American's foremost troubadour, Haley Fohr (leader of Circuit Des Yeux), covering the French prog-folk group Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes makes so much sense, it's almost too on the nose. But let's let that slide, because any opportunity to hear Ms. Fohr's voice should be avidly embraced. Hearing her interpret a direct aesthetic antecedent shouldn't be as affecting as this cover of "Sœur De Race" is, but I'll be damned if Circuit Des Yeux & Moon Bros don't take the song to even darker places than Ribeiro + Alpes did in the 1969 version.
The original is a fleeting, fragile piece of melancholy, folk romanticism that flits away after two minutes and 40 seconds. "Sœur De Race" (translation: Soul Sister) is definitely one of the lighter works by Ribeiro + Alpes, who were usually more truculent and turbulent. CDY & MB nearly double the length and fill in some of Alpes' sparseness while capturing its baroquely beautiful guitar and vocal interplay. Fohr sings in a much higher register here—higher than Ribeiro at her best and most sinister, oddly enough—and it suits her very well.
This cover of "Sœur De Race" helps to launch the media campaign for the forthcoming boxed set of Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes' first three albums from 1970-1972: Nº2, me Debout, and Paix. These LPs fit squarely into the continuum of darkly psychedelic folk music from the '60s and '70s, as exemplified by Jan Dukes de Grey, Comus, Nico circa The Marble Index, and Simon Finn. Anthology Records will reissue them on September 14.