For those not yet ready for France Gall/Serge Gainsbourg quite yet. This is Elinor Blake's (aka April March) English language version of "Laisse Tomber Les Filles" written by Gainsbourg and made famous by Gall. I prefer this meatier version to the France Gall original but it did get me to go out and purchase my first France Gall CD. The CD also contains a French language version of the same song.
I've tried quite a lot to get into African music and have only got into bits and bobs so far. However, what I have very successfully got into is a white frenchman, with an all french choir, based in Paris, singing songs in an african style. Any amount of race-focussed amateur psychoanalysis can be done on the above I know, but I also know that this song is absolutely fantastic.
As far as I can tell, Serge's african work seems to be inspired by a genuine love of african music and singing, but it also has a very pop edge - maybe it is this crossover aspect that makes it so accessible. Anyway, in this one the lyrics are pretty seedy ("ce soir la nuit sera blanche"), but the singing and drumming are just so beautiful - it's a brilliant song.
from Gainsbourg Percussions available on CD - Couleur Café (Mercury)
It's fantastic that this track has come to light. I believe its story is this: Nico auditioned for the film 'Strip-Tease' in 1962, and recorded this song, but eventually Juliette Greco was chosen instead, and so this recording was lost. To me it's a remarkable document - although I knew Nico had made a brief appearance in 'La Dolce Vita', I never knew she had recorded with Gainsbourg. The track itself is a delicate slow number with prominent latin percussion and bongo sounds, similar Serge's other early 60s film work, such as 'L'eau a la bouche'. Nico's voice is just as distinctive as it is on her famous records with Velvet Underground, but in this context it sounds different. I like it when things like this come to light, bringing together two people I admire - like Astrud Gilberto singing Morricone, Scott Walker singing Schifrin, or Julie London singing Margo Guryan.
available on CD - le cinéma de Serge Gainsbourg (Universal France)
Melody Nelson is probably one of the best serge gainsbourg albums. he mumbles and sings about the fictional character Melody Nelson, a young red haired teenager. the opening track 'Melody' would've almost been enough to fill an entire album with: it's full of bass, violins and soft drums but it never comes across as being over the top. and that's what this album is: perfectly produced, orchestrated and beautiful... beautiful, yet quietly disturbing. "melody nelson" is a defining french album.
06 Dec 02 ·robert[o]: One of the BEST LPs ever, period, end of sentence!
Also - a great lost piece of the UK glam rock jigsaw, I think. Listen to this record, then listen to Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" or "Aladdin Sane", Roxy Music's "Stranded" or "For Your Pleasure", even "The Slider" or "Tanx" by T. Rex. Serge's fingerprints are all over those records.
Early Serge Gainsbourg masterpiece with an "exotica" feel. The backing track is a far-east melody while the lyrics are simply beautiful. Gainsbourg used the characteristics of the anthracite to describe his feelings about a girl. It's a kind of first step into what was to be the apex of his first period, the "Gainsbourg percussions" LP of 1964.
from N°2 (Philips) available on CD - Couleur café (Mercury/Philips)
04 Jan 04 ·whoops: sorry, in place of "far east" please read "middle east" in the recommendation above.