Just back from a great week in Montreal for Jazz Fest... Got there on opening night in time to see Stevie Wonder in the street with like 100,000 people, managed to see most of the show from about 300 yards from the stage, not bad at all... There was so much good music going on that week, from Beantown pal Eli "Paperboy" Reed to dubstep producer The Bug, who brought MC's Daddy Freddy and Flo Dan (a personal favorite of mine from the Roll Deep Crew) along with him. Also, I attended a Quebecois music blog BBQ, hosted by the lovely Sebastien of Patrimoine, PQ, and attended by the folks in my Fellow Travelers list to the right, among others.
I picked up a grip of good records and figured I am long overdue on updating. I bought a really good Renee Claude LP, which made me pull out the one I already have. I went through both LP's and pulled 3 tracks from each.
Renee Claude started recording in the early 60's in a traditional chanson style, recording her own versions of songs by French singers like Leo Ferre. She eventually began to move away from French covers and towards songs mostly written and produced for her by Stephane Venne (staff producer at Barclay Canada and the man who wrote the Expo 67 theme song). She was a polished performer, having come up in the cabarets of Quebec City and seems to have played everywhere. She appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1967, performed at both Expo 67 in Montreal and Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan and even appeared with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 1970.
The material I am using is from her late 60's/early 70's records on Barclay, all of which are produced by Venne. They are very interesting records, with very sophisticated arrangements that reference both underground rock and mainstream pop. For some reason, they remind me a little bit of Gal Costa's material from this era, thought not quite as experimental. It isn't just the arrangements that separate this from run-of-the-mill chanson stuff, Claude's voice and phrasing is also a cut above.
Renee Claude- Imaginary 6 song EP
Combien J'Aime La Vie
La Rue De La Montagne
N'y Vas Pas
Qui a Peint La Terre En Rouge