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The estate car versions with the woodwork are expensive collectors' items these days. http://www.ianhardy.net/albums/bvvr001/crw 3412l std std.jpg

Very nice. The one I saw had the wood and was nicely restored.
dg (domain=ccwebster)
I was wondering, why is it that so many foreign ... a thick accent when it comes to holding a conversation?

For the same reason Jim Nabors talks like a hick and sings like Pavaroti (well, sort of). Singers train their vocal equipment to make specific sounds whereas one's native speech patterns are picked up early in life by accident of environment.

well what astounds me, is that even singers from non-English speaking countries can be totally free of an accent i.e. Abba from Sweden and god knows Swedish doesn't sound anything like English.

The other singer say, Celiene Dion can sing in English very well but can't control her French accent well in conversations.

It's not like British singers who are fluent in English and choose to speak in a British accent because that's just the way they talk. But, if you're a Swedish/French person wouldn't you want to avoid having an accent as much as possible?
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Cobain4evr had it:
well what astounds me, is that even singers from non-English speaking countries can be totally free of an accent i.e. Abba from Sweden and god knows Swedish doesn't sound anything like English.

Abba had very clear Scandinavian accents when singing. Yes, their English was good, but there's no way I would have taken them for native speakers.

David
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Cobain4evr had it:

well what astounds me, is that even singers from non-English ... Sweden and god knows Swedish doesn't sound anything like English.

Abba had very clear Scandinavian accents when singing. Yes, their English was good, but there's no way I would have taken them for native speakers.

If you're up for an ahem "interesting" listening experience, visit http://www.aprilwinchell.com/multimedia / and scroll down to the set of links headed "Salma & Sabina"..r
well what astounds me, is that even singers from non-English speaking countries can be totally free of an accent i.e. Abba from Sweden and god knows Swedish doesn't sound anything like English.

Some of have been talking about that situation, I hope you noticed. Your original post didn't make clear whether you were talking about foreign speakers of English or native speakers, but some of the same principles apply to both.
The other singer say, Celiene Dion can sing in English very well but can't control her French accent well in ... who are fluent in English and choose to speak in a British accent because that's just the way they talk.

And that's because they grew up surrounded with people who talked like that. Unlike these folks:
But, if you're a Swedish/French person wouldn't you want to avoid having an accent as much as possible?

You say that as if accent was a matter of choice, like choosing shirt and jeans. "Today I think I'll sing this way, and talk that way." I think it's a lot more unconscious than that. As has been said, there are reasons why it's easier to mimic a hit pop song, for example, than to converse in a foreign language. You don't even have to understand what you're singing.
My guess that people who have mastered singing some songs in English with a near-native English accent tend to speak better conversational English than they would have without that experience but that would be a hard prediction to measure. It just makes sense that they would have acquired a few of the more difficult consonant and vowel sounds that way.
But that doesn't mean they have completely mastered those sounds and can put them in all the right places, when speaking. It helps, but it's not enough.
It would be interesting to hear some European musician sing an English song in native-sounding English, and then for that same European musician to read off the very same lyrics in a spoken voice. Without any of the stress of choosing words and grammar and so on, how close would the two pronunciations be?

Best Donna Richoux
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well what astounds me, is that even singers from non-English speaking countries can be totally free of an accent i.e. ... they talk. But, if you're a Swedish/French person wouldn't you want to avoid having an accent as much as possible?

A soprano friend of mine sings in Italian so well you'd swear she was a native but she's from the Western US and talks like it. It's all in the training.

dg (domain=ccwebster)
Sacha Distel (he of "Raindrops" fame) did not have a particularly strong French accent when singing (though it was noticeable) but he was extemely haw-hee haw-hee when speaking on British TV. Of course, this may have been because he knew how attractive many Brits find the French accent. Yves Montand was another who could sing relatively accent free but whose speech was strongly accented.

John Dean
Oxford