Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Ben Stock Sings... Noël Coward


Music: Noël Coward
Lyrics: Noël Coward
Performed by: Ben Stock
Label: SimG Records
RRP: £12.00
Click here to buy -
Release Date: 29 May 2020

About 20 years ago, there was a whole slay of vocal albums being released - you could almost guarantee that every major (and several minor) theatre star would release an album of either musical, composer or period-centric recordings. Despite the ease of making recordings these days, it seems that we’re getting lots of cast recordings and ‘demo recordings’ and fewer vocalist CDs to note. One of the true exponents of the vocal album over the past few years has been the excellent SimG Records, releasing albums by the likes of Richard Woodford, Annalene Beechey, Stuart Matthew Price and Ben Stock. Readers with good memories will recall how much I liked Stock’s album And There Was Music, so I was very much looking forward to hearing his next offering - Ben Stock Sings Noel Coward.

Recorded at London’s Baker Street Studios, the album features 11 glorious tracks, with new piano arrangements by musical director/accompanist Inga Davis-Rutter and Ben Stock, and celebrates the songs of renowned playwright, songwriter and ‘wit’, Mr Noël Coward. The album also features some of Coward’s contemporaries (Cole Porter and George & Ira Gershwin) in order to enhance the stories of his songs, plus the rarely recorded song ‘When My Ship Comes Home’. The album goes hand in hand with Ben’s latest one-man show celebrating the work of Noël Coward.

Very much like Ben’s first album, this is a simple recording - just him and the excellent Inga Davis-Rutter on piano (although Stock does accompany himself on a number of tracks). However, the arrangements, and the pure talent on show make this album an extremely pleasant listen. I’ve just upgraded my listening equipment, and whilst I was only listening to MP3 files, the recording sounds fresh and not dated, as so many recordings of older classics do. Stock has a clear voice, that is perfect for Coward songs, where the words are just as important as the music, sometimes more so. The songs are a great cross section of Coward’s work, and have been arranged into some clever medleys (I loved the opening track pairing of 'Fascinating Rhythm’ and 'I Got Rhythm'). The pairing of 'Let’s Misbehave' and 'Let’s Do It' is seamless - you know a medley is great when you can’t see the join or hear uncomfortable transitions in word or music. None of that here. And the rest of the album is equally flowing - I can’t imagine the track order was accidental - I’m sure it was accurately planned. Picking favourites is always hard, but as well as the clever coupled songs, I really liked 'I Travel Alone’.

Coward once famously said ‘ I love criticism just so long as it’s unqualified praise’, and that’s exactly what it is here. Another unqualified success. More please.


Ian Gude