Les grandes chansons francaises (Classic Hits of French Song)

Catalog # 75109

UPC # 602267510928

Vocals by Mistinguett, Jean Sablon, Rina Ketty,  

Edith Piaf, Berthe Sylva, Marjane, Tino Rossi,

Maurice Chavelier, Damia, Lys Gauty, Lucienne Delyle, 

Charles Trenet, Pills et Tabet, Marie Dubas,   

Josephine Baker, Lucienne Boyer, Ray Ventura, Henri Garat

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josephine baker 1906 1975 lying on a tiger rug in a silk evening gown and diamond earrings photo by hulton archivegetty imagesSavor the music and Greatest Hits of pre-war France, performed by its most celebrated stars on this digitally remastered Arkadia Chansons CD entitled Les Grandes Chansons Francaises. Culled from the 1930s & 40s, when songs were the essence of popular entertainment, this collection of 18 songs represents the high point in the history of La Chanson Francaise. pre-television and post-phonograph, these entertainers were superstars to whom the public turned en masse for diversion and delight.

Whether toasting or teasing, melancholy or mournful, these songs all share one special quality, apart from being French. That quality is harmony. Not so much musical harmony, which is by no means lacking here, but that special kind of harmony which is created when the pairing of lyrics and melody work as one.Edith Piaf arms crossed

There is a wide range of styles represented in this album. Mistinguett who, along with Maurice Chevalier, was perhaps the biggest musical star in pre-war France, performs a characteristically vibrant and playful interpretation of her trademark song, Mon homme. The Corsican balladeer, Tino Rossi, gives full expression to his exotic voice and wistful manner in a song about the lovely Marinella. Damia‘s La guinguette a ferme ses volets, bemoaning the closure of an open-air dance hall, is typically zestful. Maurice Chevalier’s performance of Y’a de la joie, a melody by Charles Trenet who also appears here, is incomparably debonair. The ethereal Trenet, the sparkling Josephine Baker, the earthy Berthe Sylva and on down the list, are all heard here at their best. Do not miss the young Edith Piaf belting out Le mauvais matelot, that is, The rotten sailor.

Having matured in the vaudeville atmosphere of revues and cafe-concerts, the chanson had moved into the music halls, where the artists in this collection held center stage. Their sounds brought together Jazz and Gypsy, Waltz and Swing, all infused with healthy doses of class and style. Listening to this Arkadia Chansons collection, entitled Les Grandes Chansons Francaises, may not be quite the same as spending a weekend in Paris, but it is at the very least an inexpensive alternative. Hearing these songs, one is transported overseas and backward in time.


 1. Mon homme  Mistinguett  1938
 2. Vous qui passez sans me voir  Jean Sablon  1936
 3. J’attendrai  Rina Ketty  1938
 4. Les roses blanches  Berthe Sylva  1937
 5. Le temps des cerises  Charles Trenet  1941
 6. Le mauvais matelot  Edith Piaf  1938
 7. La chapelle au clair de lune  Leo Marjane  1937
 8. Marinella  Tino Rossi  1936
 9. La guinguette a ferme ses volets  Damia  1935
10. Y’a d’la joie  Maurice Chevalier  1938
11. Nuages  Lucienne Delyle  1942
12. Couches dans le foin  Pills et Tabet  1931
13. Mon legionnaire  Marie Dubas  1936
14. Parlez-moi d’amour  Lucienne Boyer  1930
15. Avoir un bon copain  Henri Garat  1931
16. Le chaland qui passe  Lys Gauty  1933
17. J’ai deux amours  Josephine Baker  1931
18. Tout va tres bien, madame la marquise  Ray Ventura  1935

Savor the music & Greatest Hits of pre-war France, performed by the most celebrated stars of the era. Culled from the 1930s & 40s, this collection brings together Jazz, Gypsy, Waltz, Swing, & more, all infused with healthy doses of class & style.

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