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Cliff bares his soul in duets album

Sir Cliff Richard is teaming up with a string of soul stars to record an album of duets - after Gloria Hunniford suggested the idea to executive producer David Gest during an episode of Celebrity Cash In The Attic.

The veteran singer will also play Las Vegas to promote the album, which sees him work with veteran Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier.

Sir Cliff said he is looking forward to working with "iconic people" such as Percy Sledge when he records the album in Memphis later this year.

He admitted it is "difficult to be new when you've been singing for 52 years", but added: "If we can finish this, I will have died and gone to heaven."

Among the other stars who will appear on the album and feature in the tour are Dennis Edwards from the Temptations and Candi Staton.

Sir Cliff said: "No-one would have expected me to sing a bunch of soul songs with iconic soul singers but I'm going to try and I'm going to do my soul, they are going to do their soul, and we should end up sounding soulicious."

He joked: "I've never made it in the States and I think it's jolly well about time."

Dates have yet to be announced for a planned UK tour but Gest said they would definitely play London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle, and he promised a "surreal" show.

Speaking at a press conference in London, he said: "A mutual friend of ours, TV presenter Gloria Hunniford, approached me about working with Sir Cliff. I came up with the idea of doing an album of duets with soul legends as well as a number of modern R 'n' B artists.

"Most of the tunes are very contemporary and do not be surprised if a rapper or two appears on this album. Cliff has a remarkable voice and I think people will be amazed by the versatility he shows on this new album."

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