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Le 25ieme Regiment - Le 25ieme Regiment (LP)

Le 25ieme Regiment - Le 25ieme Regiment (LP)

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Genre: pop
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Title:  Le 25ieme Regiment
Company: Lero
Catalog: LS-767
Year: 1969
Country/State: St. Jerome, Canada
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: Canadian pressing
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6119
Price: $80.00

Call me strange, but for some reason I've become fascinated with 1960s era French Canadian rock bands. Not sure why - perhaps because I have some French heritage in my veins, or maybe it has something to do with the odd notion of groups of wild French-Canadian teenagers hoping to become huge rock stars ... Whatever the philosophical underpinnings, musically many of these outfits wre quite impressive. These guys - less so ...

Le 25ieme Regiment (aka The 25th Regiment) is one of the more mysterious French-Canadian outfits I've run into. So far I haven't found much bibliographical information on the quartet. Apparently from St. Jerome, Qubec, the band came together in 1967. Originally known as Les Révoltés they opted for a name change after discovering another band was using the name. As Le 25iieme Regiment the band showcased a line up consisting of twin drummers Michel Desjardins and Jean-Louis Leclerc, rhythm guitarist Yves Ladouceur, lead guitarist Guy Limoges, bassist Robert Métayer, and singer/keyboardist Réjean Ruel. Within a year guitarist Ladouceur had been replaced by Réal Latendresse and the band had paired down to a five piece with the departure of drummer Leclerc. By the time the band was signed by the small Apex label Limoges had been replaced by former Astérix guitarist Karol Dicaire.

Starting in 1967 the band released a string of four largely obscure singles:
- 1967 "Lucie Sous Un Ciel De Diamants" b/w "Mammy" Apex catalog number 13489
- 1968 "C'est Le Temps D'aimer" b/w "C'est Bon Signe" Apex catalog 13499
- 1968's 'Roulez Roulez' b/w 'Un Petit Bonhomme Avec Le Nez Pointu' (Apex catalog number 13511)
- 1968 "Chin Chin" b/w "Les Fraises Et Les Framboises" Apex catalog number 13517

Though better known for it's roster of MOR acts such as Denise Brousseau and Pierre Lalonde, 1968 saw the slightly larger Lero label sign the band. Released in 1969, the cleverly-titled "Le 25ieme Regiment" served to compile their earlier singles ("A" and "B" sides), along with a couple new studio selections. Musically the set was a mixed bag. Featuring all cover material, tracks such as 'Un Petit Bonhomme Avec Le Nez Pointu', 'Roulez-Roulez' and 'Mammy' were simply too MOR pop for true rock fans. On the other hand, 'Lucie Sons in Ciel de Diamantes' (aka 'Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds'), found the band turning in one of the odder Beatles covers I've heard. Their 'Hey Jude' cover was a little more mainstream, but just as odd with the French lyrics. These guys certainly had talent. Ruel had a nice voice and while he wasn't given much room to show his stuff, Dicaire clearly had some chops. The overarching problem was their focus was clearly on commercial success with the end resulting being a set with about as much soul as a chewing gum commercial.
- 'Un Petit Bonhomme Avec Le Nez Pointu' opened the album with what was almost a slice of bubblegum pop. Quite peppy, quite commercial, and quite irritating. rating: ** stars
- 'C'est Bon Signe' (translated as 'It's a Good Sign') was an oddball cover of The Fireballs hit 'Bottle of Wine'. Equally upbeat and poppy, I'll give it an extra star simply for being such a strange reinterpretation. rating: *** stars
- 'Roulez-Roulez' sported what sounded like a Latin beat (complete with lots of percussion, xylophone, and trumpet solo). Hopelessly upbeat, I'll admit that this one was actually quite infectious. Easy to see why it was tapped as a single. rating: *** stars
- These guys weren't the only French-Canadian band to cover 'Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds', but their faithful cover was interesting if only for the weirdness factor of hearing the song with French lyrics. Yeah, there was just something goofy about hearing 'Lucie Sons in Ciel de Diamantes' repeated time after time. The heavily treated harpsichord was also kind of cool. rating: **** stars
- Opening up with what sounded like tribal drums, 'C'est Les Temps D'aimer' morphed into something The Association might have recorded. Pretty, harmony-rich pop song, though you kept waiting for some type of hook to kick in. rating: *** stars
- Gawd only knows why the band felt the need to record a cover of Al Jolson's 'Mammy'. That said, their version wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Given a Tommy James and the Shondells-styled arrangement, you could at least get through this one without gagging. rating: *** stars
- 'Les Fraise Et Les Framboise' was a horrible slice of MOR pop - this was the kind of stuff bands recorded when they wanted to appear of the Lawrence Welk show, or were looking for a starring spot in the local Octoberfest battle of the band. Yech. Goodness knows why it was tapped as a single. rating: * star
- There isn't much to say about their cover of 'Hey Jude'. It's a pretty rote effort that isn't even salvaged by the French lyrics. rating: ** stars
- 'Respect Achim' was another crappy, MOR pop song that sounded like it had been stolen from a Walt Disney film score. rating: ** stars
- 'Chin Chin' found the band returning to bubblegum pop, though this one lacked a classic hook to grab your attention. rating: ** stars

Never less than listenable (okay, 'Les Fraise Et Les Framboise' was crap), but certainly not what the dealer hype would have you believe.

"Le 25ieme Regiment" track listing"
(side 1)
1.) Un Petit Bonhomme Avec Le Nez Pointu - 1:43
2.) C'est Bon Signe (Bottle of Wine) (Tom Paxton - A. Richeley) - 2:10
3.) Roulez-Roulez (Helule - Helule) (D. Kabaka - A. Brackley - L. Hawkes) - 2:33
4.) Lucie Sons in Ciel de Diamantes (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 3:07
5.) C'est Les Temps D'aimer (Zabadak (Howard Blakley) - 2:46

(side 2)
1.) Mammy (Donaldson - Lewis Young) - 2:19
2.) Les Fraise Et Les Framboise (Ou ... Les Fraises a Bicyclette) (Fernando Soucy)- 2:44
3.) He Jude (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 2:48
4.) Respect Achim (M. Lefebvie - P. Noles) - 2:00
5.) Chin Chin (M. Lefebvie - P. Noles) - 2:16
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