Amoeblog

(Où l'on considère les chanteurs français.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 22, 2011 04:32pm | Post a Comment
french poster

When you work at Amoeba Music there’s certain questions you answer over and over again:

“Where’s the restroom?”

“Why’s this one this price and this one this price?”

“Where can I find Edith Piaf?”

That last question is occasionally (to my endless amusement) pronounced as, “Where can I find Edith Pilaf?” to which I always want (but never) answer:

“We file her in-between Condoleezza Rice and Tim Curry. They all go great together.”

My internalized snarkiness aside, I’m all for Edith Piaf. Who could hate La Môme Piaf (her French nickname, literally translated as “That short woman in the black dress with the amazing voice but tragic make-up which someone should seriously having a talking-to-her about”)?

But I think too many people stop with Piaf and don’t investigate the chanson française of her peers, which is a shame because there’s so much to love. Below I offer some performers I think are à l'opposé de terrible.

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(Wherein which you may get cancer.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 11, 2010 03:33pm | Post a Comment
get well soon

Recently, one of my boyfriend’s favorite celebrities died from one of his least favorites diseases.

Dixie Carter passed away April 10, of complications from endometrial cancer.








Cancer has been an unwelcome houseguest in our lives for a while now. The boyfriend’s from the Lone Star State, where getting cancer seems to be as common as sequenced sweaters and tuxedos matched with leather boots. The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas, but so it seems are a few malignancies.

No amount of my assurances will convince the boyfriend he won’t necessarily get cancer; it’s neither a birthright, nor a curse – but he’s already decided which hospital will treat him and where to find the best wig for the occasion. It’s the “wedding day” daydream equivalent for the hypochondria set.

Birds and the French Resistance

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 30, 2008 08:15pm | Post a Comment
No doubt about it, birds are animal of choice for record label mascot. I've been gathering animal label images for well over a year now and this is my second round of birds.

Kate Wolf & the Wildwood Flower Lines on the Paper Owl Records LabelEngland Dan & John Ford Coley Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jive Big Tree Records Label Warner subsidiaryBest of the Tams 123 records label capitol subsidiaryPunto Quatro ob productions record label
the Best of Judas Priest Gull Records labelMedite Franeo record label Los Grandes Exitos de: the Everly BrothersRick Smith We Should Be Lover Birdie Record LabelThe Far Pavilions Chrysalis custom bird record label


My friend, do you hear the black flight of ravens over our plains?


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La Vie En Rose: Not So Rosy

Posted by Miss Ess, December 22, 2007 03:32pm | Post a Comment
Rough:  That's the only way to describe Edith Piaf's life.

edith piaf

La Vie En Rose, a recent film about her life, is kind of tough to watch in parts.  Edith lived with so much edith piafpain!  The woman who plays her, Marion Cotillard, truly becomes Edith and is likely to garner an Oscar nomination for her acting skills.  I liked how the film flashes between Edith's life at all different stages and ages-- it's not a linear narrative and that makes it all the more compelling.  In rapid succession we see both what Edith becomes and why she became that way, where she has come from.


Piaf's childhood alone is riddled with more drama than most people experience in an entire lifetime:  Edith was born in Paris, ditched by her mom and then her dad.  The film shows how she lived for a time in a brothel and was cared for by the prostitutes there.  She goes through a period of being blind due to ill health.  One day her father comes back for her and takes her off on the road with (of course!) the circus, where he is a contortionist.  When pops quits the circus, he is forced to perform in the streets for change, and one day he pushes Edith out and tells her to "Do something", so she opens her mouth and sings.  With her warbley voice and energetic charisma, she's a hit from the get-go.



edith piafFrom there Edith's life takes off in many different directions and she eventually became the singer we have all enjoyed.  She's got such a dramatic and intense personality and it bleeds right into her performances!  Before watching this film I really had no idea about her back story, other than (of course) that she was French and called "The Sparrow."  Her life was full of roughness and not much love, except  when she was on stage performing.  The film does a good job of showing how Edith becomes addicted to many things, but especially to performing on stage.  It's the one place she can feel flawless.  Her life shifts quickly and often between the highest highs and the lowest lows.  It's both compelling and painful to watch.

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(Dans quelle Job feint pour savoir le français.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 10, 2007 11:17am | Post a Comment
My cat is driving me crazy.

So anyway, about French pop music. A lot of you hipsters know and love Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg and, though technically not French - we’ll not poils fendus – Josephine Baker. But the newness of discovery is spoilt when you realize that all your hipster friends have the same “obscure” French records you do and are just as prepared to profess their love of them over Jack & Cokes at whatever red-wallpapered hole-in-the-wall bar y’all frequent.

You want an upper hand. You want to show your dear, dear friends you’re a little better than them. And you want to sleep with one of them, but they don’t know it and you can’t tell them because, for one, it would wreak havoc with a couple of your friendships, and two, in your heart of hearts you know that they would never really love you back. Not really.

My cat seems to think that everything in this house is a scratching post except his scratching post.

So anyway, about French pop music. I’m no expert, but I’ve been around, and can offer a few new voices to enjoy that, though well-known in France, aren’t quite as obvious a choice stateside.

A particularly glamorous option, and one that lends itself well to barroom conversation (i.e.: showing off) is that blonde bombshell, Suzy Solidor.

She opened a Parisian nightclub in the early 1930’s, Boite de Nuit, which became all the rage. She held the [questionably factual] title of “most painted woman in the world”, with portraits being realized by some dude named Picasso, and the most famous by Tamara de Lempicka...


See? You knew the painting, but you assumed the woman in it was just another cabaret-cruising, syphillus-spreading harlot that took a break from swilling back absinthe to get her portrait painted, when in reality she was a successful businesswoman and popular chanteuse.