Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Les Champions - Complete 60's Instrumental (Pan Dans Le 1000)dotdot
artworkThis is a rather extensive collection of tracks from France's Les Champions. I think the drummer was better than the band in many respects. he didn't seem to succumb as much to the staff producers. Mostly unremarkable, but occasionally interesting.
Picks: Rupture A Conq Temps, Les Cavaliers Du Ciel, Les Mercenaires, Colorado, Galaxie, 1293 Metres G.O., Tempete Sur Hawai

Track by Track Review


Poupee Brisee dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

"Poupee Brisee" is a goofy song with a very studio concoction sound. It's the kind of arrangement that such things tend to develop. Modestly interesting easy listening pop rock.

L'Idole Des Jeunes dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very easy going version of Rick Nelson's "Teenage Idol." image what it takes to be less genuine than the original. It's not that it's without any edge, but i feels very fabricated.

Rupture A Conq Temps dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Played against the beat and rhythm of Paul Desmond's "Take Five," this is oddly compelling. Lead guitar is heavily echoed, and the melody seems to work against the backtrack quite well.

Barcarolle dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Yeah... if Buddy Merrill was French, he would have done things like this. "Barcarolle" quite well done, but it sure isn't very rock'n'roll! Only the loudness of the lead amp hints at the genre.

Loin dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Perhaps titled after pork, "Loin" is actually a decent cover of King Henry VIII's "Greensleeves." It's very light, but is nonetheless attractive in its own way. The over compression in the middle is downright annoying. The cymbals rise, but the level doesn't, causing bass and band to retreat as if it's defective. The mastering engineer should have compressed frequency ranges separately and remixed them. It kills the track.

Les Cavaliers Du Ciel dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Stan Jones' classic cowboy tale is done in a pedestrian fashion, though pleasantly so. Great rolling drums and bass keep it from being just another version. "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" is hard to trash, and indeed Les Champions have resurrected it yet again, and in a very satisfactory manner.

Les Mercenaires dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

An OK rendering of Elmer Bernstein's theme to one of the great spaghetti westerns. "Les Mercenaires" is an infectious pop rock version of "The Magnificent Seven."

Lavender Blue dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and romantic in an tape-echoed guitar kind of way, "Lavender Blue" is very standard. Nice, but nothing original at all. Some pleasant piano lines.

L'Infini Au Soleil dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

"L'Infini Au Soleil" is a sunny number with excellent rolling drums and walking bass. Its arrangement fits it well. Chamber reverb on the drum kit is used to expand the ambiance.

Le Train dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Whammy implies train whistles while drums generate the chug factor. Some fine drum work here, and short echoed notes on guitar. OK, but you probably won't remember it tomorrow.

T'Shirt dot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Real cheesy middle of the road pop fair. Holiday at the Mediterranean shore sound-alike music. Accidentally skipping to the next track is encouraged.

Colorado dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Warbly note bending implies Indian themes, as does the excellent drum and bass patterns. "Colorado" is a solid track with interesting arranging and very enjoyable sound. It verges on big guitar and hints at "Apache" at times.

Le Pas Du Dindon
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Little Eva's "Let's Turkey Trot" is what the musicologists refer to as filler. A total never mind!

Galaxie dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

very cool drums and moody bass, along with smooth, round lead tone and crisp acoustic rhythm deliver a very pleasant and almost exotic track. It may be pop, but it's original and rather enjoyable.

La Longue Marche dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Military drums and cool bass run beneath this pedestrian cover of the film score. Nothing to write home about, though the muted verse has its moments.

1647 Metres G.O. dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

The drums are very cool in the opening, and the wannabe glissando is - well - really weak. Then there's that chorus! Argh!

1293 Metres G.O. dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Great drums, cool rhythm guitar, exotic bass, and a much better arrangement and mix than "1647 Metres G.O.," this is darn cool. The sound is more sincere. Even the hand claps are fun.

Rendez-Vous Au Golf Drouot dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Easy pop rock with lilt. Well doe, but unmemorable.

Cruel Sea dotdotdot
Pop Surf (Instrumental)

The strings just destroy The Dakotas' "Cruel Sea" the same way they mangled Dick Dale's "Miserlou Twist." Some fine guitar licks in the middle, a tuff string snap or two, and one glorious rough glissando, but, oh my gosh, those strings just sap the life out of it.

Avec Des Si dot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and squishy, without chemistry or energy. Very good guitar work, but no life. The strings drive the last nail in the coffin.

Martian Hop dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

I don't know whether to say that The Ran-Dells' "Martian Hop" was salvaged or trashed. Relatively genuine band sound squished by that chorus. Holy crap!

Tempete Sur Hawai dotdotdot
Pop Surf (Instrumental)

"Storm On Hawaii" does have some Hawaiian elements, some gruff guitar, some cool percussion, and clearly could be converted to a surf tome in the mold of The Sentinals' "Sunset Beach." This is pretty cool, especially in this context. Nice whammy chords.

Blue Star dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Victor Young's theme to Medic is done with some edge, but doesn't rise to capture your attention.

Le Marsupilami dot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Goofy cartoon pop. Quite forgettable.

Galloping Twist dot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Never mind. Just a circular riff in a crude format. Can you say jam?

Les Yeux Noirs dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Yevhen Hrebinka's "Les Yeux Noirs" ("Black Eyes"/"Dark Eyes") is done with tango influences and some respect, and sports some cool string bending, but is otherwise just so-so.

Le Marsupilami dotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

This is an alternate version of "Le Marsupilami," and it's both crisper and more rock-like, and much more goofy via the chants.