Ange — By the Sons of Mandrin
(Musea FGBG 4541.AR, 1977/2003, CD)
Ange — En Concert: Par les Fils de Mandrin Millésimé 77
(Musea FGBG 4542.AR, 1977/2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2004-04-01
Banco and PFM did it, so why not Ange? The world of rock music has always been dominated by the English language, and many of the bands who sing primarily in another language have seen fit to record English versions of their songs. The degree of success has varied, and most connoisseurs prefer the original versions, whether due to unpleasantly accented English or bad translations. Back in 1977, Ange released an English version of their album Par les fils de Mandrin, but it has been unavailable on CD until now. The good news is that the translations, done by Michael Quartermain, are pretty good. They’re a bit pretentious, surrealistic, and cosmic, but the original French lyrics are all those things as well. The bad news is that Chirstian Décamps’ accent is quite heavy, sometimes mangling the English to the point where you have to read along to know what he’s singing. On the spoken parts however, the accent is rather engaging. Quartermain himself handles some of the spoken bits, and his British accent (though he has a pleasant voice) seems out of place. Still, I find this an enjoyable twist on an old favorite, though your tolerance for accented English will determine your reaction.
And for another twist on the same set of songs, Musea is also providing a full live version recorded when the material was fresh. All the songs are varied from the studio recordings – some longer, some shorter – and both performance and production are first-rate. Two non-Mandrin tracks are included as a bonus: perennial favorite “Exode” from Au-delà du Délire (which was not included on the band’s 1977 live album Tome VI) and the wonderful long track “Le Vieux de la Montagne” which to my knowledge has only been released as a bonus track on the CD of their first album. This live release is an essential addition to the history of France’s foremost symphonic rock band.
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more