In Mojo's Motown top 100, it was mentioned that The Velvelettes recorded a couple of songs in French. I was immediatly interested; real French soul! Turned out they were never released. Well, until 2004's compilation The Velvelettes - The Motown Anthology. From the liner notes: 'Berry Gordy discovered that Cal (Caldin Gill, one of the original groupmembers) had majored in French in high school and, to his surprise, she spoke French quite well. Thus, he paired the five girls with a French producer, named Pierre Berjot. Berry was very fascinated and took great pleasure in Pierre and Cal on conversations in French.' Why none of these recordings weren't released, the story doesn't tell. Pierre Berjot is also knows as Pierre Jaubert, the mastermind behind afro-rock bands like Ice and Lafayette Afro-Rock Band. Shame the four French songs were never released at the time - the only French cover of a Motown hit I know is Annie Philippe's Baby Love. Must be more, but who knows what the Velvelettes could've achieved. Then again, there are several very good French soul singers, ranging from Axelle Red to Soha. But more Supremes-like groups en Français, could've been great.
The liner notes of the Velvelettes anthology also mention that Stevie Wonder recorded a French version of Castles in the Sand. Would love to hear that.
Velvelettes - Je veux crier (My foolish heart)
Velvelettes - Le Hokey Pokey (The Monkey)