Vocal selections from Merrie England
O peaceful England (Thomas & chorus)
The Yeomen of England (Cameron & chorus)
My troth is plighted from Act 1 Finale (Young, Baird, Thomas & chorus)
The English rose (Young)
O who shall say that love is cruel (Baird)
God save Elizabeth (All)
German: Orchestral Music
Three dances from Henry VIII
Three dances from Nell Gwyn
The "vocal selections" from Merrie England take the form of a continuous 24½ minute sequence of orchestral music alternating with vocal numbers, each seguing one into another without any appreciable break. Of the soloists, the Australian-born John Cameron would feature in the later HMV Sargent/Glyndebourne G&S recordings singing a variety of baritone roles, while contralto Marjorie Thomas and tenor Alexander Young also recorded various roles in the same series.
The sequence of orchestral numbers from Merrie England is described in detail in the accompanying program notes taken from the later Decca 'Ace of Clubs' reissue, (which may have been copied from the original 1953 album). Notes are also given on the Henry VIII and Nell Gwyn dances.
The album cover above comes from the Australian Decca 'Ace of Clubs' reissue which no doubt coincided with, (and reproduced), its British reissue on the same label. (The photo of the Tower of London is misleading as Merrie England is set on the banks of the Thames at Windsor in the 1st Act and in Windsor Forest in the 2nd. Perhaps the allusion was meant to apply to the Henry VIII dances since it was the final residence of both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard — whose respective marriages to the monarch were unceremoniously "cut short"!) The catalogue numbers for Australian 'Ace of Clubs' reissues were generally the same as their British counterparts with the addition of an 'A' suffix, (presumably for 'Australia'), hence the British catalogue number would be ACL 1033. At a guess, the reissue dates from the late '50s.
A later British reissue of the album was reviewed in The Gramophone [November 1969, (Vol. 47); pg. 833]:
This record is an admirable illustration of the strides made in transferring from tape to disc. It is taken from an early Decca LP released to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. I have the original record and although its sound is still surprisingly good — and in particular it is free from that strangled shrillness which beset so many of the earliest LPs — that of the new release is substantially cleaner and richer, and of course the surface is very much better too. How much of this is due to stereo reprocessing I do not know, not having heard the new release in its mono form. Be all this as it may here is a desirable reissue which deserves to have a new and substantial lease of life. German is heard probably at his best in the two suites of dances, gentle, delicate and melodious. I cannot say that Merrie England is among my favourite operettas. This is in part due to having heard so many poor performances by amateurs. But I can still enjoy it in highlight form, particularly when as well done as here.
—W. A. CHISLETT
[N.B. The Gramophone did not review the album at the time of its original release in 1953 or its later reissue on the Decca 'Ace of Clubs' label, hence it could not be used as a reference to ascertain either the catalogue number of the former or the exact release date of the latter.]
Reported by Robert Morrison
1953 Decca Mono LP LK 4057
Late '50s (?) Decca Ace of Clubs Mono LP ACL 1033
Late '50s (?) Decca Ace of Clubs (Australian reissue) Mono LP ACLA 1033
1969 Decca Eclipse Mono LP ECM2006 / Stereo LP (simulated) ECS2006