Chansons de noël

99 Presents (but a bitch ain’t one). Great pun title for a Christmas record, English quartet The Bobby McGee’s brought it to life. I’m the first to admit that their cover of Les Poppys ‘Non, non rien n’a changé’ (for that’s what it is) was a bit of a let down. I’d love to hear Jay-Z’s 99 Problems reworked. Maybe next year. Devon Press recorded a cover of Tino Rossi’s Petit Papa Noël for the Christmasagogo-blog. He remixed it, and I decided to put her very charming version of France’s best known seasonal track up on FS.

Bobby McGee’s – 99 Presents (but a bitch ain’t one)
Devon Press – Petit Papa Noël

Perfect Black Christmas

Made a compilation with my favourite black (meaning jazzy, soulful, bluesy, funky etc) Christmas songs for the EHPO-blog. Go HERE to download. Nothing in French, but James, Otis, Marvin, Stevie, Donny and the like. If you want more (odd) Christmas songs, you should also check Christmas A Gogo (here), or festive friends like Stubby, BRCM and SWOT.
Happy holidays!

Mayra Andrade

The Sunday Times called her „voice from Cape Verde“, possibly due to the fact that Mayra Andrade sings a lot of songs in Cape Verdean Creole, though she’s born in Cuba and grew up in Senegal, Angola, and Germany. Her records smell a bit of the well-designed eau de toilette of all those other industry working girls mixing world music with those certain hints of Brazilian folklore, body lotion fado, and authentic leather sofa jazz/ethno feel that probably will earn her a guest job on Charlie Haden’s next „Sophisticated Ladies“ volume. She’s got taste anyway: Her new live album, Studio 105, features also Serge’s La Javanaise, written originally for Juliette Gréco in 1959, in a kind of worn-out sugardaddy’s club version, definitely not as intimate as it tries to be, but actually quite a winning one.

Mayra Andrade – La Javanaise

Fay Lovsky

Everyone dreams about writing a classic Christmas song, very few achieve this goal. Multi-instrumentalist, theremin-enthusiast and singer Fay Lovsky wrote her claim to fame in 1981. Since then, Christmas was a Friend of Mine is on the radio every season. It has the bells, the nostalgic atmosphere and the lyrics about friendship that all good Christmas songs have. For the compilation A Catchy Christmas, she recorded an updated French version. Which is nice. You can buy and/or listen to A Catchy Christmas HERE.

Fay Lovsky – Noël quand on est petit

Sylvia Kristel, Gainsbourg and me

If you go HERE, you can see a radioshow (yes, see a radioshow, in Dutch) with me talking about Gainsbourg, plus guests singer Rick de Leeuw, pianist Jan Robijns and actress Sylvia Kristel sharing stories about Serge. She told that she went to partouses with Serge, Ian McShane and Jane Birkin. And that she immediatly had a bond with Gainsbourg, ‘alcoholics recognise each other straight away’. Near the end of the show, Sylvia and Rick sing their Dutch translation of Serge & Catherine’s Dieu fumeur des Havanes.

Peau Douce

All-too-short perfume spot, but eyecandy all the way, plus the right bedroom sound.

Sylvie Vartan

Legendary ye-ye singer Sylvie Vartan returns with a very strong album, produced by Keren Ann & Doriand, who also wrote a couple of songs. Others who contributed are Benjamin Biolay (La Vanité, great song), David Hallyday (her son), La Grande Sophie and Etienne Daho. The production is very sixties, with plush keys, loads of strings and guitars drowning in echo. Duet-partners are Doriand, Julien Doré and Arthur H. Vartan isn’t the world’s best singer anymore – then again, she never was. This album is way better than the rehashes on Nouvele Vague.  See the duet with Doré  here. Read an English interview with Sylvie here.

Sylvie Vartan & Doriand – Je me détacherai