Laurence Vanay - Les Soleils de la Vie. 1977 France
LP issue: 2015 Lion (USA)
CD issue: 2016 Lion (USA)
In 1977, it appeared that Jacqueline Thibault (Laurence Vanay) was finally on the verge of obtaining her big break. After two releases on obscure French and Italian labels, major corporation Decca was much interested in the talented Ms. Thibault, and expressed a desire to release her next album. Once delivered, the label had asked for a remix, but given other issues with the studio that she was a (small) stakeholder owner of, priorities slipped, and the album was remixed in the mid 1980s. By then, it was all too late of course.
Jacqueline Thibault was always a bit different. She grew up a child prodigy, with overly protective parents. As such, her influences were much limited, and she never was immersed into the rock culture of the 1970s that could have shaped her sound for better or worse. However she is brilliant, and very feminine - which is why her early albums are so stunning in contrast to everything else. They are subtle works, but totally divine once you allow the music to marinate. Drive-by listeners scoff at her greatness, because they don't hear the expected razzle dazzle - or a comfortable, overly familiar, sound. So they scream overrated, presuming it's nothing but collector hype to raise the profit level - which only reflects back on their own ignorance of the situation at hand.
This beautiful isolation and innocence that Thibault possesses, continues to be projected throughout Les Soleils de la Vie. Today, she makes music for disadvantaged children in need. I couldn't think of anyone better suited for the task.
The biggest gripe I have about this album is the unfortunate mid 80s remix, which sounds every bit of its era. That plastic, hollow sound that dominated the times is so very evident here. Still the music shines through despite the obvious challenge. I would love to hear what the original sounded like, before Decca insisted on a remix. I would buy it again, if this version does surface.
Contrary to what was generally thought by collectors in the 90s/00s, this is an archival recording never released prior.