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Lost West End Vintage 2 review

Lost West End Vintage 2
Stage Door

This release marks a second 2-disc compilation of recordings from ‘forgotten’ or neglected musical productions that were performed in London between 1943-1962. Musicals of that era still paid huge debts to music hall, and was often chirpy with a strong Cockney bent. That’s fine, if it’s your cup of tea, but it can be a touch twee otherwise. But assuredly, whatever your genre tastes, lovers of old school musical theatre will find this collection a treasure trove.

If you’re not entirely sold on the genre, this release has another major selling point which is the stellar performers whose work has been captured for posterity here. In no particular order, you’ll find:

Jeremy Brett – Wonderful View from the musical Marigold, performing with Sally Smith. Putting his rich, mellifluous baritone to good use, Brett delivers a sentimental love song that’s performed as a duet. An experienced musical theatre performer, he would later appear in the movie version of My Fair Lady (in which he was scandalously dubbed!) Brett topped off a highly distinguished career by becoming the definitive Sherlock Holmes in Granada’s 1980s television series.

Spike Milligan – Wish I Knew from Lady at the Wheel. Spike would occasionally make stage appearances, such as often reprising the part of Long John Silver at the Mermaid Theatre in Treasure Island. This performance, from 1958 when he was already a radio star thanks to The Goon Show, demonstrates a surprisingly fine singing voice.

Anna Neagle – The Years Together from King’s Rhapsody. The darling of the West End sings a song composed by Ivor Novello, who was also in the cast for this 1949 production.

Barbara Windsor – Where do Little Birds Go? from Fings Ain’t Wot they Used T’Be. The cherished national treasure’s unmistakeable squeaky Cockney tones delivers a saccharine song on ornithological observation.

Frank Sinatra – If She’d Only Looked My Way from Gay’s the Word. Ol’ Blue Eyes sings an Ivor Novello number from a 1951 Saville Theatre production. As you might expect, his timing and phrasing are immaculate and distinctive. A standout song on this collection.

Noel Coward – Uncle Harry from Pacific 1860. Coward performs in his own musical from 1946, which played at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The lyrics are witty and delivered at pace – typical Coward!

Joan Sims – You Never Know With Men from The Water Gipsies. The much-loved Carry On star sings in a catchy number from a 1955 production of an often-revived musical.

Millicent Martin – Our Language of Love from Irma La Douche. Martin would go on to be a television star with the That Was The Week That Was crowd. Here, she’s performing a reflective love song from a successful 1958 production. The show also starred Keith Michell.

Ron Grainer – provided the music for 1962’s Cindy Ella/I Gotta Shoe. The following year he supplied the music for the title sequence to Doctor Who (which, regardless of the fate of his musical theatre ventures, remains part of the public consciousness four decades after his death).

If you love theatre performers of that era, chances are you’ll find  favourite amongst this remarkable collection. The sound quality is very good, and these two CDs pack in a lot of material. Revisit a golden age of musical theatre with Lost West End Vintage 2.

Track Listing: Disc One 1. Someday My Heart Will Awake / Take Your Girl (from ‘King’s Rhapsody’) – Vanessa Lee 2. Gold Digging Digger (from ‘Golden City’) – Eleanor Summerfield 3. Never Say Goodbye (from ‘The Lisbon Story’) – Patricia Burke 4. Sweet Yesterday (from ‘Sweet Yesterday’) – Anne Ziegler 5. Morning Glory (from ‘Sweet Yesterday’) – Webster Booth 6. England Is A Lovely Place (from ‘Tough At The Top’) – Maria D’Attili 7. Love Me Little, Love Me Long (from ‘And So To Bed’) – Dudley Jones, Betty Paul 8. Selections from ‘Rainbow Square’ – Part One – Philip Green Orchestra & Chorus 9. Selections from ‘Rainbow Square’ – Part Two – Philip Green Orchestra & Chorus 10. Bright Was The Day (from ‘Pacific 1860’) – Mary Martin, Graham Payn 11. London At Night (from ‘After The Ball’) – Company 12. Wonderful View (from ‘Marigold’) – Jeremy Brett, Sally Smith 13. Saturday Girl (from ‘Summer Song’) – David Hughes, Sally Ann Howes 14. It Would Cramp My Style (from ‘The Water Gipsies’) – Dora Bryan, Roy Godfrey 15. I Want A Great Big Hunk Of Male (from ‘Bet Your Life’) – Julie Wilson 16. A Man Is A Man (from ‘Wedding In Paris’) – Evelyn Laye 17. Learn To Do One Thing Well (from ‘The Buccaneer’) – Thelma Ruby 18. Down The Lane (from ‘Blitz!’) – Toni Palmer 19. Where Do Little Birds Go To? (from ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be’) – Barbara Windsor 20. Irma La Douce (from ‘Irma La Douce’) – Elizabeth Seal 21. Look At Me With A Loving Eye (from ‘Cindy Ella’) – Cleo Laine, Cy Grant 22. Kookaburra (from ‘Kookaburra’) – Maggie Fitzgibbon 23. King Kong (from ‘King Kong’) – Nathan Mdledle Disc Two 1. Selections from ‘Bet Your Life’ – Part One – The Melachrino Orchestra 2. Selections from ‘Bet Your Life’ – Part Two – The Melachrino Orchestra 3. Walking To The Kirk (from ‘Wild Grows The Heather’) – The Bob Bissetto Quartet 4. The Moment I Saw You (from ‘Under The Counter’) – Caroll Gibbons and the Savoy Hotel Orpheans with Rita Williams 5. The Promise In Your Eyes (from ‘The Kid From Stratford’) – Oscar Rabin Band with Diane 6. Whisper While You Waltz (from ‘Dear Miss Phoebe’) – Denis Martin 7. Time Alone Will Tell (from ‘Cage Me A Peacock’) – Cyril Shane 8. If Only She’d Looked My Way (from ‘Gay’s The Word’) – Frank Sinatra 9. Love Me Little, Love Me Long (from ‘And So To Bed’) – Josef Locke 10. Pedro The Fisherman (from ‘The Lisbon Story’) – Julie Andrews 11. Should He Upbraid (from ‘The Comedy Of Errors’) – Jane Wenham 12. The Years Together (from ‘King’s Rhapsody’) – Anna Neagle 13. No More Love Songs (from ‘Chrysanthemum’) – Robb Stewart 14. Uncle Harry (from ‘Pacific 1860’) – Noel Coward 15. Chase Me Charlie (from ‘Ace Of Clubs’) – Jean Campbell 16. Evening In London (from ‘Follow That Girl’) – Charles Young, Elizabeth Humphries 17. Let The Grass Grow (from ‘Free As Air’) – Dickie Henderson 18. Wish I Knew (from ‘Lady At The Wheel’) – Spike Milligan 19. You Never Know With Men (from ‘The Water Gipsies’) – Joan Sims 20. When Does The Ravishing Begin (from ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’) – Rita Williams 21. Far Away (from ‘Blitz!’) – Karl Denver 22. Our Language Of Love (from ‘Irma La Douce’) – Millicent Martin 23. The Earth Turns Over (from ‘King Kong’) – Elaine Delmar 24. Who Is? You Are! (from ‘The Love Doctor’) – Dennis Lotis 25. Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be (from ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be’) – Billy Cotton 26. Love, Love, Love (from ‘Mister Venus’) – Joe Loss and His Orchestra 27. A Girl Called Jo (from ‘A Girl Called Jo’) – Dennis Quilley (Bonus Track) Record Label: Stage Door Release Date: 27th July 2018

Greg Jameson
Greg Jameson
Book editor, with an interest in cult TV.

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