If the music is any good, the French aren’t doing it.There are certain things that are eternally true, the Brits can’t make wine, Jeremy Hardy can’t sing and The French cannot do pop music. Don’t even try to quote me notable exceptions, ‘Car Plan Pour Moi’ by Plastic Bertrand – Belgian, Je T’Aime, Moi Non Plus is just two people pretending to fuck (if you believe the hype that Berkin was actually fucking Serge Gainsborough during the recording, consider this, he’d previously released it with Brigitte Bardot with the same hype). Maurice Chevalier sang about what Jimmy Saville thought every day ‘Thank heaven for little girls’. Vanessa Paradis was fit but she just left Johnnie Depp so arse to her. Half Russian Sacha Distel gave up a career as a promising Jazz Guitar player to become an average crooner of cover versions and ‘She’ by Charles Aznavour was written by a South African born British journalist Herbert Kretzmer OBE and was also done waaay better by Elvis Costello. [pullquote]This is not the reason that Miriam became another x in the box marked ‘former girlfriends’ but I am sure the rot set in about that time. [/pullquote]
I think we’re done non?
However, there are artists the French claim, simply because they sing in French. Most of those are total pants too. However there are notable exceptions and today I present probably the best of them, Louisiana’s Zachary Richard. I was made aware of his wonderful album Cape Enrage by a French former girlfriend ‘Miriam’ in the mid 90’s. She just lied and said he was French, but such was my incredulity that I just had to look him up and I was right, he’s sooo not French. This is not the reason that Miriam became another x in the box marked ‘former girlfriends’ but I am sure the rot set in about that time.Zachary Richard is from Louisiana in the good ole USA, he has released albums in English and French or to be more specific, a version of French known as Louisiana Creole. His work is deeply rooted in the regions Cajun music and he is perhaps the greatest modern proponent of the genre and has been responsible for dragging into this century too without screwing it up.
His work is hard to find on Youtube and impossible to find on torrents so you’re just gonna have to stump up a tenner to get the album Cape Enrage which is considered by most people to be his, I can’t resist this, Pièce de résistance and I agree.
I have managed through the magic of wordpress managed to find a widget that allows me to embed tunes into these posts so press play and enjoy a lot of the album here.
A song of a sailor tied to the tiller as he’s held off the coast of Cape Enrage, a full translation is here and well worth the read.
A sensational and haunting acapella intro leads up to a big smash and then a bass driven rolling groove. The lyrics are simply either place names of the region or the names of resistance fighters, in the chorus. ‘Asteur c’est mon tour’ means ‘now it’s my turn’. That line is well worth belting out randomly during the song anyway, it feels good and kinda French in that sexy way.
Au Bord du lac bijou
I used to do this live even if there weren’t any French people around because it’s just that good and it always got a great round at the end. It was always worth doing. The song is about a chap who sees two swallows taking refuge in an old oak tree in 1957, he’s watched them every year since until this year when one returns and waits forlornly for the other but he or she doesn’t appear and now we all need a tissue.
Full translated lyrics are here
Au Paradis avec toi (In paradise with you)
A man dreams he danced in paradise with his love last night and she promised she’d be there every night. He can’t wait to fall asleep in case it happens again. He can’t tell anyone but his only friend, Whiskey. I can’t sing this song without getting all old church harmony on title line and I also can’t sing it without going ‘whiskey, whiskey, ces’t my salami’ when it occurs, go on, you try….see, impossible.
Full translation is here
Vanessa Paradis? No mention? Seriously?
Hard work this blogging. Should one not be able to sign up and then log in and rant at will?
Liked the Stevie Vann Lange article although 3 paragraphs repeated themselves. Other head banging adverts of the era? Stiltskin’s “Inside” as a Levi’s advert and the awesome Lucozade ad with Daly Thompson backed by The Phantom of the Opera from the original ‘Maiden line up…. Babylon Zoo with another Levi’s ad with Spaceman. More will come to me no doubt as I imbibe more wine!?
Mike, the Levis ad thing is a potential first post from you so get on with it, you;ll enjoy it once you start. Don’t leave out Turn on tune in drop out by Freakpower, that’s a tune!