on 20 October 2007
I confess that I bought this double CD for two tracks; one is "the Volunteer Organist" which I have in a curiously truncated version on 78rpm and "Give Me A Ticket to Heaven Please" which I recall hearing on the BBC years ago.. it might have been on "Your 100 Best Tunes"... Armed with the title (I hoped) and the knowledge that Benjamin Luxon was the soloist I hunted and got it via Amazon. I was not disappointed!
To review the two discs (YES! the 1976 Luxon LP and a sequel by Felicity Palmer)... these songs being much of their time require a certain frame of mind to listen to them; I was in tears to a few of them. I find that the simple presentation enhances the clarity of the words.
I think, also, with some songs I have a preference for the versions cut in the 20's and 30's by singers with a bit more meat than Benjamin Luxon; Peter Dawson is one who comes to mind especially in "The Floral Dance". Luxon is good but a trifle lightweight compared to the sheer power of Dawson (A few years recording via a horn and mechanical cutter rather than with a microphone builds the delivery into something epic!).
I would recommend these CDs as a starter towards studying and appreciating these gems of songs, flowers that have outlasted the gardens they were planted in but which are as hale and fragrant as the day they first were on a concert programme. Then get the 78's or CDs of the artists who made their names and reputations with them.