Various Artists

Enchante: The Greatest French Stars 1927-1947

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Enchante: The Greatest French Stars 1927-1947 Review

by arwulf arwulf

Here's an index of mid-20th century popular French music, laid out in recordings made between 1926 and 1947. Gaps in the fabric are perhaps inevitable; the absence of Yvette Guilbert, for example, is regrettable. The earliest examples feature sultry Mistinguett (born Jeanne-Marie Bourgeois) whose date of birth is estimated as early as 1873; her campy boyfriend Maurice Chevalier; and Josephine Baker, an African-American who shed her identity as a vaudeville blackface buffoon to become the hottest stage sensation in all of Europe. Chevalier's open disdain for Baker was apparently fueled by his own Continental blend of ignorant racism and professional resentment as the elegant, lithe, and lovely Baker quickly eclipsed the aging Mistinguett. Two selections by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France sustain the accuracy of this compilation, as the Hot Club's brand of guitar-driven jazz was a mainstay of Parisian entertainment from 1934 until after the Second World War. This compilation is useful for those who wish to brush up on French pop vocalists, as Lucienne Boyer, Yvonne Printemps, Lys Gauty (born Alice Gautier), Suzy Solidor (Suzanne Rocher), Jean Sablon, Maryse Damia, Fréhel (born Marguerite Boulc'h, professionally known as "La Periwinkle') and Tino Rossi (bellowing the dreaded "Vieni, Vieni") demonstrate all the standard aspects of the genre. Charles Trenet's unforgettably giddy masterpiece "Boum!" would resurface years later when it was used as a weird leitmotif in Jaco van Dormael's fascinating film Toto Le Héros (1991). Edith Piaf is roundly remembered here with no less than three tracks, the best of which is the hauntingly beautiful "Les Trois Cloches," performed in the company of Les Compagnons de la Chanson.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Maurice Chevalier / Leonard Joy & His Orchestra 03:22 Amazon
2 Thomas Griselle 03:35 Amazon
3 Mistinguett / Fred Mêlé & His Sinfonic Jazz de Moulin Rouge 02:56 Amazon
4
Marcel Cariven 03:27 Amazon
5 Josephine Baker / Edmond Mahieux 03:21 Amazon
6 Melodic-Jazz du Casino de Paris 02:49 Amazon
7 Lucienne Boyer / Bruno Codolban & His Orchestra 03:07 Amazon
8 Wal-Berg & His Orchestra 03:38 Amazon
9 Pierre Chagnon / Tino Rossi 02:39 Amazon
10 Marcel Cariven 02:37 Amazon
11 Yvonne Printemps 04:25 Amazon
12 Lys Gauty / Jean-Christophe Jacquin 03:14 Amazon
13
Damia 03:09 Amazon
14 Quintet of the Hot Club of France / Stéphane Grappelli / Django Reinhardt 02:57 Amazon
15 Quintet of the Hot Club of France / Stéphane Grappelli / Django Reinhardt 03:17 Amazon
16 Charles Trénet 02:35 Amazon
17 Albert Lasry 03:23 Amazon
18 Maurice Alexander / Fréhel / Maurice Alexander & His Musette Orchestra 02:51 Amazon
19 Orchestre Raymond Legrand / Suzy Solidor 02:50 Amazon
20 Wal-Berg & His Orchestra / Jean Sablon 03:02 Amazon
21 Wal-Berg & His Orchestra / Jean Sablon 03:06 Amazon
22 Paul Durand & His Orchestra / Édith Piaf 02:49 Amazon
23 Guy Luypaerts 03:06 Amazon
24 Les Compagnons de la Chanson / Édith Piaf 04:09 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick