“Enchanté!” – we are delighted to welcome you to Retrospective’s cavalcade of great French singing stars, from the 20s through to the early 60s. Here are 50 hand-picked recordings by those exotic entertainers who established the Gallic tradition of the popular chanson. Now all the most famous singing celebrities from the rich story of French cabaret are presented on two generously filled CDs.
Enchanté begins with long-legged, husky-voiced Mistinguett and one of the best-known Frenchmen in history: Maurice Chevalier, serenading Louise and Valentine in 1929. Among the early stars are Lucienne Boyer, the sensational Folies-Begères entertainer Joséphine Baker, Tino Rossi and, of course, the great Charles Trenet. Perhaps the odd man out (not French and didn’t sing) is Belgian guitar genius Django Reinhardt, the most original jazzman Europe has ever produced, represented here by his most famous compositions Nuages and Minor Swing.
Disc 2 moves post-war to feature strongly the chanteuse who epitomises French cabaret singing, the inimitable ‘little sparrow’ Édith Piaf who sings six timeless classics. In her wake are such distinguished upholders of the tradition as Yves Montand, George Guétary, Georges Brassens, Charles Aznavour, Juliette Gréco and so many more. “Bonne écoute!”