Barbara – L'Aigle Noir
Vinyl LP, France, 1970
My very first introduction to the French singer Barbara was the recording of her song “L'Aigle noir.” That song got me right between the ears. It was so euro-beautiful, and the arrangement by Michel Colombier convey a sense of grandness. Listening to the whole album, it reminds me of Scott Walker. If nothing else, Scott is very much a French Chanson singer than a British/American artist. One would think that anyone really into Scott, would eventually end up with a Barbara album. L'aigle noir is a beautiful arranged album, and it seems Colombier and Barbara are acting in one body.
Barbara had a hard life that resembles Serge Gainsbourg's childhood. Both Jewish, and both in consistent danger during the Occupation. That experience had added a sense of purpose to her music and career. Even though I don't speak French, I sense a great amount of edge in her work. If for nothing else, one has to pick up the title song “L'aigle noir” because it's so perfect in the way it builds and builds.