Album Review

Noel Coward at Las Vegas, the live chronicle of Coward's engagement at the Desert Inn in the summer of 1955, was a chart LP for Columbia Masterworks, and this studio recording is pitched as its complement, to the point that the record label has taken the cover photograph of the singer, posed in a tuxedo with a cup of tea, standing in the desert, and substituted a New York skyline background to suggest that the same musical approach is being taken. And so it is, minus the applause. Once again, Peter Matz serves as pianist/arranger/conductor, updating some of Coward's old songs to more contemporary backgrounds, while the two also add some more recently written numbers, such as "Louisa" and "Time and Again." (Listeners will recognize "What's Going to Happen to the Tots," an old song with new lyrics, from Together with Music, Coward's 1955 TV special with Mary Martin). In general, these are newer songs, including ones from the 1950 British musical Ace of Clubs ("I Like America," "Sail Away"), although there are selections that date back to the early '30s ("Half-Caste Woman" from Cochran's 1931 Revue). Once again, there is a medley, and once again it is regrettable that such good songs are tossed off in brief choruses. In fact, it's even more regrettable than it was on the live album. While medleys are really more for the benefit of bored performers who don't want to relive their hits than for audiences who would much rather hear the songs in full, at least in a live show there is the excuse that you can't squeeze them all into a one-hour set otherwise. On a studio album, there's really no excuse for them. That aside, In New York is very much the equal of At Las Vegas, another collection of Coward's sophisticated (which is to say, witty, erudite, and, in some cases, very adult) reflections on life and love, tossed off in his deliberately excessive upper class English accent.
William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. I Like America
  2. Louisa
  3. Half-Caste Woman
  4. I Went to a Marvelous Party
  5. Time and Again
  6. Why Must the Show Go On
  7. New York Medley: Let's Say Goodbye/Teach Me to Dance Like ...
  8. What's Going to Happen to the Tots
  9. Sail Away
  10. Wait a Bit, Joe
  11. 20th Century Blues
  12. I Wonder What Happened to Him (Indian Army Officer)
  13. The Party's Over Now
purchase full album