This week's Song of the Week is one hundred years old today: that's to say, it was published by Messrs Chappell & Co of New Bond Street, London on December 4th 1916, at a price of one shilling and sixpence. And in one form or another it's been with us ever since. For the centenary of my favorite song of the Great War, we present a reprise of a special audio edition of Steyn's Song of the Week dedicated to "Roses Of Picardy" and concluding with an epic live performance by me and Monique Fauteux, in which I sing partially in French, because singing in French is something to which I'm partial. Monique has sung with everyone from Quebec's legendary progressive rock band Harmonium to the great Charles Trenet, so dueting with me is quite a comedown for her, but she's awfully sporting about it.
Along the way, we'll also nod to other songs of the First World War and tell the story of Fred Weatherly's other enduring hit, "Danny Boy" - and we'll hear "Picardy" in various styles from English barrack-room ballad to Vegas swinger, hot jazz to pop synth, and recordings by Jo Stafford, Perry Como, the Platters, Yves Montand, and Harry Connick Jr. But the climax of this special podcast is Monique's and my summation of the song's century-old history, in English and in French, in four-four and three-quarter time, with spare guitar accompaniment and with the full orchestra conducted by Kevin Amos. It's one of the more ambitious performances we've attempted on Steyn's Song of the Week and we hope you enjoy it. To listen, click above.
This audio edition includes material from my essay on "Roses Of Picardy" in my book A Song For The Season, personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the Steyn store. And, if you like Monique's and my take on the song, it's available on my CD Goldfinger.