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Putumayo Presents: French Cafe

Putumayo PresentsAudio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

Price: $9.77 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Putumayo World Music was established in 1993 to introduce people to the music of the world's cultures. The label grew out of Putumayo clothing company, founded by Dan Storper in 1975 and sold in 1997. Co-founder Michael Kraus joined Dan to launch Putumayo World Music and establish a non-traditional sales division. Putumayo World Music has become known primarily for its upbeat and melodic ... Read more in Amazon's Putumayo Presents Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Putumayo Presents: French Cafe + Paris + Vintage France
Price for all three: $29.43

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  • Paris $9.89
  • Vintage France $9.77

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 11, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Putumayo World Music
  • ASIN: B0000DBJDB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,303 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Fibre De Verre - Paris Combo
2. Marilou Sous La Neige - Serge Gainsbourg
3. Si La Photo Est Bonne - Barbara
4. Juste Quelau'un De Bien - Enso Enso
5. Je M'Suis Fait Tout Petit - Georges Brassens
6. Elaeudanla Teiteia - Jane Birkin
7. La Mer Opale - Coralie Clement
8. Ondule - Mathieu Boogaerts
9. Un Jour Comme Un Autre - Brigitte Bardot
10. On N'a Pas Besoin - Paris Combo
11. Mal O Mains - Sanseverino
12. En Douce - Baguette Quartette
13. La Fee Clochette - Polo

Editorial Reviews

Although far from definitive (no Edith Piaf in sight!), this enchanting compilation delivers a perfect aural snapshot of what spending a late summer afternoon in a French cafe actually feels like. The supreme elegance and understated approach that lie at the core of these 13 tracks will delight fans of sophisticated pop. As is the case with previous Putumayo releases, the sequencing is seamless, combining the endearingly old-fashioned flavor of George Brassens with the iconoclastic romanticism of George Gainsbourg and the sultry whispers of a youthful Brigitte Bardot. Better yet, the disc spends some valuable time introducing listeners to a new generation of French musicians who have embraced the traditional chanson format while incorporating fresh elements into the mix. Try the light-as-a-feather caress of female vocalist Enzo Enzo, the sweet playfulness of the electronica-informed Mathieu Boogaerts, and the irrepressible optimism of Paris Combo--a jazzy quintet that represents the French cafe ambiance at its cosmopolitan best. --Ernesto Lechner

Product Description


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Y'a d'la joie! June 26, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Serge Gainsbourg (or Gainsbarre, as they call him in the Caribbean) is one of the creepiest musical perverts ever known. He's also one of France's great musical geniuses, so go figure. Putumayo had the guts to put him on the disc and the good taste to select a beautiful, melancholy, and touching song: "Marilou sous la neige".
How do you narrow down the brilliant Barbara to a single song? Everything about her was always just so: the right enunciation, hitting the notes perfectly, every hair in place, her make-up impeccable. Putumayo chose "Si la photo est bonne", and it fits right into the album without leaving me drooling for more (although more would be nice).
The collection is called "French Cafe", so you should have a pretty good idea what you're going to get. The question is, did Putumayo choose the tracks well? ABSOLUTELY. This is one of their real winners. It creates a perfect mood, laid-back and content, neither too melancholy nor too zealous.
Just the thing for cruising the Pacific Coast Highway through Laguna Beach, the sun and waves and palm trees and thirty dollar pizzas and rich ladies in high heels on the beach.
Or you might want to put it on while you houseclean, because it's not so brooding you'll collapse in tears among the cinders, but neither is it so vigorous you'll look like a overprogrammed robot. You'll just think: "Hell, why not vacuum in pearls?"
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83 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific French ensemble April 12, 2004
By Alison
Format:Audio CD
I chose to buy this CD because I was looking for a good collection of and introduction to French musicians (past and present). A major attraction of this album is the lengthy, detailed booklet it comes with that tells about each group or singer on the album and gives a rough translation of the lyrics in English. (Note: a complete translation in English is not provided, just a few lines) Summaries of the songs' subjects in English are provided, though. If you understand/can translate French, I highly recommend reading the lyrics because it just adds another dimension of enjoyment and appreciation of the songs. I was able to find the French lyrics to all of the songs, except for the last song, on [...]
While it is true that this album is most likely not an accurate representation of the music playing at French cafes today, it is still a great collection and introduction to some great French artists. I will definitely be looking into buying the albums of some of the groups/singers on this CD. The music is jazzy, light-hearted, and relaxing and has been playing and replaying in my stereo for days.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Got the Paris bug? :) June 11, 2004
Format:Audio CD
This cd was playing in a beautiful little shop in the Detroit Radisson Hotel recently. It caught my attention the second that I walked through the door and I ended up "keeping busy" in the store just so that I could listen to it. I listened to several songs and fell in love with it! I went through a long process to figure out what it was that was playing, as the hotel had different cds on automatic rotate throughout the complex and no one had any idea how to find out which one was playing. lol. I finally got the answer and was able to purchase it at one of the hotel shops! :) I am very pleased! It is such a relaxing dreamy cd. If I would have seen the case of it first, I would not have been drawn to it as it looks very "high pace, hustle and bustle" (I know I know, you can't judge a book by its cover!:)But the music on this cd isn't what I would have expected from seeing the cover. I love it! I am looking into the other cds in this series because it is so great! So far, the Brazillian one is also fabulous!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crooning Jazzy Sultry Musique De Cafe April 10, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Putumayo presents another well-crafted collection of tunes evoking the mood of a particular place, in this case the much-romanticized street-side French cafe. An interesting aspect of this compilation is that Putumayo did their research and went for authenticity rather than an American idealization of what many would ANTICIPATE hearing at a French cafe. (The solo accordion pieces ain't here, folks.) You'll hear authentic French artists performing their best chops, not something Disney-esque or "Rugrats in Paris"-like. The result is a breezy, easy to listen to, largely club-jazz album that may make one want to whip out a hard baguette to gnaw on.

Paris Combo does a fine job on their two pieces, delivering smooth, low-key vocals backed by a serviceable jazz quartet. Serge Gainsbourg sultrily growls in his piece, evoking passion showing how his music reached superstar status in France (even recording a couple of albums with Brigitte Bardot, also featured here). Enzo Enzo's wispy vocals waft from one's stereo light and airy, emulating a musical breeze. Some may find a tune or two somewhat pretentious (as many things French can be easily deemed) but most of the songs are by-and-large quite discreet. One could almost imagine an alternate album title: French Lounge Lizard...


As with all Putumayo albums, the liner notes are so informative and interesting, they bear meantioning in a review. The clean, crisp production is in typical Putumayo fashion, very high.

FRENCH CAFE comes highly recommended for those who've been France and want an album that'll take you back. Also recommended for those in search of a change of pace album good for setting a low-light mood. Overall, an unobtrusive and enjoyable collection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not at all what I expected
Published 20 days ago by John E
4.0 out of 5 stars Vive la France, vive la Musique francaise
The Putumayo World Music compilations are probably better-known now than the Putumayo clothing brand, which gave birth to the project in the early 1990s. Read more
Published 25 days ago by The Guardian
5.0 out of 5 stars Still great years later
Published 1 month ago by DexterDan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by DICKIE G
5.0 out of 5 stars Good gift for someone going to, or coming from France.
Have this already and gave this as a gift. A good mix of songs.
Published 2 months ago by jstjoe
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it so much I kept giving it away to ...
I bought this origionally in Target of all places in the check out line. I liked it so much I kept giving it away to friends and buying myself another copy. Read more
Published 2 months ago by William L. Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Christian Nazon
2.0 out of 5 stars Delivered Less Than Promised
Based on other Amazon reviews, I expected a much more atmospheric, traditional French café experience. Instead, this was rather narrow, hollow and ultimately disappointing. Read more
Published 6 months ago by RMc
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful music - the spirit of Paris lives
This anthology covers music from the 1960s to the 1990s. The music really has that light heartedness,
bounce, cool that Nietzsche saw in Bizet, and that you hear in those old... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lee Cronbach
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Album of Bouncy Tunes
This album contains 13 bouncy tracks of French music, some by famous musicians. The music is all in French, so I didn't understand a word of it, but it's mellow and makes good... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Neodoering
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