Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1971-72)
- Giorgio Chitschenko -- sax
- Cel De Bauwer -- drums, percussion
- Yves De Vriendt -- lead guitar
- Francois Maes -- sax
- Rudy Pinlйe -- bass
- Luk Mets (aka Luc Smets) -- vocals, keyboards
- Dream Express (Luk Mets)
- Hearts of Soul (Luk Mets)
- Mad Curry (Giorgio Chitschenko)
- The Pebbles (Cel De Bauwer and Luk Mets)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Volume One
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 100
If you've spent any time poking around my website you'll notice that I have a fascination with '60s and '70s Belgian bands. Blame it on having spent a couple of years living in the country and not having been smart enough to have made the most of my opportunities ...
Drummer Cel De Bauwer and singer/keyboardist Luk Mets (aka Luc Smets) had achieved some international recognition as members of the band The Pebbles. In the early-'70s they decided to form Shampoo, recruiting the talents of Mad Curry sax player Giorgio Chitschenko, lead guitarist Yves De Vriendt, sax player Francois Maes and bassist Rudy Pinlйe. The band's efforts didn't do a great deal in their native Belgium, but they found a supporter in the form of Francis Dreyfus who signed them to his French Motors label, releasing their sole album in 1972. Produced by guitarist De Vriendt, the optimistically titled "Volume One" took a little bit of effort to get warmed up to, and while it wasn't a classic album by any stretch of the imagination, it had enough interesting segments to warrant the investment of time. Whereas Pebbles had been a pop-oriented band, Shampoo shared more in common with Mad Curry's jazz-rock leanings. That said, these guys clearly had an affection for quality pop music. It was unlike anything else on the album, but the opener 'Brother' was a glistening slice of '60s pop-psych. Even their more jazz-rock moves embedded distinctive pop elements - check out 'Keep The Day Cool'. As the band's lead singer Smets was actually pretty good. He sang with an accent, but it wasn't particularly pronounced, or irritating. As musicians, the entire band were first rate with Chitschenko and Maes adding jazz-tinged solos throughout. One mystery I've never figured out ... the inner label credited most of the songs to Chincheko and Mets. I've always assumed the company simply typoed the writing credits and the writers were actually band members Chitschenko and Maes. I'm sure someone out there knows the answer ...
One" track listing:
1.) Brother (Luk Mets) - 3:12 rating: **** stars
'Brother' opened the album with an unexpected slice of psych-tinged pop. With the album's catchiest melody, the results sounded very 1967-Beatles-esque. Totally unexpected; unlike anything else on the album and definitely one of the album highlights.
2.) Keep The Day Cool (Luk Mets) - 6:24 rating: **** stars
The first half of 'Keep The Day Cool' found the band dipping their collective toes into something that sounded like Blood, Sweat & Tears at their most experimental. When Smets' vocals kicked in midway through the song took off in a distinctive commercial pop direction. And while Smets' vocals had a distinctive accent, the song showcased some glistening harmony vocals that quickly drew your attention away from Smets other limitations. The song closed with some energetic Chitschenko and Maes sax soloing.
3.) Some Reason (Giorgio Chitschenko - Luk Mets) - 10:55 rating: ** stars
Clocking in at just under ten minutes, 'Some Reason' was listed as a single composition, but actually broke up into a series of distinctive segments. The song started out as a platform for Smets organ and more Chitschenko and Maes sax soloing. Folks who hate horn rock will want to run away, but to my ears their work was surprisingly enjoyable. The song then morphed into a forgettable, middle of the road cocktail ballad. Next up was the track's highlight in the form of an upbeat rock section that featured an extended De Vriendt guitar solo and some Smets scat singing. Yeah, De Vriendt's solo was the highlight. The last part of the song found the band moving into classically inspired territory, before ending in an extended, horn-powered jazz-rock section.
'Summer' started side two off with a bouncy, upbeat horn-rock number before giving every band member a brief solo segment. By the time Smets started singing and the song had shifted into pop gears, you'd already lost interest. Not exactly the album's most memorable endeavor.
2.) Hot Dog (Luk Mets) - 4:09 rating: *** stars
Unlike the rest of the album, 'Hot Dog' started out with Smets singing in French. The first part of the song actually sounded like a French pop song, but then the lyrics flipped over to English and the song started to sound like a mid-1970s Chicago track. Just as you were getting accustomed to the new direction, it was back to the French pop-song segment an then back to English ... Disconcerting.
3.) Hurry Up (Cel De Bauwer - Luk Mets) - 8:59 rating: ** stars
The instrumental 'Hurry Up' was basically a set up for a seemingly never ending Smets drum solo. It's rated accordingly.
4.) My Sweet Honeybee (Luk Mets)- 4:18 rating: ** stars
'My Sweet Honeybee' found the band tentatively stepping into progressive territory. Unfortunately with Smets spoken word narration and some of the album's most irritating horn arrangements, the results actually sounded like something copied from a really bad concept album.
As mentioned above, not an all time classic release, but well worth looking for if you're into Belgian artists, or like that mid-1970s jazz-rock flavor. Quite hard to locate these days ...
For hardcore fans there's also a non-LP single:
- 1973's 'All of Us' b/w 'Today Is the First Day' (Philips catalog number 6021 072)
Featuring the Dutch vocal group Hearts of Soul on lead vocals, the single was actually pretty cool. A straight-ahead slice of radio friendly pop with blazing horns and heavily accented English vocals (the foggy male vocal was a hoot), this should have been a massive hit for the group.
Chitschenko has a small website at:
BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE
BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION