Francis Cabrel - Telecaster (English translation)

English translation


I dreamt of adventures
Of borrowing my father’s car
Of going to hang around in bars
In the style of a Rock Star, in England
I dreamt of crossing the channel
Hanging on to the hips of my Telecaster 1
It was whole nights
Delving into the mystery of rock and roll
Until finding the note
That would’ve knocked all my mates on their arses
Like a drowning man clinging to a branch
Hanging on the neck of my telecaster
I hoped there was still a free place
An hour of glory
Something between Gershwin and Mozart
Places, there wasn’t a single one left
I left to play for not a single penny
And “nowhere”
Cables soaked in beer
And amps that weigh a ton
In all the worst dives
Hanging on to the hips of my telecaster
I hoped there was still a free place
An hour of glory
Something between Hendrix and Mozart
And then I encountered that girl
It was like a shot in the arm, a bolt of lightning
I played tons of blues
In all the bars of Toulouse to please her
Standing in the white light
Hanging on to the neck of my Telecaster
  • 1. I think this is unusual in French too, but "hanches" rhymes with "manche" and "blanche"
Submitted by Gavin on Thu, 27/07/2017 - 11:35
Last edited by Gavin on Fri, 25/08/2017 - 09:02


Idioms from "Telecaster"
See also
petit élève    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 12:36

toutes d'un bloc -> more like "whole nights", but "bloc" also evokes a slab of rock that he would try to sculpt.
Can't see how to salvage the metaphor in English though.

mis tous mes potes d'équerre -> here "mettre d'équerre" is like "knock down/out". "have had all my buddies flabbergasted" or something like that.

l'effet d'une aiguille -> more like "a sting" or maybe "a goad", but nothing to do with drugs, I think.

Gavin    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 14:43

That's a tricky one. Something like blocks of nights - carving into the *rock* and roll mystery...yes makes sense in French. I'll have a think but as you say may not be salvageable...

Now I thought hard about "mettre d'équerre" - seems to mean set to square/true/straight so went with "set straight" but it's not quite right, maybe it's more like "sit up straight" (pay attention) but it's not as strong as the meanings you suggest.
That's made them sit up straight! - That got their attention!

Shot in the arm is me introducing another idiom, even if a little indulgently. "It gave me a shot in the arm" is a good way to say it got me going - like a kick up the arse/in the pants (American).

petit élève    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 15:12

"d'équerre" can have two meanings. The basic image is something bent at a right angle, so it can mean a squared up project/situation, but also a guy knocked down sitting straight on his rump with legs outstretched Regular smile
"je l'ai mis d'équerre" -> "I knocked him down"

a shot in the arm -> Ah sorry, another idiom I had missed.

Gavin    Thu, 24/08/2017 - 15:17

Aha - very descriptive! We might say "knock them on their arse"! :-)

Gavin    Fri, 25/08/2017 - 11:35

I'm beginning to wonder if I've really hit this line right:
J'suis parti jouer pour pas une thune et "nowhere"

Do you think he means "I left" or is more like "I was set to" or "I was ready to" ( or prepared to)?

I was prepared to play for free and "nowhere" ?

petit élève    Fri, 25/08/2017 - 20:18

No, I think you got it right. There was no room left where he wanted to be, so he went to play in shabby bars for little or no money.

"I was ready to.." would use "pour" immediately after "partir" ("j'étais parti pour..."). The "pour" you see here just refers to what he earns for playing.

"Je suis parti pour (faire quelque chose)" is actually present tense, though it might look like a past construct (as in "je suis parti pour Marseille").
The only formal difference is that it refers to a verb (pour faire quelque chose) and not a location (pour Marseille).
In that case, "parti pour" acts like an adjective, similar to "prêt à...".

"être bien parti pour..." is quite common too, meaning "to be bound to..." or "There is a good chance that..." (Tu es bien parti pour finir dernier de la classe si tu ne te mets pas au travail)

Gavin    Fri, 25/08/2017 - 22:03

Ah right thanks. I came across the phrase in the other Cabrel Song "Partis pour rester" where it is used as you describe: "Comme si on etait partis pour rester" which I read as "as if we were set (destined) to stay"

So looking at this again I suddenly had a doubt. But the key is "pour" here then. :-)