Blue Rock


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1974-76)

- Kiki Isaye -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Armand Massaux (aka Aaron Silver, aka Clint Silver) -- vocals,

  lead guitar

- Denis Van Hecke (RIP 2012) -- guitars, violin, cello backing vocals

- Manitas Van Ham -- bass, backing vocals

 

- Aksak Maboul (Denis Van Hacke)

- Carriage Company (Francois Philips)

- Confluence (Denis Van Hacke)

- Cos Les (Alain Gouter and Denis Van Hacke)

- Crash (Francois Philips)

- Julverne  Denis Van Hacke)

- Kiki (KIki Isaye)

- Lee (Armand Massaux)

- Musique Flexible (Denis Van Hacke)

- Les Night Rockers (Armand Massaux and Francois Philips)

- Nuit Caline a la Ville Mon Reve (Denis Van Hacke)

- Perte Totale (Alain Gouter)

- Blaine Reiniger and Alain Gouter

- Resistance (Denis Van Hacke)

- Roberto and His Rockers (Manitas Van Ham)

- Clint Silver (Armand Massaux)

- Sunhouse (Alain Gouter)

- Swing Strings System (Denis Van Hacke)

- Toy (Alain Gouter)

- Denis Van Hacke (solo efforts)

- Vassillu (Denis Van Hacke)

- Wallace Collection (Denis Van Hacke)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  This Is Blue Rock

Company: EMI

Catalog: 4C 062-23527 
Year:
 1975

Country/State: Brussels, Belgium

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $40.00

 

Drummer Kiki Isaye, ex-Les Night Rockers singer/guitarist Armand Massaux, guitarist Denis Van Hecke and bassist Manitas Van Ham came together in 1974.  The four original worked as hired guns, supporting touring pop singers, but after being fired by one of the "headliners" they were supporting, in 1975 they decided to go their own way as Blue Rock.

 

Signed by EMI, they debuted with what may be the most mindless Chuck Berry cover ever recorded:

- 1975's 'Bye Bye Johnny' b/w 'Low Down Lady' (EMI catalog number 4C 006-23502)

 

While the 45 wasn't particularly good, it attracted enough attention for EMI to finance a supporting album - 1975's "This Is Blue Rock".   Co-produced by former The Carriage House bassist Jan DíHaese and the band, the album offered up a mixture of forgettable boogie-rock tunes and oldie covers that were apparently band favorites (including two Chuck Berry numbers).  Not to sound mean-spirited, but original numbers like the opener 'It's Allright', 'Tiger' and 'Space Driver' struck me as sounding like a bunch of high school drop-outs who had been worshiping at the Status Quo altar too long. There wasn't much originality here and while they were clearly fans of the genre, Massaux's limited vocal capabilities didn't exactly improve the listening experience. I will admit that he was a rarity given he sang with little or no accent.  Nah, these performances weren't awful.  In fact 'Space Driver' was mindless fun.  And those tunes were far better than the band's stab at blues numbers like their cover of Leiber and Steller's 'Trouble' and 'Shilum Bamboole'.

 

"This Is Blue Rock" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Itís Allright (Armand Massaux) - 3:40 rating: *** stars

Powered by Massaux's thick guitar tones, 'It's Allright' was a bouncy, fun, Churck Berry-influenced rocker.  As mentioned earlier, anyone who liked Status Quo's mindless brand of pop-rock was going to enjoy this one.
2.) Tiger (Armand Massaux - Una Faravel) - 4:45
rating: *** stars

Mindless Spinal Tap fun ...  the lyrics were hysterical (expect to hear 'I'm like a tiger' over and over and over).  A couple of Stella Artois and I bet this started to sound better and better.
3.) Space Driver
(Armand Massaux) - 3:53  rating: *** stars

'Space Driver' was a mindless boogie rocker with a whiny Massaux talk-sing vocal, though I'll admit his feedback laced solo was interesting. The title refrain always makes me laugh.  Another one that certainly sounded a lot better after a couple of cold Stellas.   At least drummer Isaye acquitted himself with a bit of dignity on this one.
4.) Shadow Day Blues
(Aarmand Massaux - Una Faravel) - 2:40 rating: *** stars

A modest change of pace, the mid-tempo ballad 'Shadow Day Blues' had a blue-eyed soul feel to it.  You also got a brief taste of Denis Van Hecke's violin (he'd been trained as a classical celloist).
5.) Trouble
(Jerry Leiber - Mike Steller) - 2:40 rating: ** stars

I guess Elvis Presley's 1958 version remains the classic take.  This one didn't stray to dar from the original arrangement and was ... well it was professional and bland.  

 

(side 2)
1.)
Bye Bye Johnny (Chuck Berry) - 2:55 rating: ** stars

Yeah, outside of the US it was a major international hit, though you had to wonder why anyone would have bothered listening to this horrible cover of a Chuck Berry classic.  At least to my ears, literally every piece of this song sucked - Massaux's irritating vocals, Van Hecke's screechy violin ...  Even though it was horrible, the song was tapped as a single in Belgium, Germany, and Holland:   

- 1975's 'Bye Bye Johnny' b/w 'Low Down Lady' (EMI catalog number 4C 006-23502)

2.) Rip It Up (Robert Blacwell - John Marascalo) - 2:00 rating: ** stars

Unless you feel an unexplainable need to hear a cover of this Little Richard classic accompanied by Van Hecke's violin, I'm not sure what the point was.
3.) Nadine (Chuck Berry) - 3:45
rating: ** stars

Good grief, who many Chuck Berry tunes were in their portfolio?
4.) Low Down Lady  (Armand Massaux - J. Wooldridge) - 3:30
   rating: * star

As much as I hated the Chuck Berry covers, exemplified by 'Low Down Lady', some of their original material wasn't much better.  This was a thoroughly mindless Golden Earring rip-off with absolutely no attempt to hide the fact it was a straight cop from their catalog ...  And then there was more of Van Hecke's gawdawful electric violin.  The track also appeared as the "B" side to their 'Bye Bye Johnny' single.
5.) Shilum Bambooley
(Denis Van Hecke - J. Wooldridge) - 5:33 rating: ** stars

Well, at least 'Shilum Bambooley' demonstrated they could do something more than copy Chuck Berry riffs.  That wasn't to say this song was any good; just that it didn't sound like a Chuck Berry tune.   Musically it was a clumsy attempt at electric blues-rock.  Apparently intended to demonstrate how mean, tough, and counter-culture these guys were, the overall results were about as threatening as a toothpaste commercial.  Oh yeah, Van Hecke got plenty of room to stretch out with a violin solo.  Great ...  not.  

 


The band survived long enough to release two non-LP 45s.  Ironically, 'The Lost Generation' was better than anything on their album.  Can't say the same thing about their cover of Eddie Cochrane's 'Rockin' The Blues'.

- 1976's 'The Lost Generation ' b/w 'Space Driver' (EMI 4C006-23564)
- 1977's 'Rockin' The Blues' b/w 'My Way' (EMI 4C006-23622)

 

By the end of 1977 the band were history.

 


 

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