138 – I Call Your Name / Je Vous Appelle – Les Chauds Lapins



Original Version recorded 1 March 1964

Ukulele version recorded August 2011


Meg Reichardt voice & ukulele

Kurt Hoffman banjo ukulele

Jessica Pavone viola

Garo Yellin cello

Andy Cotton bass & brushes


French lyrics by Meg Reichardt & Marion Pensole

Arrangement by Kurt Hoffman


Produced by Les Chauds Lapins

Recorded and Mixed by Meg Reichardt at Soapbox Studio, Brooklyn, NY, August



Written by John Lennon, with maybe a bit of McCartney

Credited to  Lennon & McCartney




This weeks song is an French re-imagining of I Call Your Name (Je Vous Appelle). The Beatles (Les Beatles) connection to France goes back a long way.


In September 1963, two weeks before his 21st birthday, John’s Aunt Elizabeth, who lived in Sutherland, Scotland, sent John £100 as a coming of age present. Together with Paul, he decided to go on a trip to Spain, although they only got as far as Paris.


After the Beatles evening gig at Knotty Ash Village Hall on Friday 29 September 1961, the group took a break while the duo left for a fifteen-day trip abroad.


Some reports have suggested that the two of them left without informing George or Pete, who were so angry that they almost left the group.


Stuart Sutcliffe had informed John by post that Jurgen Vollmer, their friend from Hamburg, had moved to Paris, and he provided them with his address. During the trip they visited Jurgen who was to write about the visit and said that they wanted to have their hair cut in the same style as his. So he gave them both their first ‘Beatles’ haircut in his hotel room on the Left Bank.


Jurgen wrote: 


“At that time, the rage in Paris was bell bottoms. The Beatles always wore very tightly cuffed, or ‘pegged’ pants with pointed shoes or very pointed boots. They were ‘Teddy boys’ in the English-fashion and dressed in black leather and black jeans…John and Paul wanted to dress more in the Paris fashion, but they were afraid to look queer in their home town of Liverpool.”


John and Paul stayed in Montmartre for a week and planned to travel on to Spain, but their money ran out. On their return to Liverpool they stopped off in London where they bought some Chelsea boots, which were later to become fashionable as ‘Beatle boots.’


It was around this time that John wrote “I Call Your Name”.  In 1963, he gave the song to Billy J. Kramer of The Dakotas, another Liverpool band who managed by Brian Epstein and signed to Parlophone by George Martin. Lennon hated the Dakotas’ arrangement of his song as well as it being relegated to a B-side.


When The Beatles needed more material than they could write in 1964 Lennon re-arranged the song. It first appeared in the US on the Capitol Records release The Beatles’ Second Album, appearing later in the UK on the EP Long Tall Sally.


No horrible loud tambourine on this version but there is a cowbell so loud that it made my eyeballs hurt.


There is a little controversy about who wrote this one 



That was my song. When there was no Beatles and no group. I just had it around. It was my effort as a kind of blues originally, and then I wrote the middle eight just to stick it in the album when it came out years later. The first part had been written before Hamburg even. It was one of my first attempts at a song.”



“I Call Your Name was written in Lennon’s aunt Mimi’s house in Menlove Avenue, Liverpool. We worked on it together, but it was John’s idea. When I look back at some of these lyrics, I think, Wait a minute. What did he mean? ‘I call your name but you’re not there.’ Is it his mother? His father? I must admit I didn’t really see that as we wrote it because we were just a couple of young guys writing. You didn’t look behind it at the time, it was only later you started analyzing things.”


My take on it is John probably had the whole thing done and Paul tweaked a few parts of the melody.




Je Vous Appelle


Je vous appelle

Vous n’êtes pas là

A qui la faute?

D’être déloyal


Je n’en dors plus la nuit

Depuis qu’vous êtes parti

Je retiens mes larmes

Même si rien ne me calme!


Non! Je n’le supporte pas

Qui donc le pourrait?

J’ne réussirai jamais

Je n’suis pas une femme comme ça!


Je n’en dors plus la nuit

Mais tout de même

Je retiens mes larmes

Je vous appelle


Non! Je n’le supporte pas

Qui donc le pourrait?

J’n’y arriverai jamais

Je n’suis pas une femme comme ça!


Je n’en dors plus la nuit

Mais tout de même

Je retiens mes larmes

Je vous appelle

Je vous appelle

Je vous appelle




Les Chauds Lapins (“the hot rabbits”), lead by New York’s Kurt Hoffman and Meg Reichardt, specialize in a repertoire of French swing from the 1920’s through the 40’s. The group has re-arranged long-forgotten French classics for banjo-ukes, string trio, guitar and winds, mixing the rootsiness of early American jazz with the lushness of a Bernard Hermann film soundtrack.


Les Chauds Lapins is French for "hot rabbits": lust-filled animals intent on seeking — and finding — pleasure. "Amourettes," Les Chauds Lapins’ second album, is the result of that quest for pleasure.




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