Thursday, 25 July 2013

Jac Berrocal: Rock 'n' Roll Station

The song Rock 'n' Roll Station really deserved to be regarded as a classic of the genre.

The track is by French musician Jac Berrocal, who said that he originally wanted to have Lou Reed performing the vocals.

Berrocal, a jazz trumpeter, has worked across the experimental fringes of a variety of genres from avant garde to rock and roll.

The vocals were eventually performed by Vince Taylor, a British rock 'n' roll singer who found success in France in the 1950s and early to mid 1960s.

Taylor was troubled by mental illness, his eventual breakdown in the mid 60s apparently inspiring David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character.

Taylor continued to perform occasionally in the 70s and 80s, and his best-known song outside France is probably brand New Cadillac, as covered by the Clash on their London Calling album.

He recorded Rock 'n' Roll Station in 1976 with Berrocal, and it appears on Berrocal's Parallèles album. Taylor died in 1991, living in Switzerland.

The song was covered by Nurse with Wound, who included Berrocal on their list of influential (but for the most part unknown) artists on their Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella debut album from 1979. The list became something of a collector's guide to obscue and outsider musical acts, and included other French acts like Magma as well as more widely recognised acts like the Velvet Underground, the Residents and Frank Zappa.

The track itself comes across like a half-remembered dream about a 1950s film. Fragments and phrases, cut up and rearranged into new meanings.

Having Taylor on vocals is a perfect choice of vocalist.

Everything is possible. Chouette! Do you remember?

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