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Francis Cabrel: Les Chemins de Traverse

Album Notes

Francis Cabrel's second release is chock-full of well-written songs. The album flows well, is a pleasant listen, and features an impressive variety of styles from '70s pop ("Souviens-toi de nous") to the mandatory blues number (Monnaie blues-in the vein of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues"). It was the acoustic ballads, however, that were most successful artistically and commercially. The gentle "Je l'aime à mourir," with its poetic lyric, was a big hit in France. The song's influence on artists such as French-Canadian singer Roch Voisine, considering he recorded a version of it on his album Double (warning: the adaptation of the lyrics into English is rather poorly done, and doesn't resemble a translation). "Je rêve" is an excellent example of the French songwriting aesthetic. "C'était l'hiver" is also impressive - a study in melancholy. Beautiful guitar work and solid arrangements accompany all three of these ballads. In fact, every single song is solidly written. Unfortunately, the music is marred by the album production, which includes ill-advised electronic effects and instruments. These distractions deal a serious blow to what could have been an excellent album. Nevertheless, this is still a fascinating record of an artist coming into his own vocally and artistically. ~ Samuel Johnson


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