Celius Dougherty combined his profession as an accompanist with composition and work as a music critic—and it is the critic more than the singer who is the butt of his satirical song ‘Review’. This is a clever piece of writing and a fair sample of a kind of encore-song that you might call the comic pay-off. Throughout the average celebrity recital, the audience has sat with serious faces, some of them concentrating as for dear life, others sitting expressionless because, frankly, they aren’t really concentrating at all. But now, at the end, we can lighten up. It’s not exactly a comic song, in the Old Time Music Hall sense, but there’s definitely a joke in it, and, ladies and gentlemen, ‘You may laugh’.
A risk is always entailed. Delight and instant sunshine are the rewards if it succeeds, disaster if the joke falls flat. With an audience of any sophistication it must be worth the singer’s while to make sure that they have not heard the song before or at any rate for a good long time. There have been occasions when the collective cry of dismay (‘Oh no, not this again!’) might almost have been spoken out loud.
from notes by John Steane © 2011