Country : France Label : PIAS Genres and styles : Funk / Singer-Songwriter Year : 2020
Jean-Louis Murat

Baby Love

· by Luc Marchessault

Jean-Louis announces his brash colours with the cover of Baby Love, the magenta gradation of which makes our retinas tense up. We know Murat is prolific, and rare is the year that goes by when he doesn’t offer us a studio, live or collaborative album, with experimental tints here (Travaux sur la N89), shadows there (Morituri). Listening to the 2020 vintage, it’s confirmed – our man is in a playful mood. In fact, it’s hard not to see in the album’s title an allusion to the seminal hit of The Supremes.

Murat infuses his bibliophilia, and his attachment to American music, into the 11 tracks on Baby Love, and once again we can see how this songwriter masters the art of prosody. We’re also delighted by Murat history buff: on the album Le Moujik et sa femme, in 2002, Murat sent a groovy message to “those of Mycenae”; here, on “Troy”, he relapses into Hellenism with mythological excess – “my love lasted thousands of lives” – and funky brass.

Trumpets and trombones can be heard on several of the songs, a rare occurrence in the Murat corpus. Since he couldn’t get the horn section from Earth, Wind & Fire, he entrusted Denis Clavaizolle, a long-time accomplice, with the task of providing a sort of synthetic equivalent. Clavaizolle has concocted sounds on “Le reason why” and “Réparer la maison” that remind us of “Le train bleu” and other gems from the album Dolorès (1996).

Murat closes this excellent spread with a tribute to Tony Joe White and John Lee Hooker, two of his great inspirations. One last observation: our great purveyor of chansonnier poetry has some fun with Autotune and other gizmos, but his voice remains unchanged, despite the years. All the better for us.

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