Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Les Chaussettes Noires - #9

Les Chaussettes Noires

A very interesting niche to collectors of records is the early french Rock’n’Roll scene. If you know what to look for, there’s still lots of vinyl to be had on some auction platforms and they come mostly at a good price to the buyer. Problem is, of course, you should know what to look for, as a lot of these bands are not known outside of their home country. Some of them have even been given the CD treatment. You might want to check out Les Chats Sauvages or Les Pirates and a whole bunch of other excellent Rockers.

One of the most widely known acts are Les Chaussettes Noires. Their lead singer was Eddy Mitchell, who still can be seen performing on TV every now and then. Of course, Mr. Mitchell is a star in France much like Johnny Hallyday. In the early 60s, he was a million miles away from that. I mean, Les Chaussettes Noires must have been big, but closing in on Mr. Hallyday must have been a futile attempt. The Les Chaussettes Noires’ “Le 2 000 000 ème disque” has recently been reissued on Vinyl on the Polydor label (originally on Barclay). It’s a fine piece of work (LP plus 7” interview disc) and a very good reproduction of the original. But, I don’t understand why this is so expensive. I’ve seen the record in some shops in France and the going price is somewhere between EUR 72.00 and EUR 87.00 per copy. And I’ve even seen it be put up for sale on an auction platform for around EUR 120.00 per copy. These days, it’s going to be cheaper to try and find the original on Barclay (if you can get a mint condition one, that is). That one still goes for somewhat below EUR 60.00, but the pricing is a mistery to me.

Most, if not all of the vocals are sung in french, which is a trademark of a lot of French Rock’n’Roll bands. I believe, the market just demanded, that the songs be sung in their native language. Unlike Germany, where most Rock’n’Roll bands took to the English language, sometimes with rather horrible results (just listen to early Lords or a lot of other 60’s bands). Compared to France, you didn’t get the percentage of songs in the native language. But France seems to have been at the forefront to “protect” their own language for quite a while. These days, one has to be grateful, that French bands have had to use their own language. Wether it’d be because of public demand way back then or other reasons (commercial or otherwise),, this makes for an interesting linstening experience.

It must be said, that a lot of the songs released, were cover versions of U.S. or U.K. tracks, delivered in a way you haven’t heard them before. Here’s a clip featuring Les Chaussettes Noires. Looks like this is from some big screen movie, but  most of the “song only” videos, that I found, are not of outstanding quality. And what’s more, I think the one I’ve chosen is a hilarious way to travel back in time. 



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