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EMMANUEL BOOZ

Eclectic Prog • France


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Emmanuel Booz biography
With Emmanuel Booz, the four studio efforts in his resume can't help you pinpoint this musician's style, and you are forced to appreciate his eclectic output and creativeness. It's true that with each album, the sound changed but, moreover, within each album you face quite diverse influences that reveal his talent and his affection for varied sounds. There is also the avant-garde edge to his music. He did like to experiment, play with the listeners and tease them, but not to a point of becoming unlistenable or annoying. The assorted end result deserves the art-rock moniker.
His first release was actually the French version of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant - Au Restaurant D'Alice in 1969. However, our interest in his music begins with his 1974 album, Le Jour ou les Vaches. In this album, there is a special mood, and as said varied styles, some oddities and also a sort of theatrical approach and a tad of chanson Francaise. The arrangements and instrumentation on the album (the strings in particular) contribute much to the slightly melancholic and the somewhat "spacey/trippy" mood. In 1976 came out his album Clochard (Hobo) in which Jol Dugrenot plays bass. In 1979 arrived his chefs-d'ouvre - Dans Quelle Etat J'erre with its 3 lenghty tracks. Much more guitar oriented, and still the theatrical side is still there. Dynamic complex and engaging, changing often, this album is a very enjoyable ride. You also get a fair amount of electronic and spacey parts. The vocals range from regular singing to a sort of narrative style to fast and loud speaking. The focus here should be also given to the musicians which do a great work, whether it's the bass or the drums and guitars. Jean-Louis Mahjun plays alto violin on Ode Aux Rats. When speaking of Booz, you'll usually receive references to this album and for good reason. I find somewhat of a similar approach between this one and the release of the same year by Ma Banlieue Flasque. If you try just one of his albums, listen to Dans Quel Etat J'Erre!
Nowadays, Booz is an actor and has appeared in both French and American movies.

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==




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Discography:
Au Restaurant D'Alice, studio album (1969)
Le Jour Ou Les Vaches, studio album (1974)
Clochard, studio album (1976)
Dans Quel Etat J'Erre, studio album (1979)

Emmanuel Booz official website

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Dans Quel Etat J'ErreDans Quel Etat J'Erre
Import
Musea 1978
Audio CD$18.93
$30.52 (used)
Le Jour O Les VachesLe Jour O Les Vaches
Musea 1974
Audio CD$18.96
ClochardClochard
Import
Musea 1976
Audio CD$18.50
Clochard +3 (Shm-cd) Mini LpClochard +3 (Shm-cd) Mini Lp
Belle Antique
Audio CD$36.99
Le Jour Ou Les Vaches +3 (Shm-cd) Mini LpLe Jour Ou Les Vaches +3 (Shm-cd) Mini Lp
Belle Antique
Audio CD$36.99
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EMMANUEL BOOZ discography


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EMMANUEL BOOZ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Au Restaurant d'Alice
1969
3.75 | 15 ratings
Le Jour o les Vaches...
1974
3.87 | 7 ratings
Clochard
1976
3.68 | 14 ratings
Dans Quel Etat j'Erre
1979

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EMMANUEL BOOZ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Le Jour o les Vaches... by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.75 | 15 ratings

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Le Jour o les Vaches...
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I studied french for three years, back in school. However, those three years gave me fragments of understanding the language. Listening to music in other languages than english is challenging, if you really want to know the content of the lyrics, but personally I find that's not all that important. Listening to Emmanuel Booz "Le jour u les vaches" I'm struck by the way he delivers his lyrics, obviously very important to him. That alone is intriguing. The music is what really matters. Emmanuel Booz delivers an angry sort of prog, presumably (in some cases) about the enviroment. The music is quite intricate, if not too avant-garde. I found it to be appealing at an instant. In short it's an album full of good, lovely music which deserves to be heard and appreciated. Great album, which surely is worth 3,5 stars!

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 Dans Quel Etat j'Erre by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.68 | 14 ratings

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Dans Quel Etat j'Erre
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Dans Quel Etat j'Erre is Emmanuel Booz's forth and final album, released three years after it's predecessor it marks yet another evolution in style, it seems all his previous works were leading towards this album. What started in 'Clochard' seems now complete, every song included an instrumental part and you could easily feel the interplay between the musicians, here it seems the instrumentals are a crucial element in the music aside with the vocals. This is his most ambitious and progressive album and it feels like a group effort more than a solo album, and not because of the songs lenths, but because of the material itself. The music holds a lot of ideas and puts you on quite a ride with all kinds of twists and turns, overall it's a real roller coaster. Again all previous musicians are replaced with a different larger ensemble, including Didier Lockwood on violin.

Booz chose to ditch his quiet folky roots along with his slow haunting songs, that seemed to be dominating his albums and kind of defined his style, and thought he would focus more on his aggressive rocky side. The music here is very rocky and kicking but also have a spacey side with calmer parts. guitars, synths, violins all shine and creates this wonderful sound. Booz's vocals are manic and passionate as always and even though if you can't understand a word, they are still captivating and you can feel they are not just there, they definitely have a meaning and intention, even if they are about rats!

'L'de aux rats' is the main piece clocking at 16 minutes, it's divided in two, the first part has a fast rhythm and is intended to rock your world featuring great hard rocking guitars fused with all kinds of synths sounds and violins all combined together, top that with excellent vocals, each instrument goes in and out of the music and you have a real feel of togetherness as they go from one idea to the next easily, adding some great solos by violin and guitar. It than falls down quietly to the next part with beautiful synth work, all sounds quite spacey. I love the ending very passionate with very calm synths sounds, just beautiful.

'La symphonie catastrophique' is again rocky and as it goes along the music with the vocals are increasing speed and it all gets more intense leading to a fabulous guitar solo and some more jamming. Very Good. 'Armoire et persil' the closing track features very good synth work with a quirky rhythm, this is the place to comment on the excellent drum work, it's always improvising and not just keeping the beat going, it turns to be more symphonic towards the end, very good stuff indeed!!

I wish it wasn't the end of his musical career and it puzzle's me why he never released more albums, he chose to become an actor and was featured in some US movies as well. Don't pass this album before checking it out, it could be a good starting point for those of you who are not familiar yet with this artist, or this energetic, interesting and totally awsome music, It's worth it. The rating is surprisingly low than what i've expected actually and yet again i find myself personally conflicted of whether it's a 4 or a 5, but i'm going with 4, it's 4.3 stars to be exact.

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 Clochard by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.87 | 7 ratings

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Clochard
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Clochard is the third album by Emmanuel Booz and it marks another change in style, although not shockingly different, but still it is refreshing to see how this musician is trying to explore different sounds and styles, and succeeds doing so because well first of all he is very talented and second he managed to gather some great musicians to execute his ideas. While in his previous album the music was lying on great classical orchestrated arrangements, this time the orchestra is all gone and we are left with a more eclectic approach, the songs have more room to breath and includes instrumental breaks which is cool since Booz is not playing any instrument, so i have to admire his desire for making a solo album and still letting his musicians to express them selves, making this album a real group effort, something that will grow even more in his next and final album. His previous participating musicians were all replaced by new ones (except for Michel Ripoche on violin) and again he managed to collect a wonderful group.

The album is divided into acoustic songs and more intense busy sounding songs, the acoustic songs sees Booz returning to his roots or debut album, playing simple sounding songs which reminds me of French chansons or you can just call them folk, but only have a dark captivating atmosphere, they are carried out with only acoustic guitar and Booz's exquisite vocals and are used to separate between the more rocky songs,good songs overall. Other tracks include Booz's excellent vocals but still holds a very good jam between the musicians. Each song include in one part or another an instrumental interlude or a solo, and that's what really makes this album a success. Guitars are rocky featuring no riffs but always doing something and kind of flowing with the music including some great fiery solos as well. Synths are much more evident than on his previous album incorporating great sounds and have more room to participate in, same goes for the beautiful violin, sax and flute which are doing an amazing work, giving this album a varied and beautiful sound. Booz's vocals are just great, even though i cant understand a word they still manage to be very haunting and interesting, he has a wonderful tone and he is very passionate reminding me of Christian Descamps from Ange or other Italian vocalists. I like the fact that the music is going along with him, the music is calm and slow if he is, and gets very intense as he gets more passionate, and this way the song really gathers power and speed.

This is a great album overall, slightly inferior by my taste to the previous 'Le Jour o' les Vaches...' but still have enough to please progheads, i'm sure french language speakers would enjoy this even more. An excellent addition to your Booz collection or any eclectic prog collection. 4 solid stars!

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 Le Jour o les Vaches... by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.75 | 15 ratings

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Le Jour o les Vaches...
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Emmanuel Booz's debut album was a completely different story than it's follow up "Le Jour où les Vaches...", the music was purely acoustic more in the vein of Bob Dylan or Arlo Guthrie whom he tributed and did a full cover of his most known work Alice's Restaurant, taking up the whole first side, in spite of that it didn't come to me as a shocking surprise of how good this album is, since i could see how talented this guy was, judging by the second side of his debut consisting of original songs. 5 years have past since his debut and that was enough time for him to grow as a musician and a writer, surrounding himself with great musicians Emmanuel Booz has managed to create an amazing album filled with beautiful catchy compositions, great amount of sensibility and overall a good mix between folk rock and progressive rock.

What strikes me the most are the impeccable beautiful orchestrated arrangements done here, taking a quick look of the line up on the album, it's not quite surprising since William Sheller is there by Emmanuel's side taking care of arrangements and playing the piano, Sheller already known for his mix between classical and pop music fits here like a glove and taking Booz's compositions to a higher level, quite resembling George Martin's work with the beatles, truly the work of a genious. The music is symphonic classical orchestrated with no signs of jazz in sight, mixed with eclectic prog and some zehul characteristics. The atmosphere is mostly dark, and always serious it can move through different mood changes, from mellow and quiet to very disturbing and intense, the orchestra is also very varied in style, since it's a big part of the music it can caress with lush symphonic violins or be very creepy and disturbing, phenomenal stuff really. Booz is also varied in his vocals and in his approach reminding me of Tim Buckley, he is doing a great job, very passionate vocals fusing some opera like vocals done by additional vocalists. The music is filled with delicious ideas coming to life with various instruments like horns, violins and more making this all quite interesting and progressive but still mainting a song format, it's always haunting using tension build up and some theatrical elements, i swear sometimes i feel like i'm watching a show. Drums, bass, guitar and some vocals are done by the members of other french band Alice which by that time was close to disband and was only participating in other projects such as this and Alpes for example. Guitar is never heavy but quite subtle, it appears here and there without going to the front but still enjoyable. Production is good and as opposed to other attempts to mix orchestra and a rock band here it doesn't come sounding far off. I very much like the fact that the songs are different from each other, sometimes the orchestra is in the front leading the song and sometimes it's in the back filling out. It is quiet at times but even in those moments you can feel the madness awaits you just around the corner.

Emmanuel Booz took a giant leap here and presented us with a well crafted album that would appeal to many fans of progressive rock across few genres. Vocals are of course in french but certainly that shouldn't bother anybody, since it fits perfectly with the music. I am really tempted to give this the 5 star, but i'm holding my self back, so it's actually 4.3 stars for this masterfull work.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

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 Au Restaurant d'Alice  by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Au Restaurant d'Alice
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars Au Restaurant d'Alice released in 1969 is Emmanuel Booz's debut album. It doesn't reminiscent any of his 70's albums, although every release is quite different than it's follow up, this one sits apart than the rest. This album splits in two, the first half is the main piece which takes the whole first side, the second side consists of shorter songs, as in many cases the longer main piece is the best and most ambitious, it is not the case with this album. The main piece is the song Restaurant d'Alice, which was written and performed by Arlo Guthrie just two years before in 1967.

The story:

Guthrie was an american folk singer writing protest songs like many others that time, his most prominent and well known work is Alice's Restaurant, it's a comical satirical musical monologue about the vietnam war draft, which tells the true story about the 1965 thanksgiving day when Guthrie and his friend were arrested for dumping alice's garbage in the wrong place after the city dump was closed for the holiday. Guthrie was fined with 50$ and was told to pick up his garbage, being an anti war young man he didn't want to draft, so when he was sent for a psychological examination, he tried to portray himself as insane, he indicates to the psychiatrist that he is homicidal, which was examined. In the final line of questioning before induction, the officer asks Guthrie about any record of arrests. Guthrie of course tells the story of the littering incident, which proves significant enough a criminal offense to potentially disqualify him from military service. As he sat on the bench waiting to know if he could go to war, burn villages, woman and kids, the officer rejects him from military service saying "we don't like your kind"!! The song in it's original form is clocking at 18 minutes, and the music is actually a repetitive ragtime guitar riff which is played throughout the song.

I guess Booz identified with the song's idea and decided to give his own version of the song, he didn't change the main riff but played it like it was, a repetitive ragtime riff played on guitar and organ, Booz only added his own vocals, and since i don't speak french i can't understand a word, but i'm sure he left the concept of the song and told it in his own words. This version is 21 minutes long, and takes the whole first side. The shorter songs on the flipside are all acoustic songs more in the vein of Bob Dylan, Guthrie or other 60's pop folk songs. Actually they are pretty good songs consisting of catchy melodies and beautiful simple arrangements, this already indicates of Booz's ability of writing beautiful songs and shows a great talent. Four out of the six songs are beautiful typical 60's songs, each one contains something special aside from the beautiful vocals, like keys, accordion, violin, flute and even distorted guitar. the other two i don't like and have no interest in, one goes back to ragtime realms once more.

If it wasn't for Booz's next releases this album had no place here in the archives, since it is not progressive at all, so expect nothing more than the music styles i've mentioned before. Is the album good? It is not bad, it's just different. I don't, but if you can enjoy a 20 minute spoken or half sung monologue in french on top of one ragtime riff for starters, than you would surely enjoy the rest. If you are a fan or a collector or would just like to check the roots of this artist for historical values do that, unless, avoid it. He's progressive efforts starts on he's next album, which is well worth checking out. Since there are few beautiful songs i would like to listen to again, i'll give this one 2 stars and not one.

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 Le Jour o les Vaches... by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.75 | 15 ratings

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Le Jour o les Vaches...
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I wonder if Emmanuel likes to drink ? Sorry someone had to say it. My only experience with Booz (the musician) was his final release from 1979 which is a highly rated affair. The problem was I just couldn't get into it at all. So yes my expectations for this 1974 album were quite low. Well was iIever left surprised and impressed with this one. The atmosphere and mellower sections are contrasted so well with the powerful sections, plus the compositions are fantastic. Just a killer album.

"Samedi 15 Decembre" is a short spoken word intro before "Esperence" takes over with the bass out front as it builds. Horns too in this one but it's way too short. So good. "Reveillons-Nous, Reveillez-Vous" has spoken words to start with some interesting instrumental work. Horns, bass and a beat are prominant. It turns intense 3 1/2 minutes in. "Donne" opens with a child's voice which is replaced by strings, which are replaced by reserved vocals and acoustic guitar. The vocals become theatrical and the sound more powerful. Nice. Check out how the drums build after 3 1/2 minutes. Vocal melodies and chants here too. Amazing sound. "Je Ne Peux Pas Te Dire" has sparse piano and fragile vocals along with bass. It's building after 2 minutes. Great sound a minute later as a beat kicks in.

"L'Homme Aux Mille Cles D'or" is uptempo with passionate vocals. "Angouleme" opens with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals join in. Nice. It does get fuller with violin and drums. Great track. "Le Jour Ou Les Vaches" has vocals, drums and organ standing out early. Powerful stuff. It does setle back with vocal melodies joining in. "Nous Les Enfants" ends it and this is the most unmelodic track and the longest. It's mellow early with vocals and some flute. Theatrical vocals and strings after 3 minutes.

A very solid 4 stars for this one. I'm looking forward to spending more time with Booz in the future.

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 Le Jour o les Vaches... by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.75 | 15 ratings

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Le Jour o les Vaches...
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A bit overlooked,Emmanuel Booz was a French poetic singer/songwriter active around the 70's.He released his first solo album in 1969 entitled ''Au restaurant d'Alice'', based on the obscure work ''Alice's Restaurant'' by Arlo Guthrie from 1967.His second one was a different beast,released in 1974 on Atlantic Records and entitled ''Le jour o les vaches''.For this album Booz was helped by three Alice members, bassist Alain Suzan, drummer Alain "Doudou" Weiss and guitarist Paul Semama along with ex-Zoo violin/sax player Michel Ripoche with also Michel Coeuriot on keyboards and William Sheller on piano.

Starting with a spoken monologue by Booz,the short second track will give an idea for what is going to come with its Zeuhl-ish pounding bass,the dark choirs and the orchestral strings.From this point on begins a haunting journey into Emmanuel Booz'es unique world,a combination of melodramatic theatrical rock with Classical Music and complex Zeuhl.Much- vocal driven,the compositions are based on the thrilling voice of Booz,mixed with a variety of orchestral arrangements in a Classical manner, featuring a mass of string and wind instrumental passages,including the nice violin work of Ripoche.This obscure sound is pretty often supported by his rockin' buddies: A frenetic guitarist like Semama, a strong bassist like Suzan and a furious drummer like Weiss.The tracks have mostly a poetic magic under Booz'es alternating chords,a couple of them still carry the singer/songwriter trademark of the artist with light organ,acoustic guitars and choirs,but the music goes pretty much in a very theatrical and dark mood,with Sheller's arrangement on the last and longest operatic ''Nous les enfants'' being the best example.

Not everybody's cup of tea,''Le jour o les vaches'' was a pretty daring step by Booz,for most of its time very succesful but be warned for this is much of an artistic work than a Progressive Rock one.An excellent find for the mystified and strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Dans Quel Etat j'Erre by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.68 | 14 ratings

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Dans Quel Etat j'Erre
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This was Emmanuel Booz's last studio album released in 1979. It really comes across to me as being paint-by-numbers Prog. Maybe if this was 1973 although it just doesn't feel authentic if you know what I mean. Lots of synths and violins here.The other negatives are the French theatrical vocals as well as the "loud" mix of this recording.Too much treble especially on the first tune.

"L'ode Aux Rats" opens with the sound of a toilet flushing. I know I feel better. I'm reminded of AREA briefly with the instrumental work that follows then it settles in around a minute.Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in and he's yelling the words basically.This is uptempo and loud.Violin and spoken words before 5 1/2 minutes. It's noisy and busy.Violin solo follows then synths take the lead. Vocals are back after 11 1/2 minutes. A breaking glass ends this side long suite.

"La Symphonie Catastropque" kicks in quickly. Some fairly heavy guitar early then we get vocals before 1 1/2 minutes as it settles with synths.Vocals get theatrical.The guitar after 4 1/2 minutes is great as it goes on for a minute. Synths then take over. It settles back 7 minutes in with guitar and vocals.These last 3 minutes are the best part of the album for me. "Armoire Et Persil" has this fusion vibe early with lots of synths.Theatrical vocals join in. Nice guitar before 3 1/2 minutes.

A good album no doubt but not one I enjoy a lot.

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 Dans Quel Etat j'Erre by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.68 | 14 ratings

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Dans Quel Etat j'Erre
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Just by its title (roughly translating to: In What Condition Am I Drifting), the experienced proghead knows this album will be an outstanding and astounding chef d'oeuvre, but by all means don't go expecting anything close to what Booz (he's dropped his first name by then) did before, even if one can tell the artiste's paw is still called Emmanuel. As there is almost 4 years between the last two albums, the cast of musician is obviously quite different, made from a bunch of studio haunts and you'll probably only recognize Didier Lockwood and JL Mahjun, but likely nobody else, unless being French. The music is extremely different than his first three albums, lost somewhere heavy space rock (think Continental Circus Gong) and some Canterbury (think early solo Hillage) with plenty of tape montage twisting the music rather complex. Fasten your seatbelt; there is a rough, wild, but very enjoyable ride up ahead, one that the astounding artwork can only binging to hint at.

Opening up on the sidelong Ode Aux Rats (ode to rats) with a toilet flush and raw guitars, the vocals take on a silly but sinister tone, depicting the lowest human instincts, EB yelling and puking his rage and attitude like a punk would over a Hillage-sounding guitar, itself riding on a savage punkish Gong theme (think Floating Anarchy, here), a weird Zappa comic passage, and constantly changing metres. Booz's spews out his vocals with his tripe and guts like Peter Hammill (VdGG) or Catherine Ribeiro (Alpes) would, and the lyrics are anarchic at possible. By the ninth minute, the track calms down (a bit anyway) on a spacey but not steady ground, where different synth layers intertwine and EB resumes his anger and hatred of dumb rats attitude, but he's not spitting it out anymore as if he doesn't believe in denouncing the cause anymore, finishing on a resounding death throe, with synths layers lingering on for its burial. As you just sat down after the needle hit the wax of the flipside, glass breaks and most of you will jump out of your seat when you'll hear that your cassette tapes is about to get destroyed until you'll realize that there is nothing wrong with your turntable. Indeed a shocking entrance to the 10-mins Symphonie Catastrophique, followed by the no-less disturbing almost screaming and filtered voice of EB over late 70's twee synth lines, but the track settles into a wild brutal groove reminiscent of early Gong over a declaiming and accusatory text, followed by a wild Hillage-like guitar solo. In the closing section comes a very mechanical rhythm dictated by an almost inhuman choir section. The closing Armoire Et Persil (cupboard and parsley) starts on distant thunder and builds up slowly on crowd noise, drum rolls and all a sudden a synth lines gets the ball running, releasing the Hillage/Hackett-like guitar and EB's vocals and his usual madness. Halfway through the track, EB pays homage to Jacques Brel (obviously by looking at his biting and vitriol-laden lyrics, EB is a fan of Le Grand Jacques) by mentioning in a single text a good deal of his best work. The track ends with the same crowd noises.

For the longest of times, Booz albums were unavailable legitimately on CD (there were 3on2 pirates), but recently, both Musea and Belle Antique labels reissued them remastered and in a Mi-Lp format and added bonus tracks with an extended booklet, including lyrics and history. The sole bonus track on the present is a 14-mins Les Morts is relatively close in spirit with the rest of the album despite being from a later date - conflictual infos in the booklet place it from early 80 to 84 and as far as late-80's. No matter its date, it retains a punky atmosphere with searing guitars, manic drums and vocals, and and lyric-wise close to the album it is tagged on. The booklet has a fairly complete history between Le Clochard and the post-third album days, when he dropped music during the 80's (but not totally), to become a blue-collar worker (in the film industry) in phase with his political sensibilities and also becamle an occasional actor in both French and US productions. While a correct command of French is advisable for all of EB's albums, it's not as essential as it would be on Clochard; but this last album is not an easy listen, suffering from an approximate production. But let not these particularities discourage you from acquiring this awesome album, if you love a challenge, this one will be for you.

Review updated in may 2012

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 Clochard by BOOZ, EMMANUEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.87 | 7 ratings

BUY
Clochard
Emmanuel Booz Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars EB's third album stands a bit apart in his musical direction, often proposing a folkier style that seems to point to a return (a tiny bit, no more) to Restaurant d'Alice, but that seems odd when considering where his surrounding albums of Le Jour and Dans Quel Etat are heading. Not that you'd classify this album in the folk category, because its very eclectic nature guides you from electronica to rock to singer songwriter-type songs and more. Although this album would also fall in the concept category, I'd rather think of it as a collection of themes around poverty (Clochard means tramp) and alienation. With a fairly bland (and blank) artwork that does evoke the "concept" a bit, EB only kept violinist Ripoche from the previous album, but integrates the unavoidable Dugrenot on bass, the rest being studio haunters. Lyrically the album is again within the scope of a beat poet, but in a very different way than it was so with Le Jour, both albums denouncing society's failings.

The album-opening Dugrenot-penned cut, the 6-mins Un Jour Vous Partirez (one day, you'll leave) starts on electronic noises and drones, before EB starts declaiming his texts over a Terry Riley-type of synth layers (think Rainbow In Curved Air) over a Mel Collins sax line. This track is easily the only one that is reminiscent of the previous album, as the remaining tracks have an almost "punky" atmosphere: Clochard is a minimalist guitar strumming pop ditty with Booz turns in a funny yet impressive vocal performance. The following Mr Le President is another socially engaged track, but this time more complex and closer to the proghead's taste and leaves much room for instrumental interplay. The side closing Chanson Des Pendus (song to the hanged) directly warns you that the mood will be solemn, starting with a folky guitar arpeggio, and Booz returns somewhat to his Cabrel and Manset-type of singing, with only his near-medieval guitar to accompany. Awesome and poignant, almost like Bert Jansch.

The flipside opens on the breathtaking beautiful Sitting On My City's Sidewalks with some lo-freq layers, most likely coming from their Ondioline, maybe Booz' weaker vocal performance of the album, but the group's constantly changing music (Haouzi's drumming is excellent throughout the album, when he's asked to play) with Jeanneau's sax soaring up in the sky. A Vous Tous (to you all) recreates the Chanson Des Pendus' formula with the same kind of success, but the surprise is gone and execution not as dramatic and slowly picking up energy around its close. Ma Vie is sitting on layers of bass drone (I suppose the ondioline again referring to Riley) that bring much to the track's depth as Chouard's guitar is offered vast grounds to expand on, but the track is IMHO weaker. One Hundred Thousand Years is yet another stunning Dugrenot-penned track in the same mould than Trottoirs (Sidewalks), and slowly crescendos to Booz's calm singing and Jeanneau's Collins-inspired sax and later Ripoche's Ponty-esque violin, but again Booz's voice seems to be weakening a bit at times, but this is a constant with him,all along his four albums.

For the longest of times, Booz albums were unavailable legitimately on CD (there were 3on2 pirates), but recently, both Musea and Belle Antique labels reissued them remastered and in a Mi-Lp format and added bonus tracks with an extended booklet, including lyrics and history. In this case, two of the three bonus tracks (not much info given as to their context) are not penned by EB, and the first A Quoi Tu Songes (what you thinking of) and Faut Changer Le Numro (change the number) are rather shocking because of its synthetic nature that gives it a cheap 80's electro-pop flavour, very unfitting with the original album. The closing punky and rough Obsolete My Windows might have been a better fit on Booz's next album, as well. So the three bonus tracks don't bring ny kind of real added value to the already Directionless Clochard, with three acoustic tracks, two rockers, two mini prog masterpiece and one hard-to-define opener. Although not as even or flawless as Le Jour, it still manages to pull its act together as another essential album, despite some weaker vocals on side 2. As good as it is, it still misses a bit to shine with the same brilliance as Le Jour and Dans Quel Etat.

Review updated in may 2012

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