Truthfully, I tend to prefer 20th century French singers who are less well-known than Aznavour (but still famous in their own right, IE Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy). However--this disc is an excellent overview of the work of the "French Frank Sinatra" (which is a compliment to Sinatra). Many of the numbers on this CD are concerned with lost love and lost youth. And so, this is a a great record for "those of a certain age" who are in the mood to reminisce. There are many superb melodies here; Aznavour either wrote, or co-wrote, all of the tunes included in this collection. My absolute favorites are: Je M'Voyais Déjà, Hier Encore, and Emmenez-Moi (words and music for all three by Aznavour). This disc is a tribute to Aznavour the composer as well.
Highlights include: "Et Pourtant"; "Le Temps"; "Que C'est Triste Venise"; "La Bohème"; "Les Plaisirs Démodés" (combining a psychedelic big band sound with that of a nostalgic ballad); and "Les Comédiens", with its Latin-tinged arrangement. The orchestrations for all these songs are across the board fantastic. The only number I'm not crazy about is the schmaltzy English-French hybrid "For Me ..... Formidable". Knowing French will also heighten one's appreciation of this record. In closing--a quote from the Charles Aznavour biography on Amazon: "He sings with a voice which the French describe as 'Après l'Amour'."
Stephen C. Bird, Author of "Hideous Exuberance"