France has never been fertile ground for inbred Rock and Pop at a real popular, mass cultural level; any French rocker or Pop fan will tell you that... Literature, Classical and Academic Arts such as paintings, sculpture, even comic book drawings and cartoon illustrations, YES! As far as music goes, some Classical again, maybe too in the great Music Hall revue tradition as in Folie Bergères, Moulin Rouge etc. and even greater music in movie scores, 'cause we do have some of the best library music writers and arrangers in modern contemporary it's true, but... Real Pop and Rock music, er... NO! It's always been a backyard business, found in Home studios and private gardens.
Once you have that in mind, and you are ready to dig a little deeper out of the mainstream, on the sideways and in the margins, you WILL ocasionally find some goodies, gems even, sometimes even an underground genius here and there... it's like Diggin' for Gold! :-)
Well, while not exactly a Masterpiece for times to come, such is the case for "Pop-IN-court", a private "Secret Affair" of Modern Pop chic found in the back alley of La Rue Popincourt, a famous street in Paris :
It is far and few that I strongly recommend a Pop record achievement from my own country but, here is one of those rare instances when I strongly do; it is nothing short of a mini-masterpiece, the one time collaboration between famous Tarantino "Death Proof" movie soundtrack recording star, April March (in her world known cover of Swingin' Mademoiselle Ye Ye queen France Gall's Serge Gainsbourg-penned "Laisse Tomber les Filles" : "Chick Habit" that was even used later for a national Renault French car advertising campaign)... and French Indie Avant-rock band, Aquaserge, from the southern provincial town of Toulouse, up to here an excellent Robert Wyatt-era Soft Machine influenced combo. Excellent... which in itself is a rare instance among the French indie rock and pop scene enough to mention!
(Guerssen is fast becoming the Best European reissue label for all things Psych', rare Beat and Freakbeat, occasional Garage-rock, lost Acid-Folk, Turkish Delights and the best in Cosmic Prog'... so even though this French cult Progressive album already saw a couple previous reissues, they've been deleted for some time, quite hard to find and none were as accomplished as this new one from this Spanish label; since I had something to do with the liners of that deluxe gatefold reissue on fine 180grm vinyl, I thought I might give it a plug on Bedazzled by reproducing my writing here... and hope it'll incite you to purchase that revaluated milestone of 70's French Underground rock : )
Everybody knows where now lies the Sahara desert, once was the garden of Eden. So it should come as no surprise that from Eden Rose comes Sandrose, one of the best French post-Psych Progressive bands, and simply one of the Best progressive Pop bands ever ...Brewed in and born from the ashes of Le Système Crapoutchik (and a host of other incestuous bands and backing bands, a real hard to track mish-mash of old Rock Twist and later Beat groups, as is usually the case on the French scene! ), it was the brainchild of French guitar wiz', Jean-Pierre Alarcen, the local genius of his time : the late sixties in France. Eden Rose started with three members out of Les Gardians (sic.) : Henri Garella on keyboards, Christian Clairefond on bass and Henry Castello on drums, who went on tour opening and backing YeYe idol Claude François in 1965 (... Les Gardians would also open the show and back other popular singers like Hervé Vilard and Michèle Torr). After the recording of four singles, the trio joined ranks with the orchestra backing popular MC of the time, Albert Raisner, on his cult Yeye TV program "Âge Tendre et Tête de Bois". While in Massilia, the southern French city they originated from, they'd play with dance orchestra Les Golden... until the Art Director of Katema records (a tiny label run by an appliances industrial who was a great music lover! ) advised them to change their name with the times. Drummer Henry Castello came up with the name : Eden Rose. When Eden Rose split after a criss-crossing tour of France ending at a club in the city of Oran (Algeria ) - following the recording of their cult album : "On the Way to Eden" (1970 on Katema, distr. Sonopresse ) which went nowhere - and drummer Henry Castello decided to join Jacques Dutronc's backing band on tour... remaining bassist Christian Clairefond and organist Henri Garella came in contact with another drummer, Michel Jullien, also from Massilia. Thru the Dutronc connection, they had already met notorious guitarist Jean Pierre Alarcen who also contributed in the recording of their LP. Alarcen when not backing Dutronc had previously recorded with Le Système Crapoutchick - the name of Dutronc's backing band sans Dutronc - two Eps, a single and an LP (« Aussi loin que je me souvienne »; 1969 on Flamophone ). With Jean-Pierre Alarcen in toe, they decided to hire a young girl singer of Polish origins by the name of Rose Podwojny (... a likely first name! ) and rename themselves : Sandrose. Flashback to 1966, Alarcen had cofounded les Mods with Alain Legovic (future huge M.O.R. singer of the mid 1970's and 1980's going by the name "Alain Chamfort", who was also a Claude François protegee... and was once part of Nicolas Nils' backing band Les Murators which famously covered the Seeds!,). Backing around the same time Jacques Dutronc along with Legovic, was Michel Palay and Gérard Kawczinsky (whose unpronouncable Polish name gave way to "Krapoutchick" and "Crapou" which sobriquet Dutronc liked to fool around with, and which of course gave the name to "Le Système Crapoutchick"... ) with whom Alarcen and Legovic would create Le Système. After the Eden Rose project failed, the members of that group, led by guitar virtuoso Jean-Pierre Alarcen opted for a new approach by adding a girl singer, following the mode of then current Progressive rock like Curved Air in the UK, Michaelangelo, Ill Wind, Ultimate Spinach, Fantasy and countless others in the States where the lead came from, Reign Ghost in Canada, Earth and Fire in Holland, Savage Rose in Denmark, and Circus 2000 in Italy... In fact they even sound like Circus 2000 on several songs ("Vision", "Summer is Yonder", "Underground Session" ) with Rose Podwojny's witchy quality in her voice and the dark features of the music itself!
There's been a real debate amongst Rock'n'Roll erudites and scholars on who actually wrote the classic "Love is Strange" (which later made hits most notably for the Everly Brothers, later Sonny and Cher, and inspired Buddy Holly's "Words Of Love"... ), and that debate lately heated up when Mickey Baker, the writer of Rock'n'Roll's first guitar method and original hitmaker with Duet partner Sylvia Robinson (herself future founder of Rap's first hit label : Sugarhill Records... ! ), died last year... until I read a quote from an original interview printed on an article about Mickey Baker on the latest French Oldies magazine : "Jukebox magazine" that recounted what had actually happened...
The story goes like this : apparently, Sylvia who was a great fan of Bo Diddley's and used to attend a lot of his gigs, loved an original number which he would perform on stage that she thought would be wonderful for the duet act she was having with Mickey Baker at the time; it was called "Paradise", but remained unreleased since Chess rejected the track and Ellas "Bo Diddley" McDaniels had to register the song under his wife's maiden name "Ethel Smith" for contractual reasons. Now, Mickey disliked the tune, finding the original lyrics even ridiculous... he finally gave out to Sylvia's urging and rewrote the lyrics, readapting the tune as "Love is Strange", keeping the intantaneously recognizable gimmicky guitar riff by Jody Williams (which Williams had played on Billy Stewart's debut single "Billy's Blues" before!.. ) that was later used by Dave "Baby" Cortez in his 1962 instrumental song "Rinky Dink" too (...the mind boggles! )... and the rest is Rock'n'Roll HIstory!
Nevertheless, the co-writers of the song are of some dispute since, Sylvia Robinson claims that she and Mickey Baker wrote the lyrics, while Bo Diddley claims that he wrote them. However (according to Wikipedia source... ), it appears the first recorded version of "Love Is Strange" was performed by Bo
Diddley himself (! ), who recorded his version on May 24, 1956 with Jody Williams on
lead guitar (this version was not released until its appearance on I'm a Man: The Chess Masters, 1955-1958 in 2007... ); while Mickey & Sylvia's version was recorded several months later on October 17, 1956... hm!
Now, if you type the words "LOVE IS STRANGE" on the BMI website, they currently list the writers as all three : Bo, Mickey and Sylvia... !!!?
BAKER MICKEY SACEM 1863218 (French copyright )
ROBINSON SYLVIA BMI 26288282
MC DANIEL ELLAS BMI 63640292
Hm... What to think now? Love is Strange indeed! ;-)
(PS : The funny part is, despite the dispute, Bo Diddley went on to pen a song specialy for the Duo called : "Dearest"... ! ) :
Every once in a few decades, one guy stands out from the IN-crowd and really starts things moving and shaking, influencing a whole scene in the process, and those highly individual persons are still remembered in years to come as Urban Legend; this new series of articles is dedicated to such larger than life characters ...
There once was a Pop Boy about Barcelona town called Riccardo Julian, or Ringo for everyone, who was one of the very earliest "Mod" from the first revival not long after Franco's dictatorship... Things were moving up, what with all that Movida happening in those days and, instead of forming a band like his mates, since he couldn't play, he decided to be (super-) active helping to promote shows and organise mod weekenders and most of all, create the all-important Fanzine or "modzine" that would federate all the right people of the scene, putting bands from all over the country in touch with one another... soon enough, he was sort-of managing some of these bands himself (some of the most important ever of the country, like Brighton '64, Spain's own Jam, and the legendary Los Negativos of the mod-Psych revival that followed after the wake of Quadrophenia mods... ), helping to have them signed on major labels and put them on the National touring map; a tremendous feat in itself.
It's the age-old question: "The Beatles or The Stones?". A lot of people like 'em both, but most everybody who's a fan of 1960s Pop-Rock music seems to have a preference for one or the other.
Music Video collector Spike Priggen (of the Scopitones.com & Bedazzled.tv blogs) will present a program of musical films by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that compare and contrast their musical, song-writing and sartorial styles, year-by-year, trend-by-trend, from "mop-tops" to psychedelia.
The show will be a mix of live concert & television footage, mimed promotional clips, TV specials & promos, starting with some of their earliest known TV & newsreel appearances and taking them right up to the end of the 60s. Ocean County Library, Tom's River Branch, 101 Washington St. Toms River, NJ 08753 7pm on Monday May 6th 2013.
Happy Birthday to Dudley Moore. Brilliant comedian (along with partner Peter Cook) and the star and music composer of the great 60s film Bedazzled, from which we got our name (and logo). He passed away March 27, 2002. Would have been 78 today.
Spike Priggen (of Bedazzled.tv and Scopitones.com) will be VeeJaying at Sidecar (550 5th Avenue in Brooklyn), tonight Thursday April 11th I'll be doing a live mix of Rare Music Videos on their new projection system - Glam, Bubblegum, Pop-Psych, Sunshine Pop, Garage Rock, Girl Groups, British Invasion, Punk, New Wave, Northern Soul, Funk & other great musics of the 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond.