Eddy Mitchell Gets a Ten

CD cover 'Mr Eddy'

Review of the CD Album, 'Mr. Eddy'

by Mike Harmon

Paris:- Friday, 14. March 1997:-I thought maybe I could just have a few glasses of wine and some good French Cognac and knock out a loving review of 'Mr. Eddy' with lots of adoring verbiage. It wasn't that easy at all. I had to go back to the keyboard and put on my thinking cap.

I think it might be a good idea to tell faithful readers of Metropole a little about me so you'll understand where I'm coming from. I'm a baby-boomer, born and raised in Montana in the fifties and sixties, mainly on fifties rock-and-roll.

By 1966 I was living in California and the Beatles came to my attention and really introduced me to great music and some other things that I won't mention. I remember being on the Haight-Asbury just before the 'Summer of Love' when the music you would hear in the clubs in San Francisco was all jazz. Things really changed after that summer.

My interest in great music has continued since that period through all sorts of styles and types: funk, blues, modern jazz, big band, classical, Latin, African, Arabic, techno, trance, and world music of all kinds.

Maybe I've just been getting old, but it's been getting harder to find some great new sound, until now. Eddy Mitchell has come blasting his way into my life. It has been quite a wake-up call.

I hardly even knew that France existed until around the middle of 1993. I don't know what it was since I'd never really noticed any event in particular that triggered it, except maybe for this new lady I had become friends with.

Her name is Tedy and she had been a model for some French designers in the early 1980's. Wow, did she have a wild tour of Europe, Africa and Asia!

Apparently this period was some kind of golden age of modeling and other wild things. She got burnt out and came back to California to recuperate. She still had some good friends in Paris in '93 and we talked about going back to tie up the loose ends a bit. I finally decided to take her back to Paris in July of 1994, to help write a book about her experiences.

Mr Eddy at the movies

We timed the trip to arrive on Bastille Day. This turned out to be a mistake since everybody in Paris had partied the night before and there was nobody around. Paris was wonderful but hot that month. We had a ton of fun eating and drinking our way across the City of Light. I got hooked on France and Paris.

With no luck I studied French; and since then have collected everything made in France that I could afford, and read everything about France I could lay my hands on. The French flag hangs high in my apartment and always will.

My only problem during the past two years has been finding music by French singers, musicians or groups. We don't have a Virgin music store around here, so about all I can typically find is 'Classic French Music Compilations.' You can understand my joy when this CD by Eddy arrived in the mail, with a request for a review of it.

Since then I've played the CD constantly in my house and in the car. It's great everywhere and anytime; loud or low. It's a killer combination of musical styles: including: big band jazz reminiscent of Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra, blues by B.B. King and Eric Clapton, funk by James Brown and George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic, rock by Jimi Hendrix, and country music by Willie Nelson. All of these styles are put together in a wonderful way that works.

I only wish I understood French comprehensively, but Eddy connects with my ear and soul so well it doesn't really matter much. Eddy Mitchell must be one of the best kept secret weapons of the French music industry. That tenor voice is superb. I wonder if he smokes cigarettes.

Let's get to some specifics - practically every song on this 13-cut CD is absolutely great. There are only two cuts I didn't really get into: one and seven - they were just too slow for my taste and lacked the punch of every other cut.

Now when I put it on I start with cut number two which, together with cuts three, four, five and six really charge with great jazz, blues and funk styles - these are my favorites. Cuts eight, nine and ten move to romantic, with a tempo that's heavy on the blues.

Mr Eddy's dog and cat

Finally, for a complete change, there are cuts 11, 12 and 13. These are the country section of the CD. These tunes kind of take me back to the old days in Montana. I can see Eddy with a cowboy hat and wearing boots. The steel guitar twanging and the harmonica almost take me home, except that home is in California now.

On a scale of one to ten, with ten being best, I rate this CD as follows: production is ten, Eddy gets a ten, the band gets a ten, the songs get an eight, and the CD package gets a six because I couldn't understand it. I'm not going to send it back to Metropole in Paris. I'm going to take it up in the hills and play it loud with the moonroof of my Honda wide open.

Editor's Note

Besides working in some cool civic job in a nice small city in California, Mike Harmon reads Metropole every week and writes every week to tell me so. He is so much a fan of things French that he also sent a version of the above review in French, but forgot to convert it from the RTF-format. It looked like this:

margb0\deftab720\par d\ql{\f0\fs20\cf0\up0\dn0 Le tourbillon Mitchell est fort comme Rivalise!}{\par}\pard\ql
{\f0\fs20\cf0\up0\dn0 Pardonner moi pour mon étreinte pauvre de la langue Francaise, mais Tourbillon est le bonne de la onne, et le CD M'EDDY est le primo example}\ql{\f0\fs20\

Eddy Mitchell's first single, '100% Roc - Les Chaussettes Noires,' was released in May of 1961. Since then he has released 23 principal albums, starred in several feature films, is an accomplished on-stage performer in large halls such as Bercy, and currently hosts a double-feature (usually westerns) film night once a month on FR3, called the Dernière Séance, which was also the title and a song on his album of the same name, released in October 1977.

Mr. Mitchell is currently on tour in France like any other hard-working rock-n-roller, doing one-night stands in towns such as Charleville, Lievin, and Dunkerque. The tour finishes in Troyes on Saturday, 7. June. A good source who saw him at Bercy in Paris at the end of January, told me he puts on a dynamite show.

'Les Tuniques Bleues et les Indiens' from 'Mr. Eddy' was a hit single in France last fall.

*CD album 'Mr. Eddy' by Eddy Mitchell. Polydor 533176-2/4, first released 20. August 1996.*

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