Actually, I like Depardieu’s slightly sleazoid version from Quand j’étais chanteur best, but Françoise’s voice could turn even a Gainsbourg song into an anthem of innocence.
Ah, Françoise. Everybody had a crush on her back in the Sixties, that shy, well-bred brunette with those wistful chansons who seemed to spend all her time under her umbrella. One of her most iconic songs was Dans le Monde Entier, issued in 1965, evocating that endless Parisian rainy season once again. Of course future Wombles mastermind Mike Batt, 16 years old then, was also in love with Françoise, and Georgian-British songstress Katie Melua‘s cover of the English version, produced by Batt for her brand new album Secret Symphony, is a recollection of those cloudy days of innocence. Melua captures the mood of the tune just perfectly, though the last line now isn’t the heartbreak threnody of a young girl anymore, but the last echo of young Mike Batt’s clandestine longing: I still love you so.
Katie Melua – All Over the World
Remember Dave? The Dutch-born, blue-eyed singer had a massive hit in the 70s with a discofied version of Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade (watch!). In France, he was major star, but as it goes with names from the past, they fade away. Somebody made the connection of his blue eyes and soul, called in the team behind Ben L’Oncle Soul and the album Blue-Eyed Soul! was born. Is it good? No. Music-wise it’s okay. Rehashing Del Shannon’s Runaway or Rubettes’ Sugar Baby Love in French, wearing a very thin soul-jacket is far from okay. But a re-recorded version of Dave’s ballad Il ‘y a pas de honte à être heureux with Françoise Hardy is worthy of a post on this blog.
Dave & Francoise Hardy – Il ‘y a pas de honte à être heureux
Françoise Hardy’s piano in Voilà, combined with eerie, dark rockabilly. Now there’s a treat. The guy responsible for the mix is Alex Zhang Hungtai (aka Dirty Beaches), a Taiwan-born Canadian immigrant who spent a good chunk of his life feeling unmoored and adrift. He loves David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar Wai and the music of Johnny Cash and The Stooges (he covered them both). Dirty Beaches’ album was released in March, but Jan Kooi told me about Lord Knows Best, with the Hardy-sample. This video merges images of Hardy and Hungtai. In the same vein was the use of Chantal Goya in a track by Wild Nothing.
Dirty Beaches – Lord knows best
Françoise Hardy – Voilà
The son of Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc released a very good new single today, Demain. It’s the first track from the upcoming new album (out in October), the follow up to the highly succesful Comme un manouche sans guitare. The Django-vibe’s still there, but he makes it completely his own.
Thomas Dutronc – Demain
The so-called Relax series is the chillout compilation line of German dance/ house producers Blank & Jones, Café del Mar style. Relax Volume 6 also features a French language track for summer patios and Freixenet ads – a cover of Francoise Hardy’s Comment te dire adieu by Gallic schlager starlet Berry which brings to mind some all-too-fitting words by T-Bone Burnett: “We live in an age of music for people who don’t like music. The record industry discovered some time ago that there aren’t that many people who actually like music. For a lot of people, music’s annoying, or at the very least they don’t need it. They discovered if they could sell music to a lot of those people, they could sell a lot more records.”
Martin wrote a guestpost about a remarkable cover of a Françoise Hardy song by former Subway Sect-member Vic Godard:
Vic Godard is one of the great lost talents of the post punk. In 1976, he formed Subway Sect at the suggestion of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. After a few album and single releases in the mid-1980s, Godard retired from music and became a postman. In 1990, Godard wrote the song “Johnny Thunders”, a tribute inspired by reading an obituary of the New York Dolls guitarist. The song was included on the album ‘The End of the Surrey People’, produced by Edwyn Collins (A Girl Like You) and featuring the Sex Pistols’ Paul Cook on drums. In October 2010 Vic released his newest album ‘We Came As Aliens’. Most songs from the album have been evolving since the mid 1990s, with the exception of Françoise Hardy’s Et même, which Vic wanted to record since ’77. The sound of Et même is raw and the vocals are always sung with respect to the original version.
Further information about Vic Godard here.
French it-boy Julien Doré made a new album, you may have seen the very funny clip that goes with single Kiss Me Forever. The album has several Gainsbourgian touches, you may recall his cover of SG’s SS in Uruguay on his debut, and the clip for Les Limites (that referred to a video Gainsbourg made for Chez les yeye’s). The deluxe-version comes with a bonus-disc with English songs, made with his former band. I prefer the French tunes, like the (again) Gainsbourgian Golf Bonjovi, the song Glenn Close (JD likes namedropping, like Vincent Delerm) and the duet with Françoise Hardy. Doré apparently has a thing for grand dames, he duetted with Sylvie Vartan and on his new album he also sings with Algerian legend Biyouna. In this interview, Hardy states she had no clue what the lyrics for BB Baleine are about. Makes two of us.
No extensive introduction on Vanessa Contenay-Quinones here at FS anymore. Regular visitors already know the cool seduction on high heels with the beautiful, sultry voice and misty eyes for a while now. Her 60’s influenced French popmusic was already around here a few times. Same goes for the music of her band Vanessa and the O’s (about to release a new album soon too, the site stated), but we never had a topic on her first band Espiritu, with whom she recorded two albums from 1993 to 1997. The best was then yet to come.
Inbetween 2008 and 2010 Vanessa recorded several tracks for her project called Allez Pop! Some of them ended up on compilation albums like Filles Fragiles 2 and Musique Fantastique, one track (Bon Bon Bon) even made it to the OST of the action-comedy Killers with Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck and Katherine Heigl. So it was about time to put all the recordings together and release Allez Pop! A superb idea. The tracks are seductive, fresh, quirky and tributary of course to Gainsbourg and Bardot, Dutronc and Hardy to name but a few. An unpretentious candy with attitude. Highly recommended.
And for those who might start thinking that Vanessa can’t do any wrong… just wait and see her with a bizarre performance as Vanessa St. James in collaboration with Lou Reed (!) on a weird kinda dance version of Velvet Undergrounds ‘Sunday Morning’. Not even a sin of her youth, as this Italian show (starts at 02.30) is from 2004. But some can’t do wrong, right?
(see the video)
Vanessa Contenay-Quinones – Odyssée