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TEXAFRANCE - ENCORE!

Sing Out! - by VKH
Fall 2003 - Vol. 47 #3    
Christine Albert / Texafrance-Encore!

"Christine Albert is an Austin, Texas mainstay, having started the Austin Songwriters Group, participated in several community organizations, and acted as a mentor to Austin newbies. She and partner Chris Gage have some eight albums still available, including the 1992 French/English Texafrance. Her mother spoke French at home and Christine picked it up and carried it to her regular performances.

Texafrance-Encore! includes many well-known songs as well as some not so well known. Each contains French and English verses. Christineís beautiful voice carries these songs as few American singers could although she and Gage have chosen to jazz up the production with piano, mandolin, guitar, bass, percussion and accordion. The net result is a 1940s bistro feel that takes some getting used to. The sequencing also is in someway jarring, with jazzy "Coucou" following the more sedate "La Mer" and preceding "Mademoiselle de Paris." This roller coaster approach to song presentation probably canít be helped given the selection of songs for the album although it sometimes makes for disjointed listening.

These quibbles aside, each song is a gem. Christineís enunciation is impeccable, enabling the listener to translate the French verses and follow the lyrics in the well-designed graphic booklet. Moreover, there are enough familiar songs that listeners can maintain interest even if their French is less than minimal. Overall, this is an interesting album that Christine Albert fans are going to like very much. Edith Piaf would like it, too."