Most popular music has some connection to the blues, so it’s no surprise that prominent blues artists and standards have become inspiration for many of today's musicians. With Blues Covers, a new series, we will mine the gamut of popular music to unearth some rediscovered blues gems.
One of the most intriguing films to consistently crop up on the 2012 year-end lists of many film critics is the French film Holy Motors, written and directed by Leos Carax. At turns deeply engaging and terribly confounding, it's an inventive art house offering riddled with cinematic references.
A particularly memorable scene launches the fantastic lead, Denis Lavant, on a joyous musical stomp through an empty Paris church as he's joined by a small army of marching accordion players. There's something about the simplicity of this interlude, tucked in between a series of densely symbolic vignettes, that adds to the pure joy of the experience.
The song is an inspired cover of late bluesman R.L. Burnside's "Let My Baby Ride," from his 1998 collection of original remixes, Come On In. Burnside experimented with some fruitful collaborations late in his career, and this track is one of the highlights of his work with renowned music producer Tom Rothrock.
Listen to the Cajun-tinged cover here, adapted by Doctor L, Elliot Simon and Quentin Auvray:
And here's the original:
In an interview with Crave Online, Lavant said this outwardly simple accordion scene required more personal training than anything else in the film. "Every weekend we would get together and do it and come together with the musicians and have to rehearse the scene," he said. "Trying to play and as well have this very quick fast walk was just physically lots of work."
Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, R.L. Burnside blues documentaries
2012 in review: complete coverage