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4.4 out of 5 stars22
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 2012
I found this collection to be very odd. There's no songs that I dislike, exactly, but I listened to this CD expecting one of two things: 1) a collection of tunes that make people think of Britain, or 2) a collection of popular hits by British artists.

What I got was a very peculiar mixture of the two. On one hand, you have patriotic classics like Rule Britannia and Jerusalem, on the other you have Summer Holiday and You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. Hymns and pop charts? Something doesn't seem quite right there, or maybe it's just me. It felt like they didn't have quite enough Auld Lang Syne and White Cliffs of Dover to make two CDs, so they added a few random bits onto the second CD to make it up. Personally, I think there are better collections around to celebrate the jubilee and Britain in general.
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on 26 May 2012
The NOW compilers have spotted another golden opportunity for a topical compilation, so this will leave you wondering, cheap cash in or good effort?, when I saw the track lineup I actually lean towards the sentiment that this is a pretty good effort, the patriotic cover rather oddly doesn't actually feature the union jack flag outside the obvious choice of the red, white & blue colour scheme, but it does rather aptly display a picture of Queen Elizabeth II and other quintessential things that no doubt mark the atmosphere of Britain out to tourists such as military guards, rolling countryside & the characteristically red phone box all they are missing is a picture of a mini Austin Powers style. Of course those of us that live in Britain know that these are very cliched symbols of our nation nevertheless you do feel more than a trickle of patriotism from them.

So what tracks? It feels like there's a bit of overlap with Now Classical with the usual national anthems, and we have some rather well chosen and characteristically british traditional songs and theme tunes, along with just a couple of up to date classics such as the themes to Inspector Morse & Downton Abbey, CD2 goes for more of the pop side and I'm pleased to say they have decided to look right back through the old decades to find the real old vintage classics we have a quirky assortment which goes from Vera Lynn's World War II popular classics right through to 60's classics from the likes of Tom Jones, Gerry & The Pacemakers & Dusty Springfield. It's easy to feel that something like this can end up being cheesey and they couldn't get the Beatles but there's one thing this compilation does feel like and that's British which is obviously all you can ask of it, the icing on the cake might have been to put The Spice Girls on as well, it might be an obvious cash in for the jubilee but you can hardly fault it it does do what it says it will do. It sits along Now USA released only in that forementioned country which showcases patriotic country hits and the US national anthem. One thing you'll certainly notice is the emphasis on tradition as the majority of the tracks are much older all time classics with the newest entry being the theme from Downton Abbey.

NOW has been doing a lot more of these more themed compilations lately and whilst some have been very good, some such as NOW Love & NOW Running have ended being very wide of the mark and just including a lot of very generic and aimless tracks, but lately NOW Wedding & NOW Disney have been particularly good, NOW Classical was a bit hit & miss but still a worthy entry, and this is another one that is simply worth having as well.
So whilst there will be people who will call this out as a quick cash-in but it's certainly a perfectly timed and very apt one, this is one of the most interesting and unique compilations that NOW have ever offered, I'm not even sure which other compilation could possibly compile these tracks in such a way, whether you want to get in the spirit of the Jubilee or not I'd say this is a very good compilation just to diversify your music collection and for the cultural background that's interesting to explore, well done to the NOW compilers for keeping the themes in the populist arena.
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on 17 January 2014
Just what I thought my sister in law would love, and it was. She loves it. Brownie points for me!!
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on 4 July 2013
I bought this as a present for my Nan as she liked listening to my Mum's CD. The music on disc 1 is very patriotic, I wasn't so keen on the music on disc 2, but it still makes good listening.
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on 2 July 2012
A fabulous mixture of British music. I bought this for my father who plays it over and over again. A great one for this year of the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics.
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on 9 January 2014
I really enjoyed this album, it had some really great music pieces on it. a lot of classical which I enjoyed but someone else maybe wouldn't.
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This collection contains patriotic songs and hymns, some TV, radio and movie themes, and some pop songs from the sixties and early seventies. There is just one folk song here, which is the classic Ralph McTell track, Streets of London.

The second CD is filled with vocal tracks. The first CD contains a lot of instrumental music, but there are some vocal tracks here too. The compiler has ensured that England, Scotland and Wales are all represented individually, not just in the patriotic music but also in the pop music. As far as I can see, Northern Ireland is not represented. Strictly speaking, it is part of the UK but not part of GB so on that basis it's fair enough

Among the patriotic songs, the obvious omission is A Scottish soldier, which is still Scotland's official national anthem, although a lot of people would like Flower of Scotland (here only as part of an instrumental medley) to become the official Scottish anthem. The obvious patriotic songs from Britain (Rule Britannia, God save the Queen), England (Land of hope and glory, Jerusalem) and Wales (Cwm Rhondda, Land of my fathers) are all here, along with I vow to thee my country, which could be about any country, anywhere in the world, as it contains no cultural or battle references.

The second world war is represented by Vera Lynn (White cliffs of Dover, We'll meet again), Gracie Fields (Now is the hour) and the Central band of the RAF (Dam busters' march).

The pop music occupies most of the second half of CD 2, sharing it with Streets of London, which made the pop charts a few years after Ralph McTell wrote and recorded it. Lulu (Shout) represents Scotland while Tom Jones (It's not unusual) represents Wales. England claims most if not all of the rest, although one or two were born in India. My elder sister was born in Malaya but doesn`t remember anything about the country, so a birthplace of itself proves nothing. The tracks chosen are all great songs, but not all are British as some are American and one (You don't have to say you love me) is a translation of an Italian song. In the case of You'll never walk alone, it was written in America but has become an iconic British song since both Celtic and Liverpool football supporters adopted it as their club anthem. The other pop song included here that most clearly represents Britishness is Waterloo sunset, written and performed by the Kinks, who were very good at depicting little pieces of British life in song. To a lesser extent and in their different ways, you might say that Summer holiday and Downtown both capture the spirit of British life in the sixties.

Having seen other compilations in the Now that's what I call music series expand to three or even four discs in later editions, I hope that some future edition will include a selection of traditional folk songs, whether by classical singers (it's amazing how many have recorded albums of old folk songs) or folk singers, Meanwhile, for what it is, this is an excellent compilation.
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on 3 September 2013
My husband loves this and plays it in the car all the time. All sorts of music and a little something for everyone and very recognisable.
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on 16 May 2015
Took this cd to America for my sister to remind her of England. She was delighted could not have got her a better present.
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on 5 June 2013
Especially if you like patriotic music. Bought at the end of Jubilee + Olympic year, so it is a good memory of 2012
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