If you tap in "Al Bowlly" on Amazon you'll find over 100 albums on offer, of which you probably own a number already. So you may well ask why should you add this to your collection? The short answer is because of the quality of Alan Bunting's remastering, which is as good as I've heard, and enables every nuance of the words and music to be appreciated to the full. It's claimed to be "His 51 Finest", but to cover the period 1931 to 1941 without including a single Roy Fox recording strikes me as perverse.
Amazon shows only the song titles, which is an insufficient guide. On the first CD, tracks 1 to 5, 7 to 13, 16 to 19, and 21 to 25 are by Ray Noble with the NMDO, as are tracks 1, 2, 4 & 25 on CD 2, 5 to 13 being by his US orchestra. Filling in the gaps, on CD 1 tracks 6 & 20 are by Carroll Gibbons & the SHO, 14 & 15 are by Lew Stone (as are tracks 16, 18 & 19 on CD 2) and Monia Liter on piano accompanies track 26 on CD 1 and track 3 on CD 2. To complete CD 2, tracks 14, 15 and 22 are by Ronnie Munro, track 17 is with the Crooner's Choir, tracks 20 & 21 are by Geraldo, track 23 is with Ken "Snakehips Johnson, and track 24 is with Jimmy Mesene.
Thus the emphasis is very much on Ray Noble, with 24 recordings by the NMDO and nine by his US orchestra, and the compilation is topped and tailed by two of the most reissued song in the Al Bowlly canon. So there's a fair amount of duplication, not least with the Vocalion and Rathbone series, which in these straitened times is an important factor. But it's attractively packaged, with a good track listing, and a potted bio by Peter Dempsey, so if you can stretch to it I guarantee you'll not be disappointed.