Cilla’s mystic trip

Cillablacksheroo Forget yer Pink Floyds, Jefferson Airplanes and Grateful Deads. For the full on pop psych experience you need to start sniffing out 45s that feature established artists donning the beads and kaftans and desperately trying to sound groovy. Like, er, Cilla Black and her pop sike album of sorts – Sheroo.

Cilla wasn’t the straight crooner who became a jostick joker. Take Anne Margaret. You might know her best as Elvis totty in Viva Las Vegas, but round these parts she’s cherished for her feedback-drenched freakbeat monster You Turned My Head Around.

And then there’s Vince Hill… He might have rivalled Val Doonican in the rocking chair and cardie stakes but barely a day goes by in this parish without a spin of his sitar soaked hippie clarion call What the world is waiting for. Which brings us neatly back to Cilla.

A very long time before Blind Date or even her 70s Saturday night TV shows, the Scouse popstrel released Abyssinian Secret, a bizarre middle eastern flecked 45 that has Our Cilla detailing her brush with some illicit, exotic substance (honest it’s true) over a tune with a killer Don’t Sleep in the Subway type chorus. I swear I am not making this up.

Cilla also made a ’60s pop sike album of sorts in the guise of Sheroo. Named after some scouse slang which at the time may well have been her catchphrase, Sheroo is a fantastic example of a straight-laced crooner coming over all groovy. Fortunately for Cilla, she kept good company at the time, so Sheroo not only bears a George Martin production, but it also features her stunning version of Macca’s best Beatles era giveaway Step Inside Love. To prove she was hip to what the kids were listening to, Cilla chose as her big ballad Follow the Path of the Stars, a very classy piece of sike pop that was fresh from the debut album of the very trippy Brit band Skip Bifferty.

Then there’s perhaps the best Cilla moment ever, This is the First Time. An absolutely stunning piece of upbeat ’60s pop from the pens of the criminally underrated Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett, it wees all over Alfie, Anyone who had a Heart or any other of her so called classics. Inevitably there’s plenty of filler, but with the current list price of Sheroo at about a tenner, it is well worth tracking down. You can trip to Abyssinian Secret on the not very psychedelic Cilla’s Abbey Road Decade CD.

Cilla Black – Sheroo (EMI) 1968

No current release, but several tracks are on the Abbey Road CD

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