BLESS THE BRIDE
- Ma Belle Marguerite
- Table For Two
- This is My Lovely Day (with Lizbeth Webb)
- I Was Never Kissed Before (with Lizbeth Webb)
- La Chanson De Juanito
- Robin Des Bois
- A Honolulu
- Quant Un Cowboy
- Comme Une Étoile
- Le Pítit Bal Du Samedi soir
- Dors, Mon Amour
- Valse Des Regrets
- I Dreamt I Was Back In Paris
- In Chi-Chi Castenango
- Bella, Bella, Marie
- No Orchids For My Lady
- Clopin, Clopin
- La Bas
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
- ĎS Wonderful
- Iíll Build a Stairway To Paradise
Born Lambros Worloou in Alexandria, Egypt of Greek
Guétary was all set for a career in accountancy until at the
age of nineteen he was sent by his parents to Paris to study commerce.
But the French capital provided just the right trigger for the already
stage struck Lambros. His musical inclinations were encouraged by his
Uncle, a pianist, who persuaded him to enter the Music College run by
two of the outstanding French virtuosos of the day, violinist Jacques
pianist Alfred Cortot. It was Thibaud who advised Lambros to take up
singing and after vocal auditions with soprano Ninon Vallin he first
appeared as a vocalist, billed as Georges Guétary, with the Jo
Bouillon Orchestra at the European in January 1937. He was spotted there
by Mistinguett, the 64 year old Queen of the Paris Night, who was keen
to make another comeback and she chose him as her leading man in Revue.
So began Georgesís rise to fame. Not only did he have a tremendous voice
but he also had that exotic Latin charm.
The songs on this disc are from many well-known musicals, revues and
films. There are a few sung in French but with a voice such as Georgesís
the words simply don't matter. Itís his voice that will enthral you.
Georges had a string of hit song to his credit, several written for
him by Paris-base operetta composer Francis Lopez. In Paris in May 1942
he recorded "La Chanson De Junanito". Having never heard this
song before I was impressed by how Georges could control his voice.
Not a straightforward song either but one that needed a singer of some
ability to cope with all the different changes in it and Georges does
it brilliantly, pitching his voice lower or higher when necessary and
without effort. His next recording is "Serenade" and sounded very familiar
to me. It was recorded in Paris in June 1943. I love the introduction
by Marcel Gariven and his orchestra, then to hear Georges join in with
his rich soothing voice as he serenades someone you sense he may be
thinking of is perfect. A good number to follow is one Georges recorded
in Paris in July 1943, "Robin Des Bois", with Marius Coste and his orchestra.
Georges is obviously singing about someone special. His voice has lost
a little of that soothing, velvety sound heard in his previous recordings
and quickens to just the right speed, but at the same time showing he
can sing any type of song with a quality that is unique.
A slightly different song comes from Paris in July
1945, "A Honolulu". Georges, as usual, sings as though he is very happy,
his voice nigh on perfect for this song. He ends on a high note without
any effort and holds it for as long as he needs too. Marius Coste with
orchestra accompanied him in splendid harmony. This was followed with
"Quant Un Cowboy", again with Marius Coste and orchestra, recorded at
the same time. This is a number where you hear again the sheer range
of Georgesís voice. Sometimes you are conscious of him explaining what
is happening, then without warning but still in full flow, he gaily
changes for a few bars, then just as suddenly goes back to the first
style. Itís a clever number and I liked how Georges could so easily
go from one extreme to another without once losing the theme of what
the song was all about.
The following in Paris he recorded "Comme Une Etoile".
This is one of those serious songs where Georges sings in that quiet
soothing way he is well suited to. He has the voice to make you feel
relaxed. I also found myself sitting back and listening with pleasure
when he sings "Vase Des Regrets" made in Paris in 1946 with an orchestra
conducted by Marcel Cariven. I recognised the songs immediately although
he sings it in French and would count this one of his most beautiful
love songs and I think you will too. The following with Guy Luypaerts
he recorded "Dors Mon Amour". Another beautiful love song from which
you get the feeling Georges is singing his thoughts aloud about someone
rather than putting into words what he feels.
We find Georges in London in March 1947 recording four songs in English
from the musical 'Bless the Bride' with Michael Collins and his orchestra.
With a chorus he first sings with joyous abandon "Ma Belle Marguerite".
This is followed by "Table for Two", a song only someone with a voice
like Georges could sing quite like this. Itís a number that has many
changes of rhythm and Georges manages these easily. Next we have him
singing a duet with Lizbeth Web, a soprano with a magnificent and charming
voice, "This Is My Lovely day". Their voices blend well and they sing
together in complete accord. They follow this with the lovely "I Was
Never Kissed Before", a real delight to listen to. The Michael Collins
orchestra is excellent all through. While still in London he also recorded
"Magdalena", one of his hit songs written for him by Francis Lopez.
He starts softly and gently, but soon his voice quickens. A pleasant
number but not all the words are clear enough to take in all that the
song is about. From that same month in London comes "I Dreamt I Was
Back In Paris" with Vivian Ellis at the piano. I liked this very much
and in this number you can just hear the French accent in Georges voice
as he tells you of his dream, and with a voice such as he has, you can
almost believe him. Vivian Ellis adds to the pleasure of listening to
this pleasant song. I loved it.
The following year in February 1948 Georges was back
in London to record "In Chi-Chi Castenango" with Phillip Green and his
orchestra. This is a jazzy number and one that will make you want to
get up and swing to it. He finishes by speaking some words of the song
and the music in the background quietly lowers to match. This is followed
by "Bella, Bella, Marie" made at the same time. This is a simple
love song, yet Georges manages to make it into something special, his
voice has that unique quality. As I listened to Georges next recording
in London from June 1948 I wondered yet again why some of his songs
are never heard today. This is "No Orchids For My Lady". You hear the
orchestra quietly lead Georges in as he then softly and tenderly sings
this simple love song. Not for one moment does his voice lose that special
caressing sound he has when he sings this type of song.
The following three recordings are from the revue "Latin
Quarter", made in London in 1949 with George Melachrino and his
orchestra. The first one is "Clopin, Clopant". Itís a good song with
Georges starting off by humming a few bars and whistling another few
before he starts singing. He sings as though he is telling you a story,
and every now and again he whistles the melody and hums. Itís as though
he is walking somewhere and humming as he goes. Next is a typical Latin
number, "La Bas" and I liked it very much. Georges sings with
such joyous abandon it makes one think of the beautiful Latin dances.
In June 1951 we find Georges in Hollywood recording from the MGM Studio
two songs from the film "An American in Paris". In a duet
with Gene Kelly we hear "'S Wonderful" which became a hit from the start.
Lastly we have the great "I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise". A lovely
song beautifully sung by Georges and a fitting conclusion to this really
enjoyable disc that has all the excellent transfer sound we have come
to expect from Living Era.