adieu my baby
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


This is Canadian turf, here, so no Memorial Day holiday for me - I'll be taking a day off on Wednesday, as I zoom down to Montreal for university convocation. That said, best regards to our American neighbours who are on holiday, and to those men and women overseas who are trying to do the right thing for human beings everywhere. I wish them luck.

Jean Leloup - "I Lost My Baby". And since my Canadian-ness is on show today, here's a wonderful ditty from the 'hood, an ode to "une fille d'Ottawa" - a girl who fled monsieur Leloup for the greener pastures of Hawkesbury, a town downriver from the Capital. While this song's bilingual, it evades the pitfalls of a lot of such music - rather than using English and French together for some universal, harmony-and-rainbows appeal, it's a self-serving musical tactic that lets English reign for the American-style choruses ("I lost my baby / I lost my darlin'"), turning to the flow of French for its narrative verses. There's humour in the silly tale, the lightest touch of melancholy, a cheerful strum of guitar, a woman's giggle, boy-girl vocals. Jean Leloup is a familiar face from the Quebec alt music scene, till he announced in December that he was committing "musical suicide" and ending his career. A live album and DVD have just been released, but the story goes that Jean Leloup's recording and performing days are over. On the other hand, he will be continuing to work (in some form) under his real name, Jean Leclerc. I'm not really sure what this means. "I Lost My Baby" is from 1996's Le Dôme. [buy]

The Poozies - "All I Want". An astonishing reinterpretation of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," the fine song from Lerner/Lowew's My Fair Lady. Where the original is contemplative but rather bouncy, here it has been transformed into something slow, heartbreaking, and full of longing. Eilidh Shaw's got a soft, slightly throaty voice, like wind through rushes. The Scottish band is known for its energetic folk repertoire, but everything's been stripped away here - two voices in harmony (Shaw with Kate Rusby), sleepy keys, and a perfect, restrained bridge on some sort of squeezebox. (I realize that it is incongruous to speak of a "perfect" squeezebox solo, particularly within a song as hushed and wistful as this one. But it's true.) Somewhere between Sufjan Stevens' "Flint" and Xiu Xiu's "Fast Car" cover. From the band's latest record, Changed Days Same Roots. [buy]

I realize I'm way behind the times here, but for anyone (like me) who missed it, Tiny Mix Tapes interviewed the Arcade Fire in January, and if nothing else, it seems to have sewed the seeds for the title of their upcoming debut on Merge...

Win: I hope our music is uplifting in a really full sense. We don?t just wanna make people feel good. Being scared or confused can be uplifting too. Music has this rare potential to be creative and completely non-destructive at the same time, which is a really powerful idea, even though it is rarely seen. I know most people in the world would probably not get much from our music, but you can hope right? Funerals are a lot more important than records.

Régine: But there?s almost always music at funerals. I like to sing for funerals. I sang for my mom?s funeral, I sang for my grandma?s funeral.

Win: Can you imagine if there was a publication like Spin Magazine or Rolling Stone about funerals? There would be articles about hot new trends in funeral services, and profiles on hot up and coming funeral directors, as well as lots of stuff about people who have been in the business for years, and keep doing quality work. Then in the back there would be reviews of services. "The first 15 minutes were really meaningful, but then the brother stood up and said some really cliché played out stuff." Maybe there could even be a rating scale about how meaningful or useful the persons life had been. I hope I get 7.5 out of 10...

Through most of June, the band is on a US tour with The Unicorns. You should go see them. If you live in Houston, they play on the 12th with The Unicorns and the Fiery Furnaces. Which is probably just about the show of the year. (Add Okkervil River to the bill and there would be no doubt.)

Later this week, fresh Okkervil River and 'new' Nick Drake.

gmail swap update: The Times (London) [l/p: laexaminer/laexaminer]

Posted by Sean at May 31, 2004 1:09 AM

No comment ? To repair what seems to me (also) unfair : don't know for the Poozies, but, as non-anti-french, and french myself (which is not incompatible), I really appreciate Jean Leloup, and particuraly loved is 1998' "Les Fourmis". I'm since a big fan from his intelligent and fun arrangements, as well as the strong lyrics.
Nice surprise to see him here :)

Posted by Ronan at June 1, 2004 7:36 AM

My first exposure to Jean LeLoup was guesting on a Bran Van 3000 CD - I had no idea he was even real til I saw your blog. I love this song.

Posted by soxpup at June 1, 2004 2:31 PM

I like Jean Leloup. My favourite of his is "Isabelle", an incredibly frantic (and fantastic) song with near-light-speed vocal delivery and blaring horns. I think of this song often when walking through Carré St-Louis. It's worth searching out.

Now I'll think of this song whenever passing through Hawkesbury...?!


Posted by Anonymous at June 1, 2004 5:00 PM

oh, i love that song. i only found out about jean leloup shortly after 'vallée des réputations' was released. i am disapointed to not have seen him live before his retirement from music though.

Posted by kyera at June 1, 2004 5:34 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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