Friday, October 19, 2007

Françoise Hardy

A quicky Youtube post here... Françoise Hardy has plenty of great songs, but for some reason this one stuck with me. It's co-written by her husband, Jacques Dutronc, and there is a strong element of R&B here in a way that isn't present in his own material. To me, Dutronc has the best feel for rock and roll out of all the French singers of his time, but his equally good feel for R&B and soul had been unknown to me. The song is a classic vampy minor-key blues number in the vein of Little Willie John, complete with some funky bass work and icy lead guitar. It's certainly a departure from the more folkier stuff she made her name on. Incidentally, I have no idea why she is in a rowboat, I guess it's typical Scopitone hijinx, but she appears to row well... Without further ado, "Le Temps De L'amour": 

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Claire Lepage

Claire LePage is best known as a Quebecois Ye Ye girl, recording mostly French language covers of British Invasion and Motown songs, as well as a couple France Gall covers (although her voice and delivery is more reminiscent of Sylvie Vartan). It’s all pretty groovy, but nothing about it separates her from Jenny Rock and the rest of the French Canadian Ye Ye’s. However, as the 1960’s drew to a close, the Ye Ye girls faded away. Like Gidget and the Flying Nun, they were seen as silly relics of the early 60’s, where the ideal woman was childish, playful, and perky. As the 70’s dawned, musicians were supposed to be serious, weighed down by the ways of the world, and on drugs.
And while the rest of her Ye Ye sistren were hanging up their miniskirts and calling it a day, Claire LePage hooked up with Compagnie, a heavy rock band, and recorded an LP. Unfortunately, I do not have this LP, as it is pretty expensive and hard to find. I do have two tracks from it on some cheapo record label compilations. Both tracks are heavy, funky, rock; with squealing lead guitar, groovy cowbell and tambourines, and nice harmony vocals.
(the record I do not own)
I do wish these songs were mixed with more of an underground ear, with the vocals a tad lower and the crunching rhythm guitar a little louder, but I won’t quibble. The band is funky in an understated, off-hand way that reminds me a little bit of James Gang for some reason. They are definitely playing rock, but the guitar riffs are always in the pocket, and the bass player is deft and adept; bobbing and weaving around the beat. This is a time when radio would play Sly and the Family Stone back to back with Buffalo Springfield and Cream, and this record reflects the times with just as Lepage’s earlier pigtails and knit sweater laden material reflects the mid 60’s.
Rondez-vous Express