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The Noel Coward Society is the trading name of Noel Coward Ltd, a company wholly owned by the Noel Coward Foundation, a registered charity. The Society is autonomous, run by an executive committee

The Compact Coward
Record Company: EMI Records Ltd
Compiled and annotated by Sheridan Morley. This first anthology of the songs of Noel Coward ever to be released on CD, and the first in several years to be released on cassette and disc, celebrates the ninetieth anniversary in 1989 of
the Master entertainer with a vintage repertoire drawn from over thirty years of his theatre and cabaret classics.

When Coward died in 1973, the play-boy of the West End world was as old as the century and its most constant if often controversial showbusiness reflection, the jack of all its entertainment trades and the master of most, He left behind more than fifty plays and twenty films as writer, director andlor star, a ballet, hundreds of songs, two autobiographies, a novel, a thirty-year diary several
volumes of short stories and countless poems, sketches and paintings as well as these recordings and the memories of three generations of playgoers on both sides of the Atlantic for whom he remains the most ineffably elegant and ubiquitous of entertainers. But it is perhaps above all hem in his songs that you catch the essence of the man and his work: a sense of style and simplicity, a love of life, a clenched romanticism, a briskly waspish satirical streak, a deep affection for travel and an equal patriotism for England, a nostalgia for the soaring operettas of his stagestruck London childhood, and a dipped, brittle ability to tell through words and music some of the truths about himself that he never quite managed to express so clearly elsewhere.
The chronicler of the poor little rich girls and the dancing ladies of the 1920s was also the lyrical sentimentalist of the 1930s, the paroclist of the 1940s and the moral ist of the 1950s when, as Kenneth Tynan once noted at the Cafe de Paris, "to see Coward whole, you have to see him in cabaret." Much of the world for which Noel stood as a showbusiness symbol has already been blasted to extinction, but he was his own invention and contribution to a golden period of theatrical and musical history which he himself had helped to define. Of that, here is the echo. SHERIDAN MORLEY
1. Medley Part 1 (Recorded on 14th December 1951) Accompanied byCafé de Paris Orchestra conducted by Sydney Simone, with Norman Hackforth at the piano. Recorded in 1951 when Coward had just embarked on the postwar cabaret career that was to lead him through the Café de Paris in London to what he called the Nescafé Society of Las Vegas.
2, Mad Dogs and Englishmen (19th September 1932) Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Ray Noble. Coward's most famous comic number, written while he was driving through what is now Vietnam in 1931 and sung by Romney Brent in COCHRAN'S 1931 REVUE after John Mills was considered "too young" for the role.

3. Mary Make Believe (27th April 1928) Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Carrell Gibbons.
Written for Cochran's revue THIS YEAR OF GRACE in 1928, and sung originally byJessie Matthews.
4. Mrs. Worthington (15th August 1935) Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Cl ifford Greenwood.
One ofthe few great Coward hits not to have come from any show, but written in the early 1930s in an attempt discourage hordes of eager stage mothers begging him to audition their daughters; as a plea it failed however, and Noel noted that "the road of the social reformer is paved with disillusion".

5. Parisian Pierrot (13th February 1936) Accompanied by the Phoenix Theatre Orchestra conducted by Clifford Greenwood .Written for LONDON CALLING in 1923, this was Coward's first-ever song hit (inspired by a visit to a Berlin nightclub where a blonde entertainer was singing to a rag-doll Pierrot) and the first of the dozen or so that he wrote for his lifelong friend and partner Gertrude Lawrence.
6. Private Lives (15th September 1930). Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence. Opened the Phoenix Theatre in 1930 and is still perhaps the finest light comedy of the English century; it also represented Coward at the height of his powers as actor, director, playwright and songwriter (SOMEDAY I'LL FIND YOU) and the perfection of the Noel & Gentle partnership. " Every night" he told me 40 years later, "I would look across the balcony at her in that white Molyneux dress and she would simply take my breath away".

7. Let's Say Goodbye (19th September 1932). Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Ray Noble. Written for COCHRAN'S 1931 REVUE, and sung originally by a lady called Namana but given here the quintessential Coward treatment of clenched romanticism and clipped, elegant withdrawal.

8. 20th Century Blues (May 1932) Accompanied by the New M3yfair Orchestra. The only contemporary song Coward wrote for the finale of CAVALCADE (1931), his epic upstairs~nstairsaccount of one family in British history through the thirtyyears from Mafeking to the Depression.

9 I'll Follow My Secret Heart (26th February 1934) Yvonne Printemps; and Noel Coward with His Majesty's Theatre Orchestra conducted by ReSinald Burston.Written for Yvonne Printemps to sing in Coward's 1933 operetta CONVERSATION PIECE, but not without difficulty; I knew I could never complete the score without a main theme and sat for ten days at the piano gloomily facing the fact that my talent had withered. I finally decided to give up, poured myself a stiff whisky, switched off the piano light and was about to go to bed in despair when I'LL FOLLOW MY SECRET HEART suddenly emerged in G flat, a key I had never played before".
10. Red Peppers (15th January 1936) Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence accompanied by The Phoenix Theatre Orchestra conducted by Clifford Greenwood. Set backstage in one of the seedier music-halls of the North of England, this one-act play (from TONIGHT AT 8.30 in 1936) gave Noel and Gertie the chance to satirise the less triumphant performers of their youth.

11. Most of Ev'ry Day (29th October 1934) Accompanied by Carroll Gibbons at the piano. One of the gently autumnal cocktail piano songs of the middle 1930s is among one of Coward's least known and most haunting numbers.
12. I Travel Alone (29th October 1934) Accompanied by Carroll Gibbons at the piano. Also from the middle 1930s, and also curiously unknown and unrevived, this was another of the quietly reflective autobiographical numbers that never fitted easily into Coward's cabaret routines but tell you perhaps rather more about him than any of the others.

13. Any Little Fish (2nd January 1931). Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Ray Noble. From COCHRAN'S 1931 REVUE, of which this and HALF-CASTE WOMAN were the other two contrasting Coward hits.
14. Could You Please Oblige Us With A Bren Gun (July 1941) Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Carroll Gibbons. Though he never lived to see Dad's Army, Coward took an equally dim view of the Home Guard's ability to protect Britain from the foe; nevertheless, he sang this all over America as part of a propaganda exercise in 1940.

15. London Pride (3d July 1941). Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Carroll Gibbons. Standing on a London station one morning after a particularly bad blitz, Noel wrote "most of the glass in the roof had been blown out and there was dust in the air and the smell of burning. My train was late so I sat on a platform seat and watched the Londoners scurrying about in the thin sunshine. They seemed to be determined and wholly admirable and for a moment or two I was overwhelmed by a wave of sentimental pride. A song started then and there; I am proud of its words, for they express what I felt at the time and what I still feel".

16. I WonderWhat Happened To Him (September 1945) Accompanied by Carroll Gibbons at the piano. On a wartime concert tourof India, Noel found to his amazement that the Empire spirit of Colonel Blimp and his club-and-polo comrades was still rampant.

17. There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner (9th J une 1952). Accompanied by the Café de Paris Orchestra conducted by Sydney Simone with Norman Hackforth at the piano. Written for his Café de Paris cabaret repertoire in 1952 and sung by Graham Payn and others in the GLOBE REVUE of that year

18. I Like America (14th December 1951 ) Accompanied by the Cafe de Paris Orchestra conducted by SydneySimone. One of the songs from ACE OF CLUBS that summarised Coward's lifelong love affair with the United States, albeit with ,tongue in cheek.

19. Medley Part II (14th December 1951) Accompanied by the Café de Paris Orchestra conducted by Sydney Simone with Norman Hackforth at the piano. Recorded in 1951, again with Norman Hackforth at the piano.

20. The Party's Over Now (9th September 1932). Accompanied by an Orchestra conducted by Ray Noble. The farewell that Noel wrote in 1932 for hisWORDS AND MUSIC was also to become the ritual closing of his nightclub act twenty years later
All Performed by Noel Coward except Tracks 6 and 10: Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence
Track 9: Noel Coward and Yvonne Printemps


Record Notes Index

1944-48 On The Air
20thCentury Blues
Ace of Clubs
After the Ball
Age of Style
Noel Coward on the Air
Apple Cart, The
Audio Biography
Best of Nole Coward, The
Bitter-Sweet 1988
Bright Was The Day
Cabaret Medley
Cavalcade - Play
Cavalcade - Songs
Cavalcade Suite
Compact Coward, The
Conversation Piece
Dear Madam Salvador
Girl Who Came To Supper
Got to Be Love, I'ts
Grand Tour, The
Great Shows, The
High Spirits
His Excellency Regrets
I Like America
If Love Were All
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
I'll See You Again
Invitation to the Waltz
At Las Vegas
London Morning
Mad About the Man
Medley - Noel Coward
In New York
Noel Coward Sings
Noel and Gertie
Noel and Gertie 1955
Noel, Gertie & Bea
Noel Coward Vocal Gems
One, Two, Three
Perfect Nostalgia
Poor Little Rich Girl
Poor Little Rich Girl
Poor Little Rich Girl
Pretty Littel Bridesmaids
Private Lives
Private Lives
Revues, The
Sail Away
Someday I'll Find You
Some Day I'll Find You
Songs of Noel Coward
Songs of Noel Coward
Songs of Noel Coward
Sophistication 2
Star Quality
Talent to Amuse, A
The Mster Sings
30 mins with Bea Lillie
This a Changing World
Together With Music
Tonight at 8.30.
Vocal Gems
Words & Music, The
Words & Music, Cole Porterl

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