5/17/15

Cockney Rebel - The Human Menagerie - The Raw Version (1973)



















A re-up by request of this very interesting document that shows how Human Menagerie could have been if Andrew Powell had not been involved. Not bad (everything this version of the band touched was gold) but not the great achievement the album would be. Catch it here and singalong "Death Trip" and "Sebastian" tonight.

This is an unexpected surprise to hear this great album that is The Human Menagerie in its demo raw version. What's extraordinary is that the songs (not in the final order, an order that seems to have been wished by the band judging by the notes on the tape boxes, a rather bad order actually, with desequilibrated sides, a first one full of sad and slow tempo songs, and a second full of rocker) gain a contempory dimension when they lose the grandeur the wonderful orchestration of Andrew Powell gave them. On some songs, I have the impression to listen to the incunabulum of Felt/Denim or some bands from the Cherry Red label in the eighties. Moreover, there's a trad. English folk flavour in the songs due to the acoustic guitar and violin duo (don't forget the superior beat of Stuart Elliott, one of my all-time fave drummer). These versions were unburied on the 4-CD boxset released this autumn and I can only encourage you to buy it, first because neither an MP3 will provide the quality of a CD or vinyl, and second because there is much more to discover on this boxset. I added "Judy Teen" on the album although it was actually not intended to be on it, but I think it would have been too cruel to deprive the visitor of this unreleased song that was recorded during the same sessions (I suppose, since the dates of these demo sessions are not written on the liner notes, whereas the date of the "Judy Teen" one, March 1973, is). Last, I often wonder how critics can be so blind and deaf on Cockney Rebel case, since the birth of the band until today. For example in Uncut, although the boxset received a 8/10, the condescension, the disregard for the band is shocking. Why always cite Dylan, Bowie, Lou Reed and Roxy Music? Of course they were influences, but what is the fuck when the result was so great and so singular (singular band as the title of the song). Who noticed the folk influence? The Felt legacy? And Ray Davies, who was more an influence to my ears that all the supposed ones cited. No, they are only repeating again and again that the band was plagiarists of the 4 aboves. Even these influences were influenced (just listen how Dylan was a Woody Guthrie imitator in his youth) but propose something entirely new. To compare the metaphysical and symphonic "Death Trip" to the drug-focused and rock "Heroin" is a total nonsense but Jim Wirth from Uncut did it. You'll read more interesting things on the band here althought I don't agree with all. But let's forget it and enjoy here this piece of genius here. I created a cover sleeve cos' I like that. Not fantastic but honest I think.




5/16/15

Melanie - Crazy Lady Lost LP (1979)



A very rare and therefore precious unreleased album that any Melanie's amateur should have heard and possessed. Details are provided below. Catch it here.

Last Autumn, Melanie lost Peter Schekeryk, her beloved husband, friend and producer for more than 40 years, and honestly it's surely one of the hardest thing she had to face in her life. Remembering how I took her in my arms at the end of an interview 5 years ago, and how it felt to have her so close to me some brief but eternal seconds, I would have liked to make my poor arms a small shelter for a pain but I'm sure she has her children to do that much better than I could have. After a long silence during which I was also unable to listen to anything by her, I bring back some forgotten songs and these are really forgotten since they were on an unissued LP recorded (it seems) in 1979 and which should have been released between Ballroom Streets in 1978 here and Arabesque in 1982 there. Listening to it, I realise it's a great waste that it was not released since there are enough good songs to make of this LP a great addition to her discography. I discovered this LP here where you can find a load of Melanie's stuff. There is not the work I did for the 90's albums i.e., to reorganize things according to the time it was recorded, but you have many albums in their raw versions. On this Crazy Lady (the name is derived from the 1st song and is not mine) Melanie sings divinely, often with a very low voice and I love it this way. The album doesn't suffer from the sound option of the period it was recorded since it is more roots (blues or rock, with some soul) than all the rest she will do in the years before and after. I don't know why it was not released (it is said they didn't pay the studio sessions but it would need to be confirmed). Most of the tracks will stay on this lost LP but some will survive such as the Stonesy "Roadburn" or the delicious "Take A Bath". I did an alternative cover sleeve with pictures I think were taken in the right period. Enjoy it here and have a deep thought for her. Cos' we love her forever, don't we?

Yes my darling daughter. Mother may I go out dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mother may I try romancing? Yes my darling daughter What if there’s a moon mama darling And its shining on the water Mother must I keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing Keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter What if he’ll propose Mama darling As the night is growing shorter Mother must I keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing Keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter What if there’s a moon and it’s shining on Shining on the water Mother must I keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing Keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter What if he should insist on fond embrace, mama How’m I gonna keep him in his place? If his manner becomes a shade improper Tell him that your heart belongs to Papa Mama must I keep on dancing Keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter Mama must I keep on dancing keep on dancing? Yes my darling daughter?

Melanie - Live at Musikladen (1975)



Second re-up of this very good set that she played in Germany during a rather difficult period of her career although great period of her mother's life. Catch it here.

A very interesting recording. Melanie here plays on a German TV show with a guitarist to back her, during a period she was more concerned by raising her children than having a career. Her albums were quite uneven at that time, and here she had only released one of them, the rather mixed affair entitled Sunset and Other Beginnings. Surprisingly, live, she's much better than 3 years ago, less embarassing since she had the bad habit to be in a quite naive and hippie flavored complicity with the audience, and to be too much in vocal demonstration when here she's much more sober and it's a great pleasure to listen. Moreover, she presents a version of "Virgin Mary" that she will record only for her Antlers album more than 20 years later. All in all, one of the best live testimony of her, although the sound is mediocre. More to come from this beloved singer. The pictures below were recorded that year I think. The cover sleeve is a self-made from an artist using leaves. This recording has been released under an ugly covers sleeve and with the stupid title of "Brand New Key".




Melanie Safka - Look What They've Done.. par piRjtull

Melanie - Replay (1999)



Tonight I decided to re-up several real or home-made albums from Melanie, first because it's the aim of this blog to keep available all that was previously posted (and after mf and rs deleted my account, I gave a last chance to this blog using M), and second because I discovered (a little late I must admit) that Melanie participated to the Miley Cyrus Backyard Sessions in 2012. Maybe some fans of this new show-biz phenomenon (not sure she won't burn her wings as so many of her icarius-like provoc-elders) will be curious enough to take here some of the Melanie's stuff I posted. I begin with this album compiling re-worked versions of older material. More in the previous comments below. Catch it here.

This post received a severe comment recently by "Any middle-aged German Witch in Amerika" saying it was frustrating that I decided to select my fave songs among the 20 reworked version of Melanie's songs comprised on this Czech compilation. She was right and I wonder why I did that since I usually try to put as much rare material I can find from Melanie. And more stupidly, hearing again this compilation, I don't even share my opinion of my previous selection. So  in this reworked version of my own post I provide the whole load of reworked songs included. Accept my excuses, I won't do it again. More Melanie to come (since this severe commentator sent to me some rare gems I will post as soon as possible).

Here below the text I wrote for the post
"Hell is paved with good ideas, and some bad ideas can lead to heaven. Maybe not heaven but a good surprise actually. Cos' who could think that to do modernized covers of old hits could have led to anything else than disaster or at least useless versions? It's not the case but I must confess something. I did a selection among the 20 songs reworked by Melanie and Peter Schekaryk. Released on an obscure Czech compilation called Beautiful People with a totally inappropriate cover sleeve (here) showing a young Melanie plaing guitar while singing, it featured very different approaches of these songs, some being only a re-arrangements over the original ones, with Melanie singing over her original voice. A shame. Others featured funky arrangements, that seemed to have been recorded much earlier than 1999. Last, there were songs played with delicate and efficient accoustic arrangements, backed with bass and drums and that showed how Melanie was able now to be a complete singer, moving and powerful (sorry for my weak vocabulary). There are some gems such as the version of "People In The Front Row". But I don't think there is a weak song. I did a decent cover sleeve and now it can be added to the complicated 90's Melanie's discography".

People in the front row. I was out of love, and out of my heart I couldn't quite stop something that I didn't start Yeah, the critics said "No" I didn't know how I came, so I couldn't go Oh oh how could you go when you don't know how you came Oh my predicament grew now I got friends And I think that my friends are you, yeah. I looked around for faces I'd know and I fell in love with the people in the front row My predicament grew now I got friends And I think that my friends are you, yeah. Oh Oh how can you go, when you don't know how you came so you don't know Oh My predicament grew now I got friends And I think that my friends are you.

5/11/15

Mike Montgomery - Solo (1976)

This is an important post. I must not ruin it. I must convince any visitor to dl this album and then write to labels for a correct reissue of this gem. Let's begin by the beginning. I was re-up-ing the Back Street Crawler Croydon gig (see one previous post) when I realized not only how good were the songs (finally I had a little overlooked this songwriting quality in the past) but also that most of them were penned by Mike Montgomery. So I tried to find what he had done before and after this BSC period. First, I learned that he quitted the band before Paul Kossoff died. Actually at the end of 1975, he was no more in and was replaced by John Bundrick aka Rabbit. So, it seems he was not happy with the band although they played his songs. Where did he go, in which band? Actually none. He recorded a solo album, this one, with unexpected musicians since two were from Thin Lizzy (Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham) and one would be some time later in this same band (Jimmy Bain). Strangely, Rabbit was also on it, so it seems the replacement in BSC was friendly. There was also Bob Kulick, the 5th Kiss man and Morgan Fischer, who had been in Mott The Hoople. What a strange melting pot. Impossible to know "who plays on what" since this album seems extremely hard to find. The only source I found is a badly sounding version that you can find on iTunes, CDBaby or numerous russian MP3 sites, with nothing else that song titles and the front cover sleeve. Listening to the sound that these providers offer (actually sell), it's likely that it was (badly) ripped from a vinyl source by someone who had no technical skills, even the most basic ones. This is a real drama since this album is nothing less than a masterpiece. Not often an album released in the seventies had escaped my vigilance and entered my top 100 at the minute I listen to it so many years later. This is the case of this one, even if the sound quality is a disaster. I tried to improve it using MP3.DoctorPro but honestly it's still far from what we could expect from an official source. Didn't find anywhere to buy the vinyl and of course not any sign of the CD. What is the explanation of this rarity I don't know. Surprisingly, this album is dated 2006 everywhere but actually it was recorded in 1976. Was it released after its completion? I don't know. It is included in the discography of some of the musicians featuring on it (such Jimmy Bain) so it seems it was officially released at the time. But you surely wonder why I give it such a positive appreciation. First, it's vocally everything I love. Imagine the late Marc Bolan (era 74-77, let's say Zinc Alloy) and Jim Carroll (most specifically Catholic Boy). Musically, according to songs, it's between Bowie (Ziggy Stardust one), Cockney Rebel (Best Years Of Your Life one) and Mott The Hoople (The Hoople one). Yes, you are not dreaming. There's a lot of the Motown beat in the structures of songs. Released in 1974, this album would have reached the status of a Glam classic, but in 1976, it was too late. Not a weak song, all are instant classics. Musicians are here used for a glittering approach of rock, the one I was always nostalgic for and that I try to keep alive whenever I can. But the story doesn't end here. I found that Mike Montgomery's son has recently tried to raise some money to record a tribute album for his dad (here). Not a success looking at the small money amount they got. But it was quite a challenge since nobody seems to remember who was Mike Montgomery. There was no more album until his death, in 1991. What a waste, what a shame. This is thus a little attempt to make this great composer a little place on the net. Since before BSC, he was in the band Bloontz, that Kossoff took as backing band to form BSC, I will post the Bloontz album (you will listen then to the original versions of "Jason Blue" and "Long Way Down To The Top", both Mike Montgomery compositions). I hope I didn't ruin this album and that you are now impatient to listen to it. Catch it here. And sorry for the sound quality. It's better than the one you'll find on paying sites.



5/9/15

Melanie - (The Complete) Silver Anniversary 2 LP (1993)



Re-up of this fantastic collection of recreated songs by Melanie, her unplugged session as I wrote below (since MTV would not have the courage and good taste to invite here). This is the beginning of her artistic rebirth and of an exceptional decade that will unfortunately end in 2002 with Crazy Love. There are so much gems in these 30 titles that the best is to leave you discover them if you missed it when I posted it initially. I think this version I compiled, gathers all the songs she played for this occasion, and that have been spread in various albums. Catch it here.

The today's post took me quite a bit to create. But beforehand, some words to explain the context. In 1993 (probably after spring, since she covers "How To Help You Say Goodbye", released by Patty Loveless in April 1993 on her Only What I Feel album, the song being a massive hit, unfortunately not by Melanie, only one year later, showing how Melanie had felt the potential of this song) Melanie does an unplugged session in the wake of the popular MTV's ones (Neil Young had done his the same year, and Bob Dylan would do his 2 years later). No need to say the success would not reach the same level. But one must admit that the sleeve was quite awful (the reason why, once again, I did an alternate one) and the distribution was confidential, the album being not even released in UK or in the US (only in Germany and in Holland). The title refers probably to her meeting with Peter Schekeryk, husband and producer, that she had met in 1968/9, ie., 25 years before (silver marriage). In 1993, she was in a quite dark period with her last real proper album being Seventh Wave 10 years earlier (and her last real Melanie album Arabesque, the year before). Since then, her albums were uneven affairs, mixing various styles adapting to the ugly 80's sound, and released in a more and more underground way. Here, she goes back to her real roots and proposes a moving and intense travel into her universe, rich and complex, with ghosts of child dreams in her adult desillusions, that never killed her appetite for living and laughing. So, why was it so difficult? Because Silver Anniversary was released in 2 versions, a 2 CD German one with 26 songs and a 2 CD Dutch one with 25 songs (3 songs different between them). Moreover, some songs recorded during the same sessions (like Ballroom Streets, it is recorded with Melanie facing a small audience), were not on these 2 versions, and had to be found on various compilations (these acoustic sessions provided a lot of material for cheap compilations on which they could write Hits without paying their due to Buddha Records). So, here it is, maybe not as complete as I say, but except if I missed one song, the most complete I could do, with 28 songs (plus a bonus, the long version of "Long Long Time"). Afterwards, I decided to take time to listen closely to all songs and to compose a thematic 4 sides 2 CD album. I gave a name to each side according to the lyrics and the atmospheres of the songs. I know this is highly subjective and you might have prefered to get the album in its original version, but I doubt there was really an original one, and when listening to the 2 versions I described above, you can't help to think these songs were put in random order, losing much of the interest of the listener who is shifted from an atmosphere to another without any planned intention. So, the 1st side will be like an introduction to the whole project, the 2nd side under the influence of the sky (cyclone, rain, sun, moon, all elements symbols of peace in the Melanie"s world), the 3rd side the lighter one, with this so delicious way Melanie has to become the little girl she surely was back then, and the 4rth side, dedicated to the Hits, the singalong songs, and closing with songs that perfectly fit the end of such a musical communion. The albums does not consist only in covers of others or of her own classics. There are also new ones, and they sometimes are the best of the whole. So this album must be re-rated for what it is, a great unplugged experience, much deeper than most of the MTV ones. If you want to read the lyrics, just click here.



Below, the real sleeve. You can see that it was not the best to help the album to find its way to those who ignored who was Melanie. In streaming, I chose to propose her wonderful version of "Purple Haze" (from Hendrix of course) and a new track, "Taking A Bath", in which all the particular charm of Melanie is, this derision, this way to say things clearly even when it's not to her advantage, and this lighty way to talk about her problem with her body. But there is much more to love in the album.



Purple Haze. Purple haze all in my brain Lately things don't seem the same I'm acting funny And I don't know why Excuse me while I kiss the sky Kiss the sky Purple haze coming all around Don't know if I'm going up or down Am I happy or in misery Whatever it is it put a spell on me Help me, help me Purple haze all in my eyes Don't know if it's day or night You got me running You blow my mind Is it tomorrow or just the end of time Help me, help me Purple haze all in my brain Lately things don't seem the same I'm acting funny And I don't know why Excuse me while I kiss the sky Kiss the sky Excuse me while I kiss the sky

Taking A Bath. Oh I feel grotty, the scent of my body Reminds me of dish water left over night Oh salty eyes looking for light Oh this old dress has been cried in and lied in And sweated and dried in, it's hittin' the sack But now I'm alone with buttons down the back And it's odd after all that our love has gone though I should be sitting here crying for you But all I can think of is taking a bath, cleaning my blue Bathing my body and oooh, coming out new All hopes for getting this straight Left my mind very late in the morning, you left after dawn I'm touching the tap and I'm turning it on I've already wished I'd expire and I'm so tired Of cursing your sun-sign and the day you were born I'm numb to the hurt and I'm glad it feels gone And reality blazes and I'm left amazed That recovery's already started with basics And all I can think of is taking a bath, cleaning my blue Bathing my body and oooh, coming out new, oooh Taking a bath Taking a bath Taking a bath Taking a bath Cleaning my blue

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5/8/15

Back Street Crawler - Live at Croydon (1975)



Very happy that this live concert has been requested since 1) it's always good to see that all Koss stuff is awaited, 2) it's a really great live album, not even paling in comparison with Free but it's true the band was in no way an imitation of them and 3) it's for an opportunity to discover how Mike Montgomery was a great composer (and singer too, particularly on "Survivor" and "All The Girls Are Crazy)), he is actually the main author of most of these songs that were, in my mind, much better than those of Bad Company but of course I was in minority judging by sales. Thus, I explored the (small) discography of Mike Montgomery (who quitted the band) some months later, replaced by John Rabbit Bundrick. And I found some forgotten gems I will post here soon. Discovering artists I had missed and helping to keep their music alive and share with anyone in the world who comes here is one of the rare things that make me feel life has still any interest at my age. Note too that the main singer of the band, Terry Wilson-Sessler was proposed to be the new singer of AC/DC but declined the offer. Meanwhile catch this wonderful concert here.

After Free definitively disbanded, in 1973, Paul Kossoff drowned more and more in his addict-habits, probably because, like Brian Wilson and so many more, he had been broken by an authoritative dad all his youth. But spring 1975, he finally was in charge of his band, a strange outfit composed of John Rabbit Bundrick US friends and some English ones (notably the excellent singer from the UK band Beckett, Terry Wilson-Slesser). The biggest surprise was that, except for the quite bad production, their self-titled 1st LP was a gem, somewhere between Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Chicago and, of course but not so much, Free. The best was that they had as soon as the 1st LP, a collection of songs to defend on stage and that assured them an audience that would enjoy herself without asking for Free favorites (except "The Hunter", they didn't play any). Mike Montgomery, the main writer of the band (almost all songs are his signature) was a fantastic new ally for Kossoff, and to have found a nice singer, much more in the Marriott-Plant file than the Rodgers one, was a good point to avoid constant comparison. This concert catches them at Croydon, a place so legendary for Free, at their beginnings and the excitation, energy and dynamics are all there. Kossoff is not always in tune but takes some wonderful solos. Impressed, they would sign a big contract with Atlantic, the label of Koss old pals Rodgers and Kirke. What would come later would be a total wreckage due to Paul Kossoff himself, going deeper and deeper in his demonworld of addiction and inconsequence. A boy that everybody says was nice, but unable to cope with his fatal attraction for mandrax and then coke and even heroin. His heart would cease to beat during a plane trip one year later, after months and months of a downline road with more and more uneven apparitions on stage. Enjoy this superb testimony of survival. This concert has been released 3 times (with rather ugly cover sleeves), always under the name of Paul Kossoff, and it's a shame since he was quite proud to have a band back. So it's more respectful to give credit to the full name. The front picture was taken from a photographer calling him or herself "privatedancer" on deviantArt.






5/5/15

Canned Heat - Sung by Alan Wilson (1967-70)





















I may shock some of you (if there's any reading my badly written english comments), but among the dead-at-27 in Music, Alan Wilson's death is surely the greatest tragedy for music since contrary to the other ones (the 3 J or the K) he had not been in situation to express all his genius during his short lifespan, constrained in the Canned Heat can and the rather hippie-blues format. But if you put all the songs he wrote and sung (some he did not write I admit) during the 4 years he was with the band he created with the rather invading Bob Hite, there's enough to compile one of the greatest album of all times. This is what I did here. One has been issued some years ago under the name of "Blind Owl" but the cover sleeve was ugly, the song order debatable and two great live songs missing (moreover there was some instrumental that were unnecessary). So here's my way to do it. It's not perfect, but I think it's more respectful of this shy and introverted artist that was eroded and destroyed by depression. Listening to his lyrics, it's no surprise since most are about sad or depressing feelings, nostalgia or absence of future. I try here to maintain alive the memory of this wonderful singer, harmonicist and composer. Note that there's a picture of John Lee Hooker on the back sleeve but no songs from the Hooker 'n Heat album cos' he doesn't sing on it. Catch it here and, like I do these days, listen to it again and again, particularly on the road of course.



And below a video showing that he still mean something to youth, and that it's a young woman is still a better news, blues being too often a male thing.

5/3/15

Jean-Claude Vannier - Public Cheri Je T'aime (1985)



Last one. There were two studio albums between 1976 and this one and maybe I'll post them but they were much weaker. This one, recorded live, shows this special something he had that made him such a precious national treasure (for happy few since we were not very much to attend his concerts). Catch it here.

Since 1975 and his first real solo album, Jean-Claude Vannier is with Alain Kan and Christophe in the trio of my fave French singer-songwriters . His name is more popularily linked to Serge Gainsbourg's Melody Nelson album cos he did the so fantastic arrangements and orchestration, of the cult LP, and also to L'Enfant Assassin des Mouches, an album he issued at the end of the sixties, a kind of milestone for experimental music. But for me, the more "mainstream" songs of Jean-Claude Vannier have been undefectible companions of my ups (rares) and downs (unfortunately numerous). I've bought all his solo albums, not many actually (let's say 6 before he disappeared from view), went to see him 3 times in concert (one time in a Veronique Sanson concert, when she played with a Symphonic orchestra he was in charge of the arrangements, but he was booed by the stupid audience and it made me mad), and never omit to cite him when I talked or wrote about French music. What's so particular about him is something so unique in his way to create intimacy without being exhibitionist, as he makes of his own personal wreck something universal similar to a Pessoa or a Cioran. Few have written better lyrics that him and when he's inspired, he reached some unaccessible highs. His music is something a crossover between the Kinks when they're playing caroussel songs and Procol Harum when they're the most ironic but with something purely French in his approach of songs (a kind of talking quality). His singing anticipated the way most new French singers sing for the last 20 years (like Murat or Benabar, not to cite the worst) but I would not compare since he's never anecdotic and he always has a poetic dimension that is lacking today. The most scandalous is that several of his albums (in particular the 3 first ones) have never been reissued on CD. For a beginning I chose to post his only live album, recorded in 1985 with a little string orchestra. I was there and it was magical and full of emotion. If I opted for this live testimony it's because you can hear a selection of songs he composed during the previous 10 years and you will be able at the end to state if you like this man or not. Hope you will. Trust me.



In streaming, I post 2 songs: "Juste une petite fille" and "La chanson de la pluie". Both are high in my hierarchy of my preferences, in particular the second one, to my eyes the most heartbreaking love song of the XXth century.



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Jean-Claude Vannier - s/t (1976)



Second re-up. Still better than the previous one, less Barbara and more Gainsbourg, it's in this one that you'll find the songs we were all waiting for in concert. Also a little bit heartshaking for nostalgia. Catch it here.

Promised this one long ago. Never had the real motivation to do it prior to yesterday. So here it is. The third album from Jean Claude Vannier, better known for his work as arranger for artists such as Serge Gainsbourg (he is responsible for the special sound of the Melody Nelson album) or Veronique Sanson (her symphonic work) but so much more. However, it's his solo career I have a deep affection for. From 1975 to 1990, the time period he released 5 studio LP and 1 live he would be my song companion, the only one in France with Christophe and Elli Medeiros to be honest. As most of his albums (except the first, L'assassin des mouches released in 1972 and much more experimental than his later work), this one has never been released in CD (and some would like that I share a tear for these fucking bastards of the record industry). It's my fave of his whole discography. Less influenced by Barbara than the previous one and more by Serge Gainsbourg and Procol Harum, it's the last before he would become more tied to a strict song format. There are some of the best songs ever written in French here such as "Des coups de poing dans la gueule", "La chanson de la pluie" (but the live version is much more moving), "Browning" and "Bécon-les-Bruyères". It was unfortunately not a good time to release such an album in 1976, a year people had their ears elsewhere and on more artificial sounds and I'm sure he was quite desillusioned (but it's not a man to have much illusion on anything, even on him, when you listen to his lyrics).  One of these records explaining why I created this blog.



Des coups de poing dans la gueule

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Habitants de Bécon-Les-Bruyères

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Jean-Claude Vannier - Premier album (1975)






















Tonight I re-up the Jean-Claude Vannier albums I had posted on the blog. More known in and out of France for his work as Serge Gainsbourg's arranger, I always digged his solo work, most of it released between 1975 and 1990 (5 studio albums and one live). This is the first LP he released and although the Barbara influence is major, there's this singular approach of songs that makes him one of my favorites French composer and singers. One of these albums that throw me back in my past. A little painful but it's the game of life when we're getting old. Catch it here.

This album is of real importance for me. It's maybe one of the first French LP I was able to consider of similar value than my GB-US-G or NL ones. Of course, there was the great French singers (Barbara, Brel, Brassens, Ferré), but they were no more at  the top of their talent, and more terribly, it seemed to me that there would be no singer able to climb again on the top of my personal tastes anymore. With Christophe's Les Paradis Perdus (in 1973) and Les Mots Bleus (in 1974), we had our new hero, but with Jean-Claude Vannier, Alain Kan and Jacques Higelin, 1975 seemed at least to bring us the true relief musical team. The future will unfortunately show that none of them will have the career we could hope, but back in this awful year for rock, this album was one of the soundtrack of my life. In particular "Mimi Mimi" because my then girlfriend was named Michèle, and that I used to call her Mimi. Since the song  talks about a man who requests a baby to her girlfriend, this gave birth to some long discussions between us. In 1975, Jean-Claude Vannier was an arranger that many wanted for their recording sessions (from Gainsbourg for whom he had wrote the Melody Nelson album, to Brassens, see below for the latter), but his main influence was clearly Barbara, this album being a sort of male-Barbara version. Of course, lyrics are so crucial in the charm of Jean-Claude Vannier's songs, that not understanding them removes a great part of the pleasure. If I could make a sort of comparison, I would say that Jean-Claude Vannier is to French music, what Randy Newman is to US one. His lyrics are unpredictable and often transgress usual limits, but not in this album, rather kind and in which his future depressive mood was still not present. All in all, this album is for me what the madeleine was to Marcel Proust. Note that the last song on the album "Super Nana" was a hit... by Michel Jonasz the year before, but Vannier seemed to consider he had to do his own version (he would mainly make a living in writing songs for other artists). So, enjoy this piece of French music history. This LP has never been reissued in CD, as many of Vannier's ones, seeing what a piece of shit is record industry.





4/21/15

Golden Earring - Live at the Record Plant (1975)



For those who recently discovered Golden Earring, another unofficial interesting stuff, recorded during their golden era (1972-77). It was captured one day after the Winterland concert, and I re-up it one day after, 40 years later. Got the sense of timing isn't it? Catch it here. Great band. Sad that they don't do anything really of any interest since their excellent Millbrook USA LP in 2003.

One day after the Winterland concert (get it here), Golden Earring recorded this session at the Record Plant for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. It was really the occasion for the band to present their Switch LP (6 from the 7 songs here), one of their best, to the USA. The sound is not totally what we could hope for such a record studio recording but it's the better source I found on the net. Some are really awful. This one is quite good. Not enough bass unfortunately. If I was better on mixing, I would have modified it myself, but it would be too much time consuming given my small knowledge of this work. The band plays quite well but is not concentrated as he was the prior night. But there is much to love and these versions are mandatory additions to any GE amateur's collection. I used the cover sleeve you can find almost everywhere, except for the rear, where I added the musicians and changed the lettering of the song's titles.