France Gall

Simple Je - Debranchee a Bercy 93

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Something of a follow-up to 1988's Tour de France, Debranchee a Bercy 93 is another live album from France Gall. Like the earlier album, this set consists entirely of material from Gall's late-'70s-and-beyond career, when all of her material was written and produced by her late husband, Michel Berger, but Debranchee a Bercy 93 has a more interesting track lineup, with surprisingly little overlap from the earlier record. (Only "Debranche," one of Gall's biggest late-era hits, is repeated, in an unfortunately extended version that includes a tiresome conga solo that probably gave the audience a chance to gaze in adoration upon the strikingly beautiful Gall as she shook her on-stage groove thang but adds nothing to the audio content.) Overall, it's a downcast and almost somber affair, with the song selection primarily focusing on ballads and mid-tempo tunes, suited to the tributary mood of this concert, recorded in September 1993, barely a year after Berger had died of a heart attack. In this context, songs like the beautiful "Si Maman Si," featuring both a haunting accordion solo and an audience singalong, take on a mournful yet almost celebratory cast; at times, listening to Debranchee a Bercy 93 is like eavesdropping on a wake. Gall is in excellent voice throughout, singing with dignified passion with flashes of her trademark cooing flirtatiousness. This is the France Gall live album to start with, as well as a fine overview of the years when her career and Berger's were inextricably entwined.

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