Listen – Ce Petit Coeur – MP3
Here’s hoping that the end of the week (or beginning, depending on where you start counting) finds you well.
All is well on this end, and I figured that a recent spate of digi-ma-tization for Iron Leg dictated that we start the week off with something interesting.
Back in the day, when I was up to my neck in all things 1960’s, the beat (R&, Freak and otherwise), psyche, garage fuzz and whatever else was slipping over my lobes and into my brain, my buds and I happened upon the music of one Francoise Hardy.
Hardy, one of the great French pop stars of the 1960’s and beyond (not only a singer but and actress, and eventually Mrs Jacques Dutronc) recorded in a variety of styles beginning not long after leaving high school in 1962.
I remember buying my first Hardy record at Midnight Records in Manhattan, an establishment owned and operated by a cranky Frenchman who had Bob Dylan’s hair from 1965 and a taste for that “WILD SEEXTEEZ PONK ZOUND!”*. Midnight was THE mail order outfit if you were a 60’s nut, and my friends and I just happened to be lucky enough to live close enough to prowl through their racks in person.
Always game for an adventurous listen, I grabbed the first of a three volume retrospective of her recordings (the one with the most dates on the back between 1963 and 1968, of course). When I got it home, my ears, accustomed as they were to fuzz and jangle found much of it to be a little on the lightweight side.
However (big however here), after I let it sink in, I found myself playing one particular song repeatedly. That tune, ‘Ce Petit Coeur’ was the closest thing on that disc to pure 60’s folk rock.
In the years that followed, I discovered that during the 60’s and 70’s her record companies tried like the dickens to break Hardy over here in the States. It certainly wasn’t too far fetched. Hardy, in addition to having a very pleasant voice, also happened to be the very model of mid-60’s, ironed-hair, kohl-eyed cool (no doubt part of her appeal when my garagey pals and I first happened upon her).
Her first US releases were issued on the Kapp Records subsidiary 4 Corners of the World (the inner sleeve indicates that the rest of their catalogue was a decidedly unhip amalgam of bagpipe and flamenco albums). Though I’m not positive that the ‘Francoise..’ LP was her first US release, it was definitely the first one I found.
‘Ce Petit Coeur’ (released in 1965) has a great melody, as well as a nice bit of jangly 12-string goodness, which (if her numerous TV appearances – see below – promoting the song) seems to have been a hit, at least in France. Though I dig her later, folky, singer-songwriter styled stuff, this tune is still my fave.
I hope you dig it.
*A direct quote.