Bad Reputation

Pierre De Gaillande's new album of Brassens tunes

I met Pierre De Gaillande last week at The Snow show at Pete’s Candy Store, where he told me about his latest project, an assignment in French translation, the album Bad Reputation, music of the popular French bard from the 1950, 60s and 70s George Brassens.  He grew up listening to George Brassens in France and when he recently came across his father’s record collection he couldn’t resist the idea to create his own versions of those popular tunes.  The songs maintain rhyme scheme in English and the same melodies as much as possible while incorporating new instrumentation and arrangements.  I really liked hearing the track “Public Benches” because I was already familiar with the tune and I like the image it creates  of teenagers making out in public.  My first boyfriend also grew up in France and would sing these songs at top volume regularly, ever successful at making that characteristic gurgle that Brassens has… (and maybe all French speakers have?) that always makes me feel like I am going to disappear in a pool of abundant saliva ….overflowing, overflowing, overflowing.  I also like the dark feeling of the song “Bad Reputation,” orchestrated with clarinets, guitar, and bell set.  Pierre’s voice is simple and clear, his English thankfully lacks the gurgle, and his lyrics give a whole new meaning to the music that I’d never quite understood before.  The word “bawdy” has a whole new meaning.  De Gaillande has a show tomorrow, Friday, December 17 at the 92 Street Y in Tribeca, 9pm.  Read more about him here.