Tonight I re-up the Jean-Claude Vannier albums I had posted on the blog. More known in and out of France for his work as Serge Gainsbourg's arranger, I always digged his solo work, most of it released between 1975 and 1990 (5 studio albums and one live). This is the first LP he released and although the Barbara influence is major, there's this singular approach of songs that makes him one of my favorites French composer and singers. One of these albums that throw me back in my past. A little painful but it's the game of life when we're getting old. Catch it here.
This album is of real importance for me. It's maybe one of the first French LP I was able to consider of similar value than my GB-US-G or NL ones. Of course, there was the great French singers (Barbara, Brel, Brassens, Ferré), but they were no more at the top of their talent, and more terribly, it seemed to me that there would be no singer able to climb again on the top of my personal tastes anymore. With Christophe's Les Paradis Perdus (in 1973) and Les Mots Bleus (in 1974), we had our new hero, but with Jean-Claude Vannier, Alain Kan and Jacques Higelin, 1975 seemed at least to bring us the true relief musical team. The future will unfortunately show that none of them will have the career we could hope, but back in this awful year for rock, this album was one of the soundtrack of my life. In particular "Mimi Mimi" because my then girlfriend was named Michèle, and that I used to call her Mimi. Since the song talks about a man who requests a baby to her girlfriend, this gave birth to some long discussions between us. In 1975, Jean-Claude Vannier was an arranger that many wanted for their recording sessions (from Gainsbourg for whom he had wrote the Melody Nelson album, to Brassens, see below for the latter), but his main influence was clearly Barbara, this album being a sort of male-Barbara version. Of course, lyrics are so crucial in the charm of Jean-Claude Vannier's songs, that not understanding them removes a great part of the pleasure. If I could make a sort of comparison, I would say that Jean-Claude Vannier is to French music, what Randy Newman is to US one. His lyrics are unpredictable and often transgress usual limits, but not in this album, rather kind and in which his future depressive mood was still not present. All in all, this album is for me what the madeleine was to Marcel Proust. Note that the last song on the album "Super Nana" was a hit... by Michel Jonasz the year before, but Vannier seemed to consider he had to do his own version (he would mainly make a living in writing songs for other artists). So, enjoy this piece of French music history. This LP has never been reissued in CD, as many of Vannier's ones, seeing what a piece of shit is record industry.