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Various Artists - Acoustic France

Acoustic France

Various Artists

Putumayo - PUT-281

Available from Putumayo World Music.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Right from the start, this is an unorthodox disc, serving up Les Escrocs' Assedic from a streetside cafe with beat hipsters echoing Jacques Brel via Gilberto Gil while mixing in a side of Bobby McFerrin. Very smooth, very hedonistic, very French. Tone set, the CD immediately jumps a bit into Django Reinhardt and Emmett Ray territory in Thomas Dutronic's J'Suis Pas D'Ici. Then JP Nataf delivers a softly propulsive guitar line as smooth as a Mark Knopfler riff in the Mon Ami D'en Haut, intelligently decorated with spare side embellishments in a folk ditty that craftily augments the rhythm with each passing minute.

The ladies are represented here as well, as the lissome maid on the cover infers, and Constance Amiot brings in an Al Stewarty Clash Dans le Tempo that subtly plays with folk conventions as slyly as Al has. Carla Bruni, now French President Sarkozy's wife, strips everything down to basics with Raphael, stunningly sassy guitar lines strutting behind her vocals, ending with theatrical abruptness before bringing in Rose's bouncy Sombre Con, a light ditty evoking the wonder and effervescence of a child's ruminations.

Acoustic France isn't kidding around. It's all acoustic, captured with loving technical grace in a glowing recording, and not a syllable en Anglais, as French as the Eiffel Tower and as supple as the Seine. When you catch Romane's mesmerizing guitar work on the instrumental Passion—hotcha!—and the wrap-up with Rupa & The April Fishes in a tangoed gypsy Maintenant only puts the icing on Romane's cake, leaving the listener with a glimpse of smoky nightclubs and Apache dancers. Bon appetit, mes amis!

[For the other stunning Putumayo releases this month, see African Reggae (here), A Jazz and Blues Christmas (here), Acoustic Arabia (here), and Women of Jazz (here).]

Track List:

  • Les Escrocs: Assedic
  • Thomas Dutronic: J'Suis Pas d'Ici
  • Sandrine Kiberlain: Le Quotidien
  • Pascal Lejeune: Bilingue in Paris
  • JP Nataf: Mon Ami d'en Haut
  • Constance Amiot: Clash Dans le Tempo
  • Gordon Sanchez: Les Aléas de L'Hiver
  • Carla Bruni: Raphael
  • Rose: Sombre Con
  • Gerard Petiot: Couplet de la Rue de Bagnolet
  • Romane: Passion
  • Rupa & The April Fishes: Maintenant

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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