A wonderful little soundtrack from Michel Legrand – perhaps not as jazzy or groovy as some of his 60s work, but with some really nice moments! There's no getting over the infectious tune "Paris Was Made For Lovers" – a vocal number sung in English in two versions, both by Michel Legrand, in that fantastic raspy style that he always used back then. Also includes two other vocal gems – "A Place In Paris", sung by Matt Munro, and the dreamy "Sea & Sky", sung by Dusty Springfield. Other tracks are more orchestral, and titles include "Concerto For Cabs", "Pavanne For People", and "The Street Where They Lived". (Soundtracks, French)LP, Vinyl record album
One of the few English language looks we've ever seen at the music of Serge Gainsbourg – a well-penned biography that covers all of his classic years in a fair bit of detail! Author Alan Clayson does a good job of paying as much attention to the music as he does to Serge's celebrity – defining elements that make particular records or musical moments so great – and never getting too bogged down in the more sensational elements of Gainsbourg's life. We really appreciate that – as Serge has always had plenty to offer way past the headlines – and if anything, he's probably best remembered in this century for his key musical contributions much more than his public life. There's a bunch of black and white photos in the middle of the book, but the rest is text – and the softcover edition runs for 244 pages, with a helpful index of Gainsbourg compositions in the back! (Books, French)Book
The Liminanas are looking hipper than ever on the cover of this album – and sounding hipper than ever too – really opening up that amazing sound that's made them one of our favorite French acts of the past decade or so! All the fuzz of previous records is still in place, but the vocals also seem to be a bit more upfront in the mix – not polished or commercial, but given this placement that really makes the whole thing sound even moodier and darker than before! There's a strong current between their music and classic modes from folks like Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Dutronc – but the sound is definitely all their own. The set features guest appearances by Pascal Comelade and Peter Hook – and titles include "Dahlia Rouge", "Paradise Now", "The Train Creep A Loopin", "Zippo", "Garden Of Love", "El Sordo", "Prisunic", and "Athen IA". LP, Vinyl record album
Brigitte Bardot —
BB (1964) ... LP Philips (France), 1964. Very Good (reissue)...
One of the grooviest Brigitte Bardot albums ever recorded – a stellar set of tracks with some ultra-chic arrangements from the great Alain Gouraguer! The album swings like the best of Paris pop in the 60s – tight and outta site, with loads of jaunty pop tunes that bring out the best in Brigitte's vocals, and show her to be a great singer when she gets the right material! The set's about as groovy as you can get for French work of this type – right up there with the best France Gall material of the time – and titles include "Ca Pourrait Changer", "Une Histoire De Plage", "Ne Me Laisse Pas L'Aimer", "Jamais Trois Sans Quatre", "Maria Ninguem", "Moi Je Joue", "Je Danse Donc Je Suis", "Melanie", "Ciel De Lit", and "Un Jour Comme Un Autre". (Note: This album was also issued over the years with a different cover.) LP, Vinyl record album
(90s blue label pressing.)
Benjamin Biolay —
Volver ... CD Universal (France), 2017. New Copy ...
Incredible work from Benjamin Biolay – maybe the only contemporary French singer that we'd dare compare to the legacy of Serge Gainsbourg, and one who's really at the top of his game here! We've always loved Biolay's music, but there's a special sort of crackle to this set that reminds us of the way we first felt when we heard his music back at the start of the century – a power that goes beyond language and culture to immediately grab our ears, even when his arrangements are slinky and subtle! Those modes dominate most of the record, but Benjamin's also stepping out on a few stronger grooves from time to time too – and although the set is billed as the part two to his Palermo Hollywood album, it's maybe got a much stronger voice that's all its own. Titles include "Roma", "Happy Hour", "La Memoire", "Le Nuage", "Encore Encore", "Mala Sielpre", "Pardonnez Moi", and "Hypertranquille". CD
Benjamin Biolay —
Volver ... LP Universal (France), New Copy ...
About May 19, 2017 (delayed)
Incredible work from Benjamin Biolay – maybe the only contemporary French singer that we'd dare compare to the legacy of Serge Gainsbourg, and one who's really at the top of his game here! We've always loved Biolay's music, but there's a special sort of crackle to this set that reminds us of the way we first felt when we heard his music back at the start of the century – a power that goes beyond language and culture to immediately grab our ears, even when his arrangements are slinky and subtle! Those modes dominate most of the record, but Benjamin's also stepping out on a few stronger grooves from time to time too – and although the set is billed as the part two to his Palermo Hollywood album, it's maybe got a much stronger voice that's all its own. Titles include "Roma", "Happy Hour", "La Memoire", "Le Nuage", "Encore Encore", "Mala Sielpre", "Pardonnez Moi", and "Hypertranquille". LP, Vinyl record album
A later album from Jane B, but one that's still pretty darn groovy, thanks to arrangements from Alan Hawkshaw! The overall sound is somewhat in keeping with the date – keyboards and rhythms that sound more 80s than 70s – but the tunes themselves have all the breathy, sensual qualities of Birkin's best work with Serge Gainsbourg from years back – no surprise, given that Serge wrote all the tunes in the set! As before, the combination of Birkin and Gainsbourg is hard to resist – still the standard by which so much other work like this should be judged – on either side of the Atlantic. Titles include "Overseas Telegram", "Rupture Au Miroir", "Haine Pour Aime", and "Norma Jean Baker". CD
Very groovy solo work by the lovely Jane B – working here with a set of songs by Serge Gainsbourg, and sublime arrangements by Brit Easy/KPM maestro Alan Hawkshaw. The record's got a super-sexy sound, with a lot of whispered Frenchy tracks in a style that's similar to Serge's best work – especially on the duets that him and Jane recorded in earlier years. The songs are very cool, too, and have a dreamy spacey quality to them, with cool lyrics, as you might guess from titles like "Nicotine", "Classee X", "Apolcalypstick", and the groovy "Ex Fan Des Sixties", which is filled with dreamy references to big rock stars! CD
Some of Serge Gainsbourg's first recordings – a mixture of left bank chic, jazzy rhythms, and some of the strangest songwriting to grace the Parisian scene! All titles feature great backings by Alain Goraguer, Serge's longtime musical partner, who brings in some wonderful elements to the songs – embellishing them with cool vibes, offbeat piano, snapping snare drum, and bubbling bass to match the oddly-crafted lyrics of the tunes. Titles include "Ronsard 58", "Ce Mortel Ennui", "Le Poinconneur Des Lilas", "Douze Belles Dans La Peau", "Charleston Des Demanageurs De Piano", and "L'Alcool". LP, Vinyl record album
A great Serge Gainsbourg album from 1973 – one that we'd rank right up there with his best work! The record's got a slinky funky groove that's right in a perfect post-Melody Nelson mode – music written by Serge, and played by a hip small combo that includes lots of great guitar from Alan Parker and sweet electric keyboards and organ from the great Alan Hawkshaw – both of whom really help keep the sound great! Many tracks have that mellow funk groove that's become the best-remembered Gainsbourg sound over the years – and as with many of his other albums of the time, this one's brimming over with potential samples and riffs to steal. Titles include "Panpan Cucul", "Sensuelle Et Sans Suite", "Pamela Popo", "Titicaca", and "Par Hasard Et Pas Rase". Nice cover, too, with Serge pictured amidst a bunch of photographs of monkeys! LP, Vinyl record album
The complete work of Les Parisiennes – a lovely female French pop group from the 60s – supervised by pianist Claude Bolling! The 3CD package brings together all the quartet's music for Philips Records in the mid 60s – a surprisingly big batch of recordings, given that most of them were done in the space of four short years – and presented here with an equally big range of styles to match! Some of the tunes are done in that older-styled, jazz boogie mode that Bolling used in his own instrumental work – but others are sweeter, lighter, and show echoes of the other pop modes going down in Paris during the 60s. The group's an under-discovered gem from these key French pop years – and the 71 track package features titles that include "Je Te Desteste", "Ce Soir A St Tropez", "Les Parisiennes", "File Le Temps", "Il Flotte", "Paris Je T'Aime D'Amor", "Theme De Borsalino", "Bonnie & Clyde", "Boom Band A Bang", "Jimmy Brown", "Les Zozos", "Le Tunnel Sous La Manche", "Les Frites", "La Salade", "Hans", "Mickey Tintin Et Spirou", and "Dans La Poche Du Kangourou". CD