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Jazz - Released September 12, 2002 | Naxos

Booklets
Even as Noël Coward's plays are still staged on a regular basis, he is also remembered as an endearing vocalist and composer of pleasantly romantic songs and satirical ditties. Born in Teddington, Middlesex in December 1899, Coward cited Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, and Beatrix Potter as his primary influences; he also claimed to have been motivated at first by a youthful desire to improve upon the formal patterns of the traditional English nursery rhyme. Noël Coward's whimsicality and wit invite comparison with W.S. Gilbert and Oscar Wilde. At times his skill as a pop composer and lyricist nearly matched that of Cole Porter and Lorenz Hart; certain parallels could also be drawn with Dorothy Parker or even Ogden Nash. Coward's influence is clearly detectable in the works of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann; his lightning-quick wit and unflinching honesty also inspired the best of Joe Orton and Eric Idle. The opening measures of Coward's "Half-Caste Woman" even cropped up during "Nick Danger -- Third Eye" on the Firesign Theatre's second album, How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (1968). Since the early '90s, a sort of Cowardly renaissance has developed as various reissue labels brought out detailed retrospectives; if Angel/EMI's HMV Recordings was comprehensive, Naxos has delved even further by sifting through the historical evidence to unearth all sorts of obscure treasures. Issued in 2005, Mad About the Boy is Castle Pulse's triple-CD tribute album. Two discs are devoted to what could be regarded as emblematic Noël Coward performances; disc three adds another dimension by illustrating Coward's influence upon some of the most important British dance bands of the '30s, including Carroll Gibbons & the Savoy Orpheans, Ray Noble & His New Mayfair Orchestra, Ray Starita and his Ambassadors, and the orchestras of Bert Ambrose, Jack Payne and Jack Jackson. What begins as a survey of Noël Coward's best recordings of his own songs blossoms into a superb mini-anthology of historical performances that characterize the cultural environment where those songs first thrived and became popular. ~ arwulf arwulf
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Pop - Released August 1, 2014 | Harbinger Records

Booklet
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Miscellaneous - Released February 11, 2013 | The Digital Gramophone

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Pop - Released October 9, 2009 | Parlophone UK

A follow-up to 1989's successful compilation The Compact Coward, 1991's More Compact Coward provides what the unimaginative title suggests: a further set of offerings from the cabaret star's golden era, 1928 to 1943 (with a pair of minor tunes from 1951, including the self-referential "Don't Make Fun of the Festival" thrown in as well). Nicely balanced between orchestral takes and simple piano and vocal tunes (always Coward's best showcase and therefore the majority of these 20 tracks), More Compact Coward is an intriguing exploration of some of Coward's lesser-known tunes. These include early hits like "A Room With a View" and 1929's "I'll See You Again," which the composer always rated as one of his own favorites, and satirical jibes like "The Stately Homes of England" and "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans," a World War II-era number that was misinterpreted and subsequently banned by the BBC. Intriguingly, the CD also includes audio transcriptions of two of nine brief one-act musical plays Coward wrote and performed with singer and actress Gertrude Lawrence, collectively known as "Tonight at 8:30." Both are filled with the sly wit that was Noel Coward's trademark, and they're among the best work on this fine collection. As with The Compact Coward, the sound quality is sometimes a bit lacking (these compilations could certainly stand a thorough remastering) but the quality of the material is inarguable. ~ Stewart Mason
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Jazz - Released September 14, 2001 | Naxos

Booklet
£7.67£9.59

Jazz - Released September 18, 2003 | Naxos

£4.79

Pop - Released February 4, 2014 | The Digital Gramophone

£7.99

International Pop - Released September 12, 2017 | Editions Audiovisuel Beulah

£7.99

Miscellaneous - Released February 13, 2013 | The Digital Gramophone

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Perennial

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£11.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£7.99

Pop - Released April 5, 2010 | Penny

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£11.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

£7.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Leverage

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