Project: Yéyé Girl Comps

When I first discovered music blogs, part of the pleasure for me was how each blog post would serve as a tribute to a song the blog author was in love with. They'd write a thoughtful blurb that you'd keep in mind while digesting this exciting song from a newfound artist. Even those that are sparser on written content could still serve up songs one at a time in a way that let you absorb them as a connoisseur, their blog serving as an evolving playlist of songs that would complement and draw out qualities in each song, enhancing your appreciation of the music.

Hearing one song at a time means that you heartily absorb all its charms, while it also acts as a tease, leaving you wanting more and likely to seek out more. Collecting things legitimately from all the artists you discover on your fave blogs doesn't have to break the bank - it just takes some diligence and resourcefulness to find bargains. Sales, second-hand music, indie labels that sell CDS/vinyl for dirt cheap, Emusic and of course - insisting your friends and family refer to your Amazon wishlist before every birthday and Christmas. Besides, it's always fun to have a long wish list of things, and to look forward to getting your very own copy of some delicious album, even if you know it won't be for some time. Things that are out of print are readily found on Soulseek and other sharing networks, and it's still part of the fun to track music down this way. This is why I always enjoyed the mp3 blog as something to steer you in a certain direction, not some holy hand you have to rely on to dole out the goods.*

Because I love reading and being a (mostly) single-song blog, and because I know French 60s comps are easily found on peer networks, I've never been tempted to share any French 60s comps in their entirety before. But now I'm launching Project: YéYé Girl Comps, where I'm going to post everything from two classic series of comps with the blessing of the compilers behind them. First up is Swinging Mademoiselle.

So why now? A few reasons. In my last post I mentioned that it's a minor issue for me that comps don't get credit on a lot of blogs as the source of what's being shared. It's not absolutely de rigeur - some know that posting the song alone will inspire curiosity in the reader who'll find out more of his/her own accord. But there are times - like when a reader's questions of 'where do you find this amazing stuff?', 'can you rip the b-side too?', etc. go unanswered - that I think the compilers of these superb volumes deserve a little credit.

After all, they're responsible for getting some incredible forgotten music heard all around the world. Am I likely to stumble across a Clothilde EP in an Australian fleamarket? Not a chance! We're so lucky these lovers of all the weird, wacky wonderful yé-yé, freakbeat and assorted unusual pop sung by utterly charismatic, often anonymous French 60s girls had a burning desire to share their finds with the public. Otherwise, 1960s French pop and rock may only have been known as a scene characterised by weaker rehashes of English-language hits, and we might not know the depth of imagination, experimentation, humour and genius that was regularly going into making pop music in France back then. And some of us may never have developed a crippling Ebay addiction ... oh well, I can live with that. Sure, we later got legitimate releases like Femmes De Paris and Pop A Paris, but I think credit has to go to the earlier bootlegs for showing there was a taste for this music out there and kicking off a boom of French 60s comps. Plus I think the original bootlegs are the most fun, with the best collection of songs.

A large portion of material from these comps ends up posted on blogs - either on a single blog, or among several - without acknowledgement of its source. That means that not only do the compilers not get the credit they deserve, a lot of readers don't know exactly what to seek out in order to find more. I also realise now, from the enthusiastic reception blog posts get on here and elsewhere for songs I thought were not that hard to come by, that not everyone has mastered the skill of milking P2P for out-of-print comps, or has a friend who can make them a copy. So what I want to do is not only make sure that everyone interested in this genre of music gets to listen to these seminal comps, but to present the collections as a whole, so the entire mix can be heard in its original form. Hopefully that will create an appreciation that someone put these wonderful mixes together. The songs are strong on their own, but there's definitely an art to the careful selection and placement of songs. It's what makes these compilations great.

There's another reason: there is so, so much more out there to share beyond what has been comped. So far I've found 60s French pop to be a seemingly endless goldmine. Because I can't usually afford the records by artists that have been popularised by these legendary comps - like Ms Jacqueline Taieb, for example - I often take a chance on something I've never heard of, like Jany L. Sure I might nab the occasional dud (there are plenty of ordinary songs that can fool you with groovy covers), but I still marvel at the oodles of quality unknown cuts I come across. The best are as great as what you'll find on these beloved comps. Not always, as the earlier comps really did include the most extraordinary stuff, but there are still many enjoyable, exciting songs out there. That includes more songs by the compiled artists as well as ones by total unknowns.

I think everyone who loves yé-yé girls should have a copy of the comps I'm going to post as a starting point - they should be textbooks for students of the genre! So Professor Candy is here to help put copies in every deprived household! Once you have completed your required listening, it lets me set a challenge to myself and other bloggers: to start sharing stuff that not many have heard before and that are even harder to find. There is a wealth of criminally ignored and/or forgotten music waiting to be heard.

So on to the music that awaits your ears: Swinging Mademoiselle Vol. 1, released in 1999. Thank you kindly to Thierry for giving me his blessing to post these. Although these were unofficial releases so he can't give me official permission, I still wanted to make sure it would be OK to share something he worked hard to put together and that is essentially his creation. More about Thierry and Swinging Mademoiselle in my next post. For now, the tunes:

Swinging Mademoiselle: HTML5 | Flash

  1. Stella - L'Idole des jaunes
  2. Cosette - L'Idéalisation
  3. Liliane - Vivre comme dans les livres
  4. Christine Pilzer - Dracula
  5. Cédric and Cléo - Le jour se lèvera sur tu ça
  6. Delphine - Les Prisons de sa majesté
  7. Elizabeth - Je suis sublime
  8. Charlotte Leslie - Les filles c'est fait pour faire l'amour
  9. Berthe - Comment passer à la télé
  10. Cléo - Madame la terre (et ron et ron...)
  11. Pussycat - Les temps ont changé
  12. Stone - Fille ou garçon
  13. Elsa Leroy - Mieux vaut tard que jamais
  14. Clothilde - Saperlipopette
  15. Elsa - Ailleurs
  16. Françoise - Hum ! Hum ! 
    Bonus Tracks
  17. Berthe - Les Emberthements
  18. Stella - Si vous connaissez quelque-chose de pire qu'un vampire, parlez m'en toujours, ça pourra peut-être me faire sourire
  19. Stone - C'est ma vie
  20. Pussy Cat - Ce n'est pas un vie
  21. Cosette - Les Cheveux dans les yeux
  22. Delphine - La Fermeture Éclair
  23. Elizabeth - Madame Superman
  24. Clothilde - Fallait pas écraser la queue du chat
  25. Charlotte Leslie - Allez tu peux souffrir
  26. Christine Pilzer - Café crème
  27. Marie Laforêt - Marie douceur, Marie colère
  28. Sylvie Vartan - Donne moi ton amour

*Thanks to the reader that pointed out Francoise's 'Hum! Hum!' is faulty. A working version is now up.*

*And to the reader that pointed out the artist/title tags are reversed on the first few songs.*

Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the original vinyl, but I do have CD-R copies thanks to Thierry which include photocopied liner notes. Click each thumbnail to see the liner notes:

Cover and back
Pages 2 - 3
Pages 4 - 5
Pages 6-7

A note of caution: avoid the 2005 CD comp named Swinging Mademoiselles. It's obviously an attempt to capitalise on a familiar title and reputation. I'll never understand the impulse that says 'someone else thought of that; I'll take it!'. If not out of good conscience, at least for the embarrassment factor alone. One reviewer on Amazon even suggests they used the original Swinging Mademoiselle as a source for at least one song! Here's my cranky Amazon customer review of it:

Annoyingly, this brazenly rips off the title of the well-known - and much more lovingly compiled - Swinging Mademoiselle compilations. Everything about it is as unoriginal and careless as the borrowed title, from the songs attributed to the wrong artists to the generic, uninformative liner notes. Not to mention that every track is available on other compilations. A listless attempt to cash in on a trend and others' good taste and hard work.
Yes, the music itself is wonderful, but instead go for the superior Femmes De Paris and Pop A Paris compilations, or try to track down the original Swinging Mademoiselle or Ultra Chicks comps.

Next post: Swinging Mademoiselle Vol. 2.

*Of course, vinyl share blogs are a different kettle of fish, where generous souls put in a great effort to rip their collections of rare vinyl goodies that chances are most of us will never stumble across. In these cases it's great they're the 'holy hand'. They're often the very first source of this music on the web, including P2P. I should note, after mentioning my distaste for plagiarism, quite a few vinyl share blogs copy do copy wiki entries to accompany the records they post, but I don't regard this the same way I regard plagiarism on song blogs. I'd still prefer them to clearly attribute, but at least it's clearer from the context they've included a large chunk of text they didn't write, which is different from cobbling together a few different sources and adding a few of your own words, presented in a way a visitor is right to expect they are reading the blogger's own personal commentary. Hey, I've been fooled before - and then deeply disappointed as both a reader and a fellow blogger. Besides which, with all the effort these vinyl share bloggers go to, they're clearly not about taking shortcuts and likely just include a Wiki bio as an added courtesy.

Comments (23)

  • mordi  
    thanks for the generous post- there's a few that i don't have! great to have you back. x
  • April  
    Incredible! This is a great idea. Thanks SO much for sharing, Christine!
  • Dom  
    Wow, thanks so much for sharing this. I have one or two of them, and can't wait to hear the rest - just hope the download is successful (fingers crossed). I DJ at a night in Brighton, UK, called L'Amour Electronique, it's tomorrow night, so I'll have some more ace new songs to play there. We play French Pop (mainly 60's) and lots of 80's synth pop and electro stuff, as well as current french stuff like Stereolab, Stereo Total, Les Georges Leningrad, etc. If you're interested we post all our setlists on our myspace blog, and we always have a few mp3s and youtube clips each month. Looking forward to the next post, keep up the good work Domx
  • Mark  
    Great to see you back! And I echo your feelings wholeheartedly. Swinging Mademoiselle 2 is the first yé-yé comp I purchased, and it's still the best one I have overall. (Boy do I wish I had the first one on vinyl too!) I just threw it on a couple weeks ago and it still did it for me.
  • Roar  
    This is probably a silly comment, because I ought to pick up on your interesting points. But I really just want to say hi. I'm a bit burnt out with blogs, but I enjoyed reading your previous posts (and the ones before of course). That aside, many bloggers have a different mother tongue than English, which adds limitation and extra effort to writing. This also serves to emphasise your point that linking to Wikipedia (etc) isn't necessarily a bad thing.
    Anyway, take care and greetings from Oslo, Norway!
    • Christine  
      Hi Roar, nice to hear from you. I'll take this as response to my last post, since I don't think the issue of the level of English applies to points I've made here (giving credit to comps requires little language skill). I don't think it's a silly point, it's one I've given much consideration to and please know that I didn't act on this lightly, only after feeling like my good faith was taken advantage of repeatedly. In regards to the issue of English, there are a few points I feel that nulllify this as a legitimate excuse. I'm not going to elaborate entirely on this in public, except to say I weighed this up for a long time, case by case, and had evidence English was not poor enough to justify the extent of this practice, including (but not my main basis) that there is enough language skill to mesh various sources together in a way that makes sense.
      Imperfections can be charming in non-native English, and it'd be a shame if bloggers were embarrassed about that. But if that was at heart of the issue, I would try to encourage confidence instead of deleting links. And as you said, it might take 'extra effort' to write something - but it's not impossible. I'd rather the effort be taken and posts be less frequent. Something being a little harder to do is still not a reason to take someone else's hard work, if you believe it's morally wrong to do so, which I do strongly and if integrity is important to you. Added to this, I'd say context is key - I've taken into account that blogs doing this don't follow any of the mp3 blogging code of ethics.
      The MAIN point, however, is that the issue is not even about how well someone can write, it's about giving credit when you DO copy something. I'd have no issue with an entire blog made up of quotes if that was clear - if quotes were used and the source was linked to straight after the post. There's one thing you have to remember: the illness I have can make it impossible at times to think and when trying to communicate, I can just go completely blank, get a massive headache, get exhausted etc. Early on, writing anything - just getting words onto the screen - was a HUGE struggle for me, and so I often would quote sources instead. But I ALWAYS made it clear they weren't my own words. I could easily have thought, it's too hard for me to write so I'll just paste something from elsewhere, but I could never do that in good conscience (it wouldn't have even occurred to me).
      I'm sure there are many people that just appreciate blogs sharing songs and disagree with me, but this is about what I'm comfortable having on my blog or promoting through my blog, and I feel too compromised promoting something that doesn't meet standards that I work really hard to meet myself. I did the right thing, I addressed it with the people responsible but it's clear there is no commitment to keep doing the right thing, and I can't play blogger police. They can do what they like in the end, but there is no place for blogs that do these practices on Spiked Candy. There's still always room for another chance, but at this point I'd need convincing assurance about a commitment to doing an ethical blog.
      Thanks for your comment, though, Roar and I appreciate you bringing up your point in a fair and respectful way. From this point on, however, I'm not going to approve any comments that argue against my thoughts on this, because I've thought about and discussed every conceivable counterpoint at length. There's not much more I could say to explain my point of view without giving away too many details. If you wish to email me with thoughts on this, that's fine. But just know this is essentially about what I'm comfortable promoting on Spiked Candy.
      One final point to add to my last post is that I attract much, much more traffic than I ever imagined I would when I started out. This has added to my sense of responsibility to create a blog I'm proud to stand behind, both in what I write and what I link to.
      • Roar  
        Hi again Spikedcandy and thanks for your reply! I wasn't disagreeing with your points made in your previous posts. I understand them quite well. I'm also with you on what you say about imperfect English; hope you didn't think I was arguing against you. As for myself I know writing in English has often been a bugger because while keeping qqf (the blog I started out with) active I wanted to write texts that required language skills that I don't really have. But that's a different story. As for blogging in general the business of getting to know other bloggers will occasionally constitute a challenge on issues of ethics and loyalty - and I believe many bloggers have acted in good faith but found themselves by way of recommendation / blog linking / etc associated with a later emerging type of blogging they want nothing to do with. At least I have found myself in a such a position. It has also surprised me the extent of passionate fury this has caused. None of this applies to your blog, however.
        As always we never get to discuss these matters in real life however... you know, over the proverbial cup of coffee. Too many nice people spread around in the many faraway corners of the world. Take care :)
  • Christine  
    And a big thanks to everyone else for your comments! :)
  • Alan  
    Hi, I liked the first lines you wrote (and the rest). It's a very nice and good entry altogether, regards
  • Chris  
    What a great post! Thanks. Really made my Sunday!
  • Brad  
    Thank you very much for the generous post, I am just waiting for the download to complete. I can't wait to listen. Regards, Brad.
  • jenny ondioline  
    wow, thanks for sharing a whole comp! haha, and i do recognize that amazon review of the non-original swinging mademoiselle comp. I'd just like to say i just ordered a bunch of french 60s music comps from dusty groove, so i'm not one of those who just download without putting up some of my own money to buy this music legitimately, sometimes indulging in terrible import prices of france gall or serge gainsbourg compilations in a record store. in that sense, dustygroove is a godsend.
    and also, i've put a lot of these mp3s on my mp3 player, and they sometimes reveal the source of the track, especially if it's from a commercially distributed compilation. for example, when i downloaded france gall's "hippie hippie" and image of the compilation it came from showed up on my mp3 player whenever i played it. it was from one of the in-kraut compilations and i did end up buying the two volumes a month later off of (which i shouldn't have since dustygroove sold it for a lot cheaper)
  • Christine  
    Again thanks for your comments - great to know people are enjoying these so much! Jenny, that is excellent to hear that you go and buy all the stuff you hear on blogs :). Agree, Dusty Groove is fantastic. I'm not sure I have your contact details, and I wanted to ask you something. Would you mind dropping me a line so I can email you back? (spikedcandy(at) Thanks!
  • Guuzbourg  
    what can I add to all this, except a big Merci ?
  • Oscar  
    Hello Christine....glad to see your back. I read your blog and I found it very interesting. The most that I love about your blog is that you go in detail about the song(s) that you posted. I like reading about the artist and love seeing the pictures. If it wasn't for your blog...I would not have been exposed to French 60s ye-ye music. I'm totaly hooked on them:) especially on France Gall's. You do a fantastic job in posting the featured artists song info. I've 'visited' other bloggers sites and honestly, yours is the best. I've bought the Swinging Mademoiselles cd (the one you said not to get:-)...a while back). I can't wait to hear the songs that Thierry shared for all to enjoy. Your right, ebay is a crippling addiction...but a fun one:-). Thank you for sharing your music with the rest of the fans, new and seasoned fans. Thank you Professor Candy for this lesson.....see you at the next one:) Take care.
  • Annoying Person  
    I am very sorry to bring some bad news but is anyone else having trouble with track 16 Francoise - Hum! Hum!? The sound drops out at 1:18/1:19 and again at 1:49 - 1:59 & 2:31/2:32. I downloaded it a few times and got the exact same result each time. Is the track damaged? Obviously, this is a tremendous post and I'm sure everyone is very grateful... but could you please check it out and see if a better version (without drop-outs) can possibly be posted? Thanks!
  • Christine  
    No prob, Guuz! Annoying Person, thank you for drawing my attention to it, I always want people to point it out if something is wrong that I haven't noticed. I do try to check all the files before I post them, but I must have somehow missed this. I'll replaces it ASAP. Anyone else that comes across a faulty file, please always let me know, I will appreciate it.
  • Willow  
    Just had to say thanks for this, and welcome back. I've bought a few comps since discovering this stuff on blogs like this, but SM is definitely one of the best. Its also hard to justify buying them all when there are tracks shared between them (like Sept Heures Du Matin), but also a few I don't have.
  • Kate  
    Wowowow I've been collecting for awhile, but I didn't have a bunch of these. A big thank you for your efforts!
  • Blossomtoe  
    Thanks you SO much for this. I have a cherished copy of Vol 2 on vinyl and have been looking for Vol 1 in vain for so long. You are a superstar.
    A small tag error (at least in my download). On the first four tracks (up until Christine Pilzer's Dracula), the song titles/artists were the wrong way round, giving the artist as song title and vice versa. Those LastFM downloaders need to correct before enjoying!
  • jens.keller  
    Thanks so much for making this and the other compilation available! I went to record fair last week where they had all these french EPs I dream of at night (Clothilde, Delphine Desyeux, Jacqueline Taib etc.), but all for horrendous prices (70euros upwards), so these compilations are the next best thing to actually owning the records. I wish I had known about the poor quality of the "Swinging Mademoiselles" earlier, I fell for their cheap marketing plot and was bitterly disappointed by the poor sound and lack of liner notes. oh well... Anyway, I'm delighted to see your Blog is so active again, I missed it! and thanks again for mentioning my blog, got some new readers coming from you x Jens
  • Antoine  
    Salut, je suis français, je vis à Paris, et depuis environ 5 ans, on nous sort des compilation des french 60's : Pop à Paris, Femmes de Paris (puis Messieurs de Paris !), les tubes de B. Bardot et de Gainsbourg, etc... Les meilleures compilations sont de loin les Wizzz vol. 1 et 2, sorties sous l'impulsion de Jean-Baptiste Guillot, qui a dû se battre pour obtenir les droits des différentes maisons de disques. C'est un vrai collectionneur (et un vrai ex-"modernist"), et ses motivations sont plus que louables. Avec ces "Swing, Mademoiselle", je suis agréablement surpris, par la qualité et aussi par ce "post" gratuit : comme l'auteur le précise, évitez la compilation "Swinging Mademoiselles". Merci encore !! J'attends le volume 2 avec impatience !
  • mouffettefatale  
    just great !!

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