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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Yves Montand

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published April 27, 2007

Unreleased, Rare & Essential
Mercury France/DRG World

Although Montand spent the last few decades of his life mostly acting in films, he first achieved star status as a singer. Fans of French chansons rate Montand highly, and this new 24-track compilation proves that he was much more than a movie star and ladies’ man. The album leaves out some big hits, such as “Les Feuilles Mortes,” but it’s still as good an introduction to the man’s music as one is likely to find. Rarities include a couple of rare traditional songs in Italian (his mother tongue), the title track from Marilyn Monroe’s Let’s Make Love (in which he starred), and three songs that are suffused with tender eroticism. Five tracks, including “Les Grands Boulevards,” are live performances, four of them drawn from a 1959 one-man show in Paris. The remastered high definition sound is superb, but the booklet leaves out the years that tracks were recorded.