Ok: as a singer he isn't the greatest, though he's good. Montand was more skillful and had that soft, tender, compelling voice, Brel was inimitably dramatic, strong, wicked, funny, heart-breaking - but Aznavour has proved during his long career, that there's room for him, too. After all, who needs another Montand or Brel, when there already was one of each? However, if you'd like to compare, Montand sang Aznavour's Sa jeunesse at least on 'Le Paris de Montand'. It's hard to find, sorry, but a lovely record.
And Aznavour's voice really isn't bad. At all. It's very strong and pleasing to the ear and it really grows on you. And this is absolutely the best collection available. Do not be fooled by others! And check out the inside covers: he really was a wonderful composer. His best ones are here: Hier encore (Yesterday when I was young), La boheme, Emmenez-moi, La mamma and the wonderful Les deux guitares, inspired by the old Russian song Two guitars. The verse is sang in Russian - and I just had to learn some to find out, what it's all about. Anyone who wants to know, contact me. Sa jeunesse sounded good too, but sorry, Aznavour-fans: Montand handled it better, he really enjoyed himself with the long notes and the demanding melody.
And how could anyone compare these arrangements to karaoke? With all the wonderful, live musicians, great big orchestras? And the baroque-style arrangemant in Desormais? Where's that karaoke that sounds like this record? I'll come there immediately!
I don't know Aznavour's production well enough to know, if something important is missing, so to me this sounds like a perfect collection. And the title above? It's from my favourite Emmenez-moi. "Take me to the ends of the earth, take me to the land of miracles, it seems to me that even misery is less painful under the sun..." And yes, there is passion in his voice!