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From a land of hope and glory to a Waterloo sunset,
This review is from: Now That's What I Call Britain (Audio CD)
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.