Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70)

- Serge Baumer -- drums, percussion

- Jean-Claude Bertin -- bass

- André Chabloz -- vocals

- Jacques Minary -- keyboards

- Jean-Claude Tissot -- lead guitar




Treponem Pal (Serge Baumer)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Royal Incarnation

Company: Fanny

Catalog: F050993

Country/State: Besançon, Franche-Comté France

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: reissue

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1682

Price: $120.00


Dickens featured the talents of drummer Serge Baumer, bass player Jean-Claude Bertin, former Moods singer André Chabloz, keyboardist Jacques Minary, and lead guitarist  Jean-Claude Tissot.


Originally released in 1969 by the French President label, their one and only album "Dickens" showcased a largely original collection of tunes that's been widely labeled as a lost French psych classic.  The band performed in both French and English, but be forewarned their English was limited with Chabloz sounding like he had learned the lyrics phonetically. It wasn't a big deal to me, but some folks will find his heavy accent a source of irritation. That said, these guys weren't half bad.  They'd clearly had access to someone's extensive record collection, witness the myriad of garage and psych influences scattered across the LP, plus the fact they covered the US band Genesis single 'Angeline' (reappearing with the title 'Ange De Lube'). Guitarist Tissot didn't get a great deal of spotlight time, but he made the most of it and the Baumer - Bertin was never less than steady.  Yes, there was some psych in these grooves (check out 'Genese' and 'Reve Et Fumee'), but exemplified by tracks like 'Cataclysme', 'I Wanna Love You ', and 'Ain't Got And That's Better'  there was even more of a '60s US garage influence.  

"Royal Incarnation" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Cataclysme   (Jean-Claude Bertin/André Chabloz) - 1:31    rating: *** stars
Given all the hype about this being a classic lost slice of French psychedelia, I was gobsmacked by 'Cataclysme'.   Powered by André Chabloz's squeal of a voice and Jean-Claude Tissot riotous guitar, this wasn't a psych tune, rather was the French equivalent of a '60 US garage band on amphetamines.  Quite unexpected ..  in a good way.
2.) Genese   (Jean-Claude Bertin - André Chabloz) - 4:07    rating: **** stars
Opening up with some spooky Jacques Minary church organ and Chabloz's broken English spoken word narrative, 'Genese' was closer to a psych effort than the opener.  The biggest criticism is the fact the tune never seemed to shift gears out of the opening riff.  That meant you got to hear Chabloz moan for the next four minutes while the rest of the band engaged in beating the slightly ominous underlying riff to dust.   Kudos to Jean-Claude Bertin for his speed-of-light bass runs.  
3.) I Wanna Love You   (Jean-Claude Bertin - André Chabloz) - 3:11    rating: **** stars
' I Wanna Love You' started out with more Monary church organ, but when Tissot's squalling guitar kicked in the tune morphed into a downright scary garage love tune.   The singer sure didn't sound like Chabloz, but it didn't really matter since if you were a father, you didn't want these snot-nosed cretins anywhere near your daughters.  LOL.  Only complaint on this one was it was too short.   
4.) Ange De Lune  (Jack Ttanna - Bob Metke) - 2:57    rating: *** stars
The album's only cover, 'Ange De Lune' was a remake of a Genesis tune originally entitled 'Angeline' (We're talking the short-lived US band, not Peter Gabriel and company.)   Imagine Jim Morrison growing up in France and you'll get a feel for what the organ-powered track sounded like.   Derivative, but enjoyable non-the-less.  

(side 2)
1.) Reve Et Fumee   (Jean-Claude Bertin - André Chabloz) - 3:08    rating: **** stars
Okay, 'Reve Et Fumee' (I think it roughhy translated as dreams and smoke), found  the band diving headlong into psychedelia with stunningly good results.  Opening up with some nice Tissot guitar chords, with Minary added some dark organ chords off they went with a jittery, dark ballad.  Unfortunately, just as the song was gathering some real energy with Tissot cutting lose, it faced out.   Still, it was one of the album highlights.
2.) Genocide   (Jean-Claude Bertin - André Chabloz) - 5:52   rating: ** stars
Hum, for some reason this overwrought slice of angst has always reminded me of something Meatloaf might have manhandled.   I'm guessing the shrill, operatic background moaning was intended to give the song a sense of danger, but it just gave me a headache.  
3.) Ain't Got And That's Better   (Jean-Claude Bertin - André Chabloz) - 3;27    rating: **** stars
Another pounding garage tune sung in English, but Chabloz sounded like he was overdosing on helium balloons, reminding me a bit of a French Mickey Mouse.  This one always brings a smile to my face. 
4.) Sugar Woman   (Jean-Claude Bertin - André Chabloz) - 2:27   rating: ** stars
Judging by this poorly advised stab at blues-rock,  they'd been listening to way too much Jim Morrison and the Doors.  Probably one Chabloz should have sung in French since the results in English were spectacularly bad. 
5.) Opus (instrumental)   (Jean-Claude - Bertin - André Chabloz) - 2:46  rating: *** stars
'Opus' closed the album out with a pretty, atmospheric instrumental that would have been even better without Chabloz's background howling.  At least guitatrist Tissot got a little more spotlight time.   




The original French President pressing (catalog number F050993), is a major rarity that will set you back a couple of paychecks. For those of you on a budget, in 1994 the Fanny label reissued the set with the same material, but new cover art.

The only other bibliographic tidbit I can add is drummer Baumer reappeared in the mid-'70s AOR band Treponem Pal (not to be confused with the French '90s metal band).