Various Artists

Chansons de Légende [Box 2]

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This later volume in the Disky history of French popular song doesn't possess as many of the big-name artists who made the genre what it was, but nonetheless does contain many classic tunes by artists who were legendary in that they either delivered the perfect song at the perfect time in French history or else were great interpreters who captured the public's imagination for a long enough season to be remembered. As always, there is little documentation here, other than song titles and writing and publishing credits. The titles here range from the 1930s-1960s, with the majority of the material falling between 1940 and 1954. Dame Edith Piaf is here, of course, because her string of successes and influential recordings was unbroken while she lived, and there are a few selections by Luis Mariano as well, but more focus is given to singers such as Line Renaud, with her glorious contralto, and Marie-Jose, whose soprano could shatter glass. There are a few tracks by Maurice Chevalier and Charles Trenier as well, but they are framed by contributions from Jean Lumiere, Jean Sablon, Andre Claveu (whose tenor here is among the sweetest French music ever offered the world), Irene de Trebert, and Georges Ulmer, to name just a few. The recording quality is pretty much stellar, as Disky does pride itself in its aural presentation of historic material. And the selection process is infallible, though it does seem to lack context. Nonetheless, these boxes for the price (a triple for the price of a single) are more than a bargain; they are a musicologists', as well as any fan of French pop songs of the classic era's, dream.

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