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Gainsbourg Percussions
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Serge Gainsbourg




 Released
October 26, 1964


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New York USA's origin: Akiwowo
by Jack Anderson on 2019-01-11 05:50:28 ET
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African (plagiarism)
By Jack Anderson on January 11, 2019
 6

Once again, Gainsbourg is playing with styles. After an album with just two musicians, this time, this album is utilizing African rhythms. While I think that the result is a bit... too much, it still contains great songs, which became classics, such as New York USA and Couleur café.

INSPIRATION v PLAGIARISM
Interestingly, Gainsbourg will also later be known as someone who makes deep... "hommages". You probably do not know that his famous song "New York USA" is actually taken from a Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, titled "Akiwowo". "Joanna" and "Marabout" are also songs taken from the same artist, respectively "Kiyakiya" and "Gin-go-lo-ba". And don't look for this artist's name within the album, as Gainsbourg did not provide any credits. This is where I think, we are closer to plagiarism than inspiration. But since this is Gainsbourg we are talking about, this is about taking something and making it grandiose. Suddenly, an unknown melody is getting the Gainsbourg's touch and getting an entirely new dimension. "New York USA" is a sublime song, there is no denying it. So, if you want to call some of Gainsbourg's work as plagiarism, you have to first add a positive adjective. Brilliant plagiarism is what comes to my mind.

FAVORITE SONGS
"Pauvre Lola"
"New York USA"
"Couleur café"
"Ces petits riens"

SUMMARY
I give it 6 out of 10. Very good. 4 great songs.




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