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The Singing Madman!,
This review is from: Charles Trenet 'La Mer' - A Centenary Tribute - His 27 Finest 1937-1954 (Audio CD)
Couple of years back, trying to find my way to the sea-front at Narbonne, I stopped to ask directions (in halting French!), and noticed a sign with the street name - "Avenue Charles Trenet". I suddenly wanted to hear his songs again, numbers I hadn't heard for years and years, and yet, along with Edith Piaf, seem to perfectly catch the mood and atmosphere of French café life. They're all here - 'La Mer', 'La Vie qui va', 'Douce France', and of course, 'Boum!'. Such huge fun, and they make me yearn to be back in France again.
Trenet was a real artist; the songs have a wide range of character, and Trenet has many voices, from an edgy tenor to a rich chocolaty baritone. A bonus is that the arrangements are delightful and atmospheric - another reviewer mentions the evocative opening of 'La Mer' as an example. And there are some great musicians joining Trenet, notably Django Reinhardt and his pals of the Quintette du Hot Club de France in 'Le Cigale et le Fourmi'. Incidentally, I notice the song 'Verlaine' has a guitarist listed among the instrumentalists called 'Joseph Reinhardt', Django's older brother, who was responsible for getting Django (Jean, originally) going on the guitar again when, as a boy, he lost the use of two of his left-hand fingers in a fire at the family home.
Even if your French isn't up to much, it's impossible to listen without smiling - pure fun.