successes we called "turntable hits" in those days, as well as a series of accomplished albums.
Ward was born in Stourport-on-Servern, about 25 miles south-west of Birmingham, in 1944, and played in a series of local bands in the 1960s before getting a "proper job" and trained as a teacher. He went on to Bromsgrove High School where his pupils included Sting's future wife, the actress Trudie Styler, and Karl Hyde, later of dance pioneers 'Underworld'.
But Ward continued to write songs and was rewarded in 1972 with a contract with 'Dandelion', the label formed by the influential BBC broadcaster John Peel, for whom he released the album "Singer Songwriter". Despite a lack of tangible success, that led to a deal with 'Charisma'.
It was there that Ward scored his chart singles and won huge media acclaim for the albums "Home Thoughts" (1973) and "Mantle Pieces" (1974), both of which made a modest chart impression. Further singles such as "Wherewithal", "Jigsaw Girl" and "No More Rock 'n' Roll" were beloved of radio programmers, but somewhat hampered by Ward's innate shyness and reluctance to perform live.
Clifford continued to record into the 1980s, but was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987. Admirers such as Elton John and Sting raised money for his care, and he fought the disease for many years, releasing his final album of demos and outtakes, "Julia and Other New Stories", in 1995. He died of pneumonia, and was survived by his wife Pat, whom he met at school.
"Scullery" spent just one week in the Top 40 in 1974, having been released the previous November. A modest No. 37 placing in Britain, it did not feature in the USA at all - probably due to the quaint and archaically British nature of the lyrical subject content.
1973 - Charisma - United Kingdom - From the album "Mantle Pieces" - a late 1973 release charting early in the following year.
Posted: 9th August 2019