In 2015 Dame Vera Lynn was not well enough to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations of VE Day but this year our Forces Sweetheart was there in spirit when on 8th November communities of care home residents across the UK, united in isolation, joined in a virtual mass sing along of We’ll Meet Again.

And if that is not enough to rouse communities, Dame Vera has released her 26th studio album and her 6th compilation, Keep Smiling Through, to remind her fans that although she may have passed away in June this year, she can still demand a place in their hearts.

This eleven track album with its two bonus tracks begins with a very gentle version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. With her crystal sounding voice she is wonderfully accompanied by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The Brighton Festival Chorus on many of the tracks as well as the services of the RAF Squadronaires, which retain her close links with the war effort for which she has remained justifiably legendary.

It is hard to choose a favourite because songs like The White Cliffs Of Dover, and As Time Goes By need no introduction. My Son, My Son is delightful and with the inclusion of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra it raises the emotions with its heartbreaking lyrics.

The songs exude warmth and display her crooning voice in an extremely delicate and beautiful light. A particular highlight is High Flight, a poem written by a World War II fighter pilot and read so sensitively by Dame Vera backed by The RAF Squadronaires that it makes you feel that you are soaring up into the sky.

The warmth of tracks like A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square and When You Wish Upon A Star seem to reflect the way Britain in general feels about Dame Vera, because rarely, if ever, can there have been a singer who so transcends one genre of entertainment whilst also representing such a precise period of history.

With a bonus of White Christmas and a medley of White Cliffs Of Dover, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and the mass sing along song We’ll Meet Again invoking images of frantic flag waving, Dame Vera shows that in these uncertain times there is definitely still a place for her wonderful nostalgic songs and her beautiful vocals.

This album brings back the spirit of nostalgia, and with a master class of gorgeous accompaniments that show off Dame Vera’s vocals to perfection. Still smiling and inspiring until her passing at age 103, she was a national treasure. The angel voiced Dame Vera Lynn will undoubtedly be missed but this album will ensure that she will always be present in many fans lives.

Our Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Number of tracks: 13

Running time: 40:49

Released on: Decca Records

Released date: DL 6th CD 13th November 2020

Formats: DL/CD

To purchase: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Keep-Smiling-Through-Commemoration-Album