Intoxicated Man/Pink Elephants
Mick Harvey released Intoxicated Man and Pink Elephants in 1995 and 1997, respectively. They were two of his first three solo albums apart from being musical director for Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and they are both tribute albums to Serge Gainsbourg. Harvey was among the first native English musicians -- if not the first -- to delve so deeply into the vast catalog of songs from France's great musical icon (who was Belgian by birth). Both titles feature well-known Gainsbourg tunes, done in English with their French titles placed in italics side by side. The reason this is important is that Harvey paid close attention to the French lyrics, and with Alan Chamberlain's help in translation, he retains much of their poetry. The songs on the initial volume were marginally more familiar at the time, but nearly all have since become part of his canon. Harvey recorded far more than the 16 tracks that appeared on Intoxicated Man. After its release, he set about finishing tracks from those sessions and recording more Gainsbourg songs for Pink Elephants. Though he played many instruments himself and did all the male lead vocals, he did have some assistance from singer Anita Lane (who suggested the project in the first place), David McClymont, and Chris Hughes as well as some strings in some places. Both recordings are provocative, inventive, and great fun. This double-disc reissue contains two bonus recordings that were never included on Pink Elephants.