Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jacques Desrosiers

Jacques Desrosiers is best known in Quebec for being a fucking clown. Like Bozo... See?

Generally speaking though, he was known as a comedic actor, in both film and television, starting out in the nightclubs and caberets of Montreal in the 1950's. Working throughout the 60's and 70's, he appears in the famed Quebecois "maple syrup porn" "Apres-Ski" (a movie more known for its funky soundtrack by Jacques Crevier than for any cinematic merits). He eventually settled into the role of Patof, the Bozo of the North, for which he is beloved to this day.

Coming of an age in the caberets of the 50's, naturally Derosiers had singing experience. He seems to have had quite an active recording career, yet as an outsider Anglophone, I can't figure out if it's serious or not. He appears on cast recordings for caberet shows he was in, as well as albums under his own name.

The first of his records that I heard were Nino Ferrer covers (Le Telephone and Mao et Mao, I think) that added nothing to the original. I am still confused by them. Is he slavishly aping Ferrer in a bid for respectability, comically imitating him in a "look at these crazy kids!" way, or merely hopping into the studio to make some quick cash?

Neither record is worth posting here. However, he DID record a very cool original single in 1970, called "Pollution De L'air."

Again, not speaking French, I have no idea if this is a wide-eyed hippy plea or a wiseassed Great Generation retort. Regardless, it's a great song with a loose, natural, funkiness that doesn't always come easy to Quebecois performers! The earnest folky strumming of an acoustic guitar is offset by the showbiz slickness of the horn arrangements... yup, this a record that hits to all fields!

Jacques Desrosiers- Pollution De L'Air