This double album is a compendium of tracks culled from other Naxos releases in their Nostalgia series. It’s a wonderful bargain – a collection of jewels from the 1930s and 1940s – as far as my memory serves - because the down side is that there are no notes whatsoever only a list of Naxos recordings from which this release has been compiled.
One of the many highlights is the inclusion of composers Noel Coward singing ‘Mrs Worthington’ (don’t put your daughter on the stage) and Cole Porter’s rendering of his own hit, ‘You’re the Top’ from Anything Goes, to open of each CD. And (almost) to close the concert, there is Ivor Novello singing his Great War hit, ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’. Then there are the invaluable historic recordings of Marlene Dietrich sultrily singing ‘Falling in Love Again’, the oaken tones of Paul Robeson in Ol’ Man River’ and the sturdy imperial-voiced, Lawrence Tibbett singing ‘On the Road to Mandalay’ Continental classics include: Edith Piaf’s ‘La vie en rosse’, Richard Tauber’s ‘Vijalied’, and Maurice Chevalier’s ‘Place Pigalle’.
Great artists are remembered like heartthrob Nelson Eddy making his ‘Indian Love Call’, the Andrews Sisters welcoming ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’, Vera Lyn promising ‘We’ll Meet Again’, Perry Como ‘Surrender’ – ing, and Judy Garland in her immortal, ‘Over the Rainbow’. There are plenty of comedy songs including George Formby’s revelatory ‘The Window Cleaner’, Frank Crumit’s dastardly picture of elderly women, ‘The Prune Song’ and Gracie Field’s portrait of that domestic pest, ‘The Biggest Aspidistra in the World’ Of the instrumental pieces I would mention Billy Mayerl’s delightful ‘Marigold’, Mantovani’s Latin-inflected ‘El Toreador’, and Freddy Gardner’s band in ‘These Foolish Things’.
A treasury of golden oldies. Recommended.