Les Chansons d'Aragon

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Les Chansons d'Aragon
LéoFerré1961albumcover.jpeg
Studio album by Léo Ferré
Released February 1961
Recorded January 10, 11, 13, 1961
at Barclay Studio, Paris (France)
Genre Chanson
Length 32:50
Label Barclay Records
Léo Ferré chronology
Paname
(1960)
Les Chansons d'Aragon
(1961)
La Langue française
(1962)

Les Chansons d'Aragon (English: "Songs of Aragon") is an album by Léo Ferré, released in 1961 by Barclay Records. It is his second album dedicated to a poet, after Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal in 1957. Here, Ferré focuses on former surrealist Louis Aragon, but the body of work he chooses (poetry collection Le Roman inachevé, mostly) is not surrealistic.

This album had much more impact than Ferré's first Baudelaire effort, maybe because when it was published Aragon was an active poet and a controversial committed communist figure in the French intellectual field.

History[edit]

Léo Ferré begins to set Louis Aragon's poems into music in the fall of 1958.[1] A twelve songs album is completed in march of 1959.[1] At that time, Ferré isn't under contract anymore. After a few refusals, Ferré ends up to sign with Eddie Barclay in 1960. Barclay seems sceptical about sung poetry and asks him to release catchy middle-of-the-road tunes before. Ferré carries the task out on Paname album, with such favorites as "Paname" or "Jolie môme" (one of his classics). This explains why album Les Chansons d'Aragon is only recorded in January and released in February 1961, two years after it was ready.

Finally the album is made of ten tracks only. This may be one of the finest cohesive album in the French early sixties popular musical field. Ferré changes most of the original titles, and sometimes dismisses some verses or change their order. Aragon, who was greatly impressed by Ferré’s adaptations,[2] wrote a liner text wherein he recognized Ferré as a true poet and claimed that "the literary history of France [would] have to be re-written a little differently because of the contribution made by Léo Ferré".

This album is a landmark and is considered as an evergreen classic of the French song repertoire.

Track listing[edit]

Texts by Louis Aragon. Music composed by Léo Ferré.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "L'Affiche rouge" (The Red Poster) 4:01
2. "Tu n'en reviendras pas" (You won't return from this) 2:54
3. "Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent ?" (Is this the way men live?) 3:31
4. "Il n'aurait fallu" (Just one second more) 2:37
5. "Les Fourreurs" (The Furriers) 2:36
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Blues"   3:46
7. "Elsa"   2:41
8. "L'Étrangère" (The Strangeress) 3:53
9. "Je chante pour passer le temps" (I sing to pass time) 2:50
10. "Je t'aime tant" (I love you so much) 3:32

Personnel[edit]

Credits[edit]

  • Arranger & band conductor: Jean-Michel Defaye
  • Director of engineering: Gerhard Lehner (uncredited)
  • Executive producer: Jean Fernandez (uncredited)
  • Cover photography: André Gornet

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Alain Raemackers, album La Mauvaise Graine booklet, La Mémoire et la Mer, 2006.
  2. ^ http://rfimusique.com/siteen/biographie/biographie_6301.asp