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Emmanuel Booz - Au Restaurant d'Alice  CD (album) cover


Emmanuel Booz


Eclectic Prog

2.00 | 2 ratings

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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.

Sagichim | 2/5 |


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