Bittersweet: The Clifford T Ward Story by Dave Cartwright

Sunday, January 18, 2015 22:51 | Filled in Uncategorized
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Bittersweet: The Clifford T Ward Story
Sometimes a book can be such a revelation that only clichés can do it justice – un-put-down-able, riveting, unique, tragic, triumphant… they all apply.

Dave Cartwright, Cliff Ward and I were all West Midland men who travelled parallel journeys in the 1970’s. We all secured recording contracts with big companies; we all acquired the soubriquet “singer-songwriter”; we all aimed high and hoped for the best. Clifford got the hit with “Gaye”, Dave and I failed to get one, and in those days that made all the difference. However, all three of us were chewed up and finally spat out by the London based music machine that demanded success above all things.

There were those who did succeed who had no scruple; success meant money and they would do anything to get it. We three couldn’t bring ourselves to think like that, being in thrall to words like integrity and art, and we all hated London and all that it stood for. Dave and I gigged and therefore built up an audience that supported us but Clifford hated live performance and relied solely on media appearances and royalties for his income. That was fine in the singer-songwriter period of the early to mid- seventies, but when tastes changed and heads turned towards punk and a younger generation, the door closed on opportunity for the literate, thoughtful performers.

Dave and I soldiered on, producing work we felt confident with and making a hard travelling living, dealing as best we could with the demons suggestively whispering “failure” into our ears; demons all too capable of destroying relationships as we battled frustration and angst, as did other song writing friends of ours who had made the same journey. Clifford too succumbed, which was bad enough, but then his body failed as he was diagnosed with the worst form of MS.

To use another cliché, the story is Shakespearean in its study of triumph and tragedy.

Dave brings all this before us, but what makes the book so special is that he interweaves his own story with Ward’s, now and then making comparisons with a searing honesty I can only admire.

He is also a very fine writer.

For anyone interested in that period of singer-songwriter ascendancy who has ever wondered how it was behind the scenes, it’s all here.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s available in paperback – go get it!

New interview

Friday, December 5, 2014 11:52 | Filled in Blog
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During the summer I gave an interview to Norman Wheatley for his radio programme Gentlefolk2.

Listen to the interview now (the interview is in Part 2)

It’s notable for a recording of Colin Scot’s version of Hey Sandy and for a memory I had buried, now revived by Bill Caddick… undoubtedly selective amnesia!

Jim McPhee

Monday, July 28, 2014 10:33 | Filled in Uncategorized
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Sad news today of the death of Jim McPhee.

Jim was my agent for many years and also ran the Red Lion club in Kings Heath Birmingham, where I had some of my best and most enjoyable gigs with always packed houses. Jim also looked after Vin Garbutt and Jake Thackray. He kept a welcoming open house for passing artists with his wife Jill and a better and more caring person I never met.

Wendy and I send our love to Jill and all of the family.


Friday, May 2, 2014 10:26 | Filled in Uncategorized
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In response to demand at my Glad to be Grey gigs we’re releasing “Life!”

It’s a CD compilation of tracks from 6 albums issued over the last 25 years, a sort of “Greatest Hits”.

Order Life!

The summer of my dreams

Friday, January 10, 2014 19:44 | Filled in Video
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A photo-video for my cover of David Mallett‘s wonderful song, available on the new CD, Encore. Arrangement and accompaniment by Bruce Davies.


Saturday, October 19, 2013 20:11 | Filled in Uncategorized
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Well, here’s a surprise for you, and for me too. I didn’t think I’d record again but Wendy wouldn’t let it lie so I contacted my friend Bruce Davies in Scotland and asked if he would be willing to co-operate on a new CD.

We communicated via the internet with Bruce sending me his ideas and arrangements, and I was very quickly committed to the project because of the quality of his work.

Recorded at Red Barn Studios near Dundee, utilising the skills of some very fine musicians, I was able to relax and concentrate on my vocals and the whole week was a real pleasure.

So, here is Encore, 13 previously unrecorded compositions of mine plus one of my favourite David Mallet songs.

As I’m not gigging round the country anymore you can only buy this from my website. All copies will be signed. I hate to mention the coming December festivities, but the CD is just the right size for a stocking!

So, I sit surrounded by boxes, envelopes and stamps awaiting your orders. Wendy waits to see if her persistence is rewarded. Go on! You know you want to!

Buy Encore within the UK (£12)

Buy Encore in Europe
(£15 – includes £3 P&P)

Buy Encore in the rest of the world
(£16 – includes £4 P&P) 

Reviews and feedback

Read Netrhythms’ review of Encore

“My god what a beautiful album. I really think it’s one of your finest recordings! So many heartfelt, beautiful songs.”

“Simply wonderful!”


“Been listening to it all day, beautiful work as always!”

“I absolutely love it. I think it’s a masterpiece!”

“Great sound, fabulous musicians!”

“All of life in poetry and put to music. Genius.”

“A beautiful album with a perfect balance of songs.”

Related links

Click here to download lyrics and chords (PDF)

Autumn fundraisers

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 13:15 | Filled in Uncategorized
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Here are my Autumn “Glad to be Grey” fundraiser gigs.

Saturday September 14th
Hargrave Church Hall (near Chester) CH3 7RN
Tickets: email or call 01829 781 275
Various local charities will benefit

Saturday September 21st
The Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern WR14 2YF
For Community Action Transport

Saturday October 5th
Eccleshall Community Centre, Staffs
Tickets: or cal 01785 859 389 or 01785 850 525
For Katherine House Hospice, Stafford

Saturday October 19th
Alstonfield Village Hall (Between Buxton and Ashbourne Peak national park) 7.30
For the Village Hall Fund.

I know many of you won’t be able to come to these gigs as you’re too far away. However, if you would like to participate in one way a donation to the Katherine House Hospice would be very much appreciated. My mother spent her final days in a hospice and it is a charity worthy of all our support. You can donate on line. Please tell them it is in support of my gig and we’ll announce the sum raised during the evening.

The Price of Bronze

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 15:54 | Filled in Uncategorized
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Here is the first track from the forthcoming album – details coming soon!

Glad to Be Grey!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 13:46 | Filled in Uncategorized
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After three months of blessed inactivity, no motorways, and many books read, those of you who said I would miss the life are half right! I am missing performance and have been thinking of ways to keep my hand in.

So here’s the plan.

I have a one man show I’m calling “Glad to be Grey”, an entertainment of self-written songs, monologues and stories for baby boomers and beyond – in other words, my own generation.

I won’t be performing greatest hits, but I will be setting out to entertain with humour, nostalgia and a very occasional rant. The idea is to entertain people who don’t really know my general body of work.

So I’m asking – does anyone have a charity they’d like to do a fundraising gig for? Would you like to put me on in your village hall? Do you have a theatre venue? Would you like a house gig? Do you have a slot at a festival?

I am only thinking of the period April to October, then I will hibernate again.

I’m willing to consider anything but would prefer it to be within the counties of Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Cheshire, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Gloucester, Merseyside and anywhere in Wales.

But feel free to contact me wherever you are on

Clive Dunn

Thursday, November 8, 2012 16:12 | Filled in Uncategorized
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Clive Dunn was a personal favourite of mine and I enjoyed his work before he became Corporal Jones.

When I was recording “Writer of songs” in London my producer, Johnny Worth, was working with Dunn on songs for a Dad’s Army record. Dunn came into the studio and watched me recording for a while. I met him in the control room and he said how much he’d enjoyed my singing. He then opened a folder he was carrying and gave me a simple portrait he’d done with felt tip pen of Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring. On the back is another of John le Mesurier and a self portrait.

He was a very nice man and worked with my friend/partner Graham Cooper in Portugal at a theatre where British ex-pats put on shows. He leaves us a legacy of humour that will last, and that’s a rare thing.