Sunday, July 29, 2007

Johnny Hallyday pt II

Although he has a terrible reputation in certain musical circles, I have to say Johnny Hallyday consistently surprises me. He is a terrible poseur, and can always be counted on to jump on whatever musical bandwagon is current at the time. However, he does have very solid commercial instincts, a great nose for what the current trend is and how it applies to his sound, and the good sense and money to hire the best musicians available. And he was quite prolific in the 60’s and 70’s. Add all these factors together and you can see why he is going to have more than one or two gems floating around. I have been thinking about doing a Johnny Hallyday mix, but I realized I don’t have QUITE enough great stuff by him for that, so until then I guess I will be content with another post.

I’ve heard Johnny attempt to do American soul music covers, like “In the Midnight Hour” or “What is Soul?”, but until hearing “Le Feu”, I had never heard him play funk before. But, when in Rome… And when in 1973, make a funky rock track. The track shares some DNA with “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, with its funky clavinet-led backing track. The band sounds great and whoever did the arrangements (it’s uncredited on the record) really knows how to write horn parts. All in all, a pretty tasty record, that only has one or two cringeworthy vocal moments (like, say the first time Johnny opens his mouth about 10 seconds in. Trust me, it gets better, stick with it!). Note: This song is not to be confused with “Allumer le feu”, a much bigger hit.
Johnny Hallyday- Le Feu


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