My Favourite Stuff: A Kiss from French Singer Robert

I was very pleased to finally get my hands on RoBERT’s box set Premier Écrin, which I understand is limited to just 100 copies.  I guess the main reason it’s so limited is because RoBERT had to sit and kiss 100 photographs to insert into the boxes.  It’s that kind of personal touch which makes Premier Écrin so essential to a collection.  Here’s my kiss from RoBERT:

Robert Kiss001

A mwah pour moi! But aside from the kiss, the lovely box – écrin means box or case in English, but more like a jewellery box – is full of gems and is incredibly great value.  I knew that there would be some items in the box that I already had in my collection but in fact it turns out that even the CD albums are for the most part different versions to the ones I previously bought.  For just 30 € you get the following:

  • Sine CD – DEA 2001 reissue with 2 bonus tracks and 3 videos
  • Princesse de Rien CD – 2007 reissue with 3 bonus tracks, 13 instrumentals, RoBERT interviewed by Amélie Nothomb, 3 Karina Square versions of Princesse de Rien tracks
  • Sourde et Aveugle CD – 2009 reissue, including 2 bonus tracks
  • Aux Marches du Palais CD – 2012
  • A CD single – either Sorry or Ange & Démon
  • A Live Album – either Haute Couture (2007) or RoBERT live à la Cigale (2004)

Robert Kiss002Robert Kiss003Robert Premier Ecrin 2Robert Premier Ecrin 1

Five albums, a CD single, a kissed photograph all in a lovely box for 30   – how can you resist?  If you’re lucky, you’ll still be able to buy Premier Écrin from RoBERT’s website, where you will also find some other bargains with items from just 1 €.  I bought myself a set of the fanzines and a calendar and I’ve since ordered some more of the CD singles I hadn’t yet got.  It’s not just about getting bargains, of course, it’s also important to remember that it’s better to buy directly from RoBERT’s website – send the money directly to the musicians and not to enormous online shops.

Aside from being delighted with my kiss, I have finally – finally! – managed to find the holy grail of RoBERT’s discography: the Karina Square version of Princesse de Rien (1997), which is the baroque version of the album before it was reissued with more of an electronic sound.  Nothing wrong with the reissue version from 2000 at all but I had always preferred the baroque version and I’ve been looking for it since it was released, so impossible was it to find the CD even at the time of release.  I have had to make do with a copied CD all these years but now I have an official copy in my collection and that makes me very happy indeed:

Robert Karina Square

Expect another post about RoBERT soon, but in the meantime get yourself over to the RoBERT shop to buy some stuff or go to the RoBERT website to find out about RoBERT’s new collaboration, Plastic Art Noise – there will be a digital version of the album (Like Strangers Do) later this month and then the CD will be released at the end of April.

My Favourite Stuff: Francoise Hardy Message Personnel box set

I was very lucky to get this little beauty for Christmas.  Message Personnel is amongst my favourite Françoise Hardy albums (not the favourite, that would have to be La Question, without a shadow of a doubt) so I was very excited to hear that a collectors’ edition of the album was being released in November 2013 in the form of a special 40th anniversary box set.  Here’s what I’ve been looking at and listening to over the holidays:

FH Box 2The box itself is like a piece of artwork – absolutely stunning to look at

FH box contentsThe box contains a vinyl reissue of the original album; a vinyl reissue of the Je suis moi 7″; a remastered Blu-Ray Audio CD version of the album; a bonus CD including the original album and 19 rare and/or previously unreleased tracks; a DVD featuring 6 TV performances from the period

FH print - CopyThere’s also a large lithographic print of one of Jean-Marie Perier’s beautiful photos of Françoise

Here’s a look at the DVD contents:

FH video menuFH Rever 3FH Rever 2FH Rever 1Françoise performing Rêver le nez en l’air on Dimanche Salvador 28/10/73, note she’s in incredibly skinny black leather trousers just 4 months after giving birth to her son Thomas!

FH MP 1FH MP 4FH MP 3Message Personnel on Sports en Fête, 11/11/73, getting her money’s worth out of those skinny black leather trousers!

FH pouce 1FH pouce 3FH pouce 2Why is Françoise holding that teddy bear?!  Pouce, au revoir on Taratata: Minuit chez vous 31/12/73

FH l'attente 1FH l'attente 2FH l'attente 3L’Attente (a joy to see one of my favourite Françoise songs performed on TV) on Top à Michel Delpech 16/03/74

FH l'amitie 1FH l'amitie 2FH l'amitie 3Françoise sings live for this duet of L’Amitié with Michel Delpech on
Top à Michel Delpech 16/03/74 – she looked like she was going to crack up laughing when he appeared over her shoulder to sing; it’s very cheesy (although Françoise was as excellent as usual, of course)

FH JSM 1FH JSM 2FH JSM 3Françoise doesn’t know what to do with her hands on this one! Je suis moi on Domino: Hommage à Vincent Scotto 16/05/74

I have hundreds of Françoise’s TV appearances but I can quite honestly say I hadn’t seen most of these, so the DVD was an excellent addition to my collection.  The absolute best thing about this box set, though, is the bonus CD with 6 instrumental versions of tracks from the album (so you can sing along, maybe?); the Je suis moi 7″ A side and B side (I had forgotten how good Demain c’est hier was); 3 English language versions of tracks from the album (Message Personnel; Pouce, au revoir; Première Rencontre) and a German language version of Première Rencontre; the German language Wenn wilde Schwäne flieh’n 7″ A side and B side; and 4 performances from radio (L’Habitude with Georges Moustaki; Les paradis perdus with Christophe; Peutêtre toi, peutêtre moi with Michel Berger; and an excellent cover version of France Gall’s La Déclaration d’amour) and one recording from TV (Message Personnel).  A lot of this has been previously unavailable, or at the least previously unavailable on CD.  I loved the duet with Christophe, of course.  In my opinion the purchase is worth it for this CD alone, but the package as a whole definitely makes this a must buy for any serious fan.  Buy it now!

FH contents sheet