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Music Monday on Friday: Reconnez Cherie

With the use of the London Punk scene of the late 70s as a kind of artistic overlay to our R3, YHB has been thinking about and reading and listening to stuff from that period. Whilst driving back and forth to rehearsal, I’ve been focusing on one of my favorite artifacts, Live Stiffs Live, a concert album from the famous or perhaps infamous or even more perhaps obscure 1977 Live Stiffs tour.

Not that the boys are punks. They are already post-punk at this point, New Wave, pub rockers, whatever they are. Not punks. But still. That’s what I’m listening to in the car.

I found the album in the first place, on pirated cassette in the mid-80s, because of my once-obsessive love of Elvis Costello, who has two tracks on the album. The other name I’d heard of at the time was Nick Lowe, who had a minor hit in 1985 with “I Knew the Bride (when she used to rock’n’roll)”, which, as it happens, is the song that leads off Live Stiffs. Of the others, I pretty quickly found Ian Dury (and played his stuff on the radio during my short stint as a college DJ), but have still never heard anything else by either Larry Wallis (whose “Police Car” is a fantastic song) or Wreckless Eric.

Wreckless Eric has two songs on the album. One is a number called “Semaphore Signals” which I quite like as a song, although Mr. Eric is in such a state of inebriation (and Davey Payne on saxophone is worse) that they pretty much fail to sell it, as far as I’m concerned. And the other is my least favorite song on the album, “Reconnez Cherie”. In addition to some seriously raggedy-ass saxophone and a general state of chaos (not altogether un-punk, actually), the vocals are utterly, utterly, utterly awful.

So, anyway, there I am, in my Prius, driving back to my suburban house, listening to Wreckless Eric bawling something in French, or probably in French. And I think to myself, self think I, I bet could get on-line and find out what the hell he’s supposed to be saying. And, in truth, the lyrics to “Reconnez Cheri” are on-line.

What a world.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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