Francoise Hardy is All Alone

The “folk” label on the top of the album cover combined with the Reprise Records promotional sticker at the bottom make me think that some radio station staffer liquidated part of the radio station’s library for some cold hard cash.  I feel bad for the listeners, since this is a good album, and I am not a radio broadcaster who serves their metro area:

Hardy

The third track on side two – “Times Passing By” – is my pick for the A-side of the first single from this strong collection of songs recorded in Paris and released in 1970.

This album would appear to be the fourth in a quick succession of albums for Reprise beginning in 1968 with the release of her US self-titled debut, which contains some classic tracks, such as “Voilà” & “Qui Peut Dire” (A & B sides, respectively, of a European single released September 1967) among others.  Click here to consult an extensive discography of recordings by Françoise Hardy – from 1962-2007.

Below is a TV appearance by Hardy, where she sings another track from Alone – “Song of Winter” – accompanied by striking visual imagery:

Hold Onto Your Hat:  “Song of Winter” was co-written by (pre-) Foreigner’s Mick Jones.

“Song of Winter” would also serve as the B-side for Hardy’s take on Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” – but only for the New Zealand market, it would appear.

“Tar and Cement”: Eco-Soul or Soul-Folk?

In the course of putting together a funk & soul mix, I previewed the songs on a 1960s Capitol Records compilation album entitled, Super Soul-Dees!  Volume 2:

Super Soul-Dees LP

One song in particular seemed to stand apart from the other tracks:  “Tar and Cement” by Verdelle Smith.  Certainly, Capitol’s 1960s soul roster skewed toward the pop end of the spectrum, but even this tune caught me by surprise with its folk-y sound and especially its lyric:  a cautionary tale about the deep hit to the spirit that can occur when we convert nature’s beautiful landscapes into urban spaces.

As it turns out, “Tar and Cement” is an English-language version of an Italian pop song, “Il ragazzo della via Gluck,” originally sung by Adriano Celentano.  Both songs were released in 1966, and Verdelle Smith’s version even went Top 40 here in the States — although you never hear it on oldies radio.  Why is that, I wonder – it’s a beautiful vocal and great tune:

Based on this Australian’s first-hand account, it would appear to be true that Verdelle’s version, indeed, really did go all the way to the top of the National pop charts in Australia.

Verdelle Smith

Bonus video link to cover version by fab French singer, Françoise Hardy.