Crème de la Crème
This album may surprise the many admirers that Belgian singer Micheline Van Hautem has attracted across her numerous Australian tours. Best known as a superlative interpreter of Brel, Van Hautem here ranges across quite startlingly diverse material: try Wild Is The Wind and Moon River back to back! Other than her attractive voice the unifying factors are that all the songs have been translated into French and all have stripped down accompaniment supplied by guitarist Erwin van Ligten (who adds some further guitar, bass and vocal overdubs).
Among the highlights is the is the breathless Pousse-toi, Pousse-toi, Pousse-toi and a stark, haunting adaptation of You Don’t Own Me that has Van Hautem contributing a flute refrain behind a brief van Ligten solo. Ultimately her strength has always been a keen instinct for a song’s drama, tempered by her innate warmth. That warmth is amply evident on this eclectic collection, but the drama is too often absent, even on Wild Is The Wind, and one is left with a vaguely nostalgic album of Euro-pop.