French Café is a collection of classic and modern French music that will transport the listener to the romantic streets of Paris. The album features some of the greatest names in the history of French music as well as new ... more »artists who are inspired by classic chanson, gypsy jazz and musette.
French Café includes performances by renowned icons such as Serge Gainsbourg, Georges Brassens, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and Barbara alongside contemporary musicians who have been adding new energy to the classic French sound, such as Paris Combo, Sanseverino, Polo, Coralie Clement, Enzo Enzo, Mathieu Boogaerts and Baguette Quartette« less
French Café is a collection of classic and modern French music that will transport the listener to the romantic streets of Paris. The album features some of the greatest names in the history of French music as well as new artists who are inspired by classic chanson, gypsy jazz and musette.
French Café includes performances by renowned icons such as Serge Gainsbourg, Georges Brassens, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and Barbara alongside contemporary musicians who have been adding new energy to the classic French sound, such as Paris Combo, Sanseverino, Polo, Coralie Clement, Enzo Enzo, Mathieu Boogaerts and Baguette Quartette
Be pleasantly surprised with this collection -- there's not a cliche in the bunch, here... despite the (okay, charming) Putumayo-style cover.
Every track here has something new and interesting to say about French popular music, but let's be clear -- it's not particularly heavy on the strolling accordion players. The closest we come to berets 'n' baguettes (if that's what you're looking for) is provided by one of the nicest tracks on the disc, "En Douce" by Baguette Quartette... a fun, classic bit of cafe musique, and my second favorite thing on the disc.
The very best music here -- in my opinion -- is from the wonderful and inimitable Sanseverino (!) for "Mal Ãƒï¿½ Mains", a brisk, energetic, and sort of rueful take on what it means to be yourself...to a fault. (Help me out, somebody with better French than I have...) That band - -such incredible, tight ensemble playing, wow. Sanseverino sounds like nobody else...but you just know Somebody has just about ever record Django Reinhardt ever made -- and that's a good thing! (Mal Ãƒï¿½ Mains is from his "Le Tango des Gens" album.)
A very fun disc. Recommended. Enjoy!
Y'a d'la joie!
Rebecca Whiting | Beautiful Bell Gardens, CA | 06/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Serge Gainsbourg (or Gainsbarre, as they call him in the Caribbean) is one of the creepiest musical perverts ever known. He's also one of France's great musical geniuses, so go figure. Putumayo had the guts to put him on the disc and the good taste to select a beautiful, melancholy, and touching song: "Marilou sous la neige". How do you narrow down the brilliant Barbara to a single song? Everything about her was always just so: the right enunciation, hitting the notes perfectly, every hair in place, her make-up impeccable. Putumayo chose "Si la photo est bonne", and it fits right into the album without leaving me drooling for more (although more would be nice).The collection is called "French Cafe", so you should have a pretty good idea what you're going to get. The question is, did Putumayo choose the tracks well? ABSOLUTELY. This is one of their real winners. It creates a perfect mood, laid-back and content, neither too melancholy nor too zealous. Just the thing for cruising the Pacific Coast Highway through Laguna Beach, the sun and waves and palm trees and thirty dollar pizzas and rich ladies in high heels on the beach.Or you might want to put it on while you houseclean, because it's not so brooding you'll collapse in tears among the cinders, but neither is it so vigorous you'll look like a overprogrammed robot. You'll just think: "Hell, why not vacuum in pearls?""
A terrific French ensemble
Alison | MA United States | 04/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I chose to buy this CD because I was looking for a good collection of and introduction to French musicians (past and present). A major attraction of this album is the lengthy, detailed booklet it comes with that tells about each group or singer on the album and gives a rough translation of the lyrics in English. (Note: a complete translation in English is not provided, just a few lines) Summaries of the songs' subjects in English are provided, though. If you understand/can translate French, I highly recommend reading the lyrics because it just adds another dimension of enjoyment and appreciation of the songs. I was able to find the French lyrics to all of the songs, except for the last song, on www.paroles.net. While it is true that this album is most likely not an accurate representation of the music playing at French cafes today, it is still a great collection and introduction to some great French artists. I will definitely be looking into buying the albums of some of the groups/singers on this CD. The music is jazzy, light-hearted, and relaxing and has been playing and replaying in my stereo for days."
Got the Paris bug? :)
DiveBoracay! | USA | 06/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This cd was playing in a beautiful little shop in the Detroit Radisson Hotel recently. It caught my attention the second that I walked through the door and I ended up "keeping busy" in the store just so that I could listen to it. I listened to several songs and fell in love with it! I went through a long process to figure out what it was that was playing, as the hotel had different cds on automatic rotate throughout the complex and no one had any idea how to find out which one was playing. lol. I finally got the answer and was able to purchase it at one of the hotel shops! :) I am very pleased! It is such a relaxing dreamy cd. If I would have seen the case of it first, I would not have been drawn to it as it looks very "high pace, hustle and bustle" (I know I know, you can't judge a book by its cover!:)But the music on this cd isn't what I would have expected from seeing the cover. I love it! I am looking into the other cds in this series because it is so great! So far, the Brazillian one is also fabulous!"
Est-ce que vous fumez ce soir?
My Uncle Stu | Boston | 03/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Listen, I know it's universally fashionable to bash the French these days. And I won't pretend I'm above it. Sometimes it seems the French go to great lengths to be unlikable. But, after listening to this collection, I just can't bring myself to be another jackal heaping on the abuse. Sure, the French can be relentless with their humorless, self-righteous, hypocritical pretensions. But they come by it honestly. Historically, they've played enough of a role driving cultural evolution to earn them a little deference.
Truth be told, I do like the French. There have been entire eras when the French acted as the last defense of sanity. Sure, the last century or so hasn't been anything to brag about, but they have still have some haughtiness banked up. And recently there have been increasing signs of reflection and self-criticism. Their anti-Americanism may be hard to take, but truthfully, it isn't much different from what plenty of us say to each other. I'm a proud American, but I can admit we are ridiculous.
I like the French. I like the sound of the language. I like their surly new president. I like the idea of riding a bike with a loaf of bread sticking out of the basket. I like hairy armpits. I like showering infrequently and working up a little funk. I like Camus. And- please don't tell my kids- but I think some people really do look cool smoking. I'm okay with Faure and Debussy. I'm not crazy about poodles and I don't like paying a lot for small portions, but that's okay, there's room for a little give and take. The fact that they have government commissions encouraging their citizens to replace "carjacking" with "piraterie routiere?" I like that. At the very least, it's harmless silliness.
French Café is a good compilation. I particularly like the vibrant shuffle of "Fimbre De Verre," the inebriated warble of "Ondule," and the seductive "On N'a Pas Besoin." The songs are similar enough to create a toasty, breezy mood, but different enough to keep you listening. I'm not sure what the expert-music-snob take on Putumayo is, but for my amateur ears, these cats do a great job of selecting songs that sound great and flow well together. Check it out. French Café will put you in a dreamy, romantic mood. And it'll make you dig the French. After all, the worst thing about the French is that they are just as bad as the rest of us.
Crooning Jazzy Sultry Musique De Cafe
P. Kingsriter | Lakeville, MN United States | 04/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Putumayo presents another well-crafted collection of tunes evoking the mood of a particular place, in this case the much-romanticized street-side French cafe. An interesting aspect of this compilation is that Putumayo did their research and went for authenticity rather than an American idealization of what many would ANTICIPATE hearing at a French cafe. (The solo accordion pieces ain't here, folks.) You'll hear authentic French artists performing their best chops, not something Disney-esque or "Rugrats in Paris"-like. The result is a breezy, easy to listen to, largely club-jazz album that may make one want to whip out a hard baguette to gnaw on.
Paris Combo does a fine job on their two pieces, delivering smooth, low-key vocals backed by a serviceable jazz quartet. Serge Gainsbourg sultrily growls in his piece, evoking passion showing how his music reached superstar status in France (even recording a couple of albums with Brigitte Bardot, also featured here). Enzo Enzo's wispy vocals waft from one's stereo light and airy, emulating a musical breeze. Some may find a tune or two somewhat pretentious (as many things French can be easily deemed) but most of the songs are by-and-large quite discreet. One could almost imagine an alternate album title: French Lounge Lizard...
As with all Putumayo albums, the liner notes are so informative and interesting, they bear meantioning in a review. The clean, crisp production is in typical Putumayo fashion, very high.
FRENCH CAFE comes highly recommended for those who've been France and want an album that'll take you back. Also recommended for those in search of a change of pace album good for setting a low-light mood. Overall, an unobtrusive and enjoyable collection."