We're honored to present another live-performance edition of Mark's Song of the Week. This one is especially for Mark Steyn Club Founding Member Tom in Missouri, who chides me for dodging his question in a recent Clubland Q&A:
Are you planning a 2017 Christmas show? Your 2016 on-line presentation was most entertaining, especially your warbling with the girls...
Also: When will we be treated by another songfest from Patsy Gallant? She quickly "captured" this old sailor's attention.
Well, Patsy and I have a little Christmas project we've been chewing over for some time. I'm not sure we can get it all together for this Christmas, as I've been somewhat tied up with tedious interminable legal battles, but it would certainly be fun to do an excerpt from it. However, the good news is that Patsy will be bringing her Édith Piaf show to the Jazz Bistro on Victoria Street in Toronto this coming Friday. For Tom in Missouri, downtown Toronto is a convenient 45-minute drive away, so it's well worth the very slight detour.
Patsy's sung rock, jazz, disco, musical theatre, but she has a special connection with Piaf, whom she met when she was a child performer in Quebec, as she recounted when she was on The Mark Steyn Show earlier this year. Her finale was, of course, "L'Hymne à l'amour" - Piaf's "hymn to love", written for the great love of her life, the French boxer Marcel Cerdan. She first sang it in New York in September 1949. A month later Cerdan was flying from Paris to New York, to reunite with Piaf and hear the hymne she'd written for him. He died in a plane crash en route, and so her song became a memorial to a lost love she never got over.
I had the pleasure of accompanying Patsy to the SPACQ awards in Montreal a couple of weeks ago - that's the Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec, and it's a grand celebration of francophone music: there's an award named for Eddy Marnay, for example, French lyricist not only of Céline's early hits but of one of my very favorite songs. Patsy was getting the Lucille Dumont prize, and at the end of her acceptance speech she sang, a cappella, "L'Hymne à l'amour", and brought many in the room to tears, and all of us to our feet.
She'll certainly be singing that at the Jazz Bistro this week - and in the original French. There is an English lyric by Geoffrey Parsons, but Patsy didn't know it until I quoted it to her over lunch last year: "If You Love Me, Really Love Me, let it happen..."
Patsy put down her fork: "'If you love me, let it happen'? What the hell does that mean?" And she suggested a rather livelier alternative. Geoffrey Parsons worked at the Peter Maurice Music Company in London, and his job included providing English lyrics for appealing foreign tunes and film themes. His big hit, which has become a mainstay of the rockers-sing-standards albums, was Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" - although even there I prefer the French words, "J'ai ton sourire dans mon coeur", which is a more intimate sentiment. "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)" sings a wee bit stiff, though it was a big success in 1952 for Vera Lynn. But there is nothing like the French original, and Patsy singing it live is not to be missed.
Here she is explaining to me a little of the song's history, and then letting rip with Eric Harding and the Steyn Show band. To enjoy, simply click below:
It's even better when you're just a few feet away from Patsy singing live, so don't miss her in Toronto this coming Friday.
~Patsy Gallant was accompanied by Eric Harding, piano; Michel Berthiaume, drums; Jon Gearey, guitar; Mathieu McConnell-Enright, bass; and Richard Beaudet, sax.
There's more video entertainment from Steyn's Song of the Week below:
#311: Paul Sorvino recalls and sings "O Sole Mio"
#303: Carol Welsman sings and plays "The Glory of Love"
#297: Robert Davi swings "At Long Last Love"
#295: Cheryl Bentyne sings "The Meaning of the Blues"
#294: Tal Bachman performs "I'll Never Smile Again"
#293: Carol Welsman sings and plays "As Time Goes By"
#292: Don Black reminisces about "Born Free", with Robert Davi
#291: Tim Rice recalls "A Winter's Tale", with Emma Kershaw
#290: Patsy Gallant sings "La Vie en rose"
#289: The Klezmer Conservatory Band perform "Dance Me To The End Of Love"
#288: Cheryl Bentyne sings "This Masquerade"
#287: Maria Muldaur sings "Aba Daba Honeymoon"
#286: Mark asks "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
#285: Anthony Kearns sings "The Wexford Carol"