France Gall – Live (Au Theatre des Champs Elysées) (1978)

FrontCover1France Gall (born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall on 9 October, 1947 in Paris, France – died 7 January 2018) was an influential singer who performed for many decades. She notably represented Luxembourg in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son”; that winning song was just one of many that she performed which had been written by Serge Gainsbourg. Her career spanned roughly forty years, primarily in France, but she was best known over the world for the songs she that performed in the 60s, many of them a part of the ye-ye style. She sang in both French and English.

Besides the highly successful “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son”, she also notably sung “Les Sucettes” and “Baby Pop”. In France, she was perhaps more known for the chanson songs she sang in the late-70s through the mid-80s, many of them written by her husband, Michel Berger, who died in 1992. In 1987, she had some additional international success with her Ella Fitzgerald tribute “Ella, elle l’a”. She still recorded music into the new millennium.

France Gall died on 7 january 2018 at age 70 in a hospital in Paris. (by www.last.fm)

PosterGall was seduced by Michel Berger’s music when she heard his song “Attends-moi” (“Wait for Me”) one day in 1973. During a later radio broadcast, she asked him for his opinion on songs which her then producer wanted her to record. Although he was disconcerted by the quality of the songs, there would be no question of collaboration.

Only six months later, in 1974, after she sang vocals on the song “Mon fils rira du rock’n’roll” on Berger’s new album, Gall’s publisher asked him, at her behest, to write for her. Gall had already made her mind up that “It will be him and nobody else”. In 1974, “La Déclaration d’amour” was to be the first in a long line of hits which marked a turning point in Gall’s career. Meanwhile, the two artists, whose affinities became more than musical, married on 22 June 1976. Since their marriage, Gall has only sung songs written by Berger.[15] They remained married until his death in 1992.

And here´s a good live-Album from 1978 with songs from Michel Berger … a typical Seventies production a perfect shwo with very good musisians and …  … what a beautiful voice !

Gall died of an infection complicated from cancer at the American Hospital of Paris, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, on 7 January 2018 at the age of 70

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Michel Berger & France Gall

Personnel:
Mary Lou Benoit (percussion)
France Gall (vocals)
Bonnie Johnson (drums)
Peggy Mitchell (bass)
Patti Quatro (guitar)
Colleen Stewart (piano)
Gail Thompson (saxophone)
Melissa Vardey (keyboards)
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Background vocals:

Florence Bertoux – Lisa Deluxe – Stella Vander
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strings:
Anne Etevenon – Béatrice Crenne – Marie-Rose Dumonteil – Sophie Cuvillier

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Tracklist:
01. Musique 4.55
02. Samba Mambo 3.24
03. Si Maman Si 3:05
04- Comment Lui Dire 3.20
05. Ce Soir Je Ne Dors Pas 3.02
06. La Déclaration 3.20
07. Ce Garçon Qui Danse 3.20
08. Je L’aimais 4.48
09. Chanson D’une Terrienne 6.20
10. Chanson Pour Consoler 2.20
11. La Chanson De Maggie 3.00
12. Ça Balance Pas Mal A Paris 2.30
13. Le Meilleur De Soi-même 3.55
14. Mais Aime-la 9.30
15. Présentation Des Musiciennes 5.40
16. Viens Je T’emmène 4.55
17. Quand On Est Enfant 1.47

All Songs written by MIchel Berger

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France Gall (9 October 1947 – 7 January 2018)

 

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Barbara – Barbara a l’écluse (1959)

FrontCover1Monique Andrée Serf (June 9, 1930 – November 24, 1997), whose stage name was Barbara, was a French singer. She took her stage name from her grandmother, Varvara Brodsky, a native of Odessa, Russian Empire (now Ukraine). Her song “L’Aigle noir” sold 1 million copies in twelve hours.

Born in Paris to a Jewish family, Barbara was ten years old when she had to go into hiding during the German occupation of France in World War II. After the war ended, a neighborhood professor of music heard her sing and took an interest in helping her develop her talents. She was given vocal lessons and taught to play the piano, and eventually she enrolled at the Ecole Supérieure de Musique. Money was a problem and she gave up her musical studies to sing at “La Fontaine des Quatre Saisons,” a popular cabaret in Paris.

She was deeply scarred by the war and her family’s plight. The feelings of emptiness experienced during childhood showed in her songs, particularly “Mon Enfance”. She said in her uncompleted autobiography, Il était un piano noir (assembled from notes found after her death), that her father sexually abused her when she was ten and she hated him for that. He later abandoned the family.

Barbara06A tall person, Barbara dressed in black as she sang melancholy songs of lost love. From 1950 to 1952, after her father’s desertion of her family, she lived in Brussels, where she became part of an active artistic community. Her painter and writer friends took over an old house, converting it into workshops and a concert hall with a piano where she performed the songs of Édith Piaf, Juliette Gréco and Germaine Montero. However, her career evolved slowly and she struggled constantly to eke out a living.

Returning to Paris, she met Jacques Brel and became a lifelong friend, singing many of his songs. Later she met Georges Brassens, whose songs she began to use in her act and to record on her first album. In the 1950s, she sang at some of the smaller clubs and began building a fan base, particularly with the young students from the Latin Quarter. In 1957, she went back to Brussels to record her first single, but it was not until 1961 that she got a real break when she sang at the Bobino Music-Hall in Montparnasse. Dressed in a long black robe, she gave a haunting performance, but the Parisian critics said she lacked naturalness and was stiff and formal in her presentation. She continued to perform at small clubs, and two years later at the Théâtre des Capucines she succeeded with the audience and critics alike, singing new material she had written herself. From that point on, her career blossomed and she signed a major recording contract in 1964 with Philips Records.

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Influenced originally by songwriters Mireille and Pierre MacOrlan, she developed her own style and the writing of her own songs transformed her image into that of a unique singer-songwriter. In the 1960s, she wrote her landmark song, “Ma plus belle histoire d’amour c’est vous” (“My Most Beautiful Love Story Is You”), and others for which she remains famous such as “L’aigle noir”, “Nantes”, “La solitude”, “Göttingen” and “Une petite cantate.” These five songs plus “Dis, quand reviendras-tu?” were translated into German by Belgian-German singer-songwriter Didier Caesar. The song “Göttingen” (named after the German city of Göttingen) is said to have contributed more to post-war German–French reconciliation than any speech by a politician. On the 40th anniversary of the Elysée agreement, ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder quoted from the song in his official speech in the Château de Versailles.

She returned to Bobino in 1964 for several sold-out performances. She performed at the Paris Olympia and other important venues in France, becoming one of her country’s most beloved stars. In 1965, she released the album Barbara chante Barbara, which became a critical and financial success, winning the Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy. At the award ceremony, Barbara tore her award into several pieces, giving a piece to each of her technicians as a sign of her gratitude.

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In 1969, she wrote the theme song “Moi, je me balance” for the film “La fiancée du pirate”. She announced that she would limit her concert singing, and in 1970 she made her acting début in the stage play Madame that proved to be a commercial flop. In 1971 she co-starred with Jacques Brel in a film he directed titled Franz. Two years later she starred in L’Oiseau rare directed by Jean-Claude Brialy. Her final film role came in 1975 in Je suis né à Venise by choreographer Maurice Béjart.

Barbara’s career remained active in the 1970s, with appearances on television variety shows with stars such as Johnny Hallyday and a tour of Japan, Canada, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Through the 1980s, she continued to tour and to write songs; her album Seule was one of France’s top grossing releases of 1981. The next year she was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque in recognition of her contribution to French culture. She developed a close working relationship with rising film star Gérard Depardieu and his wife Élisabeth, collaborating on songs for film and records. In 1986 she went to New York City to perform on piano at the Metropolitan Opera with Mikhail Baryshnikov in a song and dance ballet presentation. She co-wrote the music for the stage play Lily Passion with Luc Plamondon, in which she co-starred with Depardieu. It told the story of a killer who murders someone each time he hears her sing.

In the latter part of the 1980s she became active in the fight against AIDS. She recorded SID’Amour à mort and gave out condoms at performances. In 1988 the government of France awarded her the Legion of Honour. Health problems impeded her performing and she began to devote time to the writing of her memoirs. However, she recorded another successful album in 1996—which sold over a million copies in twelve hours—before she died of respiratory problems in Neuilly-sur-Seine (a suburb of Paris), on November 24, 1997. She was interred in the family grave at the Cimetière de Bagneux in southwest Paris.

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In October 1953 she married Claude John Luc Sluys, a Belgian law student, but they separated in 1956. She wrote many very personal songs, “Nantes” about her father, “Une petite cantate” dedicated to her friend Liliane Bénelli, born Gnansia, who died in a car accident in 1965. Later in life, she wrote a song to her public “Ma plus belle histoire d’amour” and another about her musicians “Mes hommes”.

Barbara’s musical legacy is revealed in the writing of a number of singers, French-speaking and otherwise. A style referred to as “Nouvelle Chanson”, or “New Chanson”, artists such as Keren Ann, Benjamin Biolay, Coralie Clement, Emilie Simon, Daphné, Vincent Delerm and Tancrède are often cited as exponents of the updated style. One of the few English-speaking artists to cover her work is Marc Almond, whose version of “Amours Incestueuses” (“Incestuous Loves”) was released on his 1996 album “Absinthe”. The Anglo-French biographer David Bret, a close friend of Barbara, wrote at her behest “Les Hommes Bafoués”, a song about AIDS prejudice. Bret also adapted three of her songs, “Ma Plus Belle Histoire D’Amour”, “La Solitude”, and “Précy Jardin” into English for Barbara. These were taped in 1992, but so far have never been released. Maria del Mar Bonet, a Catalan singer made, in 1971, a cover of L’Aigle Noir in Catalan and made a success of it in Spanish-language countries. L’Aigle Noir has also been adapted and sung in Spanish, and Swedish (Rikard Wolff), and many times in Japanese, also with great success.

Rendez-vous avec : Barbara

Well-known contemporary artists such as New York based Martha Wainwright, Spanish singer-songwriter Conchita Mendivil (who both recently reprised “Dis, Quand Reviendras-tu?”, and Regina Spektor (with “Après Moi”), and London-based singer-songwriter Ana Silvera have reprised songs sung by Barbara. Marc Almond also released a version of Barbara’s “Amours incestueuses” in 1993. (by wikipedia)

This debut album was recorded live at the “L´ecuse” (a very well known traditional bar in Paris.)
And it´s such an intensive and intimate performance … one of the finest french “chanteuse” ever !

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Personnel:
Barabara (vocals, piano, accordeon)

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Tracklist:
01. La Femme D’Hector (Brassens) 2.40
02. Souvenance (Schlesser) 2.35
03. Il Nous Faut Regarder (Brel) 1.49
04. Un Monsieur Me Suis Dans La Rue (Chanois/Besse) 4.47
05. Les Amis D’Monsieur (Fragson) 2.09
06. Tais-Toi, Marseilles (Datin/Vidalin) 3.06
07. La Belle Amour (Poissonnier/Serf) 2.43
08. La Joconde (Braffort) 1.47
09. Les Sirènes (Sabouraud) 3.16

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Here´s a live performance from 1956 at the L’Écluse, Paris

Georges Brassens – No. 1 (1re série) (1954)

FrontCover1Georges Brassens (22 October 1921 – 29 October 1981) was a French singer-songwriter and poet.

He wrote and sang, with his guitar, more than a hundred of his poems, as well as texts from many others such as Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, or Louis Aragon. In 1967, he received the Grand Prix de Poésie of the Académie française.

Between 1952 and 1976, he recorded fourteen albums that include several popular French songs such as Les copains d’abord, Chanson pour l’Auvergnat, La mauvaise réputation, and Mourir pour des idées. Most of his texts are black humour-tinged and often anarchist-minded.

Brassens rarely performed abroad. His lyrics are difficult to translate, though attempts have been made.[3] He accompanied himself on acoustic guitar. Most of the time the only other accompaniment came from his friend Pierre Nicolas with a double bass, and sometimes a second guitar (Barthélémy Rosso, Joël Favreau).

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His songs often decry hypocrisy and self-righteousness in the conservative French society of the time, especially among the religious, the well-to-do, and those in law enforcement. The criticism is often indirect, focusing on the good deeds or innocence of others in contrast. His elegant use of florid language and dark humor, along with bouncy rhythms, often give a rather jocular feel to even the grimmest lyrics. (by wikipedia)

And here´s his first EP from 1954 … what a great piece of music … George Brassens was a very unique musician !

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Personnel:
George Brassens (vocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Leparapluie (Brassens) 2.30
02. Il ny a pas damour heureux (Brassens/Aragon) 2.31
03.  Jai rendez – vous avec vous (Brassens) 2.08
04. La chasse aux papillons (Brassens) 2.06

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Milva – Tango (1968)

FrontCover1Maria Ilva Biolcati (born 17 July 1939), known as Milva [ˈmilva], is an Italian singer, stage and film actress, and television personality. She is also known as La Rossa (Italian for “The Redhead”), due to the characteristic colour of her hair, and additionally as La Pantera di Goro (“The Panther of Goro”), which stems from the Italian press having nicknamed the three most popular Italian female singers of the 1960s, combining the names of animals and the singers’ birth places. Popular in Italy and abroad, she has performed on musical and theatrical stages the world over, and has received popular acclaim in her native Italy, and particularly in Germany where she has often participated in musical events and televised musical programmes. She has also released numerous albums in France, Japan, Korea, Greece, Spain and South America.

She has collaborated with European composers and musicians such as Ennio Morricone in 1965, Francis Lai in 1973, Mikis Theodorakis in 1978 (Was ich denke became a best selling album in Germany), Enzo Jannacci in 1980, Vangelis in 1981 and 1986, Franco Battiato in 1982 and 1986.

Her stage productions of Bertolt Brecht’s recitals and Luciano Berio’s operas have toured the world’s theatres. She has performed at La Scala in Milan, at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, at the Paris Opera, in the Royal Albert Hall in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, amongst others.

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Having received success both in Italy and internationally, she remains to this day one of the most popular Italian personalities in the fields of music and theatre. Her artistic stature has been officially recognised by the Italian, German and French republics, each of which have bestowed her with the highest honours. She is the only Italian artist in contemporary times, in fact, who is simultaneously: Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic (Paris, 11 September 2009), Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Rome, 2 June 2007), Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Berlin, 2006) and Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Paris, 1995).

In 1968, Milva released her fifth studio album, Tango, an album that consisted of tango standards sung in Italian. The album was released in Italy, Germany, Spain and Brazil and featured an orchestra conducted by Iller Pattacini. (by wikipedia)

And here´s this beautiful album … if you like Tango music combined with a real strong and erotic voice … than you should listen ….

Milva was one of the greatest singers from Italy ! Believe me !

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Personnel:
Milva (vocals)
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Iller Pattacini Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. La Cumparsita (Questo Tango) (Rondinella/Rodriguez) 3.20
02. A Media Luz (Guardando Intorno A Te) (Lonzi/Donato) 2.36
03. Bandoneon Arrabalero (Il Cantastorie Col Bandoneon) (Bachica/Contursi/Bertini) 2.43
04. Inspiracion (La Mia Vita Cambiera) (Paulus/Rondinella) 3.30
05. Cielo Azzurro (Stanotte Sognero) (Rixner) 3.57
06 Adios Muchachos (Vodani/Sanders) 3.02
07. Duelo Criollo (La Donna Del Buono A Nulla) (Rezzano/Bayardo) 3.01
08. Rodriguez Pena (Rodriguez Morirai) (Rondinella/Juan/Vicente) 2.47
09. El Choclo (All’osteria) (Villoldo) 3.01
10. Blue Tango (Il Diario Sa) (Rondinella/Anderson/Parish) 2.50
11. Poema (So Cho Nol Cielo) (Bianco/Melfi) 3.16
12. Adios, Pampa Mia (Canaro/Pelay/Larici/Mores) 4.17

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Jeanne Moreau – Same (1963)

FrontCover1Jeanne Moreau is an icon of the French cinema who also experienced a streak of success as a vocalist during the 1960s. Born on January 23, 1928, in Paris, she broke into the film industry during the 1950s, appearing most notably in a pair of 1958 films by Louis Malle, Ascenseur Pour l’Échafaud and Les Amants. Following her breakthrough success in these films, she appeared in a long line of others by prominent directors, most notably François Truffaut, who immortalized her in his classic Jules et Jim (1962), as well as Jean-Luc Godard (A Woman Is a Woman, 1961), Michelangelo Antonioni (La Notte, 1961), Orson Welles (The Trial, 1962), Luis Buñuel (Diary of a Chambermaid, 1964), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Querelle, 1982), and Wim Wenders (Until the End of the World, 1991). Moreau’s recording career as a vocalist was sparked by her memorable performance of the song “Le Tourbillon” in Jules et Jim. Released as a 45-rpm single by Philips in 1962, “Le Tourbillon” was written by Cyrus Bassiak (born Serge Rezvani). The full-length album Jeanne Moreau (1963), comprised of a dozen songs by Rezvani, was released on the Disques Jacques Canetti label in the wake of “Le Tourbillon.” Subsequent silver-screen singing performances of note include the songs “Embrasse-Moi,” a Bassiak song from the film Peau de Banane (1963), and “Ah les P’tites Femmes de Femmes de Paris,” a duet with Brigitte Bardot from the film Viva Maria (1965). There was also another full-length album of Bassiak songs released on Disques Jacques Canetti, 12 Chansons (1966).

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Moreau’s two full-lengths were later compiled by the British label Él on The Immortal Jeanne Moreau (2008). Numerous other best-of collections were compiled over the years, most of them featuring soundtrack recordings such as “Le Tourbillon” alongside material from her full-lengths. (by Jason Birchmeier)

Throughout her life, Moreau maintained friendships with prominent writers such as Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet, Henry Miller and Marguerite Duras (an interview with Moreau is included in Duras’s book Outside: Selected Writings). She was formerly married to Jean-Louis Richard (1949–1964) and then to American film director William Friedkin (1977–1979). Director Tony Richardson left his wife, Vanessa Redgrave, for her in 1967 but they never married. She also had affairs with directors Louis Malle and François Truffaut, fashion designer Pierre Cardin, jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and Theodoros Roubanis, the Greek actor/playboy.

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Moreau was a close friend of Sharon Stone, who presented a 1998 American Academy of Motion Pictures life tribute to Moreau. Orson Welles called her “the greatest actress in the world”, and she remained one of France’s most accomplished actresses.

Moreau died on 31 July 2017, at the age of 89. (by wikipedia)

And here´s her first album … a tribute to a real great actress … and we hear very fine chansons from France … of course. Enjoy the magic of Jeanne Moreau !

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Personnel:
Jeanne Moreau (vocals)
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François Rauber Orchestra
Ward Swingle Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. J’Ai La Mémoire Qui Flanche (Bassiak/Rauber) 2.23
02. La Vie S’Envole (Bassiak/Delerue) 1.34
03. La Peau, Léon (Bassiak/Delerue) 2.24
04.  Rien N’Arrive Plus (Bassiak/Robert) 3.10
05. Moi Je Préfère (Bassiak/Swingle) 2.01
06. Le Blues Indolent (Bassiak/Swingle) 3.21
07. La Vie De Cocagne (Bassiak/Robert) 2.33
08. L’Homme D’Amour (Bassiak/Swingle) 2.37
09. L’Horloger (Bassiak/Swingle) 2.34
10. Ni Trop Tôt, Ni Trop Tard (Bassiak/Swingle) 2.41
11. Les Mensonges (Bassiak/Swingle) 2.17
12. L’Amour Flou (Bassiak/Delerue) 2.15

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Jeanne Moreau (23 January 1928 – 31 July 2017)

Paolo Conte – Aguaplano (1987)

frontcover1Paolo Conte’s star was on the rise throughout the ’80s, yet at the same time that his ineffable stage persona was triumphing all over Europe, his records from the period — while always eminently enjoyable — were becoming slightly less consistent than before. Benefiting from the break granted by his 1985 live release Concerti, Conte sounds definitely inspired in Aguaplano, his first studio album in three years and a strong contender for his best work ever. The only double album in Conte’s discography, Aguaplano is logically the longest, but paradoxically one of the most focused projects of his entire career. One of the main reasons for this is Renzo Fantini’s production,which wisely maintains a similar instrumental palette for the entire record. Compared with previous records such as Appunti di Viaggio and Paolo Conte [1994], the sound of Aguaplano seems stripped down to the bare essentials. Backed up by the familiar rhythm section of Ares Tavolazzi, Ellade Bandini, and Jimmy Villotti, Conte’s trademark piano and vocal stylings take center stage in virtually every song. Impeccable horn arrangements render this already impressive set positively exquisite. Rather than individual efforts, Conte’s songs in Aguaplano seem conceived as parts of an organic suite of sketches or miniatures. There may not be any immediately recognizable hits in Aguaplano, but that is a consequence of its uniform quality of mood and content. This is the rare double album worth listening to in its entirety, where the sum is greater than the parts. Which is not to say that, taken individually, the songs are not of the highest Conte standard: “Anni,” “Blu Notte,” “Gratis,” “Ratafià,” “Les Tam-Tam du Paradis…” — it is almost unfair to look for highlights in such a cohesive collection, one that seems to get better with every listening. If anything, in another rare occurrence for a double album, the second disc is probably superior to the first.

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Everything feels in the right place in Aguaplano, from the songwriting and arrangements down to the album art and track sequencing: it cannot be a coincidence that the record is bookended by its two greatest moments, “Aguaplano” and “Jimmy Ballando.” The title track functions as a film’s opening shot, zooming in from an airplane high in the air to discover the baffling spectacle of a concert piano floating at sea, a fitting welcome to a secret universe where music and sensuality (or rather, the languid sensuality derived from this kind of music) prevail over logic. The last song, “Jimmy Ballando” is a comic masterpiece in which Conte and his buddy Jimmy, two aged playboys drowsy after a pantagruelic meal, attempt for old times’ sake a last dancehall seduction. Alas, their failing eyesight impedes them in seeing that the women they invite over are Chinese, killing off any possibility of verbal communication. Resigned, the two men content themselves with dancing with their unexpected partners. A brilliant farewell to the world introduced in Aguaplano, “Jimmy Ballando” represents the slow awakening from the slumber induced by a long journey of alcohol, smoke, and dancing, and the humorous realization that one may not be so young anymore, and certainly no longer in step with the times. Yet, much like the mood created by this album, it was magic while the illusion lasted. (by Mariano Prunes)

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Personnel:
Ellade Bandini (drums)
Paolo Conte (vocals)
Nando Francia (accordion)
Antonio Marangolo (saxophone, synthesizer)
Stefano Pastor (violin)
Marie-Françoise Pélissier (cello)
Ares Tavolazzi (bass)
Paolo Tocco (clarinet)
Marco Jimmy Villotti (guitar)
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background vocals:
Cristina Rossi – Holly Pearson

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Tracklist:
01. Aguaplano  4.00
02. Baci Senza Memoria 3.14
03. Languida 2.14
04. Paso Doble 2.55
05. Dopo Le Sei 3.20
06. Max 3.45
07. Blu Notte 4.20
08. La Negra 2.43
09. Hesitation 3.42
10. Ratafià 2.56
11. Nessuno Mi Ama 4.40

All songs written by Paolo Conte

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Iris Romen – Vintage Gal Hour (2012)

FrontCover1Looking at the cover photo, you could be excused for thinking “Vintage Gal Hour” is an album from the Golden Fifties. A classically-cut dress, a bow around the waist and a headband in the hair, eyes gazing longingly into the distance – that is how IriS Romen presents herself on the cover of her debut solo album. The pose in retro-look is a stylistic reference to the sound that awaits us behind the CD’s cellophane – with its invocation of music genres from decades gone by, it also has an anachronistic feel to it at first. Does IriS Romen have a place in the present at all, with her revisiting of the vintage sound of past epochs? But of course! And how! Because let’s be honest – don’t we all have a little of this lovable little Dutch girl in us just longing to get out? Doesn’t she appeal to all our yearnings for yesteryear and the undeniable advantages it had? In a word: yes! In an age of emotionally detached, fully digitised technology, she strikes straight at the heart with her genuine, hand-made songs.

IrisRomen01Her heart-warming music with the old-vinyl feel satisfies that hunger for true emotions so pervasive today, and that makes it modern and up-to-the-minute. What IriS Romen has recorded here in Berlin together with producer Johnny Bluth (Johnny Trouble Trio) and her musician friends over a period of almost two years and using old analogue equipment reveals a profound knowledge of the 50s and 60s. We hear Old-Time Country in a style reminiscent of Kitty Wells (“You Stole My Heart”) and Loretta Lynn (“Growing Pains”), are highly entertained by the nostalgically jazzy (“I Found You In Fall”), delight in string sounds à la Hank Marvin of The Shadows (“Tabou”) and encounter twang guitars like the ones from those old Spaghetti Westerns (“Dance With Me”). But the best thing about the songs is that IriS Romen doesn’t simply rinse and repeat the influences of her idols, she recreates them again from scratch in her own imagination. Despite numerous quotes and cross-references, “Vintage Gal Hour” is completely and utterly IriS Romen. She wrote all the tracks on this solo album herself and is blessed with a wonderful, natural, unmistakable voice that renders pointless any comparisons with stars from the past.

IrisRomen02Iris Romen discovered at a very early age that the music from the early 20th century struck a chord in her. She would sing along ardently when her father put on LPs at home, and she loved doing famous musicals in school performances. It was experiences like those that led, in her teenage years, to her resolve to make singing her career one day. After graduating school she studied jazz vocalisation with Janice Lakers at the Maastricht music academy and classical singing with Marie-José Van De Beuken, while also financing private lessons with vocal coach Anne Bruning by working in a supermarket (where she once even served André Rieu). During this phase, her love of old jazz emerged.

She also came to know and love the Brecht interpretations of Kurt Weill, Paul Dessau and Hanns Eisler during this time, and was introduced to the world of Jump ‘n’ Jive, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues as a guest singer in Ray Collins’ Hot Club. In 2004, IriS Romen, who had by then also learned how to play the double bass, moved to the German capital where she still lives today. Saturdays she takes the packed Clärchens Ballhaus, the historical dance hall that Quentin Tarantino used as a set in “Inglourious Basterds”, through rousing dance evenings as the lead vocalist of the Ballhaus Band. She also broadens her spectrum as a member of the girl group The Runaway Brides (often to be seen supporting BossHoss) and Ben Becker’s background band. Now the time is ripe for an international solo career. “I believe in the timelessness of everything that is done and viewed with the heart.” That is what IriS Romen says of her solo debut. On it she strikes exactly the tone of her favourite ages, while remaining on the cutting edge of the present with every note. Very few manage that balancing act, but on “Vintage Gal Hour” Iris Romen succeeds immaculately. (by grooveattack.com)

Oh, Iris … let me be your strange boy ….

Booklet01APersonnel:
Ricco Baader (guitar)
Sascha Bachmann (drums)
Felix Berchthold (guiar)
Christian Betancourt (percussion)
Johnny Bluth (guitar, harmonica, glockenspiel, drums, percussion)
Dalai Cellai (cello)
Matthias Geserick (bass)
Iris Romen (vocals, guitar, piano, glockenspiel, bass, cowbell)
Tall Tony (bass)

Booklet08ATracklist:
01. Dance With Me 3.37
02. Love Catastrophe 1.33
03. You Stole My Heart 2.39
04. Clouds 4.52
05. Iris’ Song 3.20
06. Bird Of Freedom 2.35
07. Tabou 3.14
08. Starnight 3.34
09. I Found You In Fall 2.19
10. Strange Boy 4.06
11. Growing Pains 2.45
12. Last Song 11.34

All songs written by Iris Romen

CD1*
**

Booklet09A