Saturday, 11 September 2021

To Be Perfectly Frank

Four cuts today, recorded at La Motte Street studios in St. Helier, and issued by Mousehole Records of Jersey (the in-house, custom label of Mousehole Studio) in 1983, the entire Jersey’s Love EP from Francisco Javier.


Sung in English by a heavily-accented, non-native singer, the four songs are tales of love dedicated to Francisco’s newly-adopted home in the Channel Islands, and to the most important women in his life.


Jersey’s Love (subtitled ‘Song of the Summer’) would probably be more correctly titled Jersey Is Love, although Francisco’s delivery makes it difficult to understand what the lyric writer was after. As the sleeve announces, the song is both ‘dedicated to those in love’ and ‘very personal’, phrases that could just as easily apply to the other cuts on the EP: Time Of Love For Evelyn, Date In New Street, and She Is Gone.


Francesc Xavier Charles Gòdia was born in Alcarràs, Lleida, on 16 November 1945, and is better known as Frank Charles. Starting his recording career in Madrid in 1966, and issuing a Spanish-language version of Winchester Cathedral the following year, he became a well-known face on Spanish TV, appearing on many talent and musical shows, performing around the country and winning awards. During the 1970s he appeared with the group Francis Charles y sus Cinco Go Gos (Francis Charles and his Five Go Gos) and spent three years living and working in London, appearing on UK television programmes alongside Cliff Richard and Tom Jones.


In the 1980s he moved to Jersey, making a home on the island and becoming well known as a singer in local restaurants, hotels, and cabarets. In 1982, the same year that he recorded the four cuts I present for you today, he was hosting Spanish-themed dinner and dance nights at the Panorama Restaurant in Ouaisne Bay.


I would love to be able to tell you why he recorded this EP under the pseudonym Francisco Javier, when he was still working on the island as Frank Charles. This becomes more of a conundrum when you discover that his next release, the 1986 single Himne D´Estat Català was credited to Francesc Xavier Charles, and that, following that release, he would revert back to his Frank Charles persona. My assumption is that he was under contract to a Spanish label as Frank Charles, so had to issue this self-penned, self-financed single under a different name… but perhaps someone out there knows the whole story?


Now living in Barcelona, over the years Frank has written songs in honour of the Barcelona Olympics, Barcelona FC, Jersey, Madeira, and even Diana, Princess of Wales: according to Frank’s website, Tears And White Roses For A Caring Princess ‘was recognised by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and Harrods department store,’ the latter, one assumes, for services to the Al Fayed family. His most recent success was the 2012 composition The Scent Of London, apparently ‘the first song dedicated to the London Olympic Games, credited and recognised by Queen Elizabeth II and Boris Johnson, [the then] Mayor of London.’ It’s clear Boris had not heard Jersey’s Love though, as both songs use the same tune and arrangement… which begs the question, why not call it London’s Love?


Now in his late 70s, Frank is still performing today, 55 years after he made his debut. Check out his YouTube channel HERE


Download Jersey HERE

Download Evelyn HERE

Download New Street HERE

Download Gone HERE

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