Au Ranch à Willie (At Willie’s Ranch)

view in englishIl y a quelques années, j’ai entendu pour la première fois la chanson de Zachary Richard, Le ranch à Willy. J’ai cru que c’était peut-être un whiskey bar en Louisiane. Mais j’ai appris que «Le Ranch à Willy» était en fait un programme télevisé au Québec. Zachary Richard lui-même a dit:

Mon premier passage à la télévision était en 1974 à l’émission «Le ranch à Willy» à Montréal. L’animateur Willy Lamothe était et resera selon moi le plus grand des chanteurs country western du Québec.

Voilà je decouvrais le phénomène de la musique country western de Québec et aussi Willie Lamothe, qui a pratiquement créé la musique western (comme elle est connue au Canada francophone).

Cette musique western existe encore, comme vous pouvez voir chaque septembre au festival de Saint-Tite, ou avec un playlist je viens de trouver sur YouTube: Franco-Country (89 chansons!).

Mais je veux retourner à la chanson de Zachary Richard. Pour moi, c’est un hommage affectueux à Willie et sa émission. Un chanteur (peut-être pas un bon chanteur) rêve de devenir une star.

La voici, chanté par Revanche.

La nuit avant que je m’endors
Je ferme mes yeux très très fort,
Et je vois la scène et tous les gens devant.
Derrière le rideau, j’entends tous les bravos,
Dès que je joue mon premier accord.

Last night, just before I fell asleep
I closed my eyes tight
And I could see the scene, with all the people out front
From behind the curtain, I could hear all the bravos
As soon as I play my first chord

Quand moi je vais chanter au Ranch à Willie,
Huit heures et demi le mercredi au soir.
Tout le monde sera mon ami
Avant neuf heures moins quart,
Ils ne riront plus quand moi je vais devenir star.

When I get to sing on Ranch à Willie
At 8:30, Tuesday evening
Everybody’s going to be my friend
Before a quarter to nine
They’re won’t laugh any more when I’m a star.

Dans un rêve la Sainte Vierge est venu me visiter,
Habillée en blanc, ma couleur préférée.
Avec ses beaux yeux bleus, pendant que je lui tenais chaud,
Elle confirmait ce que j’ai toujours su.

In a dream, the Blessed Virgin came to visit me
Dressed in white (my favorite color)
With her beautiful blue eyes, while I looked at them warmly,
She confirmed what I’ve always known


La première des journaux le lendemain matin
Parlera de l’arrivée d’un grand chanteur.
Mais je ne vais pas me gonfler, ni oublier mes amis
Qui étaient là pour moi la première fois.

The first editions, the morning after,
Will talk about the arrival of a great singer
But I’m not gonna get a big head, or forget my friends
Who were there for me the first time.


Ca fait laissez les se moquer
De ma coupe de cheveux et de mes habits,
Et de mon grand nez très bizarre.
Quand ils viendront pour acheter leurs billets,
L’affiche dira: “Complet, tant pis, trop tard.”

So let them make fun of me —
Of my haircut and my clothes
And my strange, big nose —
When they come to buy their tickets
The sign’s going to say, « Sold out, too bad, too late. »

Francine Christophe

Quelque chose de nouveau dans ma charrette:

Hier, sur Facebook, j’ai vu cette vidéo émouvante. Pour mes amis qui ne parlent pas français, j’ai fait ma propre traduction en anglais.

Aujourd’hui, mon amie Patti m’a demandé si je pouvais mettre cette traduction en ligne afin qu’elle puisse la partager.

Something new here in my cart:

Yesterday on Facebook, I saw this moving video. For my friends who don’t speak French, I made my own English translation.

Today, my friend Patti asked if I could put this translation on line so she could share it.

Et voilà.

I am Francine Christophe. I was born on August 18, 1933–the year that Hitler came to power.

Here. This is my star. I wore it on my chest. understand, like all the Jews. It’s big, isn’t it? Especially on the chest of a child, because I was 8 years old then.

Something extraordinary happened at my camp, Bergen-Belsen. I remember that we were children of prisoners of war, and so we had privileges. We had the right to bring with us from France a little bag with two or three little things — one woman (had) a bit of chocolate, one a bit of sugar or a handful of rice.

My mother brought two little pieces of chocolate. She said to me, we’ll keep this for the day when I see you completely down, ruined. I’ll give you this chocolate, and it will help you to get up again.

Now, there was with us a young deportee who was pregnant. You coudn’t tell, she was so thin. Even so, the day arrived. She left for (the infirmary?) with my mother, who was the leader of our barracks.

Before leaving, my mother said to me, You remember that I’m keeping a bit of chocolate?
« Yes, Mama. »
How do you feel?
« Fine, Mama. It’ll be fine. »
All right. If you let me, then I will bring this piece of chocolate to our friend Hélène — because, a delivery here — she could maybe die. And if I give her the chocolate, perhaps it will help her.
« Yes, Mama. You take it. »
Hélène gave birth – she had a baby, a tiny little sickly thing. She ate the chocolate. She didn’t die; she returned to the barracks.

The baby never cried. Never! Not even fussed.

Six months later, we were liberated. We got rid of our rags.

The baby cried. THAT was its birth.

We brought her back to France, a wee thing of six months, tiny.

Some years later, my daughter said to me, « Mama, if you had had psychologists or psychiatrists when you returned, it would have been much better for you. » I said, certainly, but there weren’t any. Nobody would have thought about it if there had been any.

But you’ve given me a good idea. We are going to have a conference about this. So I organized a conference on the theme: if there had been psychologists in 1945, when we returned from the camps, what would have happened?

Many people came. Old people, survivors, the curious, and of course plenty of psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists… Very interesting.

Everyone had his own ideas. It went very well.

And then there was a woman who came and who said, « I live in Marseille. I am a psychiatric doctor. And before saying what I have to say, I have something to give to Francine Christophe. »

She meant, to me.

She reached into her pocket. She took out a piece of chocolate. She gave it to me, and she said:

« I am the baby. »

(Je veux remercier Stephane Root Lo, qui a partagé la vidéo sur sa page Facebook.)
(I want to thank Stephane Root Lo, who shared the video on his Facebook page.)