Happy Bastille Day, everyone. This rather fabulous CD was almost certainly found in a cheesy post-card shop in Paris in the early 2000s.
Fréhel had early success in Paris at the turn of the last century, but left France for the east, winding up in Russia, where she stayed for a decade. When she returned in the 1920s she revived her career, becoming a minor movie star in addition to a singer in the 1930s. She died alone in 1951 after having left the limelight a decade or so previously.
Here she is in a scene from "Pepe le Moko," singing along with a record:
Soon after I moved to New York City in 1997 I began to notice that bodegas run by people from around the world sometimes stocked CDs and DVDs of music and film from the countries they had come from.
The music I've collected from these bodegas can almost never be found in the "World Music" sections of the few remaining places to buy CDs in the U.S.; nor, for that matter on iTunes (or cheapo MP3 sites like Soundike).
If you are an artist or publisher and do not want your music here, just let me know and I'll remove it.