Jenghiz Khan


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1970-71)

- Tim Brean -- keyboards, vocals
- Big Friswa (RIP 1998) -- lead guitar, vocals
- Pierre Raepsaet (aka Peter Rapsat) (RIP 2002) -- vocals, bass 

- Chris Tick (aka Christian Servranckx) -- drums, percussion,

  backing vocals (1970-71)

 

 

- The Tim Brean Group (Tim Brean)

- Flesh Colour (Big Friswa)

- Big Friswa (solo efforts)

- Laurélie (Pierre Raepsaet)

- Les Partisans

- The Pebbles (Tim Brean)

- Pierre Raepsaet (solo efforts)

- Tenderfood Kids ( Pierre Raepsaet)

- Tim Turcksin (Tim Bream)

- Two Man Sound (Big Friswa)

- The Wallace Collection (Big Friswa)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Well Cut

Company: Barclay

Catalog: 90012

Year: 1970

Country/State: Belgium

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: Canadian pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5192

Price: $200.00

 

I spent some of my teen years living in Belgium and walked away with a deep affection for Benelux-based bands.  Though not well known outside of collector circles where this is a sought after rarity, Jenghiz Khan's "Well Cut" remains one of the treasures in my collection.   

 

photo credit: Paul Corten

 

Formed in Brussels in 1970, The Jenghiz Khan line up consisted of keyboardist Tim Brean (former front man of The Tim Brean Group), guitarist Big Friswa, former Tenderfood Kids and Laurélie singer/bassist Pierre Raepsaet, and drummer Chris Tick. With support from Belgian music journalist/manager Pierre “Piero” Kenroll the group was signed by the French Barclay label.  Released later in the year their debut LP teamed them with producer Eric Vion (who had previously played with Raepsaet in Tenderfood Kids).  

 

First let me warn you that big ticket dealer descriptions labeling this a 'psych masterpiece' aren't even close to the mark. In fact the band occasionally recalled a second rate Ten Years After ('Campus B'), or a more talented, but less pretentious Uriah Heep. The eight songs were actually collaborations with Kenroll (credited as “Piero”) providing the lyrics and Brean and Friswa respectively writing the music.  Tracks like the lead off number 'Pain', 'Hard Working Man' and 'Mad Lover' were actually conventional guitar and keyboard propelled hard rock, though there were occasionally nods to a more progressive sound ('Trip To Paradise').  Still anyone looking to hear something totally unique was liable to have come away disappointed, though there was something quite endearing in Pierre Raepsaet's heavily accented Paul Rodgers-inspired vocals and the band's clear enthusiasm for the genre.  Kicked along by Brean's keyboards and Friswa's buzz saw guitar, material like the bluesy 'Campus A' and 'Trip To Paradise' was every bit as good as material being churned out by their UK and US competitors. By the way, credited to Jamic and manager Kenroll, the cover art wasn't something for the squeamish.

 

"Well Cut" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Pain   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll - Big Friswa) - 7:38   rating: *** stars

Admittedly bassist Pierre Raepsaet's heavily accented acapella opening left you wondering what you'd bought into and the remainder of 'Pain' made for one of the most disjointed songs I've ever heard. The abrupt shifts and changing time signatures were certainly disconcerting.  That said, when the wailing twin lead guitars kicked in the song gained some real traction.
2.) Campus A   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll - Big Friswa) - 1:16  
rating: *** stars

Imagine and the George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers had they been raised in Belgium.  Curious how short the tune was ...  it ended just as the band was starting to find a groove.
3.) The Moderate   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll - Tim Brean) - 4:07  
rating: *** stars

Always loved Tim Brean's Procol Harum-styled church organ opening.   Hum, come to think of it, 'The Moderate' does sound a bit like a heavied-up version of Gary Brooker and company.
4.) Campus B   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll - Big Friswa)  - 1:32
  rating: ** stars

I won't even guess why the band saw fit to break this tune into the "A" and "B" components.   Maybe just my ears, but the call and response segment has always reminded me of Tommy James and the Shondells.   

5.) The Lighter   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll)  - 5:06   rating: **** stars

'The Lighter' opened up with some lovely Friswa acoustic guitar, making for the album's prettiest number.   About a minute in the song switched over to a more conventional rock arrangement.  Admittedly the lyrics were a bit of a mystery.  Kudos to these guys for performing in English, but I'm guessing something got lost in the translation.  'Course, how many American, or British bands were out there singing in Flemish ....

 

(side 2)
1.) Hard Working Man   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll - Big Friswa)  - 4:40
   rating: **** stars

Built around Chris Tick's pounding, almost martial beat, 'Hard Working Man' was one of my favorite performances.  The most conventional rocker on the album and Tick's drumming was simply phenomenal on this one.
3.) Mad Lover   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll - Tim Brean) - 3:05  
rating: *** stars

Another pretty ballad, but this time around Raepsaet's quivery falsetto took the some of the fun out of the song.  Poor man really didn't sound comfortable in this high range.
3.) Trip To Paradise   (Pierre “Piero” Kenroll - Tim Brean)  - 10:00  
rating: **** stars

'Trip To Paradise' was simultaneously the album's longest, most complex, and most progressive composition.  Accordingly it gave every member a chance to showcase their technical prowess.  Guess that's why it got high marks from me.  It also made  a quick way to pass ten minutes.

 

 

Though the group apparently recorded some material for a planned second release, they subsequently called it quits.  Raepsaet enjoyed a solo career including representing Belgium in the 1976 Eurovision song contest with 'Judy et Cie'.  Only 56, he died of cancer in April 2002.

clip from Raepsaet's Eurovision performance

 

There's also a website dedicated to Raepsaet, though it's in French: http://www.amisdepierre.be/

 

Friswa released a couple of solo sides, played with Two Man Sound and The Wallace Collection.  He died in 1998.

 

Tick is apparently alive and working as a baker in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium.

 

 

 

 

 

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