Saturday, January 06, 2007

Edith Piaf & Carole Pope

I listened today to Edith Piaf on the Mothercorp.

Non, rien de rien,
Non, je ne regrette rien!

Marvelous song. The only thing I regret is the way she rolls her Rs. It has always seemed a bit much to me. But then, I guess that's part of the song's charm. Rrrrrrreally.

So then, I have this tape which I carry in Minnie Van Nice (who, unfortunately now looks as if she's been around the block a few times, which she has...) It's a recording of Carole Pope and Rough Trade from, probably, the late 70s. You remember Carole Pope, don't you?

Now, I have to tell you about this recording. I taped it from a vinyl disc which is undoubtedly quite rare because it was pressed from a single master that was recorded live and direct to disc. A strictly limited edition. For a few years, there was a bit of a trend in the record business to go back to direct to disc recording, just like they did in the early days of recording. The reason was because it boosted the fidelity dramatically. And it rrrrreally did! You should hear this recording (plus a couple of others I have. Even now, 30 years later, and quite a number of playings, and then recorded onto cassette for Minnie, it still is audibly different from other recordings.

However, the process meant that copies were expensive. I don't remember exactly, but I think they cost about twice as much as regular mass-produced albums. And recording was difficult too. No margin for error, either by players or engineers.

Here. Out of curiosity, I checked on the website, and here's what it says about this album:

1976 - Rough Trade Live! (Umbrella UMB-DD1) [Canada]
The first rock album to be recorded live Direct-to-Disc. Also released as:
  • (Umbrella UMB-DD1) [West Germany]
  • (Big Time) [UK]

Of the Canadian version, at least four different jackets and two different pressings exist:

  1. The original release is numbered 00001 through 12999 and is packaged in a dull silver gatefold cover with a rectangular cut-out on the front. It was manufactured by Nimbus 9 Productions. There are also a very limited number of presentation copies all numbered 0000000. These were only given to members of the group.
  2. The next pressing is identical to the one above except that it is packaged in a shiny silver gatefold with no cut-out and numbered 0013000 through 0030000. Also by Nimbus 9.
  3. In 1977, Umbrella was purchased by Trend Records and the album was repackaged in a dull gray gatefold with a large illustration, no cut-out, and no longer numbered. Manufactured by Trend Records & Tapes Ltd. An alternate take (or modified version) of "Birds Of A Feather" was apparently used to correct a very slight piano mistake on the original's intro.
  4. In 1983, Rough Trade Live! was also sold simply as Rough Trade. It was repackaged in a blue sleeve with a picture of Carole Pope on the front and the band on the back. The actual record is the 1977 Trend pressing, not a re-issue. It is not numbered.
(My copy belongs to the second category. It's numbered 0019869.)

Anyway, that's not why I mentioned her. I bring her up because, after listening to Edith, I then listened to Carole, that oh so suave, urbane Hawgtonian, and she rolls her Rs almost as much as Edith. If I remember right, it's something we were taught in singing lessons, but normally it wouldn't be so pronounced (no pun intended.)


Anonymous said...

So u took singing classes?

Larry Keiler said...

Mais, bien sûr, Madame X.

It was what every self-respecting boy soprano was expected to do!

Anonymous said...

Before you changed your voice? Can't imagine you as a soprano now.

Know Edith Piaf. Never heard of Carol Pope. Thought you talked about Carol King. Listened in my mind if I heard her sing, "You made me feel like a naturrrrral woman. I Like Carol King. Like her singing. Her songs? Are some James Taylor's? Did they sing each other's songs? Do they still?

How did I miss Carol Pope and Rough Trade?


Larry Keiler said...

And after I changed my voice, too. My last vocal lessons were when I was in high school -- with a former opera singer from Hawgtown. But by then, I wasn't working as hard at it as I really should have to justify continuing with lessons, and I knew it. So I stopped.

Larry Keiler said...

I think Carole Pope & Rough Trade were not that hard to miss. They were quite well-known in Hawgtown, at least, late 70s & early 80s and got national exposure in the early 80s with one song in particular -- High School Confidential.

The first song on this album that I posted about was called Birds of a Feather, which also got a lot of airplay (in Hawgtown anyway), and was the song that caught my attention. This album is actually very good! As far as I'm concerned, the songs that were "hits" for them later were not as good. Over the years I have often found this to be the case.

Anonymous said...

I guess that's where the gap is for me. Went to New Brunswick, early eighties. Lived without radio etc. for a long time. Just birds & bunnies, bears & blackflies, weasel babies & cayotes, shrews & snakeses, the wind, the call of ravens in winter, humming birds in summer, peeper frogs in spring, and Hans' music collection, which, I assume didn't include Carol Pope yet.

I also often favoured songs of groups that weren't hits. I recall "Song for the Asking", Simon & Garfunkel, which was seldom played. I loved that little song.

Help! I've written and I can't get up!