Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day


Bastille Day

A holiday that doesn’t carry much weight here in the U.S. – but I have definitely paid more attention to, since the late 80’s! I first went to France in 1979. Despite everything that I’d heard at school, France was a neat place and the food and people were really nice to me. My French language skills were approaching minimal, but I somehow managed to charm and be charmed by Paris – with it’s tiny record stores and large restaurants.

While I might not have been a Francophone as yet, I headed into Crocodisc and FNAC – and took a look around. First thing I noticed was a huge section for The Doors – when you would’ve been hard-pressed to find anything more than a “Best of” still stocked in the US – every album, in stock! I wasn’t blind – the new albums by French artists looked interesting to me, too.

I visited France again in both 1980 and 1981 – I think my first foray into French pop music was buying “Pochette Surprise” (1981) by Charlelie Couture – it was on Island Records, and had a great ‘new wave’ cover. I had no idea that there was an Island Records label in France that released their own records! I also noticed (while looking around) that there was a Virgin Records label in France releasing their own albums – I tried Etienne Daho “Mythomane” (1981) – and some records by Elli & Jacno and Mathematiques Moderne. This stuff just looked good!

In France in ‘79, I got to meet the keyboard player of Catharsis, Roland Bocquet and Gilbert Artman of Lard Free / Urban Sax. Extremely nice folks – and I’m still friendly with Gilbert’s manager, Gilles Yepremian.

On subsequent visits to Paris, I saw new albums by Charlelie Couture etc. Next batch of stuff I tried was Indochine, Axel Bauer, Chagrin D’Amour and Les Rita Mitsouko. The next wave had begun!

I went back to Paris in 1985 and got to see Jacques Higelin play at Bercy, supporting his double LP “Ai” – just amazing! Yet another batch was either just ahead or already there – Niagara, Caroline Loeb, Alain Chamfort, Louis Bertignac, Jil Caplan et al.

With the release of “You’re Under Arrest” (1987), I got in step with Serge Gainsbourg – and there’s no looking back after that. I have done several waves of “Chanson” since then, but I will never forget how I was enthralled with “Marcia Baila” by Les Rita Mitsouko and “Tombe Pour La France” by Etienne Daho etc.

There was more to come, of course – Bob G. turned me onto L’Affaire Louis’ Trio (“Chic Planete”, 1987) – and they were one of my favorite groups in the world – until they broke up.

On and on it goes. I am sure there’s probably more new music for me to love in France right now – but I don’t know what it is! Happy Bastille Day!

1 comment:

Mr. Gaulke said...

....try Camille Bazbaz...I can't stop listening to him....