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4.8 out of 5 stars144
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 September 2009
Any compilation claiming to be the "very best of" any artist is likely to be the object of a certain amount of disagreement. This new selection of Vera Lynn recordings is no exception, but at least it is a well-chosen collection from the Dame's wonderful recorded legacy.

No recording dates are provided, but the earliest recording is "Up The Wooden Hill To Bedfordshire" - Vera's first solo record made in 1936. Nowadays there is a tendency to forget that Vera Lynn had already established a successful career prior to her years as the Forces Sweetheart. She was a dance band vocalist with the bands of Charlie Kunz and Ambrose, amongst others, and a popular recording and radio star. However the war years made her a superstar and no musical history of World War 2 is complete without Vera singing "We'll Meet Again" and "The White Cliffs of Dover". I was born long after the war, but Vera's renditions of these classic songs are incredibly powerful and moving. Another fine song of those dark days (1940) was Irving Berlin's optimistic "There's A Lovely Day Tomorrow" and Vera is backed by Jay Wilbur's Orchestra featuring Arthur Young on the novachord - the world's first synthesizer!

Five of the recordings included here were made in 1952 with vocal backing by "members of H M Forces". Of these, "Yours" and "Auf Weiderseh'n Sweetheart" are definitely amongst Vera's very best, and the latter title was a big hit for her. More than half the tracks on this CD date from the 1950s and have fine orchestral accompaniments conducted by Woolf Philips, Roland Shaw, Eric Rogers and others.

This album will appeal to many purchasers for a variety of reasons. More than anything else it will be enjoyed by those who like to hear lyrics beautifully sung in that clear, powerful and distinctive voice which is unmistakably that of Dame Vera Lynn. It is hardly surprising that this CD is already a chart success as there are few singers these days who are in the same class as this living legend!
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To anybody who is not particularly familiar with Vera's music and who just wants a selection of some of her most famous songs, this compilation provides that. It includes We'll meet again (albeit a re-recording from 1953) and White cliffs of Dover, but it in no way could truly be called the very best of Vera Lynn. It focuses mainly on her recordings from the fifties, yet even omits most of her fifties pop hits.

I have several compilations of Vera's music, which between them represent her career as a recording artist from 1936 to 1977. Vera recorded for Decca (now part of Universal) until 1960, before switching to a label that is now part of EMI for the remainder of her career. In the sixties and seventies, Vera appeared regularly on TV and recorded plenty of great music during those decades, some of which is available on Singles Collection. However, people are primarily interested in the early half of her career so it is her Decca recordings, 20 of which are included here, that Vera will always be remembered for. Closer inspection shows that the people at Universal didn`t put a lot of thought into the track selection.

Of the compilations of Vera Lynn's Decca music that I own, there are two double CD's that I particularly love. One is Forces Sweetheart: 49 Original Mono Recordings 1936-1952, released on the ASV label that has now been shut down. Now out of print along with all other ASV titles, it includes 43 tracks from the period 1936 to 1945, together with six from 1951 and 1952. The other great double CD, Vera Lynn: The Decca Years 1936-1960, was originally released on Universal. It contains 56 tracks including some from the thirties and the war years, but mainly focuses on Vera's music of the fifties. So while there is some duplication of tracks, there isn't very much. If Universal had selected the best tracks from both compilation, I would have been very happy to give this five stars. As it turns out, this was compiled entirely from Decca years 1936 to 1960, which means that very few of these recordings are from the war years, which the compilation is supposed to commemorate.

Looking at the track listing for (and listening to) Forces sweetheart, I would certainly have expected to find Wishing and A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square in any compilation that claims to be the very best of Vera Lynn. From the Decca years 1956 to 1960, I would have expected Forget-me-not, The homing waltz and My son my son, all big UK pop hits during the fifties (My son my son went all the way to number one), to have been included here. Of Vera's big hits of the fifties, there is only one (Auf Wiederseh'n sweetheart) here, despite the preponderance of fifties recordings.

There is, of course, plenty of great music here. Among the highlights are Harbour lights, which Vera recorded in March 1937 (and may well be the original artist) and Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, which was Vera's first recording in February 1936. There are covers of songs associated with others, including I'm forever blowing bubbles (a song that West Ham fans know well), As time goes by, When I grow too old to dream and Faraway places. Vera sings them all superbly, but I wouldn't have included them at the expense of the omitted songs that I mentioned.

As a sample of Vera's music, this is great but could have been better, hence only 4 stars. Still, I'm pleased that it has proved popular. If nothing else, it shows that there is still plenty of interest in Vera's music and not just among older people. Following the success of this compilation, a 5-CD budget boxed set Gold: 100 Songs From A Life In Music was released in December 2009. Buy that, or the aforementioned Forces sweetheart, instead.
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on 1 September 2009
Dame Vera Lynn was not the only singer to make their name in the Second World War but there can be no doubt that she was very important to many. Her East End upbringing meant than many people felt she could understand through the Blitz and for young soldiers she was a " girl next door type ". Her songs of the wartime do have a powerful emotional charge and I know that she was much liked by members of my grandparents' generation .

There can be few more telling reminders of this than a BBC concert a few years back when Katherine Jenkins warbled annoyingly through many of Dame Vera's numbers only for the audience in which many veterans were present to perk up and singalong vigorously when Dame Vera now retired appeared on stage .

This is a good compliation including many of her greats and as today is the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war it is good to see it in the top 20 as if there is any war that we must never forget - it is that one.
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on 3 September 2009
I am so pleased that this music is being redone, I was not born when the war was on, but was born in 1947 the baby boom year.

I can always remember the Sunday Mornings, my mother prepairing the lunch time dinner always Beef roasts and yorkshire pudding with lovely creamed rice pudding, and hearing on the radio Home and Away, this was the type of music that was played at the time, every one used to have this one and all the neighbours were cooking roast dinners, the smell on a sunday was absolutly fantastic, an experiance that you do not have this day.So this brings back lots of memories.

As for the war being over and that it should not be kept being brought up, why not? how many of our kin were killed in the war, why should we not want to remember, in years to come the young men of this centery who are still at war, and many who have given their lives for us, should they be forgotten for what they did,Ido not think so, they will be rememberd for years,also the wars.
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50 tracks from a vintage period but this time featuring our own favourite songstress Dame Vera Lynn who I believe is now 94. CD1 comprises recordings from 1936 to 1948 and CD2 covers the period 1936 to 1959. The sound quality and orchestral backing vary according to the era and there are some stereo recordings included from the late 1950s. Total running time approx 153 minutes. The sound quality of the early recordings is crisp and has depth and obviously there is some surface noise but far less than you'd expect. Overall a lovely and varied collection that certainly stacks up well against the major label releases as these are original recordings throughout. The liner notes are by Drew Heatley and although I can hear some groans at the thought of another Vera Lynn compilation I'd just add this one isn't the same and if you want an alternative take then this is the one to try and at the price it is a snip. Attractive art work and that goes for all the Not Now and One Day releases lifts them well above the price they sell at and makes them ideal for gifts and the collector's cabinet. One Day releases are looking good and there will be more to come...
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on 14 September 2009
Brilliant recording from a dismal time in UK history. Very emotive and very well sung. And to get to no 1 in the charts is an incredible achievement for a 92 year old! Dame Vera Rocks!
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on 26 September 2009
Some of the key numbers - for instance "We'll Meet Again" are NOT the original war-time recordings, so although good performances from a very professional singer, they somehow lack the final nostalgic authority of the "originals" which my parents for instance - separated by my father being in the RAF - would have known.

The recordings - no indication of dates are given - seem to cover her career rather than just the 30's/40's recordings [which are themselves out of copyright in the UK and therefore available for anyone to reissue]

I finally managed to get these performances and recordings I wanted [although with slightly inferior transfers] on a Prism Leisure disc "Sincerely Yours" for a third of what I paid for the highly-promoted Decca issue. There are many issues of the war-time recordings available, its just a matter of finding the one with the greatest number of the titles you are looking for!

But bringing me much nearer to what I wanted.
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on 5 May 2012
It's quite bulky and took a few attempts to set it up as if not done correctly the slightest move sets it off, but overall it is a good album although the spring assembly could be better constructed. I think it would be better if it could set to play quietly at first so the inmates can get used to it over a period of days, then when they're not expecting it you can turn it up to "wish them goodbye".

It's designed so you cannot get bitten and works well, but needs to be checked daily. I found I could attach a water bottle on the side of it with minimal fuss or effort.

Great for catching escapees as I found out when Uncle Dennis made a break for freedom, especally when it's in a huge care home. He was caught first time and was unharmed but for some superfluous damage to his moustache and tobacco pouch.
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on 8 July 2012
Brought it because I liked it! Might sound an odd name for a review title but I have noticed that many people who by these sort of things always say "Oh I brought it for a theme night!" I'm going to be big enough to admit I brought it because I liked her music. >.<

Seriously though, I do actually like this sort of music played at low background level; I find it relaxing and has a feel good factor about it. I also listen to it very quietly sounding as if it is coming from outside rather than my Samsung Galaxy SIII Sim Free Smartphone - 16GB - Pebble Blue when going to sleep at night. I also like some of the class 1920 and 1930s music and recently brought two albums of that nature.

Vera Lynn had a fantastic voice and when singing live could create an emotionally charge experience, especially in those dark days of war. This album sounds great and has many of her famous tracks such as White Cliffs of Dover, As Time Goes By and, of course, We'll Meet Again. Recommended.

I brought this via the Amazon MP3 Download Store and received all the tracks with no proplems, and at a cheaper price than iTunes.
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on 25 October 2009
The 1940's mean many things to the many people who endured WW2, a generation having to get used to so much change in a very short while. Those of us who served in British Forces at home and abroad were enormously encouraged by Vera Lynn whose songs seemed to embrace all that we hoped for, and promised a happy ending when the fight was won.
We played her records on scratchy gramophones, listened to her songs on tank radios, sang them as we marched and as we drank in dingy cafes and bars across Europe. "We'll meet again" she sang, and some of us were lucky to have done so. I think that if Churchill
is called "the right man for the times" then we ought to consider Vera Lynn to be "the right woman"!
Altogether a nice selection of songs by a great artiste.
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