June 29, 2010

SERGE GAINSBOURG - Gainsbourg Percussions (1964)

Serge Gainsbourg created this, his first of many concept records, out of African and Carribean percussion rhythms.  Still relatively new to the scene in 1964, Gainsbourg's fanbase was mostly confined to Chanson-jazz afficianados.  Gainsbourg Percussions (1964) is a divergent path for the fated Dirty Old Man of France and an overlooked gem.  In the early 60s, the Chanson genre was on the decline as American pop took over French radio. Later in the decade, Gainsbourg jumped on the yé-yé  bandwagon, writing a slew of pop hits for notable French ladies. 

Besides a few boring Chansons thrown in for his original fanbase, Afro drums remain at the forefront, and Gainsbourg's gravelly drawl couldn't be more indifferent.  He even lists off the names of different buildings he saw on a vacation in "New York USA" (actually an appropriation of Babatunde Olatunji's "Akiwowo").  Females chant rhythmically in accompaniment, the best example being "Les Sambassadeurs" which ends with the sounds of riots in the street and automatic gunfire.

• I also recommend this kinescope for "Couleur Café ," Gainsbourg's only hit from the album.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Nice Record!