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.
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more