The early part of the 20th century saw Noël Coward as the king of British musical theater/cabaret, with his cardboard arrangements and campy faux romantic lyrics charming many a crowd that needed a lighthearted laugh and pure entertainment. Coward wrote a slew of popular tunes that endured through the golden age of jazz and beyond. These 17 selections, 15 penned by Coward with half featuring his bravura spoken word/singing, are prime reminders of his command of a song. The Ray Noble Orchestra back Coward on some classics like "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," "Lover of My Dreams," and "Mad About the Boy." Gertrude Lawrence is center stage for eight tracks, the most notable being "Mad About the Boy" and one of two written by George and Ira Gershwin, "Someone to Watch Over Me." The digital transfer still retains a scratchy quality throughout, so audiophiles might wince a bit, but this is a good set for Coward fans, or a decent place to start for newbies and students.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos