This is the other EP by Jean-Claude Pelletier that I have in my collection. My French is rather limited so this is what I could grasp from the liner notes on the back of the sleeve. It´s probably all wrong, so please correct me: Jean-ClaudePelletier was born in Paris in 1928, started to go to conservatory in 1936 and won a first prize for his piano playing and graduated in 1946, met Benny Vasseur, Pierre Braslowsky, René Franc and their group ended up in the finals of the Hot-Jazz contest in 1946. Jean-Claude then joined the orchestra of Alix Combello and stayed with them for five years. In 1954 he started to play in smaller groups together with Bill Coleman, Albert Nicholas, Buck Clayton, Jonah Jones James Moody, Sidney Bechet and Lionel Hampton. In 1955 he performed together with Claude Luter at the Vieux Comombier, the famous Paris jazz club in the basement of the Vieux Colombier Theatre.
Jean-Claude Pelletier is seen pointing to a sign of the Paris metro station Peletier (pronounced just the same but spelled differently) on the front cover of the record. On the back of the sleeve two more EPs are listed in the Columbia Jazz Stars series by the Pelletier Trio and the Pelletier Sextett. I would sure be interested to hear them, but, just like this EP, they have never been reissued. All of the songs were written by Jean-Claude Pelletier.
The personnel of the Pelletier orchestra is:
A. Renard – P. Sellin – V. Cassino (tp) B. Vasseur – Ch. Verstraete (tb) – H. Jouot (bs) – G. Grenu (as) – G. Lafitte – R. Simon (ts) – R. Bianchini (b) – Ch. Garros (dm) – J.C. Pelletier piano and leader
Pelletier was not only well-versed in traditional jazz but could also really swing. The liner notes mention his ability to play the blues: “a rarity among pianists of the new generation”. Now some purists might argue that the only good swing music is from the 1930s and 40s but by now you should know what I think of purists. I think this is excellent French 1950s big-band swing…
One last 7″ from the Swedish Gala record club. This EP by 1964 by Jean-Claude Pelletier & les Fans was another takeover from the Gala de Variétés label, originally titled Beat Time!. The same eight songs were also released by the British Pop Parade/Concert Hall record club (as Dale Adams & the Pelletier Rhythm Boys) and the Dutch Populaire Platen Kring record club (as Pelletier Rhythm Boys). Compared to the British and Dutch issues this Swedish one, titled It´s Almost Tomorrow, has a rather plain and unimpressive sleeve. But I´m not complaining because I´m sure that the unassuming sleeve was the reason why I only paid 1 Euro for it in Stockholm last month. The seller must have considered it worthless. Never judge a record by its sleeve…
Jean-Claude Pelletier, born August 11, 1928 in Joinville le Pont, France is a French jazz pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. Along Claude Luter, Pelletier was one of the big names in French jazz in the post-war era. He made a ton of records in the 50s, 60s and 70s, strangely none of which have ever been reissued or are currently available. Solely one of his more outstanding funk/jazz works, the Streaking Lp from 1975 has been reissued last year on CD and LP by Vadim Music who call it: “A somewhat perfect hybrid of American soul’s energy and the science of French pop.”
Pelletier´s early works have not earned such praise. I´ve only got one of his first French jazz EPs from the 50s in my collection and it definitely deserves a future post. To prove that JC Pelletier delved heavily in pop/jazz fusion way before his “rare groove’s holy grail” LP in the mid-70s, here´s his swingin´ Beat Time! EP:
More “soul” from the Elite Boys, these supposedly French cats. And it´s another mixed bag of pop tunes/cover versions released by the Swedish Gala record club in the late 60s: more Tom Jones – Delilah; an instrumental version of Bobby Goldsboro´s Honey; Mohair Sam, a hit for Charlie Rich in 1965; Baby come back a hit for the Equals in 1968; an instrumental version of Otis Redding´s The dock of the bay and an early hit by the Bee Gees from 1966, Spicks and specks.
I know it´s not the most original choice of material to post and I promise to dig a little deeper in the future but meanwhile just listen to the funny little accents:
One more Swedish Gala record club release from the late 1960s. This 6-song EP was also published by the Dutch Populaire Platen Kring but originally the Elite Boys might have come from somewhere else. I have a hunch that these boys were French but that´s just guessing from their accents.
Of course most probably there actually were no Elite Boys at all. Groups like these were only put together in the studio to produce some cheap material for the budget market. In this case soul music. Actually it´s a mixed bag of styles they play: a solid instrumental version of Eddie Floyd´s Knock on wood, a pretty odd but still spirited version of Tom Jones´ version of You came a long way from St.Louis, a cool instrumental version of I´ve been loving you too long, written by Otis Redding, a rough version of Barbara Randolph´s northern soul classic Don´t fight it, a version of Frank Sinatra´s 1966 hit song It was a very good year, that is pure easy listening and finally there´s a version of Back on my feet , originally recorded by the British soul band the Foundations in 1968.
But as mixed and fabricated this selection may be, it is still period music from the 1960s and I sure would´ve liked to have been in the studio with the Elite Boys when they recorded these songs…
First I should like to point out that I changed the disclaimer on the right side of this site. When I had the big idea to introduce new blog ethics last year, I forgot to think about a few things. Initially I had the idea to ask artists for their permission to use their work, but I now think that this is impractical. The main reason is, that I don´t want to arouse expectations. Much like the wrong impression Ebay sellers get from this blog when they search the Internet for the value of an obscure flexible record. They find it reviewed here and next they put the flabby little piece of plastic up on Ebay for 20 Euros. Of course nobody ever buys it. Just because I posted it here, doesn´t mean that there is a market. I rarely pay more than one Euro for a 45. Right now I do one of only three record collector blogs in Germany (they´re all in my blogroll). Only three people who care enough to do the work of digitizing the music, scanning the sleeve and labels, writing a few sentences and posting it here. I could understand the curiosity though. If somebody approached me and asked to use my cartoons, I´d also wonder about their intention. I´d probably ask a lot of unnecessary questions too. On the other hand, if I would find that somebody had written something nice about me on the Internet and posted some samples of my work with it, I´d probably be flattered. But how do I explain to a 70-year old retired musician that I would like to “publish ” their music on my blog for free? My motives to do this blog are hard to explain even to some of my closest friends, so how could I explain them to complete strangers? While the idea of getting in contact with artists still appeals to me, it just seems too complicated. Especially since I´m not doing this to make a profit. I will continue to be very careful with the material I choose, but then again I will not bother with timid moral concerns about sharing some people´s work that they forgot about fifty years ago. Consequently I will do as I have done since the beginning: post first and ask questions later.
Nevertheless the main blog ethics have not changed:
1. I will not use material, that is already available in digital format elsewhere.
2.The artists I present are either anonymous, pseudonymous, dead or no longer active.
2. I feel that if nobody has cared to reissue a record for 50 years, it is fair to present it.
On to the music…
Last month while in Stockholm I bought a handful of EPs issued by the Swedish Gala International label. Gala-Klubben was a record club, a type of budget label, that would send subscribers random pop records for a set fee that was below the regular price of records in shops. It gave people who were too lazy to seek out music by themselves a chance to own and listen to some new records. I don´t know much about their operation, but apparently Gala acquired material from other record clubs like Concert Hall/Varieton, Jazztone and the Dutch Populaire Platen Kring.
British trumpet player Grisha Farfel and boy singer Laurie London are the only name artists on this EP. You Made Me Love You, Memory Mountain, Twist À La Matador and Pop Parade Bossa Nova and four more songs by the same artists, first appeared in 1963 on an 8-song EP also titled Let´s Dance issued by the British Pop Parade label, a division of the Concert Hall record club. This is what the liner notes of the British release had to say:
“Lead trumpet of the Billy Cotton Band, Grisha Farfel is frequently featured as a star soloist in the Band´s radio and television programmes. He has appeared in four Royal Command Performances, and has played for Royalty all over the world. His easy, relaxed style is coupled with an extremely high standard of playing technique.
Discovered at thew age of 13 at the Radio Show, Laurie London had his big recording break with He´s got the whole world in his hands, which sold over 2 million copies and held the No.1 position in the British and American charts for several weeks. Tours have taken him to many countries, including America, Scandinavia, Malta and Germany where his Boom-a-ladda-boom and Itsy-Bitsy topped the charts. A “veteran” at 19, Laurie is all set for an exciting new career in the pop world.”
Laurie London in Germany in 1960:
Grisha Farfel with the Billy Cotton Band in 1964:
The four other songs on the B-side of this EP were probably taken from the Schlagerfavoriten (1. Folge) LP published by the German or Swiss Varieton label. Typical for budget labels the artists worked under a pseudonym.
Like last year, between Christmas and New Year´s Eve, my girlfriend and me did some livin´, lovin´and eatin´ in Stockholm at Snowball, a six-day Swing dance event. Six days of dancing might sound like a bit long, but time went by real quick with meeting people, hanging out and going to the parties. Of course I also found time to go search for records. Initially I had intended to visit some record shops I had picked out on the Internet, but while I was on my way through the freezing cold outside, I passed a thrift store, took a quick peek and and decided on the spot, that my search was over. For 10 kronor each I bought about forty 45s in that little thrift store. Among them a whole bunch of EPs issued on the Swedish Gala label. Gala was a club label like Bertelsmann and Concert Hall , where you paid a fixed amount of money to receive random pop records. It wasn´t possible to listen to the records in the store, but I knew I wanted this one, because I already have another excellent EP by the Peters Sisters on the French Vogue label in my collection.
There is no Wikipedia of the Peters Sisters, but I found a bit of information about them in the liner notes of a British six-song EP from 1962:
Anne, Virginia and Mattye hail from Santa Monica, California, where they first sang together in churches, local amateur shows and social functions. Then in 1937, while making a hopeful, though unpaid, appearance at a Hollywood night club, they were spotted by comedian Eddie Cantor who immediately signed them up to appear in the film “Ali Baba goes to Town”. These were the legendary years of New York´s Cotton Club, and the Peters Sisters found their way there to sing with “Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra”.
The girls first came to England in 1938 and toured for a year with a show called “Hawaiian Paradise”. Also on the bill were Max Wall and Ted Ray. Then came the war years and it was not until 1950 that the Peters Sisters fulfilled a long-standing engagement to appear at the Folies Bergère in Paris. Tours of North and South America followed. In 1959 they appeared at the London Palladium with May Bygraves and recently were seen by millions of BBC-TV viewers in the Billy Cotton Band Show. In private life Anne and Virginia are married to Frenchmen and live in Geneva and Paris, while Mattye´s husband is a Dane and their home is in Copenhagen. This is the first Pop Parade release by these bumper-bundle close-harmonists who leave us in no doubt that they are in fact… the three Peters Sisters!
(from Pop Parade EPC 703, 1962)
I found the said Peters Sisters´ performance from the 1937 film Ali Baba goes to Town on Youtube. Two more videos contain the same performance, this one is a longer excerpt beginning with Eddie Cantor (in blackface) doin´ some jazz steps like Truckin´, Peckin´and Suzie Qs:
The liner notes to the Swedish EP mention that the Peters Sisters performned with Lionel Hampton, the Nicholas Brothers, Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway. This clip shows the Peters Sisters performing two songs, the ballad Rainy Sunday and the swingin´ Little Old Lady from Baltimore, in the Cab Calloway film Hi-He-Ho from 1947:
Ten years later the Peters Sisters even made it to Germany to appear in the musical comedy “Hoch droben auf dem Berg” :
Unfortunately of all of the songs the Peters Sisters recorded in three decades only a small portion has been reissued on two CDs. “The Very Best of the Peters Sisters” CD focuses on their 50s and 60s material. It leaves out all of the songs they recorded in the 1930s and 40s like Everybody Step, The Highland Swing and their version of Ella Fitzgerald´s A-Tisket A-Tasket. Despite the title, the French CD “Toutes Nos Chansons” is neither a complete retrospective of all of their work and consists mostly of the songs they sang in French.
The four other songs on this Swedish EP were also released on the British Pop Parade EP in 1962 and on the Jazztone label and can be found on the “Very Best of” CD. The Peters Sisters´version of Ain´t Misbehavin´ and their own Live, Love and Eat have never been reissued.
It´s wintertime, the time of the year when it´s especially nice to enjoy livin´, lovin´and eatin´ at home.