Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: French Pop

"Zanzie"
Zeroto180

Mickey Baker on a King Surf LP

Session guitarist Mickey (“Love Is Strange“) Baker — whose work would grace dozens of releases by King Records and its subsidiaries — would end up being allotted exactly one solo album by the label as an artist in his own right:  1963’s But Wild. Recorded in Paris in June of

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It’s French – and Very Catchy

Thanks to Whole Foods for nourishing my soul with its affordably-priced (no, seriously) 3-disc set of French pop, Café Paris:  42 Classic Songs from France.  This past week, I have found myself particularly taken with one song by a French singer-songwriter whose name, Michel Polnareff, was new to me —

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Jacques Dutronc – Mod Hippie

Café Paris, the aforementioned budget-priced 3-CD set that Whole Foods is pushing on its hipster demographic, also includes an engaging piece of garage punk (or, as it is more formally known, French Freakbeat) – “J’ai Mis Un Tigre Dans Ma Guitare” from the 1966 “Maxi Disque” of Jacques Dutronc.  Subsequently,

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Bridget Bardot’s B-Side Blunder

I recently made my first ever musical purchase at Whole Foods — a budget-priced three-disc set entitled, Café Paris:  42 Classic Songs from France.  One track from 1967 tickled my ear – Bridget Bardot’s “Oh, Qu’il Est Vilain” – with its spryly humorous organ, naive recorder lines, and cuckoo chorus:

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Les Roche Martin: If ‘Pet Sounds’ Were French

Les Roche Martin appears to have released one single and two EPs – all in 1967 – before the group’s creative director, Vèronique Sanson, struck off on her own, beginning in 1969. “Tu As Peur de Bruit” embodies 1967’s adventurous musical spirit, while it also brilliantly evokes the baroque pop

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L’Adorable & L’Obscure French Pop

EMI’s anthology of 60s French pop – La Belle Epoque:  EMI’s French Girls 1965-68 – includes this tuneful track from 1967, Christie Laume’s “L’Adorable Femme des Neiges.”  Unsurprisingly, this song – with its effective use of the celeste – would be the title track of a 4-song EP released in

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“Accroche Toi, Caroline”: Hang Tight, Caravelli Advises

This boss near-instrumental from 1967 simply attributed to “The Paris Studio Group” features a mean harpsichord – something right out of Lurch from The Addams Family: “Accroche Toi, Caroline”     The Paris Studio Group     1967 As NME informs us:  “Main title theme as used on Tony Hart`s UK TV

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"Four Brothers"
Zeroto180

The Barclay Stars: Five French Guitars

The album cover would seem to say it all — but the liner notes reveal that this is not just any ordinary guitar army: This album was recorded in France.  It spotlights the work of five of France’s outstanding guitarists:  Francis Le Maguer (musical director), Pierre Cullaz, Raymond Gimenes, Paul

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Toots Thielemans: Ya Ya!

From Toots Thielemans‘ appearance on David Sanborn’s ‘Night Music’ TV show, I learned that Toots is a jazz harmonica virtuoso who (1) played the harmonica on the original ‘Sesame Street‘ theme song, as well as (2) whistled the famous melody for the Old Spice deodorant TV ads of the 1970s.

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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

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