Saturday, 24 November 2012

Barbara: La Prochaine Fois Je Vous Le Chanterais

It's only when you're listening to programmes such as the otherwise excellent 'La prochaine fois je vous le chanterais', such as I have this morning, and when you hear other people interpreting Barbara that you realise how exemplary she was--and how crap some of them are!
A couple of exceptions: Mika performing 'La Solitude' (my arrangement, am I biased?) and Marie Myriam singing 'Du bout du levres'.
But WHO told Martha Wainwright that she could sing? Her version of 'Dis, quand reviendra-tu?' must be one of the worst interpretations in the history of the chanson. Imagine fifty tom-cats being dropped into a blender, testicles first, and you may have it. I recall when we did the programme last year for the BBC. One very famous person connected to Barbara refused to appear in the programme if Martha appeared in it--that's how bad she is. Many thought the depths had been plummeted when her brother Rufus, who I normally like, murdered 'La Complainte de la Butte' and the wings of the old moulin stopped turning in protest! There's nothing quite so bad as an American (apologies to my friends across the Pond!) trying to sing phonetically in French. All the 'too' for 'tu'. Barbara even tackles Marianne Oswald--a brave move indeed!
On the other hand, on the rare occasions that Barbara sings the work of others, the result is sublime. Here her with Damia's 'Grand frisé' and 'Les ménétriers', or Piaf's 'A l'enseigne de la fille sans coeur'. Or Julien 'Wobbly' Clerc's 'Ce n'est rien'.  If you taped the latter and the Oswald number, it'll save you around £150 because you won't have to buy the excellent (for Barbara novices) but rip-off 19-CD box-set which contains everything you've already got, barring a few songs such as Claude Francois' 'Meme si je revenais'.

Merci, Philippe!

Oh, and Philippe must have been reading my mind, for he ended this excellent programme with Barbara and Frank Alamo showing another Wainwright how to song...'Complainte de la Butte'. Let's hope they were listening!

No comments:

Post a Comment