Outside of France, not too many people seem to have noticed that Jean Ferrat, a.k.a. The Red Bard, has passed away last Saturday, aged 79. Nevertheless, Ferrat was a French monument; even Nicolas Sarkozy had to praise him during the weekend, probably recalling quite accurately that old school communist Ferrat called him a rabid upstart just two years ago. Occasionally a bit too lofty and canorous for my tastes, he undoubtedly crafted a lot of remarkable chansons, among them Mon bel amour, sounding like a cross between Serge Reggiani and the early Jazz-dans-Le-Ravin Gainsbourg, the moving C’est beau la vie, complete with Paul Anka chorus, and surely his adaptations of the lyrics of another avowed radical leftist, writer legend Louis Aragon, among them the gorgeous Les Lilas. So no black flags today. Let’s raise the Red one again.
Jean Ferrat – Mon bel amour
Jean Ferrat – C’est beau la vie
Jean Ferrat – Les Lilas