Saint-merde! Un poste d'ensemble des canadiens-français 60's 45s!! Holy smokes!!!!! An entire post of 45’s from Quebec and all in French!!!! Every once in a while I’ll bid on a ‘lot’ of 45s on Ebay, and the results usually are mixed, but I manage to score a few winners in the bunch. This time someone had 21 45s up for auction and although the shipping charges were totally out of line, the starting bid was really low, so took a stab at a lowball bid and scored the bunch! As usual, there were several duds in the batch, and some that were borderline, but overall it was a good score. These are mostly covers of songs that range anywhere from Roy Orbison to Manfred Mann. Some of this stuff is straight up pop music and I’ve added them because of the interesting way French Canadians approached this kind of stuff, and I have to say it sounds very…ummmm…French
(duh). I mean that in an ethnic sense, I guess, as I must admit to being very ignorant of French Canadian culture since I’ve never really visited Quebec, even though it’s mere hours from where I live. Language aside, there seems to be something distinct permeating these grooves. Something I certainly don’t hear in the records from Ontario and the other provinces of Canada which were obviously influenced heavily by British and American groups. This stuff here definitely sounds like it’s coming from someplace else entirely but I shouldn’t paint French Canadian rock with too broad a brush though. There were some killer garage/punk cuts that came out of mid 60s Quebec, unfortunately none of them are here. What I’m presenting would seem to be more mainstream pop oriented songs, and remakes of English speaking hits re-done for the French Canadian masses. Anyway you slice it, it’s a fascinating look into this culture and I’m sure you’ll enjoy most of, if not all, of this unique post. Enjoy!!!!
Les Tear Drops – Oh! Jolie Fille / Michele (1964)
Let’s start off with an attempt at Roy Orbison’s “Oh! Pretty Woman, done here by what looks to be a “vocal” group with the addition of an “orchestra” which doesn’t totally ruin the song, but makes it a little more palatable to the masses, or maybe they were just trying to screw around with the arrangement. Aside from the fact that they were obviously from Quebec, they had 3 other 45s.
Les Gendarmes – Il Fait Bon D’a Voir 20 Ans / Reviens Vers Moi (1965)
From Montreal, they were led by Guy Harvey and released 11 45s including this one, a take on Neil Sedaka’s “Happy Birthday Sweet 16” and “Stardust”.
Les Baronets – Ca Reccommence / Est-Ce Que Tu M’Aimes (1964)
A very popular group, these guys specialized in Beatles covers and even had a record sung in English released in the US on Vee Jay records. Here’s two covers, the A side is an interpretation of “It Wont Be Long” and the B side is a take on “Do You Love Me”. I really like both of them.
Les Baronets - Oh Je Veux Etre A Toi / C'est Fou Mais C'est Tout (1964)
Here are Les Baronets again covering not one, but two of The Beatles’ finest. “I Wanna Be Your Man” & “Hold Me Tight”. While these aren't exactly killers, they are pretty good, in my opinion…..
Tony Roman Et Ses Dauphins – Do Wah Diddy Diddy / Ne Triche Pas (1965)
Another prolific artist from Quebec. It looks like he was a big fan of Manfred Mann because he not only covered Do Wah Diddy Diddy but….
Tony Roman Et Ses Dauphins – Sha La La / Rappelle Toi (1965)
…he also covered “Sha La La”. Both of these are done in the same style like so many of these groups. They took popular songs, and rearranged them for the masses, kind of like the “Hit” record label which specialized in covers of then famous hits.
Hou-Lops - Tout Ira Tres Bien / Quand Les Roses (1965)
Another very popular group who in it’s early years sounded much like The Shadows. Here they cover Gerry & The Pacemakers’ “It’s Gonna Be Alright”.
Les Bel-Air - Marchant Dans La Plaine / Merveilleuse Nuit D'amour (1967)
This original sounds quite a bit like “Spread It On Thick” by The Gentrys with that organ riff going on, and the flip is a cover of the Rockin’ Berries’ cover of Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight”.
Les Classels - Les Soirs D'Hiver / Chaque Fois Que La Neige (1966)
The next six 45s are going to feature a band that was considered “The French Canadian Beatles” as they certainly were one of the most prolific. They all wore white suits, played whit Fender guitars, and had their hair dyed white too! Later they would do away with the monochrome shtick and don multi colored suits. Each member wore a different color! This first 45 is a perfect example of that “French” thing I was trying to explain in my opening comments.
Les Classels - Mon Premier Amour / Qu'est Devenu Notre Passe (1966)
The most "garagey” of the 45s that I got, this one is a terrific beat pounder!
Les Classels - Oui C'est Toi / Avant De Me Dire Adieu (1966)
Another pretty good one. This 45 shows how they could sound very much like The Shadows.
Les Classels - C'est Toi (1969)
This was actually one of their last from 1969, but it’s pretty rockin’ compared to the next two we’re about to hear….
Les Classels - En Marchant Sur La Plage / Cette Chanson La (196?)
This could quite possibly be from the 70’s but I can’t say for sure. The A side is a pretty hokey pop piece and I debated on whether to include it or not. The B side is definitely pop, but has this whacked out echoey wha guitar, and it sounds like their trying really hard to be hip…..
Les Classels – Perdu / Les Trois Cloches (1968)
Another couple of pop numbers, this time both are on the brassy side, Perdu sounds a bit like The I’des Of March’s “Vehicle” with some psychedelic wah guitar thrown in.
Les Bel-Air – Cupidon / Quand Le Jour Viendra (1969)
Yeah, this one’s definitely the hokiest, sorry for even including it…..
Papillon - N'oublie Pas Ce Poeme (1969)
Let’s end this “partie” with a rather weird one. A French version of “Teen Angel”. From 1969, the year of Woodstock……..