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Mitch Gordon Music

All of the following titles are CD's recorded from French LP's or cassettes that are out of print and unavailable, even in France. I sell them for $8 apiece, including US shipping (but I don't include CD cases, just a track sheet/tray card you can cut out and put in your own CD case). Many of these recordings are the classics of the genre.

[Customers outside of North America, please note: I do indeed ship to your countries, but I charge an additional $10 US for shipping your order. Also, I only accept PayPal as payment from non-U.S. customers.]

To order, please email me. Indicate your selections, your shipping address, and how you will pay (check or PayPal). I can have your selections to you in about 2 weeks from receipt of order. Note that if any of the recordings below are commercially available on CD in France or elsewhere, please inform me of this (at mitchgord@aol.com) and I will remove those from my available list, and add them elsewhere on the site with instructions on how to order them from the artists or distributors.

I've also included information at the bottom about the tunebooks I've written, with tunes CDs included. The three booklet/CD combos are $14 each. For tunebooks and tunebook/CD combos, you need to add shipping ($3 for first booklet, additional booklets on the order shipped free).

For more information, contact Mitch at mitchgord@aol.com.

Artist(s)/Group

Recording

Comments

Bambouche, La

Hexagone

Another fine 1980's recording from the very interesting trad band La Bambouche, featuring some epinette (mountain dulcimer to us) and mando in addition to great hurdy-gurdy, box and fiddle. Also lots of singing. Great tunes, great arrangements. Great version of the song Tailleur de Pierre.


Clips:

Bambouche, La

Jeu à Monter Sans Colle

Probably my favorite La Bambouche, with several memorable vocal numbers in addition to the dance tunes. Some of the great players of French trad were featured in this band, notably Bernard Blanc on pipes and Jean Blanchard on diatonic.


Clips:

Bambouche, La

Quitte Paris

More of the distinctive La Bambouche formula, with a touch of Parisian music thrown in among the trad. The classic antiwar (WW1) chanson La Chanson du Craonne appears here as well, which got the band in hot water with the government. Lots of great tune sets too. What a great band!


Clips:

Blanchard, Jean and Jean-Loup Baly

Accordéon Diatonique Special Instrumental

Much like the sound of Blanchard on Accordéon Diatonique -- this time with another box player and a wider range of instruments. All French trad, except for a couple of Cajun tunes.

Blanchard, Jean and Eric Montbel

Cornemuses du Centre

Lots of traditional tunes played on two bagpipes. Many slower airs, and dance tunes played as airs. Very pretty, very tranquil, very bagpipey.


Clips:

Brayauds, Les

Coleurs

This 1986 recording features Eric and Didier Champion and two bandmates when everyone was still very baby-faced and slender. There is a great combined sound from the vielle, the diatonic, and the two pipers. The tunes are nice choices, many of them compositions of Didier's as well as a few by the other players, and some good traditional tunes. Everything is decidedly danceable and very lively. Originals predominate, but it's all good music.

Brayauds, Les

Jusqu'Au Petit Matin

I'm not sure if this one was before or after Coleurs. Same four guys, same driving sound. This recording is one of the best examples of what I consider the typical Central France sound. Lots of good tunes, many I didn't know.

Brayauds, Les

Musiques de Basse-Auvergne

Probably the earliest of the three Les Brayauds recordings I have, and the most traditional. Excellent playing, interesting tunes.

Cafe Charbons

Cafe Charbons (and Inedits)

This is a classic from the early days of the French folk revival, consisting of a very young Dominique Paris on pipes, Marc Anthony on hurdy-gurdy, and Jean-Francois Vrod on fiddle. These guys were incredible together...serious wild traditional Auvergne music of the snarl-and-stomp variety. The fiddle, pipes and vielle are wonderfully interwoven. Great players, absolutely great stuff. I've also appended the four cuts that appeared on a cassette 10 years later called "Inedits", which is cut of the same cloth.


Clips:

Cayla, Martin

various selections

I've compiled 28 Martin Cayla numbers onto one CD. Martin Cayla was the bandleader and chromatic button accordion player of the very popular Auvergne dance band of the 1940's and 1950's. Complete with that good old scratchy old-record sound and lots of whooping (a bit like a French Bob Wills). Anyone interested in playing Central France music should learn several of these tunes, as they're classics.


Clips:

Gilles Chabenat and Frederic Paris

De L'eau et Des Amandes

This collaboration between Gilles Chabenat on gurdy and Frederic Paris on clarinet is more of a Gilles album than a Frederic album. Frederic's diatonic is not played at all, and there is only one FP original, "Ou T'en Vas Tu?" -- but it's utterly gorgeous. The rest consists of Gilles' compositions of a similar sort to those found on Bleu Nuit. If you enjoy Gilles Chabenat, you should certainly have this album. There are a number of interesting compositions in Gilles unique style, and the playing is predictably incredible.

Chavannée, La

Le Long de la Rivière

This is the definitive French trad band, with at least 3 or 4 of the key players in the French folk community. And their sound is great -- two hurdy-gurdies, two bagpipes, two fiddles, a singer, one (or sometimes 2) diatonic(s). Lots of great tunes and songs on this one, with traditional and composed tunes and traditional vocal music of the riverboatmen of the Bourbonnais. Possibly my favorite early Chavannee.


Clips:

Chavannée, La

Le Bourbonnais

(see band description under Le Long de la Rivière above) More of that La Chavannee sound, and more great tunes and songs. A little more primitive sounding, darker tunes. This may have been their first recording.


Clips:

Chavannée, La

Cotillon

(see band description under Le Long de la Rivière above) Still more great tunes and songs. My favorite cut is Frederic Paris' delightfully bouncy version of Scottish de Virmoux, also the marvelous Bouffard-Paris duet on La Bobine.


Clips:

Chavannée, La

Chants du Mariniers

With the exception of a couple of tracks, this is all vocal music. Specifically these are are songs of the boatmen of the central France rivers, such as the Loire and Allier, as collected by the members of La Chavannee. Frederic and Eveline Paris are especially featured, and there's a lot of living room style call-and-response. Occasionally the band comes in with their signature driving sound. Personally I love this recording, but if you're not a vocal music enthusiast it might not be for you.

Cigogne Bleue, La

La Folk Des La Rue Des Dentelles

This one is more for you hardcore folkies, and/or people with a sense of humor. This is music from Alsace, which, like the language, is as much German-flavored as French. Includes a couple of interesting tunes in 5/4 time that we play. Also lots of horns and other unexpected instruments. I think it's kind of strange and silly, but it's likely the only Alsatian recording you'll find.

Clacque Galoche, Le

Bal Auvergnat

Absolutely great-sounding trad French instrumentals from the 1970's. Four musicians, names I don't recognize -- gurdy, fiddle, box, octave mando, and pipes. Excellent choices of tunes, great playing, lots of nice fiddle work. I like this one a lot.


Clips:

Compagnie du Beau Temps, La

Beau Temps

This is one of three recordings made by the trio of Jean Blanchard (bagpipes and diatonic), Evelyne Girardon (singer), and Michel Pichon (hurdy-gurdy). There is some really nice vocal harmony work on some very haunting songs, and Ms. Girardon has a lovely voice. I really enjoy this group, and it's hard to go wrong with anything with Jean Blanchard on it.

Dedale

various selections

This is a collection of Dedale's tunes from a couple of recordings, one live. Dedale is Isabelle and Norbert Pignol on hurdy-gurdy and box respectively, with a flute/whistle player, an electric bass and some synth. More electronic than most of what I listen to, and all of the material is composed rather than trad, but the compositions are quite good and Isabelle stands out as a terrific gurdy player.

Desaunay, Serge and Giles Le Bigot

Tunes for America

Serge Desaunay is a very good box player in the more contemporary vein, and writes his own tunes, all very nice. On this recording he teams up with guitarist Giles Le Bigot. Very pretty stuff.

Desaunay, Serge and Christian Vesvre

Matins Gris

Serge Desaunay on box with Christian Vesvre on pipes. A mixture of styles, some trad tunes but mostly composed. A bit on the jazzy side.

Del Sauveterre

Del Sauveterre

A really interesting collection of southern Auvergne tunes, and songs sung in Occitan. It is clear that Occitan cultural identity was just starting to be explored when this LP came out. There are hurdy-gurdy, whistle, a bit of psaltery (not sure where that fits), and box and fiddle. The tunes are good but what really stands out is the singing, including versions of familiar bourrees, but sung by groups of men. The language is, well, Occitan, and sounds almost Italian or Spanish at points. Very enjoyable.

Durand, Stephane and Tierry Nouat

Machiavel

This is a live recording of these two impressive hurdy-gurdy players. Most of the tunes are traditional, and the arrangements for two gurdies are interesting and enjoyable.

Flour de Rose

Chantes Et Musiques De Provence

Ok, this one's French trad but not central France...it's music of Provence. This is a very sweet album in the early music genre, featuring harp, whistle, crumhorn and so on, as well as singing. Very southern in sound, almost Spanish. This won't get you your hurdy-gurdy and cornemuse fix, but it's nice.

Ecoliers de Saint Genest, Les

Danses du Berry

Here's a classic recording that is indispensable in a French trad music collection. This was Gilles Chabenat's first group, and features some other noted names including Mic Baudimant and Phillipe Prieur. It features the original versions of several of Gilles' classic compositions, including Le Grand Bete, Carree de Vouvray, Les Poules Huppees, and others.

Les Frères Guillemain

Berry-Bourbonnais

This is scratchy, somewhat corny and very folkloric-sounding playing by two musicians, sometimes playing on two gurdies, sometimes gurdy and pipes, and other combinations. The tunes are all very good to have, and this is something of a classic, although it made me squirm to listen through initially. 29 tunes, count 'em!

Grand Rouge, Le

Le Grand Rouge

A classic recording from the 1970's, with Pierre Imbert on hurdy-gurdy, Christian Oller on box and fiddle, and two other players I don't recognize. A nice mixture of songs and great trad instrumentals.


Clips:

Grand Rouge, Le

Traverser du Pays

Another great recording by this classic band. Contains some fine playing on hurdy gurdies, pipes, fiddles, box and whistles, as well as great vocal harmonies (the best French vocal work I've heard by a group of men).

Lavergne, Jacques

Cadences d'Auvergne

This one is for you box players. It's all solo box, and he's really good. The tunes are all traditional, but he throws in some unexpected chording. Good stuff.

Le Tron, Bruno

Valhermeil

Bruno Le Tron is one exceptional box player, among the very best. He also writes excellent tunes, which make up most of this recording. Nothing trad here except for a few Breton tunes, but no diatonic box player should be without this recording, and it too is sadly out of print. I have no idea how he plays in all those keys on a 2-1/2 row diatonic in G/C.


Clips:

Lo Jai

Musique Traditionelle du Limousin

One of the early classics of French folk. Includes some nice chabrette (Limousin bagpipe), fiddle and box. Also some locals singing Limousin songs.

Maluzerne

Anthologie Disque 1

Not a band of blazingly fast gunslingers, but there is so much good trad material on this recording you can't help but enjoy it. 6 guys, including 2 diatonic players, a gurdy player, a whistle player, and octave mando. There is a fair amount of trad vocal music here, sung very nicely in 3 part harmony, including vocal versions of several tunes that I wouldn't have otherwise. And the diatonic players are both quite good. This recording is stuffed full of good trad material -- over 20 tracks.

Maluzerne

Anthologie Disque 2

Another 20 trad cuts from Maluzerne. Perhaps not quite as good as the first anthology, but if you liked that one, get this one too.

Melusine

Levé Toi et Danse!

A pleasant assortment of tune sets from one of the early classic bands. Much of it is Breton, but they throw in a little Cajun and Quebecois for the heck of it. An enjoyable album.

Melusine

La Prison d'Amour

This is a dark, beautiful, and very Renaissance-sounding recording with fine vocals and haunting melodies. Hurdy-gurdy appears, but there is also a fair amount of epinette (essentially the same as a mountain dulcimer in the US) and recorder. Really neat album.

Montbel, Eric

Chabretas Les Cornemuses de Limousin

This is hardcore solo bagpipe, one dance tune after another, on the chabrette bagpipe of the Limousin region, played by one of the masters of central France bagpipe, Eric Montbel. If listening to a lot of bagpipe tunes without additional instruments is not your thing, you won't enjoy it. Serious cornemusophiles will be delighted with it, however!

Paris, Frederic

Carnet de Bal

Here's another classic that should have been reissued long ago. Like Rue de L'Oisseau, this features Frederic's simple and beautiful box playing. Unlike the other recording, this one specializes more in trad than Paris' compositions. Everything is very pretty. A must-have for the accordion players, and everyone else will enjoy it too.

Pennec, Alain

Accordeon Diatonique

This one is traditional Breton rather than Centre France. Pennec has created other CD's since (and some very extensive instructional books and recordings), but this one is marked by its simplicity and listenability (nothing on the CD but Pennec's box playing). The sound is distinctively Breton. The Breton vocal number Drao at the end is one we do, and is just a great song.


Clips:

Perrone, Marc

Accordeon Diatonique

This was box player Marc Perrone's first solo recording, I believe. It stands out for its simplicity, and mostly is just box. Several good trad tunes as well as some of Perrone's originals.

Perrone, Marc and others

Gabriel Valse

This recording is live at a dance, and features several musicians, notably Perrone on box before he became established. Everyone was very young, notably Perrone. There's a bit of Cajun and Quebecois thrown in, but mostly a lot of very good central France trad featuring box and fiddle and mando. A lot of fun. You can picture yourself there.

Perrone, Marc

La Forcelle

In this recording Perrone is starting to play more Parisian, and it is kind of a funny mix of stuff at times (he throws in a tarantella and a Quebecois reel, along with Under Paris Skies). But some of his classics are represented as well, such as Les Valcerves and Vas-Y Mimille.

Prieur, Phillipe and Frederic Paris

La Mere Gaspard

This recording is from an outdoor concert at St. Chartier, and features piper Phillipe Prieur and Frederic Paris on a multitude of instruments, along with one or two other players and singers. It's a real mixture of material, but it's all great stuff, including some very traditional vocal music, some bagpipe duos and trios, and a very pretty rendition of Paris' Canal en Octobre. This has become one of my favorite French trad recordings.


Clips:

Phillipe Prieur

Crue d'Amor

This solo recording from 2001 on AMTA features one of the great French pipers and a very prolific composer, Phillipe Prieur. (He wrote Patins Blancs, Chavouisses, Joup Fendues, and a number of other recognizable tunes.) This album mostly features his compositions, mostly played on the low D Bourbonnaise pipes. Many of the arrangements are fairly sparse and lovely, most notably "Tes Jolies Patins Blancs", although a few are oddly arranged. For example, the lovely "Marguerite" is played once and over in 40 seconds (you need to hear Patrick Bouffard's version instead). And there's some superfluous electric guitar on a couple of tracks. But all in all, this is a recording that all of the pipers will want to have, showcasing the work of one of the greats.

Rasle, Jean-Pierr

Cornemusiques

This is a very obscure bagpipe player's recording from around the same time that Alan Stivell was getting popular, and it didn't sell well then disappeared. But I have to say that it's one of my favorites by any French piper. Rasle plays a variety of central France pipes, but it's mostly the D bourbonnaise on display, and the piping is lovely. The arrangements are kept simple and authentic, and the tunes are strictly trad. Very, very nice stuff.

Tref

Tref

This button accordion trio featured Bruno Le Tron, Wim Claeys, and Didier Laloy, and made this recording around 2000. Everything here is lovely, and features fine arranging. The sound of three diatonics is pleasing, and these are among the great players, notably Le Tron. Many of his compositions are featured, although somewhat less animatedly than in Valhermeil. Box players will certainly want this recording, and I think everyone else will enjoy it too.

Vielleux du Bourbonnais

untitled

This is a hands-down classic recording, and at the very least should be owned by all hurdy gurdy players, and probably everyone else too. It was recorded in 1979 by Bernard Blanc, Jean-Claude Blanc and Frederic Paris, with Paris mostly on hurdy-gurdy rather than box. It features a number of classic tunes and tune sets, including the original La Jeamber and Bourree de Cusset with Derriere Chez Nous. It was originally on vinyl, then out of print, then reissued by AMTA on CD, and now out of print again.

Vielleux du Bourbonnais

Coup de Quatre

This recording is a sequel to the classic "Vielleux du Bourbonnais" recording by Bernard Blanc, Jean-Claude Blanc and Frederic Paris. The sequel album is just about as good as the original and adds Patrick Bouffard (talk about gilding the lily...). Absolutely great stuff by four of the great players.

Tarif de Nuit

Bistrot Swing

A recording full of blisteringly fast hurdy gurdy tunes by gurdy virtuosos Thierry Nouat and Thierry Bruneau, accompanied by a guitarist and bass player. If you didn't get enough espresso for the drive, this is the stuff. Most of the tunes are originals, which are not bad compositions, and there are a few notable covers, expecially "Les Doigts de Carmen" by Evaline Girardon and "Famous Wolf" by Nigel Eaton. If you want a recording of naked snarling gurdy, this will take care of it.

Trio BLV

Le Grand Duc

This one's a bit jazzy -- featuring a jazz piano player, an excellent box player, and a very capable fiddler. Most of the material is traditional but arranged to their taste. All and all quite interesting. I especially liked their treatment of the modal fiddle bourree Sainte Rose. A very French concept.

Trio Cornemuse

Frederic Paris, Willy Soulette, Jean-Claude Blanc

Now how can you do any better than these three greats of the central France bagpipe playing as a trio? Absolutely wonderful from start to finish...sweet harmonies, beautiful renditions. Why hasn't AMTA reissued this? Why? Oh, never mind! But I do have it, and so should you.

various

Accordeons en Auvergne

This was a compilation cassette featuring various accordion players in Auvergne, both diatonic and chromatic button. There's some Martin Cayla and quite a number of players I don't know of but playing in a similar style, mostly from older recordings. Some of it duplicates my Martin Cayla compilation, but these are all good tunes.

various

Cornemuses de France Volume 2

This is a very interesting, but unproduced and stark, sampling of bagpipes and bagpipe styles from several regions, including Languedoc, Gascony, Brittany, Vendee (Poitou), and a smidgen of Bourbonnais. It all sounds really great, but especially the Breton pieces.



Other Items from Mitch -- Instructional Tunebooks


Getting Into The Box - Traditional French Music on the G/C Button Accordion - Vol. 1

($12 each plus shipping)

This is a tune book with companion music CD, produced and published by Mitch Gordon. It features sheet music and recordings of 19 traditional French tunes that have been favorites with West Coast (U.S.) musicians for years. The sheet music of each tune selection consists of melody notation along with accompanying chords, as well as notes on the tune's origin, correct rhythm, and appropriate playing style.

The companion CD recording contains both slow and moderate speed versions of each tune. The slow speed version is suitable for learning the piece, while the quicker version is useful for hearing what tune should sound like, and for playing along with when more skilled.

Alan Keith, a long time teacher and player of French button accordion music, highly recommends this booklet/CD to all players of 2 and 2-1/2 row G/C, and 3 row G/C/F diatonic (button) accordions. It also serves as a great introduction to French music for players of other instruments as well.

Terre d’Auvergne - Traditional Music from Central France

($12 each plus shipping)

Mitch's second booklet, containing 40 tunes (with accompanying CD) provides you with standard French trad repertoire for a French trad music session or dance. Sheet music is provided for both of the traditional French instrument tunings (G/C and D/G) so that both can be accomodated in addition to the fiddles, whistles, piano accordions and so on. The tunes are a wide cross-section of bourrees, scottishes, mazurkas and waltzes popular with French-session musicians on the west coast. Chords are provided for the accordion players. This booklet/CD package is an excellent resource for learning French trad tunes and for use by groups of players at sessions and dances.

Danses Avec Loups (Dances With Wolves) -- Traditional Music of Central France

(in Minor and Modal Keys especially for hurdy-gurdy and other chromatic instruments)

($10 each plus shipping -- does not include CD at this time)

This tune book contains 40 "dark" tunes (I call them "wolf tunes") especially suited to the hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, chromatic accordion and/or bagpipe (not recommended for the button box). Some of the material is traditional from central France, especially the Bourbonnais region. Other tunes have been composed in recent years in the tradition by hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe players. All of it is unique and wonderful.

As was done with Terre d'Auvergne, each tune is transcribed in both G/C and D/G tunings, and chords are provided for accompaniment.

Why "wolf tunes"? Several central France tunes have the word "loup" (wolf) in the title, as in "Pas de Loup" and "Viro Lo Loups." These relate to a legend of a killer wolf, a "great beast" (grand bête) who supposedly terrorized the French countryside. I take the term more loosely to mean tunes with a dark character, suited to the howl of the pipes and snarl of the gurdy.