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written by Alain Chamfort, Michel Pelay & Serge Gainsbourg

Between the late seventies and the early eighties, many famous European acts recorded albums in California to incorporate their sounds with the magnificent atmospheres of the LA session scene of that era. Good examples were releases by important names like Riccardo Cocciante, Umberto Tozzi , Lucio Battisti, Alan Sorrenti and Alberto Fortis from Italy, Michel Berger, Alain Chamfort, Grimaldi/Zeiher, Sheila and Michel Polnareff from France, Ted Gardestad and Tommy Nilsson from Sweden. On these albums, you can find different studio legends including Ray Parker, Jr., the late Jeff Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Bill Champlin, Richard Page, Ed Greene, Mike Melvoin, Abe Laboriel, Greg Mathieson, Lee Ritenour, Jay Graydon, David Foster and many, many more. Foster appeared prominently in Sorrenti’s “Figli Delle Stelle” and Chamfort’s “Rock’N’Rose.” Both album were recorded in 1977 and include catchy pop songs with extraordinary instrumental back-up and refined arrangements. We reviewed “Figli Delle Stelle” years ago, so this time around we focus on “Rock’N’Rose.”

In the first half of the seventies, Alain Chamfort, born Alain Le Govic, built a good career in France with several light pop hit singles. Chamfort often co-wrote with his songwriting partner Michel Pelay and leaned towards teen audiences. That lightweight material and music direction wasn’t Chamfort’s cup of tea so, in 1977, he started a more refined musical partnership with legendary singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. The first result of their collaboration was “Rock’N’Rose.” That album paired Chamfort’s catchy music ideas with Gainsbourg’s inventive lyrics. Add to the picture the top notch musical scenario created by Sylvester Rivers, Foster, the Porcaro Brothers, Mike Baird, Graydon and Jay Winding and you get a convincing pop record with several interesting moments. The instrumental tracks show traces of what will come to full bloom on albums by Airplay and Toto. One plus throughout “Rock’N’Rose” is Steve Madaio’s fantastic work on the horn arrangements. The single off the album was an up-tempo rocker titled “Joujou à la Casse” that included a rich texture of guitars, strings and horns guided by Porcaro’s powerful drumming. The most popular song on the album, though it wasn’t a single, is entitled “Baby Lou.” It presents a gorgeous melody with an overall gloomy atmosphere enpowered with lush strings and horns. This song was covered years later by both Lio and Jane Birkin.
Other good moments on “Rock’n’Rose” are the disco-flavored title track and the refined mid-tempo “Lucette Et Lucie”, both perfectly showcasing the great talent of the backing musicians. “Rock’N’Rose” may sound dated to today’s casual listener, but it’ll be a nice surprise to older quality music lovers and give them a strong nostalgic experience.


[audio:|titles=Baby Lou|artists=Alain Chamfort]

Lead Vocals: Alain Chamfort
Drums: Jeff Porcaro, Ed Greene & Mike Baird
Keyboards: David Foster, Jay Winding & Steve Porcaro
Bass: James Jamerson, Jr. & Mike Porcaro
Guitars: Richie Zito, Jay Graydon, Dan Ferguson, Michael Henderson & Greg Poree
Percussion: Ray Cooper
Synthesizer: Michael Boddicker

Rhythm Arrangements by Sylvester Rivers
Horn Arrangements by Steve Madaio
String Arrangements by Richard Hewson

Produced by Paul Boussard & Michel Pelay


Sur les abords du périphérique
J’t’ai aperçue par ma vitre
On aurait dit comme le générique
D’un film Ricain sans sous-titres
Tu n’m’as même pas d’mandé où j’allais
On aurait dit que tu t’en foutais

Moi, je filais droit vers l’Atlantique
Voir les bateaux qui chavirent
J’voulais me noyer dans l’romantique
L’idée semblait te séduire
Tu m’dis : “J’n’ai jamais vu l’océan
Qui sait, là-bas c’est p’t-être plus marrant !”

J’ai compris ta philosophie
Baby Lou
Et ta façon de voir la vie
Baby Lou

Et pourquoi pas
Si c’est c’qui te va ?
Tu n’es pas concernée
Plutôt du genre consterné

J’te regarde dans l’rétro d’la Buick
Sous les nuages qui s’déchirent
Compter les poteaux télégraphiques
Tu n’trouves rien d’autre à me dire
Tu as vraiment l’air de te foutre de tout
De prendre tous les autres pour des fous

C’est toute ta philosophie
Baby Lou
C’est ta façon de voir la vie
Baby Lou

Et pourquoi pas
Si c’est c’qui te va ?
Tu n’es pas concernée
Plutôt du genre consterné

Et pourquoi pas
Si c’est c’qui te va ?
Tu n’es pas concernée
Plutôt du genre consterné

Regarde voir la mer
Comme toi tout aussi amère