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The Burghers of Calais

Monday, September 12th, 2016 | admin | Music

In 1958, the brothers Pierre and Claude Lachèvre (born 1942 and 1945), with their cousin Patrick Legros (born 1945), playing with passion on their acoustic guitars and banjos, accompanied by their childhood friend Jean Guiguet ( alias Bambino, born in 1945) that hits on a makeshift drum. Influenced by the skiffle came from across the Channel, so close to the city of Calais with its intense maritime traffic with England via Dover, they take the war Black’n’White name. With English friends, they are among the first to discover discs of Lonnie Donegan. Peter and Patrick, strong from years of piano conservatory, provide a good musical foundation training. But soon they are drawn to the frenetic rhythms of the Shadows and Cliff Richard. In 1960 they electrify their guitars, Hoffner, Ohio and a low Hoffner, and plug into the amp Geloso Italian made. Later they will play on Burns and Fender. Proud of their city, they take the new name of Bourgeois De Calais. As parents of Lachèvre brothers manage the legendary Central Hall, rue de Vic, in the heart of Calais, this is the place for rehearsals. Purely instrumental training in 1961 as they evolve their idols by adding a lead singer, quickly replaced by André Vasseur (born in 1944) who, without fully follow the spirit of Eddy Mitchell and Dick Rivers, Americanized half its André name Gerald. This young student of Boulogne-sur-Mer, which has already won some radiocrochets, full well the group. To repeat with them he must often stop in the thirty kilometers between the two cities. While continuing their studies, with the exception of Jean Guiguet who works at the chamber of commerce, the Bourgeois De Calais, having developed several instrumentals, rock classics and original compositions, provide their baptism of fire June 14, 1961 . That day they participate in the legendary Rock Across the Channel to Calais festival where they won the cup for the best European group in the face of English courses, Belgian, French and Dutch in the first part of Gene Vincent and the Shadows of their idols. Unforgettable. Then, on 7 September 1961 still in Calais, they are the stars of the arrival of the first stage of Northern Cycling Tour, sponsored by North Coast where the journalist Robert Lassus (future director of information RTL) devotes a laudatory article. This event takes place before 3000 enthusiastic people at Richelieu Park.


Shortly after they occur to regional TV and for the year-end holidays make their first transition to Touquet, the Normandy club. From early 1962 they animate every weekend many balls in the region, playing up to four to five hours straight, strong of a repertoire of about two hundred titles including all the successes of Cliff Richard & The Shadows . We also see them on TV in the Cup Tender Age & Wood head where they are welcomed by Albert Raisner despite their failure. In the process, the spring of 1962, Philippe Hornez, the representative of Pathé Marconi Calais, recommend them to Mr. Vanest, artistic director of this company. Celuici makes them produce a model in Bruay-en-Artois and another in Fouquieres-les-Lens where they perform eight songs including “Move It” by Cliff Richard, “Whole Lotta Shakin ‘Goin’ On” by Jerry Lee Lewis and compositions “I Am Twenty Years” and “I Have Need Love.” Both live recorded sessions are the subject of two flexible 30 cm discs which have unfortunately been lost. While pursuing their studies, they play mostly in Northern France but also in Paris where they are everywhere applaud. In Calais, June 17, 1962, they were again on show at the Rock Channel Across Tea festival, dubbed in French Rock & Twist Festival Anglo-French or Invasion Rock & Roll, where they still earn once cut best group. Early in the summer of 1962, Mr. Vanest organize a recording session at studuio Pathé Boulogne-Billancourt. As Bourgeois De Calais provide a new two-month contract at the club Normandy, in Le Touquet, this is only at the end of their performance, at four in the morning, they hit the road to Paris aboard a van with driver rented for the occasion, with bassist Jean-Raoul Champion and singer Jean-Pierre Bourgade, friends of Meteora group. The first accident, light, takes place in Montreuil-sur-Mer. While Peter Lachèvre manages to reach the Pathé studios and prevent the delay, the rest of the training with the driver wins Boulogne-sur-Mer to urgently repair the van. Here height of misfortune, in the coast of Saint-Léonard, they are struck by a Buick during a second more serious accident where John Guiguet suffered a ruptured spleen.

One of the first pictures of Bourgeois De Calais, beginning 1961 with André Vasseur vocals taken during a rehearsal at the Central Hall of Calais.


Pathé sessions are canceled and Bourgeois De Calais, with Joel Parmentier (drummer of Black Wolves Calais) reprise their galas in Le Touquet, in Normandy, where they spend three times a day, as an aperitif, tea-dancing and evening, winning a big hit with the local Parisian public or passing there vacation. Six to seven hundred people applaud every night. With their solid musical training and a good sound system, they often play up to four hours at a time and make many oxen with passing musicians. That’s when André Vasseur left the combo to stand on its own, disappointed of the postponement of the recording session Pathé. The next day, Bourgeois De Calais after an ox, recruit the English singer-guitarist Jeff Parker, who has the advantage of speaking French correctly. Very marked by his compatriot Cliff Richard, Jeff Parker, whose real name Peter, he is ausi native of India. Now composed of Pierre and Claude Lachèvre (guitar), Patrick Legros (bass), John “Bambino” Guiguet (drums) and Jeff Parker (vocals), the Bourgeois De Calais return in September 1962 at the Pathé studio of Boulogne-Billancourt to save, finally, their first super 45s. Barely recovered from his car accident, Jean Guiguet is the trip, as his temporary replacement, the Meurice in Calais drummer Joel Parmentier. After his recovery, John “Bambino” Guiguet permanently reinstate the Bourgeois De Calais. This first EP offers on its side A two instrumental covers of very good quality, “No Rocker” of B.Bumble & The Stingers and “The Riders Of The Sky” in competition with Sunlights (not to be confused with “The Cavaliers Du Feu “Fingers of). In this regard, it is common for Sunlights, and already when they played under the name of Cogonis, include the most Bourgeois De Calais to replace on short notice when they can ensure a gala. On the flip side are two songs sung by Jeff Parker, “I Have Need Love” and “I Am Twenty Years”, both signed Jean-Raoul Champion, bassist Meteora, other orchestra in the region. If it was well written “I Am Twenty Years”, it is the Bourgeois De Calais who composed “I Have Need Love”, but as Jean-Raoul Champion was registered with SACEM it is to him that the two songs were credited for convenience. The beautiful cover art picture shows the group posing in front of the belfry and the town hall at the feet of the statue of the famous Burghers of Calais sculpted by Rodin. The choice of an instrumental and sung face are entirely attributable to the group but returned to their artistic director Mr. Vanest. During this session the Bourgeois De Calais still boxed four songs Cliff Richard: “Pointed To Shoes” and “Mighty Good” in English, and “Rope In Neck” and “Without You I Am Crazy” ( “Without You,” also starring Vic Laurens on the words of Claude Moine alias Eddy Mitchell) in french, whose strips seem permanently lost, more “Move It” and “Whole Lotta Shaking Goin ‘on,” Jerry Lee Lewis, and a different take of “I Am Twenty Years”. On these three tracks, plus “Nut Rocker” Jean Guiguet is the battery while the other is Joel Parmentier beating. “I Am Twenty Years” running very strong in the north of France where this song is programmed in all jukeboxes. This theme is also registered by their buddies Jean-Pierre & Rebels. This record, like the second EP Pathé, is the subject of two 45 simple tricks. Meanwhile, Bourgeois De Calais equip themselves with better instruments. Hoffner guitars and Ohio are replaced by Burns purchased in England where they also bring a Vox amp and an echo chamber Watkins Copycat. To this must be added the majestic speakers designed specifically for them by their friend Bernard Caulier. A material that will impress even seasoned musicians Sylvie Vartan and Claude François at a joint gala. Les Bourgeois De Calais also play quite often in Paris where they are popular, meeting on the occasion Françoise Hardy. In the fall of 1962 they also accompanied Chris Long, out of Dallons and Mosquito Club Johnny Hallyday in Jouy-en-Josas. Finally, during their visit to Bowling du Bois de Boulogne in Paris, Aldo Martinez, William Benaim and Tony Arpa of Black Socks and Jean-Claude and Gerard Roboly Jacquemus of Wild Cats come to them.


March 16, 1963, after being selected through qualifiers involving 117 North formations of France and Belgium, the Bourgeois De Caiais participate again on TV, live from the studio of the RTF in Lille, in the Cup Age Tendre & Head Wood, organized by Albert Raisner. At 18:30, in duplex with the Club Saint-Hilaire in Paris, they triumph of Sybloses, Belgium, with their version of “Whole Lotta Shakin ‘Goin’ On” and former title holders, the Faux-Frères , Switzerland, installed Tele-Lyon. Les Bourgeois De Calais collecting 1851 votes, the Sybloses 1426 and FauxFrères 1 378. In April, live from Lille Home Exhibition, they are winners again before losing at their third benefit, May compete with Cubs Reims. Always on TV, Les Copains Saturday also program the Bourgeois De Calais also pass through several regional television. Projects abound TV side with filming a movie cowboy style expected in late June in Oye-Plage, near Calais, produced by John Marcello, whose title could be “Johnny Rock City” or “A 17 Years it is Not Serious “. The three-star roles would be required by Lucky Blondo, Jacky Delmone and Jeff Parker, the Bourgeois De Calais making music with Pelicans Lille. A project that unfortunately will not succeed, as the cruise in Greece, from 7 to 21 August 1963, designed by Albert Raisner, and before landing in Cyprus, Rhodes and Istanbul. By cons, on stage, on 24 March 1963 they do evil in their stronghold in the Central Hall of Calais during the Festival Rock And Twist organized by the Association of the Deaf and Dumb of Artois, with at the same Driftin’s program , Mirages, and VICOMT’s Mustangs. It is the same with Du Rock Festival Dunkerque, in the company of Costers, Piranhas and Beavers. Then it comes to Easter on tour in Germany and a new participation in the Festival Rock Across The Channel to Calais on June 2 with the assistance of the English channel ATV.

The Burghers of Calais with their winning trophies cutting Tender Age & Wood Head


Thanks to the promotional support of journalist Robert Lassus North Littoral everything is better when Philippe Hornez, the representative of Pathé Marconi, began the spring of 1963 to create his own record label, Musinor. He then proposed to Jeff Parker and Bourgeois De Calais record an EP for him to Brussels studio Decca. This beautiful super 45s this cover a photograph taken of a crane to the port of Calais. It contains four remarkable songs composed and arranged by Jeff Parker and Bourgeois De Calais, the slow splendid “Rue Sadness,” “I Confess The You”, “Do Not Believe In Me What I Fools” and “I Want, You want “. The sounds of Bourgeois De Calais work wonders on these four titles. Two unreleased are also recorded at this session, “Street Of Sadness” English adaptation of “Rue Sadness” and the instrumental demo “In A Persian Market”, only published in 1995 on CD. But this disc is well worth their problems with Pathé with whom they have an exclusive contract. Nevertheless their faith remains intact and Bourgeois De Calais always win during their gala a success with the public. On tour they occur in the North and in Belgium but also in spring 1963 in the same poster that Claude François and Sylvie Vartan at the Andouille Festival in Aire-sur-la-Lys, as well as Gilbert Bécaud, Barbara , etc. It is at this point that Jeff Parker decides to return to England to marry. He was replaced by singer Piranhas, another group in the region Calais-Dunkirk. They carry with him a tour of Roussillon you passing by Perpignan where on July 14 they occur live on the regional station of Radio France. Then they continue on Spain where they crisscross the Costa Brava. In August 1963, they attack a new season at the Normandy Club Touquet which sees the return of their lead singer André Vasseur, aka André Gerald, urgently recalled to allow Bourgeois De Calais to continue their galas, now equipped with guitars Fender Stratocaster and Precision Bass, in the purest spirit of their idols Shadows. They still jamment with many musicians including saxophonist Robert Mavounzy that impresses many.

Les Bourgeois De Calais on live television for Tender Age Head And Wood in spring 1963. From left to right: Pierre Lachèvre Patrick Legros. Jeff Parker, Claude and Jean Lachèvre Guiguet.

Despite their prank with Musinor, Pathé offers them to achieve a third 45 rpm in September 1963. In the photo, their guitars around their necks, they pose dressed in monk on a dune behind the North Sea. Again this disc contains two instrumentals, “Round And Round”, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett of The Shadows and “In A Persian Market” on a theme of understanding the classical composer Ketelbey (also recorded by PlayBoys and where Serge Gainsbourg later wrote the words to “My Lady Heroine”). Pierre Lachèvre these songs proves to be a really effective guitarist, well supported by the battery Jean Guiguet. For his part, André Vasseur Gérald dignity ensures succession Jeff Parker, very comfortable on both pieces sung, “The Buddy That I Have Chosen” and “Hully Baby”, respectively adapted by André-Claude Carrère and Salvet Jacques ‘Monty’ Bulostin. The presence of an organist here reinforces the sound of Bourgeois De Calais. They still put in a box unreleased instrumental Albert Raisner and a new French adaptation of “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles with different lyrics of Wild Cats version of Sylvie Vartan, “Is What You On know? “Whose bands are also found today. In the region they go back to Tele-Lille and during the Fair-Expo Lille they turn into the first color TV broadcast. One can also see in all cinemas of France, before the film over the Gaumont news, black and white, in a clip before the hour “Hully Baby” that promote their new EP. The concerts continue at a rate of two a week, mostly on weekends. But we should add their thirteen televised performances. But like many rock’n’twist groups of the era, starting with the Black Socks, military service puts an end to the career of Bourgeois De Calais end of 1963.


Their last gala takes place on a Sunday in Roubaix while on Monday they go join their barracks. Claude Lachèvre starts first but managed to be reformed soon after. Then it was the turn of Patrick Legros and finally Pierre Lachèvre which sursitaire, finished his studies in Paris with pocket his diploma in physiotherapy and established in 1964. André Vasseur tries in turn to be reformed but without success while Jean Guiguet following his accident, is definitely exempted. The two survivors, Jean Claude Lachèvre and “Bambino” Guiguet, then join the dance orchestra of Antonio Morales, who in 1965 realized the 45 rpm “No Problem”, “Camino Verde”, “Ay Mulata” and ” dos Cruces “on the small label DMF, unrelated musically with the great records of Bourgeois De Calais. Meanwhile, in Saint-Omer, another group said. These are the Yeomen with drummer Joel Parmentier who played on the first EP of Bourgeois De Calais, “I Am Twenty Years” in 1962. This training also includes André Duhamel (former Costers) of Boulogne-sur- sea and three guitarists Saint-Omer which the soloist Jean-Pier re-Castelain. They record in Lille a super 45s for DMF consists of instrumental successful fashionable dances like the Sirtaki. But at the refusal of the Yeomen of finance pressing this record it is not certain that the latter is released. Then, some of the members of this combo merge with the rest of Bourgeois De Calais who return on the road by that name. In 1965, the Bourgeois De Calais Claude Lachèvre (guitar) and Patrick Legros (bass), plus Joel Parmentier (drums), Jean-Pierre Castelain (solo guitar) and Jacques Gressier (organ), found Jeff Parker, December 6, day the birth of the daughter of Claude Lachèvre, to record an EP at studio Marble Arch in London. Having failed to obtain permission to a time, Pierre Lachèvre can not attend the session. On that occasion they realize the French versions of “Do Te In Fais Pas” ( “Do not Worry Baby” Beach Boys), “1-2-3” (Len Barry in a different adaptation of that of the Annie’s ex-Gam Markan), “I want to Talk About You” ( “Taïkin ‘About You” by Chuck Berry) and the original “East II Choose from Time” Jeff Parker. Unfortunately this great 45s will not be published and we will discover these four new remarkable only in 1995, the Magic CD.


Then, in 1966, in Lille, new to DMF, the Bourgeois De Calais recorded their ultimate super 45s with singer-organist Calais with Jacques Gressier (now Professor of Music at Versailles), former soloist of the Yeomen Jean-Pierre Castelain, and the three original members Claude Lachèvre (guitar), Patrick Legros (bass) and John Guiguet (drums). Guitarist Peter Lachèvre finally demobilized, is there too, but now behind the console since it is he who is the artistic achievement of this record before finding his physiotherapist’s office. This EP, the pouch in black and white, features the instrumental rhythm’n’blues “Talking About My Girl” by Jimmy McGriff, the times of “Michelle” by the Beatles and “High Heel Sneakers” by Tommy Tucker popularized by Jerry Lee Lewis, the more their composition “The Girl In The Wind”. This disc marks their swan song and the last formula of De Calais Bourgeois separating soon after. In 1967, Jean-Pierre Castelain (lead guitar, vocals), Claude Lachèvre (rhythm guitar), Patrick Legros (bass), Jacques Gressier (keyboards, vocals) and Joel Parmentier (drums) hit the road to as Poppy Flowers first psychedelic / flowerpower french group, the time of an album recorded at Mercury by Bernard Estardy the EPC studio. Managed initially by Maurice Erath, cheese wholesaler (!), They are quickly taken in hand by the impresario Jean-Pierre Rawson, dealing among other Tom Jones in France. In February 1968 the Poppy Flowers, sponsored Mariboro, occur within the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble in the show Johnny Hallyday with Herbert Léonard. Then Jean-Pierre Castelain, after various other experiences, continuing a solo career.


For his part, Jeff Parker, who still lives in England and lives in the same village as her idol Cliff Richard, is now a car salesman. He has his studio at the bottom of his garden where he made with his son Peter 25 years old, models of which an instrumental reprise of his famous theme “Rue Sadness”. André Vasseur saves him for the trifecta label Panorama covers several hit in 1964: “To Me You Are The Only” Johnny Hallyday, “Town In Town” and “And Then I Think J’Y Forget” by Claude François, “A World Without Love” Sheila, “My Life” by Alain Barrière and even “Happiness Is Not Done for Me,” “One, Two, Three” and then in 1965 at Riviera, the 45 rpm “Do Not Resume Your Heart,” “You Did Good,” “Hear Me” and “If not Rest In Qu’Un”. He then left the song to direct a transport company in Boulogne-sur-Mer on the coast of Saint-Léonard where took place the terrible van accident in 1962. Pierre has Lachèvre he abandoned his guitar after serious medical studies that him a reputed physiotherapist in Calais where his brother Claude became Executive chauffeur. Drummer John “Bambino” Guiguet, after working in a transport company and held a coffee Calais, found a job at the Chamber of Commerce. Patrick Legros works in Toulouse on the Airbus 320. Finally Jean-Pierre Castelain continued his solo career, before taking care of Patrick Juvet, in particular. Since he runs a recording studio in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he made generic for TV or radio broadcasts.

The Poppy Flowers with Patrick Legros (right) in 1967.

Among the relatives of musicians Bourgeois De Calais, drummer René Joly (creator of the hit “Ximena” in 1969), also Meurice in Calais, was one of the Coasters, another regional formation of the time, it based in Boulogne-sur- sea, including André Vasseur was the company of singer Philippe Vasseur sax, then deputy of the Republican Party, unrelated.

Le Touquet, the Bourgeois De Calais, with Joel Parmentier, Claude Lachèvre. Patrick Legros, Jean-Pierre Castelain Patrick and Gressier.


On 11 November 1995, the picture in front of City Hall Calais, thirty-three years after that of the first disc: Claude Lachèvre Patrick Legros, Jeff Parker, André Vasseur, Pierre and Jean Lachèvre Guiguet.

In September 1987, at the wedding of the daughter of Peter Lachèvre, Navy, Bourgeois De Calais Patrick Legros, Jean Guiguet Claude and Pierre Lachèvre form again on the occasion of this happy event. Finally, with André Vasseur and Jeff Parker, they meet again November 11, 1995 in Calais for the release of their CD in the series “French 60’s EP Collection”. On this occasion Peter and Claude Lachèvre Patrick Legros, Jean “Bambino” Guiguet André Vasseur and Jeff Parker (who came especially London) are the party to celebrate this disc that compiles the integral of their four Super 45s, more eight unreleased “Move It” by Cliff Richard, “Whole Lotta Shakin ‘Goin’ on” by Jerry Lee Lewis, from 1962, “Do Te in Fais Pas” Beach Boys, “It’s Time to Choose” Jeff Parker, “1 -2-3” Len Barry, “I Will Talk About You” by Chuck Berry, the EP recorded in London in December 1965 and not published, and finally “Street of Sadness” English adaptation of “Rue sadness “and the demo of” on a Persian market “for 1963. the meeting was marked by a long series of signings and an interview on Radio 6, followed by the presentation of the medal of the city by the mayor of Calais. In fact, it has failed to Bourgeois De Calais is a good manager by which they would really have to compete with the Black Socks and Wild Cats. Nevertheless, the fact remains that their career of Calais, with the help of journalist Robert Lassus, represents a very pretty course as evidenced by the 24 magic tracks from their CD.

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