Hugues Aufray

New Yorker

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A half-century after making history with Aufray Chante Dylan (1965), an album's worth of first-ever French-language adaptations of Bob Dylan, Hugues Aufray teamed up with an all-star lineup of guests for the duets album New Yorker: Hommage à Bob Dylan. While his career is no doubt illustrious, Aufray is perhaps best known for his Dylan adaptations, over two dozen of which are included on the double-disc album Aufray Trans Dylan (1995). If he alone were singing the songs on New Yorker: Hommage à Bob Dylan, it would be an essential album for fans, who no doubt will enjoy these elaborately produced versions of familiar classics like "Blowin' in the Wind (Dans le Souffle du Vent)," "Girl from the North Country (La Fille du Nord)," "Mr. Tambourine Man (L'Homme Orchestre)," and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Knock Knock Ouvre-toi Porte du Ciel)." However, the album is all the more worthwhile for its all-star lineup of guest duets with Eddy Mitchell, Carla Bruni, Laurent Voulzy, Arno, Bernard Lavilliers, Alain Souchon, Wasis Diop, Pep's, Jane Birkin, Didier Wampas of Les Wampas, Francis Cabrel, and Johnny Hallyday. New Yorker: Hommage à Bob Dylan opens and closes with solo performances by Aufray. The album opener, "New Yorker," is a spoken word original by Aufray that evokes romantic visions of Greenwich Village, Bleecker Street, and the New York City folk scene of the early to mid-'60s. The album closer, "Cloches Sonnez," is a solo performance of "Ring Them Bells" from the latter-day Dylan classic Oh Mercy (1989). Rounding out the package are some liner notes by Dylan himself, who discusses his relationship with Aufray, who once gave him a grand tour of Paris. Each song on New Yorker: Hommage à Bob Dylan is unique and most are quite memorable. Among the highlights are a festive romp through "Tout l'Monde un Jour S'est Planté (Rainy Day Women #12 & 35)" with Wampas; a trio version of "Nous Serons Libres (I Shall Be Released)" with Diop and Pep's; a bilingual take on "Tout Comme une Vraie Femme (Just Like a Woman)" with Birkin; a triumphant take on "Jeune Pour Toujours (Forever Young)" with Hallyday; and the Slow Train Coming (1979) rarity "L'Homme Dota d'un Nom Chaque Animal (Man Gave Names to All the Animals)."

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