Georges Brassens channeled by Pierre de Gaillande: Bad Reputation
Let’s be honest, I really did not want to like this release. It seems obsessed with tawdry affairs and smirky carnal confessions. What grabs and holds me is not this “underbelly,” but the “Uberbelly,” if such a term is permissable. The fact that Mr. Gaillande was raised in So Cal, as this reviewer, and survived, and is still jaunty and not jaded is a miracle in its own right. To come away with a unique personality and not confining oneself to simply materialism, facades and self-gratification is next to impossible. This music reminds me of a joyful French remake of “Blade Runner” where instead of Decard: [narrating] The report read “Routine retirement of a replicant.” That didn’t make me feel any better about shooting a woman in the back, We hear Decard: [narrating in a nasal French accent] The recipe reads “Never reheat a souffle on pain of death.” That made me sing for joy when I realized our dog had already pulled it down from the table with great pleasure and delight. Nothing profound here. No life changing turns of phrase, nor navel-gazing enigmas; but happy, sappy and friendly tunes to drink lemonade and sit on your back deck contemplating the giant carpenter ants crawling up your leg and into your trousers.
The Paris-born, California-raised singer, musician, composer, and translator found a kindred spirit in the pioneering pop star, ubiquitous in France but sadly neglected in America. Keenly in tune with Brassens’ timeless eloquence and timely grit, de Gaillande embarked on an epic two-year mission to translate Brassens’ work and evoke the legendary singer-songwriter for Anglophone audiences. The hard part: to keep Brassens’ melodies intact, de Gaillande had to keep the same syllable count, rhyme scheme, and other poetic parts in English.
De Gaillande spent his teenage years in California immersed in rock, laying out wacky punk anthems on his four-track and using guitar licks to woo girls at Sunday school. He later took these skills to New York, where he rocked with indie and folk-rock bands like the Morning Glories.
But he had a dark secret: He was French. His father, a teacher, made sure he never forgot it. “He likes to impart his wisdom,” de Gaillande muses. “My dad would make my sister and me sit down with a George Brassens song, asking us if we understood what it was about. He would bore us to death. We couldn’t enjoy the music because it was like school.”
Jailbait princesses and phonograph pornographers. Anarchists, atheists, and amputees. Humble farmhands who dig their own graves, and holy womanizers out to save the unlovable. Welcome to the wild world of Georges Brassens, as translated on the new album Bad Reputation (Barbès Records; June 8, 2010) and channeled by Pierre de Gaillande.
|Links to Additional Information|
|Pierre de Gaillande artist website >> go there
|Barbès Records label >> go there
|Pierre de Gaillande on MySpace >> go there