Paolo Conte

Wonderful

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Italian pop/lounge singer and composer Paolo Conte did not become well known, especially to American audiences, until the mid-'70s and beyond. Though he recorded dozens of LPs, most are out of print. There are several fine compilations of his songs, but not to the extent of this whopping three-CD, 50-selection box set. Conte sang individualistic cool ballads, larger than life brokenhearted torch songs, and more than his share of his native land Neopolitanese, French chanson, and Argentinean tango inflected tunes. And he had an affinity for jazz that was a underlying factor. Sporting a smoky, sandpaper-like voice that reflected the packs of cigarettes he wolfed down, Conte gained a considerable European following, and all of these tracks show why. Because most single discs or complete collections of his work are not in the current discographies, this would be the one to seek and take home, should his late night Moulin Rouge-type singing appeal to you.

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