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Tuesday, April 12, 2005:

Liner notes of the Tosh made CD for the Book Soup event on April 13, 2005

1) "Belinda" – This is from a French film “Le Piége” made in 1958 and the soundtrack is by Alain Goraguer. What’s interesting is that one of the stars in the film is Magali Noel, who was not only a close friend of Boris Vian, but also made a series of wonderful recordings of his songs. One, which is included in this collection. Goraguer is/was the backbone of French contemporary music. He wrote songs with Vian – and did some amazing work with Serge Gainsbourg. I never heard a bad tune from this man.

2) "C'est Le Be-Bop"– Henri Salvador was a great friend of Vian’s – and towards the end of Vian’s life they wrote numerous songs together. Salvador himself could fit in at least 100 albums. If he left this planet I think that he would take a big chunk of Parisian culture with him as well. Showbiz meets jazz meets remarkable guitar player. Wonderful entertainer.

3) "Chez les yé-yé"– Classic song by Serge Gainsbourg. Vian was one of the first ‘professionals’ to pay special attention to Gainsbourg and his music. Serge never forgot this. “Chez les yé-yé” is a late 50’s tune – and I think this is my favorite period for Gainsbourg’s recordings. Not saying his later stuff suffers for it – but for my personal taste I think he couldn’t be beaten during the late 50’s and early 60’s. Brilliant songwriter – and always a great lyrcist. Plus he’s a TamTam star!

4) The next six tracks are from the soundtrack to “J’irai cracher sur vos tombes" (I Spit on Your Graves). A rare recording, and even a harder film to find. Nevertheless Vian was never fond of this film. Well, in fact he hated it! But he loved the soundtrack – and it is a great one by Alain Goraguer. Sadly it was the last piece of music Vian heard. He died during the screening of this film.

10) "Le Jazz et la Java" – Great Michel Legrand arrangement (another friend of Vian’s) and I really like this artist Claude Nougaro. For me it really defines what I like about French jazzy pop music from this period – the late 50’s.

11) "Je Suis snob" – Boris Vian the king of commentary! He was a wonderful songwriter. I strongly suggest one locate his recordings. They’re around. If you don’t understand the stance of snobbery – then you better stay away from not only Vian’s recording but away from me as well!

12) "Strip Tease" – Vian actually produced this recording sometime in 1956. Bernard Peiffer and his Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Band were friends of Vian. I imagine that this was the soundtrack to the underground caves of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

12) "La java des bombes Atomiques" – A song written by Goraguer and Boris Vian re-done and re- arranged by the demented genius of Andre Popp. This man was one of the first to do electronic trickery in recordings. He would cut, dice and splice the tape as well as change the speeds and tempos via his recording board. Him and Vian were close friends – and Vian wrote the liner notes to his recordings of ‘odd’ arrangements.

13) "La java des bombes Atomiques" – The original version by Vian.

14) "Cora" – a beautiful piece by Alain Goraguer and I believe it’s the theme song of the character played by Magali Noel. And also Noel was in Fellini’s “Amarcord” and “Satyricon”. Not only that she is also in my all-time favorite film by Jules Dassin called “Rififi.” I love this recording.

15) "Dieu est Nègre" – Which I think means ‘God is the Negro.’ Juliette Greco, the great female singer of all great singers of Paris really gives this song an earthy bluesy touch. At the time of this recording Greco was dating Miles Davis. Whom more likely did Boris Vian introduce.

16) "Tin Roof Blues" – This is a rare recording by Boris Vian’s jazz band. The recording is from the mid-40’s. Vian played trumpet. He had to give up the trumpet in the 50’s due to the poor condition of his heart. Yet his heart was playing the trumpet.

17) "Nous Avions Vingt ans" – I know nothing about this artist Hugues Aufray, except that he introduced Bob Dylan’s music to the French and was a pal of Dylan as well. This is a song by Vian/Goraguer.

18)" Dada Strain" – Another cut from the Vian jazz band. I like its manic quality. I imagine a man is dancing to this song with two drinks in his hand. Why I have this image? It also has a Looney tune quality to it as well. And in Vian’s ‘Foam of the Daze’ as well as ‘Autumn in Peking’ there is a large Looney Tunes type of vibe that runs through the novel – especially in its violence.

19) "Fais-moi mal Johnny" – The great Magali Noel makes her appearance on this CD.

20) "British Soup" – Alain Goraguer is sort of the phantom of this particular cd. He’s the Mick Ronson to Bowie or the Jack Nitzsche to Phil Spector and early Rolling Stones. As far as I know he’s still alive and TamTam Books salutes this master.

Tosh Berman, April 12, 2005

Tosh // 10:25 PM

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