A Selection of Songs [Bonus Tracks]

A Selection of Songs [Bonus Tracks]

by The French Impressionists

CD(Bonus Tracks)

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A Selection of Songs [Bonus Tracks]

Having only appeared via singles and compilations in the early '80s, the French Impressionists had a reputation that was truly limited to the Crepuscule label fanatic, at least until the crackerjack LTM label came to the rescue. Once again demonstrating label boss James Nice's ear for what to reissue, A Selection of Songs -- borrowing its title from the band's debut EP -- collects everything the band formally recorded, plus some live tracks and late-'80s solo suites by Malcolm Fisher to boot. Jazz-influenced but dedicated more to keyboard-led finger-snapping pop winners than, say, the more rhythmic and exploratory work of their semi-contemporaries the Swamp Children, the French Impressionists come across as a sometimes rough but generally winning proposition. Starting the compilation with "Pick Up the Rhythm," showcasing Louise Ness' high-pitched ghost of the mid-century vocals and Fisher's light and enjoyable piano playing, was a smart move, and the remaining three tracks from the debut EP are equally breezy good fun, concluding with Fisher's elegant solo turn "Theme from Walking Home." That the band ended up recording a version of Eartha Kitt's saucy holiday standard "Santa Baby" is no surprise in retrospect, with Ness joined by Margaret Murphy on vocals while the band turns the music into a low-key funk jam. The Ness/Murphy duo also features on a quartet of hissily recorded live tracks from 1983; the only unreleased efforts as well as the only tracks featuring late-period guitarist Charles Reilly, they give an enjoyable taste as to where the band might have gone next, with songs featuring stern, strong rhythms and Arabic-tinged singing. Another brace of recordings features original singer Beatrice Colin, with a slightly more ethereal tone than Ness but not an unpleasant one; given that the music is mostly the same as the debut EP, the effect is a bit unusual hearing songs that weren't so much remade as slightly altered in the lyrics if not the singing. The original 1981 recordings with Paul Quinn are amusing digressions that feel like they were written and recorded on the spot -- Quinn's nicely relaxed and louche -- while the two lengthy Fisher solo tracks are quite lovely, showing that his ear for melodicism and atmosphere works just as well on its own as it does in a band format.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/23/2004
Label: Ltm
UPC: 5024545304022
catalogNumber: 2415
Rank: 252236

Album Credits

Performance Credits

French Impressionists   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Malcolm Fisher   Composer,Contributor
Roddy Frame   Contributor
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Louise Ness   Contributor
Campbell Owens   Contributor
Beatrice Colin   Contributor
Barry Ross   Contributor
Philip Springer   Composer
Charles Reilly   Contributor
Tony Springer   Composer
James Nice   Liner Notes
Julien Potter   Artwork
Paul Quinn   Contributor
French Impressionists   Composer
Margaret Murphy   Contributor
J. Javits   Composer

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