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ARMSTRONG (French)
Sung by Claude Nougaro (1929 – 2004)
(Traditional /Claude Nougaro-Maurice Vander)

Armstrong, je ne suis pas noir,
Je suis blanc de peau
Quand on veut chanter l'espoir
Quel manque de pot !
Oui j'ai beau voir le ciel, l'oiseau
Rien, rien ne luit là-haut
Les anges, zéro,
Je suis blanc de peau.

Armstrong, tu te fends la poire,
On voit toutes tes dents,
Moi je broie plutôt du noir
Du noir en dedans.
Chante pour moi, Louis, oh oui,
Chante, chante, chante ça tient chaud
J'ai froid, oh moi
Qui suis blanc de peau.

Armstrong, la vie, quelle histoire !
C'est pas très marrant
Qu'on l'écrive blanc sur noir
Ou bien noir sur blanc
On voit surtout du rouge, du rouge,
Sang, sang, sans trêve ni repos,
Qu'on soit, ma foi,
Noir ou blanc de peau.

Armstrong, un jour, tôt ou tard
On n'est que des os.
Est-ce que les tiens seront noirs
Ce s'rait rigolo
Allez Louis, alléluia,
Au-delà de nos oripeaux,
Noir et Blanc sont ressemblants
Comme deux gouttes d'eau.
ARMSTRONG
(based on "Go Down Moses")
Tribute to Louis Armstrong

Armstrong, I am not black
I am white-skinned
When one wants to sing about hope,
What a bad luck! (1)
Yes, even though I do see the sky, the bird,
Nothing, nothing shines up there.
Angels: none.
I am white-skinned.

Armstrong, you split your sides laughing (2)
All your teeth show out.
As for me, I rather brood (3)
All black inside.
Sing for me Louis, oh yes,
Sing, sing, sing, it keeps [me] warm.
I'm cold, oh I
Who am white-skinned.

Armstrong, life… what a fuss! (4)
It's not very funny
Be it written white on black
Or black on white.
It's mostly red, red to be seen
Blood, blood, without truce/break nor rest (5)
Be we, I say,
Black or white-skinned.

Armstrong, one day sooner or later
We're nothing but bones...
Will yours be black?
That would be funny.
Come on, Louis, hallelujah (6)
Beyond (underneath) our attire
Black and White are alike
Like two drops of water.
Explanations of the puns:
(1) pun between "peau" (skin) and "pot" luck, "manque de pot" (lack of luck) and "manque de peau" (lack of skin [color]). Btw, "pot" is old slang for bum as was "bol" (bowl).
(2) "Se fendre la poire", meaning "to split one sides laughing", literally translates as "to split one's 'pear'", "pear" being slang for head, face… hence all his teeth showing out.
(3) "Broyer du noir", meaning "to brood", "to be blue/sad", literally translates as "to grind black"
(4) Lit. "What a story" but in French "histoire" is both "story" and "history", so "be it written..." refers to both meanings.
(5)"On voit surtout du rouge, du rouge, / Sang, sang, sans trêve ni repos". Lit. "One sees mostly red, red, blood, blood, without truce/break nor rest" but "rouge sang" means "blood-red" and "sang" (blood) and "sans" (without) sound alike.
(6) "Allez, Louis, alléluia": "allez", lit. "go" means "come on" and the beginning of "alléluia" sounds like "allez" but in English you can't split "hallelujah" to make a pun as in "… And the steam boat went to / Hello operator"…

You'll also find a translation on Lyrics translate.com

Lyrics Maurice Vander / Claude Nougaro
(Let My People Go) © Les Editions Du Chiffre Neuf, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Salut Ô Éditions, SO2 Édition, Quatryo Éditions

1989 live rendition in Paris Zénith
1965 recording recording
1998 live rendition in Toulouse


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