Ivy Jackson Jalbert

 

On the shelf are three stand-alones by Ivy: Apartment Life; Long Distance; In The Clear. In 1997 I read a review of Apartment Life and picked it up in December of that year. I enjoyed it enough to pick up another two of their releases. This is cafe music. Easy listening songs about love, loss, longing & travel. There is a decided French influence that adds to their appeal. Singer Dominique Durand has a sweet whisper of a voice – like Brigitte Bardot or Jane Birken. Appealing, almost romantic, background music for making out. 

The opposite is true for Millie Jackson – she doesn’t make background music. On an mp3 collection I have – Caught Up; Still Caught Up; Pleasure. All are classic r’n’b soul. Millie has a fine raspy voice. The albums are all concept albums about obsessive love gone wrong from the pov of the stalker. This is great music that taps romance in a highly relatable way as opposed to the blissful lovey dovey love song way. 

Also in this mp3 collection is Sister Monica: as the name suggests this is secular gospel music mixed with real life 🙂 She has rich full voice. Worth checking out. As is Alice Ruiz & Rogeria Holtz’s No Pais de Alice – fun Latino music with a message I nearly understand. Finally in this collection is a return to real French with La Mome: the soundtrack to the 2007 Piaf film. Recordings of Piaf, some slightly remixed for the sound track plus some of actual soundtrack music. This is a soundtrack that doesn’t need the movie for you to enjoy it.

I first heard Laurence Jalbert on MuchMusic’s French Kiss (no longer on the air) A P.Q. Bonnie Riatt but with more sensuality. I have stand-alones of her 1st & Corridors. Both bought in Montreal. Like many Quebecois singers her style ranges from r/n/b, soul, pop, a touch of country, some with traditional influence, even jazz. A warm inviting voice. My French hasn’t improved though 🙂

Protect

From were he stood on the crest of a small hill Tom could only hear broken phrases. A group of voices chanting in the night. The wind broken up the chant, as did the trees between him and them. The voices rose and fell almost with the rise and fall of the waves that crashed at the base of the cliffs. The timing had to deliberate yet how could it be?

‘What are you listening to?’ Steve asked.

‘Can’t you hear it?’

‘Sounds like the wind in the trees.’

‘No. It’s more than that.’

‘Perhaps a blood sacrifice to the moon?’

‘More like some drunken kids howling at the moon.’

The wind dropped suddenly. There was a cool stillness around them. A figure stepped out ten feet in front of them A te‚enage boy with a sloppy smile and even sloppier clothes.

‘Yo, watcha gawkin’ man. Take a good look while you can. There’s nothing other than the moon and you be the snake skin soon soon.’

Several other teens stepped out around them. Each repeating the same phrases.

‘We seem to have …’

‘Yo, man, no say anything. We protect. You be needin’ protection.’

The circle of teens pressed closer. All boys, about fifteen or sixteen years old.

‘We should be getting back to our hotel.’ Steve said. 

‘You be stain’ at Casa Trib’mana?’

‘Yes.’ Tom flexed his hands, ready.

‘Not to worry, man, we’ll not harm you. Others would be doing that, but we aren’t like that. We protect. Protect the foolish likes of you.’

In the dim light Tom couldn’t make out the faces of these teens clearly, but as they came closer, he saw streaks of scarlet had been drawn around the eyes, several short dashes of green along the chin.

‘You look at our whiskers.’ the first teen said. ‘We make our selves fit the world. You see this world.’

The boys spread out and vanished except for the first boy.

‘You better be head, back. A night like this isn’t one for strangers. You know my meaning. Not for strangers who have no idea where the world is headin. You need help ask for Rumba. I be Rumba.’

‘Thanks.’ Frank turned around. They headed back up the path.

‘Did you get all that?’ he asked Tom.

‘I think so.’ he tapped the bag that held the video camera. ‘That was best we’ve gotten so far.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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C’est toi et Jacques Brel

I first heard Dany Brilliant on MuchMusic’s French Kiss – a weekly half-hour show devoted to French pop music. The song was C’est toi – a brash, infectious French Sinatra & I love it. I also have his ‘Histoire D’un Amour’ cd tucked into one of the Brel mp3 cds & both are well worth having.

blueglory

morning glory blue

My alphabetical brings me to Jacques Brel next. I happened upon his complete recordings for a reasonable price & so I have over 20 cds condensed into 4 mp3 collections (& some scatted through another cds). Plus a stand alone double of his hits. Not that I ever set out for this massive collection but I sure do enjoy it & there’s always some Brel on my iPod.

It all started in the late 90’s when I picked up an lp of his Man of La Mancha, next came that 2 cd set. He was a huge European & world star. Too many hits to name check – but one of the things that stunned me on hearing them was the use of the theremin in many of them – electronica mixed with his big band sound is sweet.

The collection includes live concerts, a tribute album, his recording in Flemish & all the studio work & live performances. What isn’t here is the ‘Alive & Well’ – which I doubt he was alive to see. Many of the songs follow a similar arrangement: starting easy & getting faster & more emotional, over-the-top like a wild merry-go-round.

bluetree

blue fields

Mixed into this for variety & relief are recordings by Edith Piaf (a very best of), Adamo (various eps: he was, at first, a mop top pop start), Mireille Mathieu (Tangos – she is amazing), Charles Aznavour (a hits collection), Maurice Larcange (what French collection would be complete without some accordion cafe music), Francois Hardy (sweet breathy & a surveyor if the 60’s pop push – Feist owes everything to Hardy), Sacha Distel (fine jazz guitarist & sweet singer & one-time boy friend of Bardot), Juliette Greco (actress & sultry, sort of scary, singer, the Greco lp was huge in the 50’s, early 60’s with her deadpan beatnik look), Herve Vilard (some eps of sweet latin flavoured pop).

whitehorseno more rides on old blue

All of this would fall under adult contemporary today. The influence of US pop is subtle. By pop I don’t mean rock’n’roll either, though there is a bit of doo wop in some of it , more of the Bobby Vinton easy listening. I do have a healthy slab of French rock & garage pop though & we’ll eventually get to that as I progress though the alphabet.

sample

Yellow Dust

The barren landscape held only yellow dust as far as the eye could see. Nothing remained on the ground of the two domed cities, the people, or the landing sky bay that once hovered overhead.

‘What sort of violence could have done this?’ Dale asked.

‘Gosh I don’t rightly know Cadet Dale,’ Griff, Dale’s robot sidekick answered. As he answered his optic sensors rotated in several slow circles.

‘Looks like something just pulverised them.’

‘Right enough Cadet Dale. My sensors are picking up trace elements of the various minerals that had built the structures here. Would you like a quantitative list of them.’

‘No, that’s fine.’ Dale still found Griff’s personality difficult to understand. The bot had been given some ‘familiarity’ programs but also maintained its strict analytic core.

‘Yes.’

‘Bring us to the co-ordinates the the Prime Dome.’

Dale’s craft moved silent over the still surface of the planet. The sensor scope that played across the surface beneath them revealed nothing. More flatness. Not even a hint of foundations. Only the trace elements of what had once been there and as those readings sped by it was clear that even those traces where declining.

‘Griff those trace elements are being absorbed by something. Can you tell what it is.’

‘Be happy to try Cadet Dale. Might take me a moment or two so …’ Griff’s auto voice slowed and stilled. His lights dimmed and nearly went out.

‘Oh crap. Just what I need now for the bot to shut down. Main Line what is the problem with Griff.’

‘Griff is thinking.’ The electronic voice of the ship’s computer purred. ‘There is more data here than he was equipped to deal with swiftly.’

‘More data? How can that be?’

‘He has to adjust for each decline in readings. The declines are so swift he’ll never catch up.’

‘How long will Griff be thinking?’

‘That is not a question I can answer.’

‘Estimate?”

‘That is not a question I can answer. I must alert you to the fact the the left hull is being eroded. ‘

‘Eroded?’

‘Yes. It will soon be too weak to keep out the atmosphere. I am taking the ship out of danger now.’

‘Wait.’

soon

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nano02

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horses

‘read the smoke’

kumari giles, in ‘things i cannot speak’,  with ‘young palms lined with old stories’ shared some stories as part of the Young Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times on the weekend. Memories of Sri Lanka, coming-out, the power of the haircut, of grandmothers, infused the piece.  Of war ‘you cannot erase a people without erasing yourself.’ kumari shifted from characters easily, perhaps too easily, as at times one wasn’t sure whose pov was being presented – which, in a way, underlines the difficulty of maintaining  any identity in our culture.

whiteshelf

a moment of shelflessness

Simply staged, with good use of red fabric – it was blood lines and restraints at times – sound effects and lighting. A simple, evocative performance in which I identified with the way we become ‘impressed’ with actions of the past – how we take on mannerism of parents without realizing it – I have my father’s aches.

drawers02

put your drawers down

Next up was Andre Prefontaine, in ‘(mE)dith Piaf’, ‘read the smoke’ of his past for us as he shared his recovery and his love of Piaf. Like kumari’s performance he shifted from character to character but his piece was about self-destruction and self-discovery. Funny, clever, emotionally vulnerable and satisfying. He touched on the recovery process without being industrial; queer life & the sex trade without being defensive or exploitive. An honest, direct & accomplished piece.

drawers

Ikea magic

The staging was as simple as the first piece but with a greater sense of theatricality – the evocation of Piaf via lighting was excellent. Sound effects propelled the story perfectly as Andre created characters with lighting, accents and appropriate finger-snaps. Looking back the piece also mirrored Cabaret: the musical about sex, drugs and self-discovery right down the Joel Grey like personification of cocaine. Je ne regrette pas le voir.

samples

a piece of mine about sex, drugs & rock’n’roll

Unmasked

background:

Hendrix: burning the midnight lamp

soon … I wish I was a merman

foreground:

messy coffee table

open bottles wine beer Scotch

weed rolled in papers too thin to write on

yet strong enough to hold a shared dream

midground:

three of us

Del me Kathy

share this joint enterprise

laugh at a phrase I was going through

hands touch to pass

the precious opener of minds

or rather the opener of pants

as Del loudly called it

his eyes on Kathy

she gave him a look

that said ‘see you later’

then left with her cigarettes

and the remains of the wine

‘uptight bitch’ Del laughed

as the door shut

he stayed

the supply on hand

held more appeal than

the supply leaving the room

that Jimi guitar

hooked its way around our brain

led our vision across patterns

my voodoo child eyes would wander

all along the corduroy

that hugged and held Del

he invitingly pushed the coffee table away

to make room on the floor

we had become so smoke soft

only the backless floor could

hold our floating

rolling

bodies

till we found ourselves

naked

I could feel the crosstown traffic of my heart

the sensation of his tongue on mine

the coarse grind of pubic hair on stomach

a move for a breath of air

to refresh the disguise of liquor

thighs hands lips

trimming a midnight lamp

that still burns today

but no longer needs

a smoke-screen

the bottled mask of permission

shelf02

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