Serge Gainsbourg

Aux Armes et Cætera

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AllMusic Review by

This is one messed up set. Dig the fact that this is Serge Gainsbourg in dread beat and booze. Aux Armes et Cætera is literally Gainsbourg on the rocksteady tip with Sly and Robbie, Flabba Holt, Michael "Mao" Chung, Ansel Collins, I-Threes, Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt, Sticky Thompson, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, and a bunch of French folks playing puff-the-ganja and help the white man in Kingston. Gainsbourg knew what he wanted -- a Lee Perry-styled dubber and dread outing -- and he knew the cats to hire to get it. It contains 15 cuts; some, such as "Javanise," are remakes, while others, ("Des Laids, Des Laids") were written for the session. The Jamaican studio musicians are solid, rocking it down the pipe dark, smoky, and deadly in their grooves. While Serge would seemingly be at a creative impasse, having been one of the whitest men ever to record a side, his tunes work here because he's allowed them to be completely transformed by the Rastas, and his vocals work because they are chanted rather than sung. This is weird, dangerous, and campy music, but it works like a charm. In its day this album was reviled: now it's the work of a visionary. Go figure, but if you dig Gainsbourg, this is for you.

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