This interesting compilation derives from popular songs dating from the years of the Great War. All the items are attractive but few of them rate higher than that in terms of musical quality. Make no mistake, the best music to come from the time of the Great War came from the likes of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ivor Gurney and Charles Ives, in other words from composers of art music rather than popular music. Even so, there is a rich vein of nostalgia here and some memorable material. There are 26 tracks in all, across a span of nearly 80 minutes, representing excellent value for money, starting with performances by, for example, John McCormack, Al Jolson and Marie Lloyd and going on latterly to recordings made a generation later by the likes of Bing Crosby and Doris Day, these latter in songs that date from the Great War years but were still alive and well much later. In these instances the basic material may be authentic but the performances have a period flavour from a different era.
In all cases the atmosphere and quality of the recorded sound reflects huge credit on the work of Alan Bunting, who was responsible for the restoration and remastering. All credit too goes to that industry stalwart Ray Crick, who compiled the collection. The supporting documentation is particularly helpful and informative, well written and beautifully presented, with many insights into the music and full details of the recordings themselves. There is much to be enjoyed here, but what is to be treasured is the material recorded around the time of the War itself.