The Good Old Days Of ROCK
I think it was French singer Johnny Hallyday who had a hit in his native country with Le Bon Temps Du Rock’n’roll, a title which perhaps inspired this budget album back in 1973. So what’s that got to do with us? Well, is it me or is that Ritchie Blackmore gracing the sleeve?
I turned this up on one of my regular charity shop trawls looking for strange and interesting album sleeves. It was in the Oxfam shop on Marylebone High Street, not one of my regular haunts I have to admit (chance would be a fine thing, have you seen the price of property round there?), but one of the more interesting areas of London in which to potter. The shop had a whole rack of mostly classical albums but this was buried amongst them and the sleeve just stood out. I took a chance and then we retired to a nearby cafe to rest our feet.
Under decent lighting it looked even more certain to me; all the trademarks are there – the over the shoulder glance to Lord, the Fender Strat, the big tremelo arm, the Marshall, the necklace, the short sleeved button necked top, the hand hammering on the neck, etc.
My guess is that this was taken during the strobe sequence in Mandrake Root circa 1970. I have seen other long exposure shots taken during this part of the set which look very similar (there’s one on the DTB site here), but have not spotted this one before (it is credited to an ‘unknown’ French photographer, so may have been taken at the Paris Olympia gig in 1970).
Nor have I ever seen the album before, which was released on the French EMI label Pathe Marconi in 1973. “Dans la meme Serie Punch” were other budget albums of trumpet music, South American pan pipes, the inevitable Edith Piaf set, and so on. Serie Punch was a low-priced imprint designed to sell in French supermarkets and launched in 1973. This particular album is a collection of middling 50s rock and roll cover versions performed by The Rock Fellers (probably a made up name for a bunch of slick session guys). I can only assume some designer at VDK (who did the sleeve) was a bit of a DP fan and thought to subvert the lacklustre content with a heavier sleeve. Well, 35 years on it worked for me. Interestingly the typeface for the title is one you would normally expect to see on 80s covers, so I was quite surprised to see how old the release was.
Anyhow, catalogue number 2C046-12615 if you’re dashing off to try and find one for sale.