Serge the Banjo Man

I recently discovered a fabulous clip of Serge Gainsbourg on a TV show with Dan the Banjo Man (Sport en fête, 17 March 1974) of all people!  The band (well, duo) performed the instrumental Dan the Banjo Man whilst Serge and Michel Drucker, and some other guy I don’t know, sat at the front of the stage with their backs turned to the band.  Serge somehow managed to look ever so slightly bored – I’m not sure how because this is exciting stuff.  Dan the Banjo Man were really going for it, complete with full crazy face paint and jester outfits, but all Serge could do was light up a cigarette and provide a smokey atmosphere.  This is something I never imagined could happen – Serge with Dan the Banjo Man!

Dan the Banjo Man 1 Dan the Banjo Man 2 Dan the Banjo Man 3 Dan the Banjo Man 4 Dan the Banjo Man 5 Dan the Banjo Man 6 Dan the Banjo Man 7 Dan the Banjo Man 8

It was only a couple of days after this that I was given a copy of a TV show that was never broadcast – a version of Tilt Magazine from 28 February 1968.  The vast majority of the show seemed to be on a Bonnie & Clyde theme and Michel Drucker (yes, him again!) had Serge on the show, of course.  Maybe Bardot was not available that day so Serge could hardly do Bonnie & Clyde without her; instead Les Ballets de Victor Upshaw danced to an instrumental version of the song and Serge played along on banjo – amazing!

Bonnie & Clyde 1Bonnie & Clyde 2Bonnie & Clyde 3Bonnie & Clyde 4Bonnie & Clyde 5Bonnie & Clyde 6Bonnie & Clyde 7

This footage of Serge playing a stringed instrument – not the norm, you must admit – reminded me of a couple of other appearances where he played guitar and mandolin:

Top a Jacques Dutronc 4Top a Jacques Dutronc 3Top a Jacques Dutronc 2Top a Jacques Dutronc 1

This is from the 2 March 1974 Top à Jacques Dutronc show – Jacques and Serge play mandolin with Le Mandoline Club de Paris.

And this is Serge using the guitar as a bass for the bass line in La bise aux hippies as performed on the Show Bardot (1 January 1968) with Bardot and Sacha Distel:

La bise aux hippies 1La bise aux hippies 2La bise aux hippies 3La bise aux hippies 4La bise aux hippies 5La bise aux hippies 6La bise aux hippies 7La bise aux hippies 8La bise aux hippies 9La bise aux hippies 10La bise aux hippies 11

That’s a really nice glittery guitar Serge and Brigitte use in this video…

Anyway, just saying – Serge didn’t just play the piano, you know!

Evariste on Tilt Magazine 22 February 1967

So, I said I would add in photos to the Evariste Appearances and Recordings article once I tracked down any of the TV shows, but I am not known for brevity so here is a post about the Tilt-Magazine show of 22/02/67:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 1

Unfortunately the copy I have of this show is faulty – the quality is a little low anyway (it’s a bit blurry) but also the sound disappears towards the end of the Princeton report and then there is no sound for the remainder of the Evariste section of the show.  Miraculously the sound reappears when Sheila turns up, is she a witch?!

This is truly bizarre and very frustrating because it means you can’t hear a word of the Drucker interview and also the music is missing from the Connais-tu l’animal qui inventa le calcul intégral playback; it makes Evariste’s performance even more bizarre, like some strange kind of mime!  My understanding is that this is the best copy I am going to find, possibly the only copy but I can live in hope, eh?

Anyway, here’s Evariste at Princeton, cycling around the campus:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 2

Look, mom, no feet!Evariste Tilt Feb 67 3

Evariste lectures an attentive class:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 4Evariste Tilt Feb 67 5Evariste Tilt Feb 67 6

Evariste being interviewed:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 7 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 8

Teatime for Evariste: Evariste Tilt Feb 67 9

“Si j’ai les cheveux longs, c’est parce que j’aime ça…”:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 10 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 11 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 12

Evariste does maths:Evariste Tilt Feb 67 13

Evariste in his room, playing guitar:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 14 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 15 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 16 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 18

Dinnertime at Princeton, mmm, potatoes…:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 19

Interview with Michel Drucker in the studio:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 23Evariste Tilt Feb 67 22


Evariste Tilt Feb 67 20 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 21 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 24 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 25 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 26 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 27 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 28 Evariste Tilt Feb 67 29

A very amused and appreciative audience:

Evariste Tilt Feb 67 30

Tilt-Magazine (dir Jean-Pierre Spiero, produced by Michèle Arnaud)

As a post-script to this “review”, Evariste contacted me to say the following:  “Concerning Tilt Magazine, I remember there was a sound problem, since I had to repeat the recording of the interview with Michel Drucker, in the morning of February 22nd, 1967, when it was recorded.  But it was put on air all correct in the evening, and at least 5 times in rediffusion: so a correct recording must exist.”

If anyone ever manages to track down a copy with the full soundtrack and/or with a better image, please do get in touch as I’d love a copy.