Les Enfoirés: La Crise de Nerfs ! marks the 19th annual album release by Les Enfoirés, an all-star group of French celebrities who come together each year in the name of charity. Among the many celebrities who make guest appearances on Les Enfoirés, most notable are contemporary pop superstars Grégoire, Christophe Maé, Bénabar, Amel Bent, Renan Luce, Patricia Kaas, Mylène Farmer and Christophe Willem. While there's nothing exceptional about Les Enfoirés, it's another well-produced entry in the long-running and increasingly routine Les Enfoirés series that should please fans of previous volumes.
The 40 tracks compiled on this two-disc set represent the entire span of pianist and singer Leroy Carr's recording career that spanned a brief seven years, from 1928-1935. The material represented here – all but one of these tracks were recorded for the Vocalion label – features accompaniment by guitarist Scrapper Blackwell on all but one selection, and Josh White on a handful as well. Carr's material here ranges from the classic piano blues of the era that spawned Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith to vaudeville and hokum tunes made popular by artists like Tampa Red and Georgia Tom. Carr's voice is the haunting thing here; it's higher and very clear, sweet almost, as evidenced by most of these sides. But there was an edge, too; one that belied a kind of pathos underneath even the most cheery material – check "Mean Mistreater Blues" or "Bread Baker." But the darker material such as "Suicide Blues" (one of six previously unissued performances), "Straight Alky Blues," or "Shinin' Pistol," is strange and eerie given Carr's smooth approach. Carr may not be the most well-known bluesman of the era, but his contribution is profound and lasting. This collection puts to shame almost all others with the exception of the multi-volume complete recordings on Document.
Founded in 1906, Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix des Bois (Little Singers of the Wooden Cross) are renowned as one of the world's most established children's choirs. Founded by Paul Berthier and Pierre Martin, two students on vacation at l'Abbeye de Tamie, the Paris-based traveling choir broke tradition with its lack of affiliation to a particular parish or cathedral. Directed by Father Fernand Maillet, they soon developed an international presence thanks to performances at the Vatican and an appearance in the 1945 film La Cage aux Rossignols, and continued to remain active throughout the 20th century, with singer/songwriter Matthieu Chédid, Les Prêtres' Charles Troesch, and Olympic rowing champion Adrien Hardy among some of their famous former members. By its centenary year, which was celebrated by a France2 show featuring duets with the likes of Tina Arena, Lara Fabian, and Nolwenn Leroy, the choir school had developed into a full-time educational institution, combining regular studies with a global touring schedule.