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Fabienne Delsol

[1]1,193 words

I heard a Toyota TV commercial with a catchy song called “Come Along.” I didn’t know anything about it, or its singer, so I listened to the full version of the song on the Internet. I continued researching, and this is what I found. Nothing to do with race—just a random slice of contemporary pop culture.

The song was not composed for the commercial, but is part of a track from an album by Fabienne Delsol [2] called Between You and Me (2007).

YouTube pulled an earlier post of the song with many hits, so it may pull this one also; if so, do a search and you should at least be able to locate the TV commercial containing the excerpt from the full track.

“Come Along” (2007) (Full track)

http://youtu.be/VBZYB3v6ERU [3] [1:42 mins.]

It’s a little surprising that a Toyota adman (non-Japanese, I assume) knew about or discovered this obscure 2007 song by a little-known French singer and selected it for an ad campaign. It would be interesting to know how that came about.

“Come Along” is deceptively simple and short. One Internet commenter remarked, “Let’s see now . . . Without having a guitar or piano to guide me, let’s say the start chord in this song is C, okay? It would go like this: C-G-C-F-C-A-D-G-C. Might be missing a note, but that would pretty much cover it.”

I have no idea whether this is correct or not, but he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.

Representative online reactions to “Come Along” include:

“This goddamn song is never leaving my head.”

“This song has permeated my very being. Although I really do like it, the song has gotten into my head, and will not leave. I have an audio virus.”

“It always makes me happy and makes me smile when I hear it.”

Such comments suggest a simple but elusive quality that operates on a very “primitive,” in the sense of basic or fundamental, level.

As further evidence for this, one young mother, writing of her two toddlers [4], blogged, “Every time it comes on tv, they both stop whatever they are doing and dance along.”

This is a familiar, everyday sort of experience we are apt not to think much about, but which is probably freighted with psychological significance. It is a repetitive pre-rational response by toddlers to a specific song. For example, the kids’ behavior is not imitative, prompted, say, by a specific social environment in which dancing is occurring. Nor are they “performing” for an audience.

It pertains, rather, to the psychological effect “Come Along” has on the brain, apart from any aesthetic merit or demerit the song is deemed to possess.

Fabienne Delsol

Chanteuse Fabienne Delsol was born and raised in Limoges, central France and liked rock and roll and the music of Serge Gainsbourg (1928–1991) (real name Lucien Ginsburg, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants) when she was growing up. Gainsbourg was a French singer whose bio [5] depicts a disgusting if typical member of his tribe.

On Between You and Me Delsol sings Gainsbourg’s “Vilaines Filles, Mauvais Garçons” (“Naughty Girls, Bad Boys”).

I had not previously heard of Gainsbourg, but he was evidently a celebrity in France. Among his sexual conquests was movie sex kitten and later animal rights activist and anti-Muslim spokeswoman Brigitte Bardot.

Delsol moved to England in 1996, where she met Liam Watson, a British sound engineer, record producer, and owner of Toe Rag Studios.

Watson founded the studio in 1991 using mostly analogue audio recording equipment because of his disdain for digital. (For interesting insight into Watson’s recording techniques, which form an important element of Delsol’s sound, see “Liam Watson & Toe Rag Studios,” [6] Sound On Sound, October 2003. The article does not mention Delsol.)

With Watson producing, Delsol released her first solo album, No Time for Sorrows, in the fall of 2004, followed by two additional albums in 2007 and 2010.

Most of her songs are rendered in English, but a few are in French—e.g., Serge Gainsbourg’s “Laisse Tomber Les Filles” [7] (“Leave the Girls Alone”) [2:14 mins.]. A different cover of the song by April March was used in the end credits of director Quentin Tarantino’s movie Death Proof (2007).

Other Delsol solos include “When My Mind is Not Live” [8] [2:58 mins.] and “I’m Gonna Catch Me A Rat” [9] [2:11 mins.].

The Bristols

Upon arrival in England, before going solo, Delsol was lead singer for the Bristols, a British rock band.

Producer Liam Watson had been in the process of assembling a UK garage group, and though Delsol didn’t have much experience as a vocalist, he persuaded her to audition. Watson liked what he heard and Delsol quickly became the group’s lead singer.

The Bristols released three singles and two LPs before splitting in 2003.

Generally, the Bristols’ songs have a harder rock edge than Delsol’s solo recordings. They are dead-ringer, 1964–1965 vintage (not 1963 or 1966, just ’64–’65) British pop-rock; it’s somewhat uncanny hearing such precise re-creations 30 to 40-odd years after the era ended.

Sample Bristols tunes include “Baby Gene” [10] [2:07 mins.] (a good one) and “True, True Lovin'” [11] [2:08 mins.].

About another, “You Know, You Know” [12] [3:13 mins.] (Hangman’s Daughter, 1996, 45 RPM), an Internet commenter wrote,

Like other Hangman’s Daughter discs, I believe this was limited to just 500 copies. [The A side] “Seduta Sul Mio Sofa” [13]  is indeed The Kinks’ “Sitting On My Sofa” sung in a foreign language [Italian]. This was my first exposure to the Bristols’ work and I was distinctly unimpressed with the A side. [I don’t mind it—the Kinks’ original was simple too!] Nothing could have prepared me for the B side though . . . a fuzz guitar based stormer with thundering drums and Fabienne Delsol’s voice drenched in echo, it blew me away. A Liam Watson production, mixed in mono, one could believe this dated from 1964 since it captured the sound and raw vibe of that era perfectly.

 The last sentence sums up most of the Bristols’ recordings.

The “fuzz guitar” remark caught my attention because someone else said about “Come Along”: “The distortion is a ‘Fuzz’ banjo, very rare.”

My favorite Bristols song is the group’s first single.

“Questions I Can’t Answer” (1996)

http://youtu.be/c6UGgpjkvvE [14] [2:10 mins.]

“Questions I Can’t Answer” is a cover of a 1964 song originally recorded by a not-very-well-known UK singer named Heinz (1942–2000). (Heinz, “Questions I Can’t Answer” [15] [2:23 mins.]) The Bristols’ version is superior to Heinz’s, but the latter is very good—better than his biggest hit single, “Just Like Eddie” (1963).

The Bristols’ “The Beating of My Heart” [16] [2:22 mins.] is another cover of a Heinz song [17] from 1964 [2:21 mins.]. The original was a hit in Australia, where it charted at No. 2.

There is an interesting parallel between Delsol and Heinz. Like Delsol, Heinz was born on the Continent—in Detmold, Germany during the war. He moved to England at the age of seven.


As lead singer for the Bristols

“Questions I Can’t Answer” (45 RPM, 1996)

“Seduta Sul Mio Sofa”/”You Know, You Know” (45 RPM, 1996)

Introducing . . . the Bristols [18] (2000)

Tune in With . . . the Bristols [19] (2001)

Best of Fabienne Del Sol & the Bristols [20] (2006)

Solo Albums

No Time for Sorrows [21] (2004)

Between You & Me [22] (2007) (including “Come Along”)

On My Mind [23] (2010) “Recorded in Liam Watson’s Toe Rag time machine studio (with the dial stuck between 1964 and 1965).”