LAI IT ON ME

French composer Francis Lai is probably best known for two things: his score for the tear jerker of all tear jerkers, ‘Love Story’, and that perennial bargain bin sound track LP ‘A Man And A Woman’. But his filmography stretches to dozens of titles and I won’t even pretend to be familiar with but the merest whiff of his output. What I do know is the two soundtracks featured here both contain unexpectedly sounding psychedelic delights that have spent the last 40 odd years flying severely under the radar.

Despite being a French film, 1967’s Live For Life'(Vivre Pour Vivre) contains the English language ‘All At Once It’s Love’ as sung by Egyptian jazz singer Louis Aldebert over a very American garage sounding backing track. How’s that for international? The singing is decidely square compared to the hip backing track, but that just adds to the weirdness.

Hello-Goodbye (1970) stars a pre ‘Some Mother’s Do Ave ‘Em’ Michael Crawford as an English used-car salesman who falls in love with a wealthy mademoiselle on a trip to France. I watched it years ago in horrendously lo-res on YouTube and remember enjoying it but can’t for the life of me now recall anything more about it. Regardless, the soundtrack features another garage-y sounding number ‘No Need To Cry’, also in English, this time sung by one Archibald Legget. Archie, if i can call him that, also released a great and heavy Francis Lai penned 45 in 1969 under the name ‘Archibald’ which I have been trying to track for a while to no avail. But back to ‘No Need To Cry’: a US garage-esque take on the swinging London sound with a stiff, soulless vocal delivery that adds a certain spookiness I can’t resist.

And that’s that. Perhaps the 9 pages worth of Monsieur Lai’s listings on Discogs contain other incongruously psychedelic sounds and this is just the tip of a very cool iceberg. Or perhaps not. I’ve picked up a few of his other soundtracks and not found anything with writing home about. But I’ll keep buying them if they kept cropping up in the dollar bin, and remain ever hopeful. Because that’s what dollar records are all about…

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