Another brief entry, as we previously talked about Léonie and its (surprising) short career, based on 45singles, started in the late-60’s amidst the french yé-yé scene. The dossier from this unknown singer can be checked in Hero Culte blog, don’t miss out the detective work from tiny noggin and other curiosities about French stars!
Let’s go to our album:
This time, she is backed up with the mighty arrangements/compositions by the number one french maestroJean Claude Vannier. Léonie’s peculiarsensual voice stands out on its 5th release, she knows how to be pop and cult simultaneously.
A side has a characteristic (slower) charleston piano/xylophone pace, playedby Vannier, along with strings andwizardry guitars in a vintage delicate atmosphere.
B side are my favorite, this fuzzy psych ballad has a magic cadency that sticks to the head, an example of how you can be pop without neglecting good aesthetic choices!
I really would like to count on better quality rips, but the fact is none of her singles were duly re-released on CD, this and other entries are a good invitation to meet the B-side on what is called Pop Jerk, somewhat ahead from the naive (early) works of France Gall,Sylvie Vartan, Céline, Françoise Hardy, Séverine, and many others.
We’ll leave for an upcoming entry, more details about the yé-yéscene and its powerful independent girls, for now, keep it up with this lovely obscure pearl.
This Ep is an attempt to present some artists who will enter soon in our galaxy, today will address exclusively two countries: France and Japan. Great arrangers, actresses singers, side B, and even famous ones, (feel free to) leave us a comment and enjoy!
Brigitte Fontaine – Je Suis Inadaptée / Est… Folle, 1968 (arr. Jean Claude Vannier)
June 24, 1939 / The diva of French underground music.
Brigitte Fontaine made a series of increasingly strange and eclectic art-pop in the ’70s that gathered a lot of acclaim in France, although she remains obscure to an international audience. Initially, she was an eccentric but accessible pop singer, presenting melodic and orchestrated material, working with (living legend) arranger Jean Claude Vannier; on subsequent records, she got jazzier, and then into avant-gardism and art song, her albums were commendably wide-ranging and erratic.
With an active career and 2013 last release, albums like Est…Folle, Barbara’sMadame, and even less known Jean Constantin’sLe Poulpe, are some of the wonderful panoramas that Vannier conducted throughout the ’70s.
A dreamy arrangement, with delicacy, strong pace and multiple colors!
She was considered as part of what is known as the French yé-yé generation heavily influenced by American music, particularly R&B, rock and roll and beat music, mostly known for her version of ‘Mamy Blue’with her very specific, bluesy voice, she certainly gained a special place in French pop music, with many radio and television appearances, where she had a number of hits in the ’60s and the ’70s.
Her material after the ’70s is somewhat dubious, with that sugar chanson feel, returning to top form from mid-’90s and recently launched Ici Et Ailleurs.
Honestly, these recordings with Zoo are certainly Nicoletta’s best moment, a passionate diva interpretation with an incredible escort by these guys, check it!
Ann Sorel – L’Amour à Plusieurs / Single, 1972 (arr. Jean Claude Vannier)
Ann-Chantal Sorel, 71 years (more info ?). She released a few pairs of singles during the ’60s and ’70s, early on yé-yé and then, precious moments like this magistral one under Vannier’s tutelage. Banned (!) on radio, with a scandalous lyrics from Fréderic Botton, Ann’s sexy voice guides us through an unusual encounter.
Wrapped in a simple deep red cover, this is a fantastic erotica re-discover!
Chinatsu Nakayama (中山千夏) – 砂漠 (Desert) / Single, 1971
July 13, 1948 / Actress Singer
Former wonder actress, TV personality, singer and later established writer. She released a few singles during the ’70s and stopped its singer career in early ’00s, to fully devote herself as a writer, human rights, civil and feminist activist.
A B side soul-psych bomb with tons of brass, fuzz and nicely chorus!
Rumi Koyama (小山ルミ) – 恋人の記念日 / Sasurai No Guitar, 1971
August 11, 1952 / Actress Singer
Another famous actress and Tv star, Rumi released a bit more singles and albums through the ’70s. A swinging one, with western brass, percussion, mellow strings and that Tarantino’sKill Bill homage. Like Meiko Kaji tunes, expect some more entrances from Rumi Koyama, too, she sings with grace and got a real nice 1971 Lp!
Rabi Nakayama (中山ラビ) – 夢のドライブ (Drive of a Dream) / Hira Hira, 1974
The one (and only) who helped Yoshiko Sai in his first years, Rabi Nakayama is probably one of the most famous singers from Japan, the femaleBob Dylan often called, started its career in early ’70s with a dozen of releases, very active until 2009.
Here she catches a heavier side, with a furious backing band, this is almost a B side in Hira Hira’s album, totally folk-oriented. Even being unknownworldwide, Rabi’s career is pretty solid, with diverse moments and bands, soon she’ll enter here!
France. Unlike ourlastentry, Léoniehasa slightly extensivecareer based on singles, film themes and also as an actress/model inthe 70’s. Nevertheless, it remainsa little-knownsinger outside its country; to our surprise, she is backed by a top-notch team of composers (Cristophe, Jean Claude Vannier), lyricists(ÉtienneRoda–Gil) and arrangers (KarlHeinzSchäfer, Jean Claude Vannier).
This first single count on the participation of mythicalVannier onlyin A side, the arrangementshereare from another great maestro: KarlHeinzSchäfer a German settled in France. In future entries, we will see other works (with or without Léonie) that I consider the greatest French pop arranger from all time!
Let’s know a little more about him.
A vitally important figure on the French music scene, Jean Claude Vannier is best known for the work he’s done with other people, but his list of collaborators is stellar, and includes Serge Gainsbourg, Michel Legrand, Johnny Hallyday, Jane Birkin, Mort Shuman, Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and many more!
Vannier was born in 1943 in Courbevoie. A self-taught musician, he began playing the piano when he was 18, and learned the basics of arranging and orchestration from reading a book in the Que Sais-Je? (What Do I Know?) series of instruction manuals (!). A meeting with flutist Roger Bourdin led to a job working at the Pathé Marconi recording studio, where he was an assistant/session musician, and soon put his skills to work writing and arranging material for pop singers Alice Dona / Michel Magne.
By the early ’70s, Vannier was one of the top arrangers and studio players in French pop music, composing and orchestrating Serge Gainsbourg’sLa Histoire de Melody Nelson, Jane Birkin’sDi Doo Dah, Françoise Hardy’s Message Personnel, and dozens of other recordings of note. Vannier also enjoyed a successful career writing music for films, movie scores, television, theatre, and conductor projects.
In 1972, he recorded his first solo album, an eccentric avant-garde instrumental song cycle titled L’Enfant Assassin des Mouches, the album went unreleased for years but became an underground legend thanks to the distribution of a handful of promo copies, and finally received an official release in 2003. Vannier continued to record in a more traditional singer/songwriter fashion through the ’70s and ’80s, and as French pop gained a new audience among record collectors and tastemakers, Vannier’s work slowly began to find an appreciative audience in the United States.
Lately, he released two albums stateside: Electro Rapide, a collection of unreleased recordings from the ’60s and ’70s, and Roses Rouge Sang, his first studio recording of new material since 1990! Check out an interview with the master in 2011.
Let’s go to our album:
Léonie Lousseau (Martine Collet), was born on 8 May 1947, Saint-Malo. She went to high school in Vitry, where her parents lived, and then studied Arts and Music at Sèvres University. We must emphasize the work that our friend from Hero Culte already made, trying to track down every scarce info about Léonie, little of what was written here about her was done by them, ok?!
Besides the two songs, we will add a beautiful extra track present on ‘Les Gants Blancs du Diable’ OST (1973), composed and conducted once more by KarlHeinzSchäfer.
Let’s embark once again in the b-side world of chanson française, dáccord?
Unfortunately, today’s record does not presently have any information about their singer, apparently, she released this single and disappeared!
We will leave to talk about the famous Nouvelle Chanson, its composers, lyricists and main artists in future posts. Here we already see the collaboration of the great Etienne Roda-Gil in these hallucinated lyrics and the legendary Hubert Rostaing in exquisite arrangements! With haunted female voices, exotic grooves, organ, tabla and a dark psychedelic scenario that drives this amazing 7”. ボン·ヴォヤージュ!
A Angel of Sin (Chloe Walters, E. Roda-Gil)
B Fleurs de Pavots Bleus (H. Rostaing, E. Roda-Gil)
Orchestra, Conductor – Hubert Rostaing
Les Industries Musicales Et Electriques Pathé Marconi
Pathé – 2C 006-10609 M / Nov 1969
Fleurs de Pavots Bleus
Fleurs de pavots bleus, au cœur de nos villes
Fleurs de pavots bleus, au cœur de nos villes
Chardons venimeux, au sein des principes
Chardons vénéneux, dans nos républiques,
Voyages monstrueux, dans la nuit des songes, de nos songes
Voyages monstrueux, dans la mer des songes
Sous les pavots bleus, sous les pavots bleus
Coulent les villes, nos villes, nos villes, nos villes.