Cesar at les Romains

Band members               Related acts

- Maurice Belanger -- bass (1965-66)

- Daniel LaChance -- lead guitar (1965-68)

- Dino 'Cesar' L'Esperance (RIP 2004) -- vocals (1965-68)

- Jaques Moisan -- drums (1965-68)

- Donald Seward -- keyboards (1965-68)

- Pierre Sidor -- bass (replaced Maurice Belanger) (1966-68)



- Cesar (solo efforts)

- Donald Seward (solo efforts)






Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Cesar et les Romains

Company: Choc!

Catalog: CM-1201

Year: 1965

Country/State: Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4931

Price: $70.00



I guess you can't blame a band for having a gimmick, but you've got to wonder what Cesar and the Romains were thinking ...  Judging by the cover of their album, they looked like they'd just stumbled out of a late night party at a local gay bath house (not that there's anything wrong with that).


Formed in 1964, these guys were originally known as Dino et les Questions.  They got their start playing pop and soul covers in local hotels and clubs, recording at least two obscure 45s:


- 1965's 'Qui est-elle' b/w 'J'ai Oublie de Prier' (Kebec catalog number KD-520)

- 1965's 'Noel Solitaire' b/w 'Noel dans le Vent' (Fantastic catalog number FA-3637)


Relocating to Montreal theire big break came when they found a mentor in the form of Cafe de l'Est owner Domenica Mandanice. With backing from Mandanice by mid-1965 they'd joined the flood of Quebec-based bands that were opting for a hook - in this case a name change and the accompanying costumes (must have been cold wearing centurion outfits in Quebec).  Signed by the local Choc Records, starting with the 1965 one sided promo 'Je Sais' (Choc catalog number MG-4187), they began releasing a string of 45s:


- 1965's 'Splish Splash' b/w 'Alors c'etait Lui' (Choc catalog number C-0041)

- 1965's 'Toi et Moi' b/w 'Pour Toi'  (Choc catalog number C-0043)


With the band beginning to enjoy some commercial successes Choc rushed the group into the studio to record a supporting album. 1965's "Cesar et les Romains" showcased the earlier singles and a similar sounding mix of Francophiled American pop and soul standards.  As lead singer Dino 'Cesar' L'Esperance wasn't half bad.  Gifted with a growling voice that was well suited to blue-eyed soul and rock, he turned in fine performances on material such as 'Mon Seul Amour' (which somehow managed to translate the Righteous Brothers' 'Unchained Melody' as 'My Sole Love'), and Wanda Jackson's 'Toi et Moi' (which translated the original song title 'Right or Wrong' into 'You and Me').  That said, most of the material was simply too conventional to be included under a garage, or psych heading.  Among the few exceptions was the original rocker 'Au Koochi-Koochi-Koo' and their uptempo cover of Chris Kenner's 'Tu n'aimes que Moi' (aka 'I Like It Like That').  Needless to say, these guys were way better when the rocked out.


"Cesar et les Romains" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Toi et Moi   (Wanda Jackson - G. Brown) - 1:58

2.) Ferme du Bonheur   (V. Horeton - R. Rouzaird - Vline - Buggy) - 2:14

3.) La Vie   (Leiber - Stoller - Cesar) - 2:44

4.) Au Koochi-Koochi-Koo   (Cesar) - 2:26

5.) Pas Cette Chanson   (Ahmet Ertegun - Nelson - Barnett) - 3:10

6.) Pour Toi   (Barabara George - G. Brown) - 2:27


(side 2)
1.) Splish Splash   (Bobby Darin - L. Brien) - 1:56

2.) Alors C'estat Lui  (Bobby Darin - L. Brien) - 2:08

3.) Ells le Sait   (Wille Dixon - Cesar) - 2:48

4.) Je Sais   (C. Gustin - Claude Francois) - 3:24

5.) Tu n'aimes que Moi   (Chris Kenner - Allen Toussaint) - 1:37

6.) Mon Seul Amour   (Zaret - North - Brown) - 3:36


These guys were certainly prolific releasing at least three more studio albums before they broke up in 1968.  There catalog also includes a slew of 'greatest hits' packages, at least a dozen 45s and some EPs.  They reunited several times, including 1974 and 1983, releasing new material along the way.


Sadly L'Esperance died of cancer in December 2004.