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Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
10:07 AM 11th June 2019

Cilla Black - Sher-oo! / Modern Priscilla & Cilla / In My Life

It is now nearly 4 years since iconic Liverpudlian singer turned television presenter Cilla Black passed away suddenly in Spain. While the focus had switched back fleetingly to her music career before her passing, particularly given the success of the Sheridan Smith featuring television drama based on her early career, the success of her records has continued to grow in the past couple of years. While the stage show musical of the television series has proved equally popular, the #1 success of her Greatest Hits collection sparked her son's desire to re-release her back catalogue alonsgide Cherry Red.

With the releases coming in pairs, the latest albums to enjoy the deluxe edition treatment are her 1965 debut, Cilla, which is paired with 1974's In My Life. The partnership is an unlikely one - exploring the very outset of her career with a far less succesful mid-career release. However, the set works. Not only because the two recordings are Cilla at her most distinctive, but also because the sounds contained within the records show a Cilla finding a sound to suit her. At the outset of her career, she was being moulded into a Merseybeat icon with a soulful edge. Almost a decade later, having become a pop icon, she was moving into a more rock edged sound. Yet it is the soulful tone to her voice that makes the latter work.

Again released a decade apart, 1968's Sher-oo! and 1978's Modern Priscilla, are surprising partners that work flawlessly. Modern Priscilla is without hesitation Black's most overlooked body of brilliance, while Sher-oo! was far more successful but equally innovative. For those that love Step Inside Love, Yo Yo and This Is The First Time, then Modern Priscilla is a perfect accompaniment to the album that contains the three - for The Other Woman, Sugar Daddy and Love Lines see Black take this sound and turn it on its head.

Cilla Black may have been one of the most celebrated British television presenters, but these re-releases show how she became one of Britain's leading music talents.