It's good to have this four-CD box set of everything Ian & Sylvia did in the studio for Vanguard, as their valuable contributions to folk and folk-rock are (several decades later, anyway) underrated. There are a few things that could have been added to the package to make it more definitive, though…
Recommended: not so much for the performance or even the work as for the experience. And even that is not necessarily something you will want to repeat very often. The point is that it may be now or never. Robert le diable, received triumphantly in Paris at its premiere in 1831, took centre- stage in the opera houses of Europe for two or three decades: a pantechnicon of an opera I was about to call it, and then thought to see what the dictionary had to say, finding there ‘the name of a bazaar of all kinds of artistic work’ – and the date 1830!
The first hits package from iconic singer/songwriter Mylene Farmer, 2001 release Mots, showcases her musical evolution from French pop chanteuse to feisty rock chick to futuristic dance diva. A celebration of her 17-year career, the two-CD collection includes 27 of her most popular singles and B-sides compiled in chronological order, from her 1989 debut "Maman a Tort" to 2001's "L'Histoire D'Une Fee, C'est…" alongside three new compositions, "C'est Une Belle Journee," "Pardonne-Moi," and the title track collaboration with Seal.
Although critics will argue over the merits of his work, there is no denying that Serge Gainsbourg is one of the most fascinating figures in French popular music. He is best-known on this side of the Atlantic for "Je T'aime Moi Non Plus," a breathy duet with Jane Birkin whose slick, sensual soft rock melody won over many a listener (Birkin's convincingly acted moans of pleasure made it fairly scandalous).