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2011 album from the acclaimed mezzo soprano who performs beloved songs from the 1840s through to the 1950s,. Patricia has been working with Music in Hospitals, Magic Me and Lost Chord for over a decade, trying out hundreds of songs in front of those who knew them first. The effect of these songs can be nothing short of miraculous, like the time a man in Wales suddenly started singing along to 'Yours,' having not spoken a word for six years. Or the lady stroke victim who opened her eyes for the first time and formed her lips to the words 'Always'. Then there's a whole other crowd who've never heard these songs before, denizens of the retro clubs that are springing up everywhere.
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But, nowadays, her musical yearning has taken her into working with the likes of the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra, the RMS Lusitania Ragtime Orchestra, and, as "The Canadian Nightingale" with Albert Ball's Flying Aces band, performing jazz from WWI in community halls and speakeasys. And it's this love of nostalgic songs that permeates this new CD. She's already been played on Her Majestys BBC Radio, and performed at the Poppy Factory on Remembrance Day for the ex-servicemen and women of the British legion, and this loving recreation of songs from a simpler time brings a warm glow to the cheeks.
There are tunes here that I've never heard before, but then we had our ain songs up here in Scotchland, but numbers such as 'Love's Old Sweet Song' and 'We'll Gather Lilacs' were favourites at my Grannys knee. The dead one, not that one that called me Richard, or "the boy". And for every song I didn't know, there would be one that had me going "aah, I remember it now". Songs like 'Smilin' Through' and 'Come To The Fair'. The ensemble used on the record bring the music to life, both through conventional instruments as well as some spoons and banjos.
My favourite? That had to be 'Button Up Your Overcoat', which is a lot saucier than I remember it. But that's the Roaring Twenties for you. My Great Auntie Euphemia would have loved this, and known the words to every song. But even a youngster like me got caught up in the mood and the memories. An absolute treat. As someone much better known than me says, "The CD is a music box of vintage treasures, beautifully performed by a remarkable woman". So, if it's good enough for Sir Michael Parkinson, then it should be good enough for you.
Patricia sings the songs very straight (good for picking up the chords) -- with none of that crooner-style drifting away from the melody you sometimes get with these things. Her voice is quite operatic in style, which isn't really my cup of tea, but when I set the CD as background music for my groups it is easy for participants to pick up the familiar tunes. The liner notes also give excellent background to each song, and details of the typical reactions of the older folks who hear them performed. Pretty much all of these songs were instantly recognised by my participants, and if not at the first verse then certainly at the chorus.The musicianship throughout is of a high standard, and very faithful to the eras that the songs originated in.
I'd have preferred a slightly less formal performance of the tunes, but that's just my personal taste. This album has helped me extend my personal repertoire greatly, and helped to bring back many memories for many of my participants. Recommended for all settings where there are people 60 or 70+.
I bought this as I sing some of the songs with my vocal teacher and wanted to be hear these versions and sing along with her!
Love her styling as well, some of these songs are up on you tube as videos of live performances at the moment.