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Music Review

A French Affair - 43 Classic French Love Songs

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Virgin – 2001 – CD1 60 minutes, CD2 70 minutes

The singers may all be French, the songs are not. You'll have plenty of time to think this to yourself as you wade through the first few numbers on this disappointment. Opening with Charles Aznavour's 'She', the only, decidedly unromantic thought is where is Elvis Costello on the Notting Hill soundtrack? Michel McLean sings Lennon and McCartney's 'Michelle', but his accent adds nothing to this Beatles classic: "Eye Luf Eou, Eye Luf Eou, Eye Luf Eou…" Not sexy, just silly. Bardot raises the tone slightly with 'La Madrague', but it is only her voice and the fact that despite all, the French language somehow still manages to sound sexy that keeps this one going.

Highlights include the 'Pulp Fiction' feel and the very sexy voice of Francois Hardy on 'Le Temps de L'Amour', and France Gall, with cutesy French and a more poppy sound on 'Les Sucettes'. Fans of Edith Piaf will not be disappointed with two numbers from the inimitable doyenne, but why oh why is she singing 'No Regrets' in English?

Along with some pretty pedestrian versions of some well loved classics (Les Moulins De Mon Coeur, Ballad for Adeline), the rest is a combination of what sounds like an aging showband going through the motions, elevator musak and Gallic aberrations from the Eurovision Song Contest. The only song you'll still be humming when the CD player comes to a halt is Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's 'Je T'Aime…Moi Non Plus'. And there must be less painful ways to get your hands on a copy of this must have number for Valentine's Day.

Cristín Leach

Tracklisting CD1: She – Charles Aznavour; Un Homme et une Femme – Nicole Croiselle & Pierre Barouh; This Guys in Love With You (sic) – Sacha Distel; Chanson D'Amour – Manhattan Transfer; Michelle – Michel McLean; Theme From Love Story – Francis Lai; La Madrague – Brigitte Bardot; L'été Indien – Joe Dassin; Aujourd'hui C'est Toi – Nicole Croiselle; La Chanson D'Helene – Romy Schneider et Michel Piccoli; Un Jour Tu Verra – Marcel Mouloudji; Les Sucettes – France Gall; Les Temps De L'Amour – Francois Hardy; Les Moulins De Mon Coeur – Claude Francois; La Complainte De La Butte – Jack Lantier; Emméne Moi Danser Ce Soir – Michelle Torr; Ballade pour Adeline (Ballad for Adeline) – Richard Clayderman; Love is Blue – Luc Montrose; My Cherie Amour – Pierre De Latour; Theme From Jean De Florette – Jean-Claude Petit.

Tracklisting CD2: A Man and A Woman – Claudine Longet; Theme From 'Emmanuelle'; Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus – Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin; The Good Life (La Belle Vie) – Sacha Distel; Under the Bridges of Paris – Michel Lagrand; No Regrets – Edith Piaf; Dimanche A Orly - Gilbert Becaud; Les Aiment De Paris – Vicky Autier; Dieu Fumeur De Havanes – Catherine Deneuve; Milord – Café Accordien Du Paris; I Love Paris – Michel Legrand; La Vie en Rose – Edith Piaf; La Mer – Charles Trenet; The Song from the Moulin Rouge – Les Compagnons de la Chanson; Petite Fleur – SB Players; Pigalle – Café Accordien Du Paris; La Boheme – Natalie Cohen; Et Maintenant – Gilbert Becaud; Revoir Paris – Jean-Claude Pascal; L'isle St Louis – Michel Arnaud; La Bastioche – Jo Privat; Come D'Habitude – Claude Francois; Tous Les Visage De L'Amour – Charles Aznavour.

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