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Denys Lable


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Denys Lable is a French guitarist. He accompanied in the studio and on stage many artists of French music including Julien Clerc, Michel Jonasz, France Gall, Francis Cabrel .

Denys grew up in a family of musicians. He had his first guitar at the age of 12 and started his first group 'Les Shows' with his brother Richard at 17.

It was the swinging sixties and Denys became a passionate admirer of the blues rebirth taking place in England (The Animals, John Mayall, Eric Clapton) and the African-American music scene (Jimi Hendrix, John Stax, Motown). At this time he was attending the Ecole Boulle in Paris. After a short period with the 'Sharks' and an unforgettable concert at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble as the opener for Steve Winwood, he played with 'Trust' and 'Mat 3', as well as making the odd appearance for 'Calcium' alongside Stéphane Vilar and Zouzou. His last group 'Torpédo' was formed in the early the 80s.


1970 and 1971 were very important years in Denys' career.
One of his best memories of studio recording dates from that time - Lani Hall's song with composer Michel Colombier for the album 'Wings'. He also began a long partnership with Julien Clerc with whom he went on tour in France and around the world.

1974 saw him record Julien Clerc's 'Terre de France' album at La Métairie with a live band. His arrangements for 'N°7' a year later have remained some of his best work. He also met Jean-Claude Vannier and through him began to work with Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin amongst others.

In 1977 he performed at Le Théâtre de la Ville with Michel Jonasz and this spelled the beginning of a very productive period within Gabriel Yared's team. When he talks about the recording of the 'Guigui' album which includes 'En v'la du slow, en v'la' (So you want to dance slow), 'Les années 80 commencent' album (The 80s have started) which includes '25 piges dont 5 au cachot' (5 out of 25 years in a cell) for Michel Jonasz, and the 'Gin Tonic'/'Musique saoûle ('Soul' music)' albums for Françoise Hardy, it was obviously a milestone for him.


In the 80s and 90s he was involved with the likes of Davout, Ferber, La Grande Armée, Gang, Plus30 and Face B.
He experienced some strong emotions in these 'temples of sound' along with the highs and lows of 'live'. Many artists sought out his talents.

With Paul Scemama he produced his first album, 'Crystal Hotel', with the singles 'Late Nite' and 'Mosquito's Mambo'.

In 1989 the 'Sarbacane' (Blowpipe) album came out, kicking off a long collaboration with Francis Cabrel, both on stage and in the studio. At the same time he was working in the MB School on 'Tycoon', the English version of 'Starmania', especially 'Only the very best', sung by Peter Kingsley. He also worked on the 'Dion chante Plamandon' (Dion sings Luc Plamandon) album and the 'Double Jeu' (Playing both sides against the other) album with the singing duo of Michel Berger and France Gall.

In 1993 he remained with France Gall for her concerts at Bercy and the memorable follow-up 'J'ai besoin de vous' (I need you all) tour.

In 1994 he worked on Francis Cabrel's eighth album, 'Samedi soir sur la terre' (Saturday night on earth), and the 'Crapou/Lable' album with Gérard Kawczynski and some musician friends. The jointly sung cover of 'Red river blues' really stood out, leading to other blues-based projects.

His travels to Montreal to record with Roch Voisine, Robert Charlebois, Jeff Smallwood and Patrick Norman made a strong impression, not forgetting his participation on '23am' from Robert Miles' 'Heatwave' album.

He also enjoyed going back to his roots with the 1990 'Rock'n Roll Show' tour. It was an amazing time for him to revisit 50s rock with Francis Cabrel and the legend that is Dick Rivers.

At the request of Jean-François Foucault, the director of the Parisian 'Jazz at Albret' festival, he gave a one-off concert in July 2000 with Bertrand Lajudie, Eric Séva and the Paganottis (father and son). Not long after this he threw himself into the 'Autour du blues' (Around the blues) project.

Spurred on by the producer Eric Basset, and supported by Michaël Jones and Patrick Verbeke, he organised a concert to honour guitarists and blues music. Jean-Jacques Goldman, Dick Rivers, Francis Cabrel and Paul Personne were some of the big names who headlined the event, which led to a double CD in 2001. More concerts and recording sessions would follow. His last big event was the celebration of the New Morning club's 25th birthday in 2007, which featured Larry Carlton and Robben Ford. It was a real pleasure for him to unearth some of the blues 'gems' and Motown hits and give them a 21st century feel. And it would not be right if we did not mention his work on Valérie Cicco's 'Quelle belle ville' (Beautiful life) album, Patrick Verbeke's 'Echos d'Acadie' (Echos of Acadia) album with the 'Coeurs solidaires' (Hearts as one) single, and Soldat Louis' 'Itineraires' (Itinerary) album.

Unfortunately it is impossible to list all the other artists, musicians, arrangers, sound engineers, places, studios, home studios that have enabled him to achieve so many hits.

Denys knows that some of his work will live on, and he can be mighty proud when he hears Albert Lee/Mark Knopfler's version of 'Disappearing nightly', the Spencer Bohren song that he played on and recorded in Astaffort, the home of Francis Cabrel.