Rough Guide to the Music of Paris

Various artists

The liner notes suggest that this CD may be “the soundtrack of your next trip to Paris.” Better: Make it the soundtrack of the time yet to pass before your next trip to Paris. This new musical Rough Guide contains 18 songs to fuel your dreams of hanging out in French cafés and clubs—contemporary French chanson, Gypsy jazz and accordion music (the much-maligned accordion: a lovely instrument). French-Italian accordionist Richard Galliano’s rippin’ valse-musette, “Waltz for Nicky,” is excellent fun. Ditto for accordionist Jo Privat’s “Les Yeux Noirs.” And 25-year-old newcomer to the Parisian music scene, vocalist Pauline Croze, makes a smoky, pretty splash with “Quand Je Suis Ivre” (“When I Am Drunk”). “Rock musette” band Rue de la Muette’s “Ma Mere Traine Au Café” and David Lafore’s “Plat A Gratin,” about a couple who argues all the time, are typical of the kind of serious-sounding comedic songs the French seem so good at. Other great inclusions: Algerian singer Lili Boniche and musette band Les Primitifs du Futur (co-founded by ex-pat cartoonist R. Crumb).