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119 tracks from France have been recommended.
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Ah melody  performed by Serge Gainsbourg  1970
Recommended by delicado [profile]

A slow number from Gainsbourg’s classic concept album, ‘Ah melody’ opens with that picked acoustic guitar sound which the group Air have now imitated and made one of their trademark sounds. The arrangement is very bare, with the guitar accompanied by just a vocal, bass, and a spikey, funky drum beat. Later in this short track, strings and Bacharach-style horns slip in and out of the mix, before everything stops abruptly. It’s a great track from what I find otherwise to be a slightly disappointing album.

from Histoire de Melody Nelson, available on CD (Philips)




  09 Dec 01 ·e: ah delicado....
  03 Jan 02 ·Mike: Wonderful track; absolutely magic, and second only to "Manon" in Gainsbourg's output for me. In the context of the album, it's a kind of foil to the more vigourous remainder, an all-too-short lyrical interlude.
  05 Sep 02 ·Liv: Stellar. "Histoire de Melody Nelson" is one of THE best concept records of all time..period.(But you don't have to understand French to appreciate this wicked album..) The lush string arrangements, interweaving deep&funky bass, Gainsborough's sleazily "seductive" voice:sometimes whispering,sometimes "singing"..all adds to the perfection. I will always treasure this album.. ("Ah!Melody" is one of the "lighter" songs from the album as the overall atmosphere of the album is darker,creepier:a feeling of perversion, death & doomed love..) One of his best. Pure magic.
  12 Mar 04 ·olli: got to love that. one of the definite highlights in his amazingly diverse output for me.
Couleur Café  performed by Serge Gainsbourg  1962
Recommended by phil [profile]

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)



Comme  performed by Francoise Hardy  1966
Recommended by scrubbles [profile]

Dreamy. One of my favorite F. Hardy songs, if only because I can easily imagine her singing it while strolling through a meadow of sunflowers, breezes gently blowing her hair. Ahem. The light arrangement with subtle strings and harp accompanyment is gorgeous.


available on CD - The Vogue Years (Camdem/BMG)



mirza  performed by nino ferrer  1966
Recommended by penelope_66 [profile]

this frech jazz/soul artist is a recent discovery of mine. and it's too bad it took me so long to find him! just as talented as the well-known jaques dutronc. most of his early stuff is great, and gets a bit more "souly" as time goes on. if you like 60's french music, check this out.


available on CD - l' indispensable (barclay)



Strip-Tease  performed by Nico  1962
Recommended by delicado [profile]

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)




  22 Feb 02 ·e: this is the best ever. i love this.
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