Linus
Just found out about this french recording artist and I have to admit I'm definitely intrigued. Will have to make further investigations. In the meantime, here she is: Emilie Simon.

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Linus
Compilations like these are rare to find. The end results are so precious and eye-opening that they might even change your whole view of how music can and should be made. This one comes highly recommended and it's a treat from beginning to end. But first things first.

If Monty Python ever were a music group perhaps they'd be something like The Bonzo Dog Band, a sort of avant-garde musical combo that made quite the furore back in the late 60's and early 70's by presenting themselves as a merry bunch of retro hipsters with more than a little dose of british whimsy as their main ingredient but always in keeping with a highly sophisticated approach to their music. They borrowed a lot of influences, mainly from music from the first decades of the 20th century and they wore them proudly on their sleeves. This is why this compilation is called Songs The Bonzo Dog Band Taught Us, as it is primarily aimed to the Bonzo fans who'll treasure this album as mannah from heaven. The best thing about it is that everyone with a discerning taste in music will also find plenty to enjoy in it too.

So here they are, the original songs that would later be part of some of the Bonzo records and add to their particular mystique. Charming, enchanting and enduring, they still prove their worth notwithstanding their almost centenary status. I leave you with By A Waterfall, a song you can also find on the Lullaby of Broadway compilation I wrote in the below post, curiously enough. Enjoy.

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Linus
My love for american music from the 1920's and 30's was further cultivated when I started to watch movie musicals from those particular eras. Specifically those by or with contribution from the master of the kaleidoscopic song and dance routine, Mr. Busby Berkeley, choreographer and filmmaker extraordinaire.

This compilation I'm heartily recommending in today's post was compiled from the amazing run of hits he managed to succeed when he entered Warner Bros. as a dance choreographer. The thing is, he not only choreographed the whole thing, he also directed the whole shebang, giving specific details to his cameramen to where the camera should be placed and how dancers should move, look and even smile. The results are astonishing to watch even to today's eyes. If you think you've seen everything, think again. Add to this a truly fantastic array of songs, further embelished by divine orchestrations and frequent heavenly choruses and you got in your hands some real pieces of gold. They don't make them like these anymore, that's for sure!

I leave you with Shadow Waltz, a wonderful number sung by the suave Dick Powell and the cute Ruby Keeler, at that time also known as Mrs. Al Jolson. It's one of those things I never get tired of listening to.

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Linus
The great thing about having an open mind in what music is concerned is that you never know what's coming round the corner. My particular encounter with the voice and many talents of Josephine Baker happened many years ago in a shop when I decided it would be fun to get a CD of hers just to see how she sounded like (I already knew what she looked like!). As it happened, it was a real bargain (2CD compilation for just 2.50€!) and when I got home, I just couldn't believe my ears: how come music this fresh and melodic was being relegated to the bargain bin was anyone's guess but mine.

This fantastic discovery set me on quite a journey and today I consider myself an aficionado of everything 1920's and 30's Americana related. They were quite the busy times, with a lot of things going on at the same time: Economic Depression, great advances in filmmaking, industrial revolutions happening everywhere, cultural taboos and social mores being broken, you name it. Forget the 60's: these two decades were where it was at!

This particular CD (or any other Baker compilation, for that matter) is a great way of getting to know her music, as it features both her songs sung in french and in english (she was born american but made her name in France). The song you can listen to below is called De Temps En Temps and is a sweet little number, sung in her trademark mock-french accent. I dare you not to fall in love instantly with her.

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Linus
It's funny how you sometimes find things. I truly believe in serendipity, of good things finding a way of finding you in those very particular moments in time when you are not searching for anything in particular. The voice and rare art of Danielle Licari was one of those rare moments.

You really feel truly blessed of getting in touch with such fine artists and I hope I don't sound too corny or presumptuous when I say that the finest of the arts gets you closer to the divine. Few things are able to do that, nowadays. Owner of a crystaline and highly trained voice, Licari uses it as the most exquisitely tuned instrument throughout the tracks of this, a compilation I found while browsing for her available work on CD. It's really a shame that more of her records are not available on CD as they seem to be highly sought after and treasured by her fans.

After scoring a massive hit with Concerto Pour Une Voix (15 million copies sold worldwide!), she went on to explore her voice in the most varied of avenues, even lending her vocal abilities to movie soundtracks and popular hits of the day. I'm going to leave you with a track that is dear to my heart for it belongs to one of my favorite movies ever: Jacques Demy's Les Parapluies de Cherbourg. In case you didn't know (and I certainly didn't!), she is the singer that dubs Catherine Deneuve's singing in that movie. It all makes perfect sense to me now.

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Linus
And so another month starts and another musical left turn presents itself to me. Stay tuned.

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