Édith Piaf

The Immortal Edith Piaf

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With a career as long and a discography as extensive as Edith Piaf's, it's difficult both to condense her best work into two CDs and to select songs that find universal acclaim as her finest recorded performances. Certainly the double-disc compilation The Immortal Edith Piaf won't please everyone. There's nothing she recorded after 1953, and it's missing some of her most famous tracks, such as "Milord," "Mon Manege a Moi," and "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." Still, for what it covers, it does a good job, assembling 45 cuts from 1936-'53 by the definitive French chanteuse, with informed (if not incredibly lengthy) annotation. Too, it does have some of the songs many listeners would judge among her classics, including "Mon Legionnaire," "La Vie En Rose," "Les Trois Cloches" (the basis of the Browns' number one U.S. hit in 1959 "Three Bells"), "L'H'ymne a L'Amour," "Je T'Ai Dans La Peau," and "Jezebel." For those who aren't overly fussy about getting either the best Piaf collection or collecting a comprehensive Piaf library, it's a fine overview of the first two decades or so of her recording career, from her debut recording of "L'Etranger" through the World War II years and her growing international profile in the early '50s.

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