Edith Piaf & Theo Sarapo, At The Bobino, Capitol T-10348, 1962
“France’s most beloved singer and her husband”?!?! This album is seriously weird, and not at all what I was expecting. Side one is The Little Sparrow herself in all her glory, while side two is a few French Pop tunes from a 20 something heartthrob. It’s sad to say that Edith Piaf was just a year away from her untimely death at 47 when this was recorded, but I didn’t know she had also just married a 27 year old, who also died tragically in a car accident at age 34.
in many ways, Edith Piaf was to France what Judy Garland was to the United States. But this album plays as if, at the end of her life, Miss Garland married Bobby Sherman and they released an album together.
I’ll listen to side one over and over again! She comes out to about two minutes of cheering before the first song, and the crowd only gets more excited. Track 5, C’Etait Pas Moi, while I have no idea what it’s about, is an absolute smash. It’s just amazing to hear such vitality knowing that her life was literally falling apart at the time.
Cost: $2, $907 Remaining
Dionne Warwick In Paris, Scepter SM-534, 1966
The run that Dionne Warwick had with producers Bert Bacharach and Hal David on Scepter Records is one of the great pop success stories. How this teeny New Jersey record company pulled this feat off is another one. You don’t need a psychic friend to find these records either, they sold in the millions.
Miss Warwick also released 2-3 albums a year in the 60s. Doing a five week residence in January 1966 at the Olympia Theater in Paris was not only long enough to justify a custom neon marquee sign, but it would have cut into that schedule. A live album made perfect sense to keep the product coming and increase Dionne’s profile with the public. After all, it doesn’t get much classier than a Paris engagement. Scepter obviously agreed enough to spring for a rare color back cover.
The songs are classy too, with French classics La Vie En Rose and C’est Si Bon along with Cole Porter’s I Love Paris. This album also marks the debut of the smash Message To Michael which was recorded in Paris originally as a test vocal for her co-host and French star Sacha Distel.
It also came with a fantastic Scepter inner sleeve, something I’ve never seen before. I’m really enjoying my French tribute week and this record will get a few spins a year from me. I’m also glad that not too many people treasure records like this.
Cost: $2, $909 Remaining
Yves Montand, One Man Show, Columbia WL-150, 1958
At first, I was like “who the hell is Yves Montand?”. But it doesn’t get much more french than this, a live performance captured in 1958 in Paris. As it turns out, I’m a huge Yves Montand fan!
I have no idea what he’s singing about, I’ve never heard of any of the songs, but the audience certainly had and they roar their approval often. In fact the album closes with an extremely long, like 60 second, round of applause and cheering. The back cover has a ton of information, including a write up of every song.
I’ve also never seen this particular Columbia Label. It could be something used for international releases, or maybe “Adventures In Sound” was a short lived record club, and this was a special release. Either way, it’s in really great shape, and I’ll listen to this record again.
Cost: $1, $911 Remaining
Michel Legrand & Various Artists, The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Phillips PCC-616, 1964
I hinted yesterday at a new theme week involving TV related records. Turning on the TV today though, I was hit with the news from France of yet another human caused tragedy there. I’m just knocked out at how this can keep happening in this day and age, and I actually needed to go record shopping to distract myself. Luckily, and don’t ask me why this is, but my local Oregon record shops have huge collections of international records for very little money. I bought all of the French related albums I could find, and I found a few real gems. I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to this one.
It may be the nicest album package I’ve ever seen, and it’s in amazing shape for being 52 years old. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg was a landmark French film, and it made an international star out of Catherine Deneuve. Michel Legrand’s musical score was also well renowned and even though I haven’t seen the film in years, I remembered the music.
Phillips Records released the soundtrack on their high end Connoisseur Collection, and the original owners really took care of it. The still scenes from the movie are like real photographs attached in the gatefold cover. Also included is an eight page lyrics guide in French with an English translation. This must have been a very expensive album in 1964, and despite the movie’s international success, I doubt this was the kind of record that would have sold in any kind of numbers.
There’s even a mint condition insert that features other albums from the same series. It dawned on me that somewhere I have a copy of the Singing Nun album, and I recall that it came with a set of imitation watercolors of nuns sitting around a group of young girls and singing. In any event, there must have been a short lived market for records that gave the listener something to ponder beyond the music. For me, it’s an unbelievable deal to have found today for $1. I’d have paid much more to feel a positive connection to France today.
Cost: $1, $912 Remaining