Light in the Attic reissue five Francoise Hardy albums

UTU617D

Those who regularly visit Hero Culte will know I’m a big fan of Françoise Hardy, so it won’t surprise you to hear me saying that you can never have enough Françoise Hardy records in your collection; it’s a good day when there’s a new release to buy.  And this series of reissues from the period 1962-1966 come from Light in the Attic  who always produce something stylish, so how can you go wrong when considering your next Françoise purchase?

Well, I can tell you that they sound good – remastered from the original tapes – and they look good too.  The original album artwork is used throughout, even stretching to using the original Disques Vogue label design on the discs.  But, it has to be said, those looking for bonus tracks will be disappointed – they are straight reissues.

If you’re wondering whether they’re “unauthorised” reissues, well, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the reissues have been “authorised” by Françoise herself, but she has carried out an exclusive interview for the releases, which would be a bit of a coup if it was that evident.  I was a little disappointed on this score, but that’s just me.  There’s not a lot of evidence of the interview which is mentioned in the booklet – there are a few comments here and there, presumably because it has been spread over all five releases.  It may have been better to include the interview in all five releases in its entirety, but that’s just my opinion.

As for the rest of the detailed liner notes , they’re a good starting point for those who know little about Françoise and don’t speak much French – her many biographies and autobiographies have not been translated into English yet.  But, egotist that I am, I couldn’t help thinking that I would have done a better job myself.  For example, to say she was brought up by her mother because her parents had separated is not quite true; they were never truly together as her father already had a wife.  So discreet was this relationship that Françoise believed for a while that they must have divorced – even though divorce was frowned up at the time, it was better that than to discover that both she and her sister were born out of wedlock.  And, although it goes unstated in the liner notes, the reason she became proficient in German was probably because of her mother’s boyfriend “the baron Gilbert von Giannelli” who convinced her that Françoise and her sister Michèle should learn German, sending them off to a village near Innsbruck called Natters.  Also, why is Françoise quoted as saying she never met Monica Vitti when they worked together on Vadim’s film Château en Suède when there is photographic evidence to the contrary?

Chateau en suede

None of this matters, of course, it’s just me being pernickety.  Anyway, I should stop moaning and be grateful that there are some reissues available for the English speaking market, so, back to the releases – all of them are available on CD now and on 180-gram vinyl from 29 January 2016:

Tous les garçons et les filles (1962)UTU614D
Le premier bonheur du jour (1963)UTU615D

Mon amie la rose (1964)UTU616D

L’Amitié (1965)UTU617D

La maison où j’ai grandi (1966)UTU618D

I’m not going to sell the music to you – any fool knows that these albums represent the classics of the 1960s Françoise Hardy back catalogue, when she could barely put a foot wrong (although it should be said I love her entire discography).  It’s all very easy on the ears and with such lovely artwork and beautiful photographs it’s a pleasure for the eyes too.

All five of these releases are being distributed in the UK via London based music distributors Southern Record Distributors, so they should be widely available in all good record shops.  Go out and buy the CDs now – or wait for the gorgeous new vinyl copies in January 2016!

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Micky Amline autograph

I’m a big fan of the Swinging Mademoiselles type music so I was rather pleased to find this autograph of French 60s singer Micky Amline unexpectedly at a film fair:

Micky Amline001 Micky Amline002

It’s signed to someone called Marie France and says something along the lines of “Long live the TWIST.  All my friendship [best wishes], Sincerely Micky”

Micky Amline’s real name was Christiane Ameline and she started out as a model before becoming a singer in 1959 with a band called Les Boutons Dorés.  In 1962 she signed to Disques Vogue as a solo artiste and released just a handful of EPs.  Some of you may know a couple of her tracks (Look and Garçon manqué) from the Ultra Chicks compilations.

Bernard Ferraro, lead guitarist with Les Cyclones and also guitarist for Françoise Hardy and Eddy Mitchell, accompanied Micky on guitar.  They later married.  I read somewhere that Bernard left the music industry and became an ornithologist (!) and also that Micky left the music industry after having a nasty car accident.  I don’t really know what happened but I do know that Micky / Christiane now runs a tea room with Bernard: L’Échauguette in Tusson, in the south west of France.  If I ever find myself in Tusson I might pop in to have a nose around!

My Favourite Stuff: La pilule – Antoine

I’m a big fan of Antoine and Antoine et les Problèmes – great look (like a human Banana Split); great dance moves; great lyrics; and a great philosophy of life too.  Definitely a lot more than the joke most people take him for.  Anyway, this little item here is a rather wonderful (if somewhat aged and dirty looking) Antoine keyring, which appears to have been made by Disques Vogue as a novelty publicity item to tie in with Les Elucubrations d’Antoine, a song in which Antoine sings about being asked by the President how he could improve the country; Antoine’s suggestion was to put the pill on sale in the Monoprix supermarkets.  This caused a bit of a stir at the time, of course – it was 1966 and times were different then.

But then, as Antoine said, everything should change all the time – we might be able to get the pill over the counter in pharmacies nowadays but we have yet to see Johnny Hallyday in a cage at the zoo!

The keyring was yet another find from the flea market at St. Ouen.  Here’s a couple of other views of the keyring with an absolutely dreadful sketch of Antoine with his long hair and flowery shirt and you can just about see the blue “pill” rolling about inside the box there.  The sticker on the box helpfully says “Not to be taken internally” – just in case.  You never know…

I’ll definitely be including some more Antoine items on here at some point in the future as I have some nice vinyl in Italian to show off, o yeah!