Charles Aznavour

Of Flesh and Soul

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In the wake of his popular American performances of the mid-'60s, which introduced his talents to an English-speaking audience, Charles Aznavour recorded this English-language LP for the monumental label in 1969. His French songs have been translated into English here with uneven results. Aznavour sometimes struggles with the phrasing of lines awkwardly rendered into the English idiom; however, he is capable of overpowering the stray clunker lines and ultimately applies his unique Maurice Chevalier-meets-Sinatra cabaret finish to the affair, most evident on the spacious ballad "We'll Drift Away," the forceful "I'll Go on Loving Her," the delicate sincerity of "Love Is New Every Day," and the gut-busting wail of "Somewhere." This is a guy who sings it like he means it. Musically the tunes range from big band broilers to tender ballads and European cabaret pop. While the phrasing isn't as mellifluous as Aznavour's French and Spanish lyrics, the material is solid and the album amply serves English-speaking audiences who want an introduction to this singular European talent.

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