Thus, although Gertrude Lawrence, Yvonne Printemps and one or two others do make appearances here, we were going not for soundtrack or cast recordings but for the sound of Noel’s own voice. More than seventy of the eighty tracks here feature Noel singing his own songs: the rare exceptions include numbers by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Carroll Gibbons, and a speech by Clemence Dane which formed a part of his wartime troop concerts.
HMV documents reveal that Noel first went into one of their studios in August 1925 to record songs from On With The Dance including “Poor Little Rich Girl”. These were however rejected with a note indicating “voice too weak”, and it wasn’t until April 1928 that he returned to record “A Room With A View” at the start of an HMV contract which would continue uninterrupted even by war until June 1952. At that point, as 78s began to be replaced by LPs, he started to make recordings with other labels in Britain and the USA — where he was now at the start of a flourishing post-war cabaret and concert career — of which there are several “in performance”. The present recordings, however, are the original “Master’s discs”.