Soul music, an extraordinary journey with Patrice Blanc-Francard

No need to skillfully turn around at 45 and 33 rpm which makes this book the irresistible flesh. Suffice it to say things as they are: “Rock my soul” is not just a remarkable document about the origins of the merger soul music. None. That’s it and more.

It’s a magical turntable book, where the vinyl LPs unfold adventures and revive extraordinary characters. It is a machine for wiggling time to the rhythm of countless hits. It’s a jukebox of legendary or little known episodes of this story, at the same time as the soundtrack to an epic road movie passing through Memphis, Detroit, Chicago … Through aAmerican dream which for a long time was only for most black artists and musicians the American nightmare racism and segregation.

The successor to the ad

We know well the eclectic career of the Blanc-Francard character, his radio appearances at France Inter (“Bananas”, “Loup Garou”, “Bikini”), his talents as a columnist in the written press (“Jazz Hot”, “Rock & Folk” ), his flair as a TV producer and host (“Pop 2”, “Les Enfants du Rock”, “Velvet Jungle”), his role as “Monsieur Cinéma” within the Étonnants Voyageurs festival, or even its dimension of encyclopedist ( a “Dictionary in love with jazz”), the editorial efforts of “Rock my soul” were nonetheless very ambitious.

Establish the majority biography for drunkto separate out the tangle of influences, to restore the burning and tumultuous of the crossed detachment; rhythm’n’bluesrock, but also jazz which created it, it was not won in advance.

ALSO READ> How Aretha Franklin took ‘Respect’ and turned it into ‘a woman’s song’

Constant musical mix

For it is not enough to show a title as clever and captivating as “Rock my soul” to convince of the closeness of the connections between music genres. It is still necessary to know, during an exceptional book concert of four hundred pages, to produce an unstoppable narrative and musical programming. Then provide the whole with a fluid, coherent narrative, to lead the reader without downtime or false notes from the gospel of Aretha Franklin’s childhood in Tennessee in the 1940s to “neo-soul” at the same time as the California Anderson. Paak.

The successor to the ad

Aretha Franklin in 1967.

It’s almost a century of relentless musical crossroads, from the acoustic fervor of a church choir to the digital sensuality of Alicia Keys’ “Tiny Desk Concerts” available on YouTube. From the distant and miserable setting of the blues (“The Devil’s Music”) from a Robert Johnson, to the technological and creative abundance of the one who will call himself Prince.

It is also not enough to shell out hits, to stack up the well-chosen references. So many essays and articles have already taken advantage of what all too often looks like a vein, restored the anecdotes and dramas (drugs, accidents, crime, etc.) that have shaped the careers of BB King, Otis Redding, James Brown, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke and so many others who have known the glory of the stage or the ingratitude and obscurity of the studies … Establishing the genealogical tree of the soul and revealing its melodic richness in the genome … There lies the permanent seduction of “Rock ” my soul”.

“Aretha Franklin, Soul Sister,” the Detroit diva

Legendary studies and labels

Instead of limiting himself to the classic hagiography of memorable rhythm’n’blues figures, Patrice Blanc-Francard set about producing a much more personal, intimate and innovative literary fresco. He arranges and stages a breathtaking gallery of composers, lyricists and inventors. Ingenious musicians or businessmen we rub with, side by side, as we would, depending on times and situations, from a novel by Chester Himes to an unpublished documentary by Wim Wenders, from “Ray by Taylor Hackford to the effervescent madness and John Landis’ “Blues Brothers” …

By combining critics and historians, journalists and sound engineers, “Rock my soul” greedily explores all facets of a fabulous musical maelstrom. The emergence and careers, successes or setbacks of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Curtis Mayfield or Solomon Burke are not only seen through the prism of records or sales errors. It is the whole image, the cartography of a musical genre, its human density and its formidable seduction power that brings Patrice Blanc-Francard to life.

The successor to the ad

And he does so with tact, intelligence, without succumbing to the obscure sensational to which so many episodes lend themselves; nor bow to the old-fashioned narrative “gonzzo”. By constantly making sure to provide an understanding of what heredity was, the singularity, then the lineage of groups and artists like Mar-Keys, Muddy Waters, Supremes, Fats Domino, The Last Poets … to water his story with moving or comic portraits of enthusiasts who, with sometimes ridiculous means, set about creating studios, labels that would become legendary signatures: Tamla-Motown, Atlantic, Stax, Sun, Chess Records …

“Diana Ross, sovereign diva”, the other iron lady

Warm lessons

By making sure, also and above all, to inscribe this ferment in the history of American radio and television, of the advances and technical revolutions that were the advent of vinyl, the transistor, the CD, the advent of MTV, the proliferation of “track” on recording consoles, the first Moog synthesizers … So much information, angles, tones and records that immediately classify “Rock my soul” in the “Essentials” category tomorrow.

However, it would be wrong to conclude that this sum is intended for specialists. It is exactly the opposite. And this is the book’s ultimate but crucial quality. Patrice Blanc-Francard has a warm lesson, an infectious curiosity, a sharp-witted humor and infectious enthusiasm. Here is neither professorship nor elitist drive, but a constant invitation to travel, discover or remember pieces, there are so many great musical “little madeleines”.

-50% the first year with Google

By choosing this promotional subscription path, you accept the deposit of an analysis cookie from Google.

As a rock botanist, Patrice Blanc-Francard evokes the germination of a riff in the studio, the blossoming of a voice, the hybridization of drums and a bass line, as others know how to go into rapture and communicate about the birth of a the orchid. His approach, as an amazing and exciting time traveler, stems from a virality of the pleasure of sharing. From a permanent concern to specifying the birth conditions and singularity of these madeleines.

The successor to the ad

So much so that it is impossible to close “Rock my soul” without feeling the desire, via CD, vinyl or streaming services, to find and expand all the flavors expressed in decibels.

Classical, rap, pop, rock … Our best albums of 2021shake my soul, by Patrice Blanc-Francard, Calmann-Lévy editions, 396 pp., 20.50 euros.

Leave a Comment