Raspberries, Strawberries

Will Holt

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Song Specific Liner Notes

Covers by other artists

Song lyrics

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  Nick Reynolds (vocal, guitar), Bob Shane (vocal, guitar), Dave Guard (vocal, guitar), Buck Wheat (bass):
Album: STEREO CONCERT (Original Capitol LP record release) ST-1183 - 1959 Album: SOLD OUT (Original Capitol LP record release) T/ST 1352  - 1960 Album: THE BEST OF THE KINGSTON TRIO (Capitol Records LP record reissue of tracks previously available on original Capitol releases) - T/ST-1705 -- (c)(p) date N/A -- TRACK TIME: (2:12) Album: THE FOLK ERA (Original Capitol LP record reissue of tracks previously available on original Capitol releases) (S)TLC-2180 - 196? AMERICAN GOLD Album: THE CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES (Capitol CD compilation of previously available tracks from Dave Guard and John Stewart Era Trios) CDP 7 02710 2 - 1990 Album: SOLD OUT / STRING ALONG (Capitol CD re-issue of previously available tracks from SOLD OUT and STRING ALONG) CDP 796735 2 - 1992 -- TRACK TIME: (2:23) Album: MADE IN THE USA (Pair-SM/Capitol CD reissue of tracks previously available on original Capitol releases) - PCD-2-1221/ CDL-57057 -- (c)(p) 1989  
  ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS -- TRACK TIME: (N/A Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO: THEIR GREATEST AND FINEST PERFORMANCES (Readers Digest CD re-issue of previously available tracks from assorted Capitol LP albums (1958-1964)) 093C - 1994 -- TRACK TIME: (2:15) Album: THE CAPITOL YEARS (Capitol four disk CD compilation of previously available tracks from the Dave Guard and John Stewart era Trios) CDP 7 96748 2 - 1995 THE EP COLLECTION -- TRACK TIME: (N/A) Album: THE ORIGINAL KINGSTON TRIO (EMI INT. Records LTD  CD compilation of previously available tracks from Dave Guard and John Stewart Era Trios) EMI INT. Records LTD #N/A - Date N/A Album: THE GUARD YEARS (Bear Family Records CD re-issue of previously recorded material) BCD 16160 JK - 1997 -- TRACK TIME: (2:05) Album: THE KINGSTON TRIO: THE STORY (Capitol Records CD reissue of tracks previously available on original Capitol releases) - EMI Plus 724357670826 -- (c)(p) 2000
Bob Shane (vocal, guitar), George Grove (vocal, guitar), Bob Haworth (vocal, guitar), Cary Black (bass) Tom Green (percussion), Ben Schubert (viola, guitar), Frank Sanchez (drums):
        THE BEST OF THE BEST (Original Pro Accoustical Recordings original CD release) CDP 702) - 1986 -- TRACK TIME: (2:28) TOM DOOLEY & OTHER HITS (First Choice CD re-release of previously available tracks) FC 4507 - 1991 -- TRACK TIME: (2:28) THE BEST OF THE BEST (Woodford Music CD re-release of previously available tracks) WMCD 5618 - 1991    
Bob Shane (vocal, guitar), George Grove (vocal, guitar), Bob Haworth (vocal, guitar), Ben Schubert (bass):
        BY SPECIAL REQUEST (newly recorded arrangements of previously recorded tracks) ???? - 2000        
Song Specific Liner Notes    
ALBUM NOTES  
The Kingston Trio:Their Greatest Hits and Finest Performances Raspberries, Strawberries (Holt) This tender toast to the girls of Paris is one of two Will Holt "fruit" songs popularized by the Trio, the other being "Lemon Tree." They recorded it in November 1958 In an effort to duplicate the success of "Tom Dooley" - a tough task, indeed. "Raspberries, Strawberries" became the group's second chart single, hitting No. 70, and appeared in an album for the first time in their fourth No. I LP, Sold Out, from 1960.

1994 The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. 1994 The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd. 1994 Reader's Digest Association Far East Ltd. Philippine Copyright 1994 Reader's Digest Association Far East Ltd. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

Other Notes of Interest  
After considerable effort on his part, we now have the detail on Raspberries, Strawberries; PeteCury passed the French lyrics (below) along in the note to the right: Dear KT fan:
The French lyrics to "RS" are now posted on the KT site in the lyrics section under "r". I got them from Ben Blake (co-author of "The Kingston Trio On Record") who got them from a French teacher who got them from the original Wil Holt recording. They are:

"Ah, les fraises et les frombois et les bon vins nous avons bu."

Which translates:

"Ah, the raspberries and the strawberries and the good wines we have drunk."

According to a friend who runs a Berlitz Language Center, proper French grammar dictates that the word "frombois" should be spelled "fromboises" (plural) and the word "que" (meaning "that" or "which") should be inserted between the words "vins" and "nous." I have no way of knowing if the original Wil Holt lyrics contained these corrections or not. Probably not, as they are hardly singable.

Good luck,
Pete Curry

Pete Curry updated his report on 12/22/2000, 7:55 pm with this posting to The Kingston Trio Place Forum. After years of searching for a copy of the Will Holt album that contained the original version of "Raspberries, "Strawberries" ("The World of Will Holt," Coral Records #57104, released in 1957), a copy finally showed up on eBay. I was the highest (and only) bidder, it arrived today, and I am happy to report that the KT version is far better than the original.
The melody is much the same in both versions (except under the spoken parts where it is more elaborate on the Holt version). But the alterations the Trio made to the words and the general flow of the song are really quite masterful. Here is Holt's version (with lyrics for BOTH of Holt's original French lines supplied by Ben Blake):

(SUNG) Ah les fraises et les framboise 
et les bon vins nous avons bus
Et les belles villagers
qui nons parlons adieu
Raspberries, Strawberries,
the good wines that we brew
Here's to the girls of the country side
whom we must bid adieu

(SUNG) Now every young man goes to France
And every young man should
There's something in the air of France
That does a young man good
That does a young man good

(Versus the KT's:
"A young man goes to Paris
As every young man should
There's something in the air of France
(that does a young man good...")

Ah les fraises...

The summer nights are warm and fair
The summer wind is soft
Young men embrace your sweet young girls
In every field and loft
In every field and loft

(Versus:
"Paris nights are warm and fair
The summer winds are soft
A young man finds the face of love
In every field and loft...")

Ah les fraises...

(SPOKEN) Now every young man foresakes France
And every young man must
Some day the western wind turns cold
And the strawberries turn to dust
(SUNG) The strawberries turn to dust

Ah les fraises...

(SPOKEN) But every old man who hears this song
Walks with a step more sprightly
As he remembers the girls who sang
So casually, so lightly
(SUNG) So casually, so lightly

(Versus the Trio's outstanding single verse:
"An old man returns to Paris
as ev'ry old man must
He finds the winter winds blow cold
His dreams have turned to dust...")

Ah les fraises...

Regarding the French lyrics: A myth that can put to rest is that Dave was singing what one KT songbook referred to as "French double-talk," supposedly because he didn't know what Holt was singing. Whatever Dave was singing, it is exactly what Holt sang, sylable for sylable. A problem, perhaps, is that what they both sang appears not to be proper French. What they are singing sounds like "Ah, les fraises (pronounced "frays") et les frombois (pronounced "fromboz") et les bon vins Q'UOS avons bu." Apart from the fact that "frombois" should be "fromboises" (i.e. plural, although Holt seems to sing "frombois"), "q'uos" (pronounced "cooz") may be a contraction of "que" (that) and "nous" (we). In fact, proper French dictates the use of the word "que" before the word "nous." But the French would not run those two words together since such contractions normally occur only when the second word starts with a vowel or a vowel sound. However, in French, as with English, there may be such a thing as poetic license.

To my ear, the second French line supplied by Ben Blake (which the Trio replaced with a string of "la las") doesn't sound like what Holt sings. (In Ben's defense, Holt's pronunciation is less clear on this line and it is difficult to make out exactly what he is singing, phonetically or otherwise--which is a problem Dave Guard no doubt encountered.)

Anyway, I'm sending a copy of the Holt recording for Ken to post here. Bud and Travis also recorded the song (on "Spotlight on Bud & Travis," 1960), and their French might be easier to make out. If someone has the B&T version and can send it to Ken, maybe between the two we can get to the bottom of this once and for all! Regards, Pete Curry

P.S. "M.T.A." is also on "The World of Will Holt," complete with a spoken (though differently worded) introduction. More on that later.

4 August, 2004

Dear Webmaster,

 

I am a KT fan and I really enjoy your website - what a fantastic job! I read the page where different people discussed the French part of Raspberries, Strawberries and I just wanted to add a few things. I am a native French speaker (from Switzerland), and I can certify that the exact spelling for the French part is: "Ah les fraises et les framboises et les bons vins que nous avons bus." 

As a response to the postings about Dave Guard's pronunciation, he did a great job and he sounds like he knew exactly what he was saying. The part is easy to understand and his accent is pretty good. The way he pronounces "les bons vins c'nous avons bus" is correct, because the e in "que" is mute. He even does the liaison (pronouncing nouzavons). His slight accent adds to the charm of the song. This is also to dispute the lame liner notes on the CD Sold Out-String Along from Collector's Choice which mention "Dave Guard's mangled French." Dave was not only a great musician - he also was a well-educated man.

Best Regards and keep up the great work! 

Sven

Covers by other artists    
Artist's Name ALBUM CATALOG NO.
Will Holt The World of Will Holt (1957) Coral CRL-57114
Bud & Travis Spotlight on Bud & Travis (1960) Liberty
Bud & Travis Cloudy Summer Afternoon (1984) Liberty LN-10213

 

Raspberries, Strawberries
Spoken:
A young man goes to Paris, as every young man should.
There's something in the air of France that does a young man good.

Chorus:
Ah les fraises et les framboises et les bons vins que nous avons bus.
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.
Raspberries, strawberries, the good wines we brew.
Here's to the girls of the countryside, the ones we drink 'em to.

Spoken:
Paris nights are warm and fair. The summer winds are soft.
A young man finds the face of love in every field and loft.
In every field and loft.

Chorus

Spoken:
An old man returns to Paris as ev'ry old man must.
He finds the winter winds blow cold. His dreams have turned to dust.
His dreams have turned to dust.
His dreams have turned to dust.

Ah les fraises et les framboises et les bons vins que nous avons bus.
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.
Raspberries, strawberries, the good wines we brew.
Here's to the girls of the countryside, whom we must bid adieu.

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Last revised: March 30, 2006.