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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."

Related:

Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, R.L. Burnside blues documentaries

2012 in review: complete coverage

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Blues Cover: R.L. Burnside meets an accordion army

Most popular music has some connection to the blues, so it’s no surprise that prominent blues artists…

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Amelia B.
#1 posted by
Amelia B.
on Jan 04, 2013

Both tracks are enthralling, with that deep-in-your-brain infectious rhythm, but if I'd heard the accordion version in any other context, I certainly would not have made the connection to Burnside.  Quite the contrast.

Haven't seen the movie (or heard much about it), but I wonder just how "densely symbolic" it has to be that you can describe a scene of dozens of accordion players suddenly appearing to accompany the protagonist while marching through an empty church gets described as a "simple" interlude...

Ben Didier
#2 posted by
Ben Didier
on Jan 04, 2013

Yeah, I was excited to see R.L. Burnside in the opening titles, but I couldn't figure out where they had used his music until after the film was over. I definitely didn't pick it out right away. It's a shame that they're not releasing a soundtrack actually: Kylie Minogue also has a role in the film where she acts and sings in a musical scene. 

 

Myers Brothers Band
#3 posted by
Myers Brothers Band
on Jan 05, 2013

We've been playing RL's "Snake Drive" & "Jumper On the Line" in our sets for decades... Happy to see we're not the only Canucks who've heard of this guy! :D

Myers Brothers Band
#4 posted by
Myers Brothers Band
on Jan 05, 2013

http://music.cbc.ca/artists/Myers-Brothers-Band If y'all listen to our track "Truckin' Boogie" we use a 'variation' of RL's "Snake Drive/Let It Ride"... :D

 

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