Edith Piaf's younger self dominates this chronologically jumbled collection of chestnuts from the first seven-and-a-half years of her recording career (December 1935 to June 1943). Internationally famous for leading a tempestuous life that was pockmarked with vice and misfortune, Piaf's persona always had a vein of pathos pulsing away beneath the surface. This powerfully voiced little woman's successes were often tinged with scandal; she deliberately chose to record the comparatively wholesome "Mon Legionnaire" while retooling her tarnished image following the widely publicized murder of her showbiz mentor Louis Leplee. "Les Momes de la Cloche" was her very first record; here a marvelously wry whimsy is buoyed by the rippling voice of the accordion. All but six of these recordings were made during the '30s; by the early '40s, Piaf's Weltschmerz would begin to solidify as she matured into an even more arrestingly intense performer.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf