Hugues Aufray

Horizon

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To the few people who are aware of him outside of France, Hugues Aufray has something of a left-of-center reputation for having released an entire album of Bob Dylan covers (in French) in 1965. Released only a year or two later, however, Horizon sounds pretty much like typical French pop, albeit with some leanings toward sentimental folk-pop. Aufray sounds like he was trying to cover a bunch of bases here, whether the bouncy singalong "Le Lion et la Gazelle," the slightly mod-psychedelic-influenced arrangement on the ballad "La Blanche Caravelle," the "Mack the Knife"-ish "La Soupe a Ma Grand'Mere," "Le Serpent" (the only track here that approaches anything like a mid-'60s Dylan mood), what sounds like a French pub singalong tune ("Y'Avait Fanny Qui Chantait"), some orchestrated melancholia, or the spare and emotional "San Miguel" (perhaps the record's highlight). It's a versatile record, undoubtedly, but not very original or moving, seeming a bit like the effort of a folksinger trying to establish himself as an all-around entertainer.

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