Gainsbourgalia

A post with Gainsbourg-related stuff, covers and soundtrack-music. The other day I tried to watch the 1968 movie Slogan, the first film starring both Jane and Serge. Without subtitles it was impossible to follow, then again, the storyline isn’t that difficult and it seems that the director tried harder to make the film look good than to tell a good story. I haven’t seen Mister Freedom (from 1969), featuring Serge, Philippe Noiret and Donald Pleasance. IMDB says: “Mr. Freedom, a pro-America superhero who fights for God and country by beating, robbing, raping and killing anyone who looks like they might disagree with him. When he hears that France is in danger of falling to the Commies, Mr. Freedom heads overseas to set things right. When the welcome he receives isn’t quite as warm as he expected, he gives up hope of steering the French away from the Reds and decides to salvage what he can by destroying the entire country.” Right. Serge made the hard funkin’ soundtrack together with Michel Colombier, I found that one this week. Interesting is that this is the first time he played with the Marseillaise (he would redo the national anthem later). No clue who sings this song, by the way.

Serge Gainsbourg & Michel Colombier – No No Yes Yes

Coverwise, I bumped into the album chanteuse Marie France made with Brigitte Bardot and Gainsbourg-covers. She stays very close to the original versions, alas, but it has nice details. See a French documentary on Marie France here, see her sing Bardot here.

Marie France – Tu veux ou tu veux pas
Marie France & Aurelien Wiik – Bonnie & Clyde

And finally, we already knew that Neil Hannon and his Divine Comedy are big fans of French music (Brel, Gainsbourg, etc). New album Bang Goes the Knighthood sports a bonus-cd with live-recorded covers of songs by Jacques Dutronc, Vanessa Paradis, Jacques Brel and Vicky Leandros. But also a reprise of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s The Songs That We Sing – a chanson Neil wrote for her. See live videos of that concert on Youtube, for instance here, and here.

The Divine Comedy – The Songs that we Sing

Charlotte Gainsbourg en direct


Julija (she of Aurgasm) wrote a review of Charlotte’s show in Seattle:

Wednesday night (April 14) at the legendary Crocodile in Seattle, French music Royalty and critically acclaimed actress Charlotte Gainsbourg performed to a packed house. Completely sold out days in advance, the Seattle show was only the third gig of her first North American tour. Earlier this year Charlotte played a few shows in NYC. 
Needless to say, having the opportunity to see Charlotte performing in such an intimate place for every Francophile and Filles Sourires lover is more than exciting. A perfect space to fully enjoy her breathy, seductive vocals and the little nuances that you can only experience live. The over-an-hour set included two Serge covers, Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman”, songs from 5:55 and mostly her IRM repertoire written with Beck. 
 The French chanteuse showed up on stage backed with a stylish five-piece band selected by Beck himself. She opened the night with the hypnotic, nearly surreal IRM. Contrary to her first ever show in NYC reviews, Charlotte strikes me with her delicate and fully-aware stage presence. She’s not the kind of performer who sways energeticly to the beat, yet she delivers with grace. The songs came alive beautifully thanks to the highly accomplished band, led by Beck’s keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton. The elegant arrangements, dreamy beats and powerful melodies not only recreated the atmosphere of IRM, but provided the listener with a much wider palette of styles and moods. 
 Charlotte showed a warm interaction with her audience. In the middle of the show, just before playing the beautiful “AF607105” taken from 5:55, she thanked Air and Jarvis Cocker for writing the song. She noted how happy she was having a chance to revisit her repertoire for this tour, playing songs she never performed live. One of the night’s highlights was her take on Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” (recorded with Calexico for I’m Not There soundtrack). Her fragile voice and delicate phrasing gave the song a whole new meaning.  Another ultimate favourite,  “Dandelion” carried stunning bluesy riffs (undeniably Beck’s) and pulsating arrangements that perfectly accompanied Charlotte’s vocal delivery. 
Before the end of the night Charlotte confessed she never dared to perform the songs from her father’s repertoire, and immediately went to contradict herself. She chose to perform “L’hôtel particulier” from one of the most erotic albums ever recorded, Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971). By the end of the night Charlotte thanked everyone for attending the show and gave special thanks to Beck for making the tour possible. The night came to an end with the funky, Caribbean-styled Serge’s “Couleur Café” (1964). If only Beck himself would have paid a visit on stage, it would have made the evening an absolute perfection. 

Thanks Julija! Nice links: Charlotte live at KEXP, Charlotte live at KCRW

If anybody has recordings of Charlotte doing either L’Hotel Particulier, Couleur Café or Sorry Angel, please get in touch!