Saturday, November 30, 2013

"Yé-Yé Girls Of '60's French Pop" by Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe

Feral House ISBN 978-1-936239-71-9

The mysterious and always foreign world of the French Yé-Yé  music scene.  Without a doubt the book I published "Gainsbourg the Biography" by Gilles Verlant is the best book in English regarding not only the Yé-Yé movement, but also the entire French music world.  The second book to get (in English) is Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe's "Yé-Yé Girls Of 60's French Pop."  This is a very good guide to the singers, the record labels, and the artists/songwriters that wrote the songs for this particular market.  It is basically teenage music, but mostly written by older men, for instance Serge Gainsbourg.  But beyond that it is a fascinating sub-culture to fish in, because the music, overall, is a the very least super interesting, and at its best- excellent records.

There are those who are the queens of their field - France Gall, Françoise Hardy, and Sylvie Vartan and then there are various (actually many many ) one-hit wonders, who also made great records as well.  In France, the arranger as well as the songwriter are part of the magic that makes a great record. Usually I check out who the arranger is, and then my money quickly goes to that release, especially if it is someone like Jean-Claude Vannier, who did a lot of classic recordings with Gainsbourg.  His touch of genius always shows up no matter who the artist or singer is - so it is very much like following your favorite record producer - or am I the only one who buys records due to the production credits?

Deluxe's book, which is also well-illustrated with both ads from the '60's as well as the original  record covers, pretty much covers the basics as well as the odd releases that came out of this scene.  So for sure its a good guide to have on your side of the table as one explores YouTube footage or online shops.  He also covers current music figures like April March, who is fantastic by the way, and others who were influenced by the 60's scene.  I think he could avoid a lot of the bands/artists, and just focus on the 60's artists, but that is a very small criticism.  This book is designed for the beginner who is looking for hardcore information or names to get their listening habits in order.   So yeah I highly recommend this book as a beginner's guide and if you want to get deeper into the subject do get the Verlant Gainsbourg biography.
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