Patrice Blanc-Francard: Soul music, an unforgettable journey

It is not necessary to skillfully flip the 45 and 33-rpm records that make this book so irresistible.

Patrice Blanc-Francard: Soul music, an unforgettable journey

It is not necessary to skillfully flip the 45 and 33-rpm records that make this book so irresistible. Let's just say that "Rock my Soul" is more than a fascinating document about the fusional origins and evolution of soul music. No. It is all that and more.

It's a magical, turntable book where the vinyl album unfolds stories and brings out extraordinary characters. It is a machine that moves to the beat of many hits. It is a jukebox that contains legendary or lesser-known episodes from this story. At the same time, it plays the soundtrack to an epic road movie through Memphis, Detroit and Chicago. For most black musicians and artists, it was a short American dream. It was the beginning of the American nightmare of racism, and segregation.

We are familiar with Blanc-Francard's varied career, including his radio achievements on France Inter ("Bananas", Loup Garou", Bikini"), and his skills as a columnist in print ("Jazz Hot", "Rock").

It was not won in advance.

READ ALSO: How Aretha Franklin made "Respect" "a woman’s anthem".

It is not enough to have a catchy title like "Rock my soul" in order to show the connections between musical genres. It is important to be able to create an unstoppable musical program and narrative during a four-hundred page book-concert. Next, provide a coherent, fluid narration that guides the reader from Aretha Franklin's childhood in Tennessee during the 1940s to the contemporary "neosoul" of Californian Anderson. Paak.

This is almost a century worth of musical crossbreeding. It ranges from the acoustic fervor a church choir experiences to the digitalized sensuality of Alicia Keys "Tiny Desk Concerts", which are available on YouTube. From the bleak and lonely world of blues ("the devil’s music") of Robert Johnson to the technologically and creatively rich opulence that will be called Prince.

It's not enough to just list the hits and to cite the relevant references. Many articles and essays have already referred to what often appears as a vein and rehashed the dramas and anecdotes (drugs accidents, delinquency etc.). B.B. was a star in the music industry. King, Otis Redding, James Brown. Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Sam Cooke... Establishing the genealogical trees of soul and revealing the melodic richness in the genome... The permanent seduction of "Rock my Soul" lies there.

Patrice Blanc-Francard is not content with the traditional hagiography of iconic rhythm'n'blues characters. He has a goal to create a more intimate, intimate, and innovative literary fresco. He organizes and stages an amazing gallery of composers and lyricists. We meet genius musicians and businessmen, who we can rub shoulders with. Depending on the situation, we may be reading a novel by Chester Himes or a documentary by Wim Wim Wenders. "Ray by Taylor Hackford" to the wild, exuberant madness that is John Landis' "Blues Brothers "...

"Rock my Soul" combines journalistic, critical, and sound engineer approaches. It explores every aspect of a fantastic musical maelstrom. It is not just about the sales records and failures that make or break the careers of Stevie Wonder or Diana Ross or Solomon Burke's rise to fame. Patrice Blanc-Francard captures the entire picture, the human density, and the incredible power of seduction of a musical genre.

He does this with intelligence and tact without falling prey to the sensationalism of so many episodes; nor does he pander to the old-fashioned narrative in "gonzo". He takes care to convey the heredity and the singularity. Then, he shows how artists like the Mar-Keys or Muddy Waters descend.

This is why we must also, and most importantly, inscribe the ferment in American radio and TV history, of technological revolutions such as the invention of vinyl, the transistor and the CD, and the proliferation of "tracks” on recording consoles. There is so much information, angles and tones that "Rock my Soul" immediately belongs in the "Essentials of Tomorrow" category.

It would be wrong to conclude that this sum was intended for specialists. It is the exact opposite. This is the most important and decisive quality of the book. Patrice Blanc-Francard is warm and witty with a contagious curiosity, quill-edged humor and infectious enthusiasm. This is not a professorial or elitist position. It's a constant invitation to travel, discover, and remember the many great musical "little madeleines".

Patrice Blanc-Francard is a rock botanist. He evokes the germination and blossoming of a song in the studio. The hybridization of drums with a bass line and drums as others are able to communicate the birth of new orchids. His unique and captivating time traveler approach stems from the virality of sharing. A constant concern to identify the circumstances of birth and the singularity these madeleines.

It is almost impossible to close "Rock my soul" and not feel the need to listen to all the decibels expressed on CD, vinyl or streaming services.

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