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taken from allmusic.com

Le Chant des Chants



by Richie Unterberger

Israeli singer Esther Ofarim recorded in several different languages, including Hebrew, English, German, and for most of this 1973 album, French. The two English songs (Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken" and Michael Murphey's "Waking Up") had actually appeared on her 1972 Bob Johnston-produced self-titled album, though the rest are sung in French and produced by either Claude Dejacques or Erich Ferstl. Like that 1972 self-titled LP, Le Chant des Chants was somewhat in the mold of Judy Collins in its mix of contemporary singer/songwriter material, classical-influenced orchestrated production, and art songs. It's not as distinctive as Collins in either its vocals or arrangements, if more tilted toward the mournful in its vibe. It's a pleasantly professional outing if you're in the mood for the style, though sometimes it veers toward the middle of the road, as in the French cover of Carly Simon's hit "That's the Way I Always Heard It Should Be." The title song (where the similarity to Collins' most theatrical material is to the fore) and the melancholy, folky "Pavane" are highlights, while "Le Soleil Est Tombé Derrière Ma Porte" is a French version of another song that had been on her 1972 self-titled album, "El Condor Pasa." The 2011 reissue on Bear Family adds five worthwhile bonus cuts from the same era that are usually in a roughly similar vein, including the 1972 French/Israeli single "Un Jour Sans Toi"/"Mon Pays C'est le Monde" and three previously unreleased outtakes. In contrast to the heavily orchestrated, somber "Un Jour Sans Toi," "Mon Pays C'est le Monde" goes very much in a bouncy Mary Hopkin-influenced country-pop-rock direction. The most interesting of the outtakes is a French version of Richard Fariña's "Hard Loving Loser" (though the songwriting credit is given as "unknown" on the CD), which coincidentally was one of Judy Collins' most well-known covers of the 1960s.


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