Les Chansons de Paris

1998?: C D R G  Productions C D R G 502

  1. Paris, je t’aime d’amour

    Maurice Chevalier, 1932

  2. Sur les quais du vieux Paris

    Lucienne Delyle, 1939

  3. Pigalle

    Georges Ulmer, 1946

  4. Ça, c’est Paris


  5. En parlant un peu de Paris

    Henri Garat1931

  6. à Paris, dans chaque faubourg

    Lys Gauty, 1934

  7. Où est-il donc?

    Fréhel, 1936

  8. Dede de Martmartre

    Albert Prejean, 1939

  9. Entre Saint-Ouen et Clignancourt

    Edith Piaf, 1937

  10. Ménilmontant

    Charles Trenet, 1938

  11. La Tour Eiffel est toujours là

    Mistinguett, 1942

  12. Aux quatre coins de Paris

    Andrex, 1946

  13. Quand on s’promene au bord de l’eau

    Jean Gabin, 1936

  14. Fleur de Paris

    Mistinguett, 1942

  15. Le gars de Ménilmontant

    Maurice Chevalier, 1942

  16. J’ai deux amours

    Josephine Baker, 1931

  17. Sous les ponts

    Perchicot, 1932

  18. Y’a de la joie

    Charles Trenet, 1938

  19. Oui, je suis de Paris

    Mistinguett, 1936

  20. Adieu, Paris

    Berthe Sylva, 1932

  21. La vie parisienne/Le bresilien


  22. La vie parisienne/Je veux m’en fourrer


  23. Les trois valses

    O. Strauss

  24. Les cent vierges

    Marcel Cariven

Despite its atrocious cover art, evidently a reference to France’s unexpected upset of Brazil in the 1998 World Cup (I don’t follow sports things but I was in Paris in 1998 a few months after the event and people there were STILL euphoric about it), this is actually a quite good assortment of recordings, mostly of the 1930s–1940s class of sentimentality and nostalgia. Even Piaf sounds almost lovely on this, not as stridently melodramatic as usual, although Mistinguett gets two good and two “ouch!” tracks (the latter are track 4, “Ça, C’Est Paris,” and track 19, “Oui, Je Suis de Paris” which is not quite as bad), and Lys Gauty on track 6 sounds very much like Marlene Dietrich. And then there’s Maurice Chevalier on a couple of tracks, sounding as ridiculous as ever.

Charles Trenet’s rendition of “Menilmontant” has a warm earthiness always bursting into effusive local pride, an abundant delight indulged more fully in “Y’a de la Joie.” The nostalgia theme is most purely represented here by Fréhel’s “Où Est-il Donc?” which simply and sadly wonders where everything went…all the things that made a Parisian neighborhood the simple joy it was, although of course generations later people were bemoaning the loss of even Fréhel’s day; I think that’s a crucial aspect to Paris, for anyone with a sense of heritage and history anyway, the awareness of what has been, all around you no matter what street you’re on.

And of course Josephine Baker’s dreadfully accented French on “J’ai Deux Amous” is as cringeworthy as ever. Skippety-poo.