Album Review

L’Honneur De Poetes (Four French Resistance Writers) [coll] – [Folkways Records and Service Corp.]

whngr   3/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

A quadrumvirate of French poets wax theoretic in a bid to entice fellow revolutionaries into the fray against their occupied oppressive Nazi regime.

Recordings from the 1940’s replete with patriotism, fervor, cadence, and perhaps ennui… that retains a vintage sound quality, or lack thereof. Amid the hiss, pops, and thick miasma of cigarette smoke that undoubtedly hung in the cafés sympathetic to the underground there is a sense of pride and entitlement, perhaps cognizant that their words would fall on the sympathetic side of history.

Not exactly my sweet spot for sound as my francais is just this side of non-existent. It would have been easy to employ antiquated pejoratives for the French to describe their nasal and haughty delivery reinforcing bygone tropes. However, intermittently there is a genuine allure to the meter, tone, and deep-seeded emphatic dissidence that appeals to this miserable volunteer… And I share Mickey Slim’s (the instigator of this LP’s add) enthusiasm for the human voice and sometimes non-accompanied recitation. Though in hindsight I might have done well to hand this LP over to a more qualified reviewer, on a disk that provided considerable reticence to be smoothly added to our library based on myriad and pervasive issues in the recordings and cataloguing (also I attempted to find a transcription of these poems online before discovering the six page insert. Ah, ma folie.) which would take an age for me to accomplish. One I have surmounted prior to Slim’s imminent return to his new/old home overseas and spurring my decision to complete our transaction as, the gauntlet had been thrown down… and I am not one to shy from a challenge.

France – 1944

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