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Monday, June 19, 2017

Various - "Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noël Coward" CD, Compilation, 1998 (EMI)

Noël Coward always represent a different time, even a different world to me.  I know his works mostly through his plays because I think they're great.  I was introduced to his music due to the Brit-Pop era.  Who would have thought that Suede would be a perfect vehicle for a Coward song?  The truth is I sort of became fans or at least admired Suede and Robbie Williams due to their work here on this compilation of Noël songs. 

This album is very much a snapshot of the British music world of 1998.  Suede, Williams, Damon Albarn with Michael Nyman, the Pet Shop Boys -it yells out an era to me, that puts focus on another time in music and cultural history.  It's one of the reasons why this is a very good album.   First, of all, it is really truthful to the Coward aesthetic in that all the arrangements on this album are true, not to the times, but the feeling that Noël's songs convey to an audience.   Coward wrote incredible love songs of great yearning, but also to listeners who were going through hard times due to the war and the economy of the World War II years. 

The album is very much of a Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) project.  Not all the songs share the same producer or arranger, but everyone here captures the essence of Coward's work.  The big surprise for me is Robbie Williams' take on "There are Bad Times Just Around the Corner" is uber-pop, but tinged with a large amount of dread and concern.  Yet, like Coward, very uplifting at the same time.  There is something very passive/aggressive about Coward's work.  There are humor and joy but tinged with sadness.  Suede's "Poor Little Rich Girl" actually sounds like a Suede original, in fact, a lot of the songs here are a perfect fit for the artist and song.   Another standout is The Divine Comedy's "I've Been to a Marvellous Party," which turns into a techno workout.  Yet, fits perfectly with the song.  The whole album is very well-thought out, in that it shows the roots of Coward's work in that era's (1998) time.  

Tracklist Hide Credits

1No ArtistIntroduction
Contractor [Orchestral Contractor] – Isobel GriffithsProducer – David Hartley*Vocals – Neil Tennant
2TexasParisian Pierrot
Engineer – Kenny MacDonaldPerformer [The Band] – Ally McErlaineEddie CampbellJohnny McElhoneRichard HyndSharleen SpiteriProducer – Johnny McElhone
3The Divine ComedyI've Been To A Marvellous Party
Piano – Joby TalbotProgrammed By, Electronics [Electronica] – Steve Hilton*Vocals – Neil Hannon
4Paul McCartneyA Room With A View
Engineer – Eduardo PequeñoFeaturing – Slick Willie GuitarPerformer [Band] – Mellow T. Ron And His Mood MenProducer – Paul McCartney
5Pet Shop BoysSail Away
Engineer, Mixed By – Pete SchwierProducer – Pet Shop BoysProgrammed By – Pete Gleadall
6Shola Ama With Craig ArmstrongSomeday I'll Find You
Bass – Chris LaurenceMike BrittainCello – Cathy GilesPaul KeggTony Lewis (2)Cello [1st] – Martin LovedayContractor [Orchestral Contractor] – Isobel GriffithsEngineer – Andy BradfieldRupert CoulsonHarp – Skaila KangaHorns – Hugh SeenanHorns [1st] – Richard WatkinsKeyboards, Programmed By – Stephen HiltonMixed By – Andy BradfieldCraig ArmstrongMixed By [Assistant] – Ricky Graham (2)Oboe – John Anderson (4)Producer, Arranged By [Orchestra Arranged By], Conductor [Orchestra Conducted By] – Craig ArmstrongProgrammed By [Additional Programming] – Richard NorrisViola – Bob SmissenGeorge RobertsonKatie WilkinsonViola [1st] – Peter LaleViolin – Alison KellyBoguslav Kostecki*, Dave Woodcock*, Dermot CrehanMike McMenemy*, Perry Montague-MasonPeter OxerRolf WilsonVaughan Armon*, Wilf GibsonViolin [1st] – Gavyn WrightViolin [Leader Of 2nd Violins] – Roger Garland
7Robbie WilliamsThere Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner
Engineer – Pete GleadallEngineer [Assistant] – Matt GregoryMixed By – Bob KraushaarOmnichord – Brian EnoProducer, Performer [Played By] – Neil TennantPete GleadallTom Stephan
8Bryan FerryI'll See You Again
Arranged By – Colin GoodEngineer, Mixed By – Ash HowesProducer – Bryan FerryRobin TrowerProgrammed By – James Sanger
9Marianne FaithfullMad About The Boy
Arranged By – Bill GeldardBass – Simon BensonTom Martin (2)Bass [Bass Guitar] – Andy PaskCello – Gillian ThodayJustin PearsonMichal KaznowskiDrums – Ian ThomasEngineer – Dick Lewsey*Guitar – Colin Green (2)Mixed By – Bob KraushaarPiano – Geoff EalesProducer – Carl DaviesTrombone – Neil SidwellTrumpet – Guy BarkerSimon GardnerViola – Levine AndradeRoger BenedictSteven Wright (5)Violin – Chris BevanClive DobbinsDermot CrehanIain KingJo Frohlich*, Michael Davis (5)Mike McMenemy*, Pan Hon LeePaul WilleySue HendersonWoodwind [Reeds] – Dave WhitePete Ripper
10Space (4)Mad Dogs And Englishmen
Performer [The Band] – Frannie Griffiths*, Jamie MurphyLeon CaffreyTommy Scott*, YorkieProducer – Simon DennySpace (4)Trombone [Session Musician] – Neil SidwellTrumpet [Session Musician] – Steve Sidwell
11Suede Featuring Raissa*Poor Little Rich Girl
Engineer [Assistant] – Ben GeorgiadesEngineer, Mixed By – Bruce LampcovProducer – Bruce LampcovSuedeVocals [Guest Vocals] – Raissa*
12StingI'll Follow My Secret Heart
Engineer, Mixed By – Simon OsbourneHarp – Skaila KangaProducer – David Hartley*, Sting
13Damon Albarn With Michael NymanLondon Pride
Arranged By – Michael NymanContractor [Musicians Contractor] – Isobel GriffithsEngineer – Ben KapeJason CoxTom GurlingPerformer [Musicians] – Michael Nyman Band*Producer – Damon AlbarnMichael Nyman
14Vic ReevesDon't Put Your Daughter On The Stage Mrs Worthington
Arranged By [Strings, Assistant] – Jon BailyArranged By [Strings] – David ArnoldBass [Bass Guitar] – Vic ReevesCello – Anthony PleethCathy GilesDave Daniels*, Paul KeggPhilip De Groot*, Tony Lewis (2)Contractor [Orchestral Contractor] – Isobel GriffithsDrums, Percussion – Pablo CookEngineer – Neil TuckerRupert CoulsonGuitar – Roddy FrameProducer – Antony GennRecorded By [Strings] – Geoff FosterViola – Bill HawkesKatie WilkinsonPeter LaleRachel BoltViolin – Benedict Cruft*, Bill BenhamBoguslav Kostecki*, Dave Nolan*, Dave Woodcock*, Dermot CrehanEddie Roberts (2)John Bradbury (2)Maciej RakowskiMike McMenemy*, Peter OxerRebecca HirschRoger GarlandRolf WilsonWilf GibsonViolin [1st] – Gavyn WrightWritten-By [Music Written By] – Antony GennVic Reeves
15Elton JohnTwentieth-Century Blues
Alto Saxophone – Jamie TalbotAlto Saxophone [Solo Alto] – Andy MacintoshBaritone Saxophone, Clarinet – Dave BishopBass [First] – Chris Lawrence*Bass Guitar – Steve PearceBass Trombone – Dave Stewart (2)Cello [First] – Anthony PleethContractor [Orchestral Contractor] – Isobel GriffithsDrums – Ralph SalminsFlute – Jamie TalbotStan SulzmannMixed By – Bob KraushaarProducer, Piano, Arranged By [Original String Arrangement] – David Hartley*Tenor Saxophone – Iain DixonStan SulzmannTrombone – Mark NightingalePeter Beachill*, Richard Edwards (2)Trumpet – Derek WatkinsJohn BarclaySteve SidwellStuart BrooksViola [First] – George RobertsonViolin [First] – Gavyn WrightVocals [Intro And Outro Vocals] – Neil Tennant