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Vol. 5: S.O.S. Mesdemoiselles
By Alexander "Astro" Hussenet, Lance Monthly
(more articles from this author)
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Fortunately, things gear up a little for this last installment! It starts with a Bang! with the French national lolita, France Gall, in another song sung on the same backing track to her classic "Teenie Weenie Boppie," but with different lyrics, although still from Serge "Big Bad Wolf" Gainsbourg - "Bloody Jack" . . . just as good as the previous, maybe even better and less girly!

And then, yet another version of Williams' Music to watch girls by, this time with different lyrics - "ça s'est arrangé" (things have been arranged), yet again with fuzz intro by yet another minet boy, Jean-paul Keller. But it doesn't matter 'cause I kinda like the original EZ tune!

The pretty poor man's Françoise Hardy, Elsa, with her big wide eyes and straight long hair, again with a Dylan inspired folk pop, again (but with some tasty fuzz!) - "Ailleurs" (somewhere else). It's a pity they only had access to the Universal vaults 'cause, obviously a lot is missing (Vogue-Loisirs, Pathé Marconi), which explains the repetition.

Mighty Serge Gainsbourg storms thru a mean fuzz guitar with this classic French pop killer "Qui est 'In', Qui est 'Out" (whose in and whose out!), with pop-art lyrics about the superficiality of famous, pop-fashion, name-dropping discotheques, the Bus Palladium (the mod mecca of swingin' Paris!) and Barbarrella and her space-age boots!

Another stoopid' mademoiselle, Bernadette Grimm, gives a poor imitation of France Gall with "C'est Fou" (it's crazy . . . Hmm, not quite though!), a cover adaptation of "I'm Blue?"

Aaah, but the killer is back. Ronnie Bird delivers a murderous "S.O.S. Mesdemoiselles," an absolute French-beat classic with its wah-fuzz guitar and killer lyrics about a man on the prowl, which deservedly gives its title to this volume. Then follows yet another novelty number with the memorable line, "Qui C'est Qu'a Dit Qu'on Peut pas Imiter les Anglais" (Who said we couldn't imitate the British), by professional imitator Monique Thubert, who mercilessly parodies Brigitte Bardot in "Avec les Oreilles" (only with your ears), a killer jerk dance number!

This is followed yet by another killer tune by gorgeous British expatriate Gillian Hills, "Tut, Tut, Tut," which is the imitating sound of a busy phone line!). She is a former star actress of the cult movie, "Beat Girl," which is one of the first soundtracks by John Barry with the Barry Seven, who, at that time, was the husband of Jane Birkin. Jane co-starred later in the mod cult movie with Gillian called "Blow Up," just before Jane left Barry for Serge Gainsbourg (whatta small world this is!). She sings immaculate French in this super sexy adaptation of the Lollipops' hit, "Busy Signal."

The Blackburds, Johnny Halliday's mid '60s backing band feat, "the State of Micky (Jones) and Tommy (Brown)," storms thru a dance instrumental in the R&B/ Soul mode, "Promenade Dans la Forêt du Brabant" (A walk thru the forest of Brabant)! Junior, another minet, croons next with "J'y Crois" (I 've faith), the adaptation of Jay & the Technniques' "She Cried" with a phony voice.

Luckily, Annie Philippe is back with her kitten voice in the uptempo "Pour la Gloire" (just for the glory)" and it's super! But then oh, Johnny's alter-ego-has-been cheesy French rocker Eddy Mitchell with a self-penned manifesto "Et s'il n'en Reste Qu'un" (I'll be the only one left) about him being the last of the Mohicans if original rock 'n' roll fades to pop. It's not half as bad as you might expect!

After being one of the early French rockers he judiciously turned to the style of American soul R&B with a batch of self composed songs, unlike other rocker has-beens and performed more intelligently than puppet Johnny Halliday.

Mademoiselle Chris Kersen is also back to give a folk-pop social commentary on rich daddys' girls or debs with "Les Filles à Papa" and she is quite virulent, but you'd never guess it by looking at her picture on the cover. She looks so deb herself!

Talentuous M. Polnareff is back again with his own folk-beat manifesto "Beatnick," on which I think he's backed by none other than mod legends, The British Birds. I think he recorded his first tracks in Great Britain where he met the Birds, who recorded a demo of his classic breakthrough hit, "La Poupée Qui Fait Non" (The girl who says no!).

Another 'Musette' (y'know, the French Polka!) daddy plays an instrumental version of Nino Ferrer's classic novelty hit "Le Telefon" (The phone) with his bloody accordion. This is really a joke!

Beautiful part-time actress/ songstress Marie Laforêt happily sings an adaptation of the Stones' "Paint it Black," "Marie Douceur - Marie Colère" (Sweet Marie - Angry Marie) the way a young Edith Piaf could.

Claude Channes, the minet god ("minet" is the French upper-class equivalent to British mods, if you've been wondering what that word means), welcomely sneers his social satire on capitalism, "J'achète Tout (I buy everything)" in the way a poor man's Dutronc could from the soundtrack of J. L. Godart's classic left-wing satiric film "La Chinoise" (China girl). This is about the fashion that was going on at the French campuses concerning the maoïst student adepts and their naïve approval of the red guards of the then current cultural revolution in China, with the little red book turning into a pop-art accessory all prior to the social upheaval of May 1968!

Again from her first EP, Stone quietly sings a competent adaptation of the Beatles' first folk-rock number, "Seul" (Alone/ Norwegian Wood), which is cool.

Next is a real novelty curio by a genuine priest, l' abbé Noèl Colombier singin' his own swingin' beat song, "Jette la Pierre," about the question of throwing the first stone at the adulterous woman; that is, a searching of your consciousness whether it's right to do so, and all this while the Pill was making it's appearance in everyday life, opening an era of new found sexual freedom. Christian Rock anyone?

Then follows Anna Karina, Star of the J.L. Godart's '60s movies, who struts her stuff in the killer Serge Gainsbourg song penned "Roller Girl" with fuzz and an ultra groovy beat from the soundtrack of '67 TV pop-art film musical "Anna". It's the ultimate swingin' mademoiselle Classic!

From the same Ep of the Blackburds' instro comes this beefy adaptation of Los Bravos' classic soulbeat hit, "Noir c'est Noir" (Black is black) (more famous here than the original!) by our king of the rockers, Johnny Halliday. This right around the time Jimi Hendrix was doing his first tour with the Experience following Hallyday's band as second bill! A lot of people find this rather cool?

Our national sex kitten, cinema superstar, then modeling for Marianne (like your Uncle Sam!), Brigitte Bardot, for once makes a competent adaptation of Wilson Simonal's Bossa-Nova classic "Nem Vem Que Nào Tem," "Tu Veux ou Tu Veux Pas" (Do you want to or not; you know, voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir). Although it was first sung here by jazzman Zanini, it even surpassed the original by turning it into an EZ classic dance number (hear it first on "Inflight 1" comped by the Karminsky experience in '96!). Whatta spectacular closing!

My advice to you is to buy any of these comps on sight in the import section of your local Tower Records . . . like NOW! You'd be hard pressed to find a better audio document on the French Swingin' '60s at present. Ta da!"

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