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CHRISTINE ALBERT - TEXAFRANCE

Austin American-Statesman - by John T. Davis
January 1992
Christine Albert / Texafrance

"Well, smoke my Gitanes.  Somebody has finally rescued French from the hands of poetry majors and snooty waiters, and put it where it belongs - to music.  Albert, a longtime Austin resident, is of French-Swiss descent, and has long since expressed a desire to combine her Franco-Lone Star roots and influences on record.  Texafrance is the result.

In this, her second album, Albert has not only combined languages, she has blended eras.  Thus, Edith Piaf hoists a Pernod with Bob Seger, and the Gershwin brothers step aside for Nashville songwriter David Ball.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. 

When it does (which is mostly), Albert's lilting, slightly dry voice projects a wonderful intimacy.  By understating the arrangements and transposing between French and English, she causes the Billie Holiday standard "The Man I Love", the Cajunesque "No One Two Steps Like You", her own "I Dream of You", and even the timeworn Piaf anthem "La Vie En Rose" to undergo a subtle alchemy.

Occasionally though, as in Seger's "You'll Accompany Me" and Ball's "What Have You Done With My Love", the bilingual exercise reverts to mere gimmickry.

It remains to be seen if this album is a temporary detour, or an entirely new direction on Albert's part.  In the meantime, Texafrance remains, by and large, intriguing and evocative."