Les Negresses Vertes

1991: Delabel CDDLB5

  1. La Valse
  2. Zobi la Mouche
  3. C’est pas la mer à boire
  4. Voila l’été
  5. Orane
  6. La faim des haricots
  7. Les yeux de ton père
  8. Il
  9. L’homme des marais
  10. Les rablablas les roubliblis
  11. Marcelle Ratafia
  12. La danse des négresses vertes
  13. Hey Maria
  14. Le père Magloire

Les Négresses Vertes never quite grabbed me enough in their heyday to add any of their stuff to my collection (and their version of Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” on the Red Hot and Blue benefit album actually repelled me a bit with its mis-aligned pronunciations and syllabic emphases). It took a 2009 Internet radio transmission of just the right song of theirs to finally enchant me, and that song was “L’homme des marais” from this album—a lusty and frothy cocktail of an invitation to passion, after an ominously moody prelude, with such radiant longing in the singer’s voice that I was moved nearly to tears hearing it. All that and it’s infectiously danceable if damnably short.

Now I face the challenge of assessing the rest of the album (some of which I did sample before ordering a copy of this first LNV album from FNAC), a task that will put my knowledge of slang and obscure-vernacular French to the test. The lyrics of “Les yeux de ton père” alone look to have me squirming as I struggle to find the contextual basis for lines such as the chorus’s “Va voir ta mère, Ce qu’elle t’a préparé ta mère une omelette avec les yeux de ton père” (“go see your mother, she’s made you an omelette with your father’s eyes”)….