Cover Story: (29) Libertango/I've Seen That Face Before. Grace Jones, Kirsty MacColl or Ástor Piazzolla
The more I listen to Libertango, also known as I've Seen That Face Before, the more I wonder whether it is possible to make a bad recording of it.
Ástor Piazzolla never intended it to be a song. The late Argentine musician and composer came up with this magical slice of tango as an instrumental, and what an instrumental. It was 16 years before his compatriot Horacio Ferrer added lyrics on the theme of freedom. I am not sure and would welcome help on when it became a song in English with French interludes.
It is a stunningly good song, a fabulous melody and great lyrics wherever they came from: Rainy Nights on Hausmann Boulevard/Parisian music drifting from the bars
Grace Jones does not so much sing as smoulder, as you can see from one of several YouTube clips of her singing it. They have been seen in huge numbers. And deservedly.
But I believe I may know a better version, or - in the spirit of Salut! Live's Cover Story series - one that happens to appeal more to me.
I hugely admire Sharon Shannon for the music she makes on her own account as an outstanding accordion player (there's a fair bit of fiddling, too) and the wonderfully broad mix of artists she is able to lure into the studios to record with her.
One such artist was the late Kirsty MacColl and her interpretation of Libertango gets me every time I hear it, MacColl in fine voice and Shannon contributing very Parisian-sounding accordion.
Take your pick. Both are superb performances, as is Ástor Piazzolla's.