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Articles Home » 1975 Articles » Les Variations - 1975 Cafe De Paris
Les Variations - 1975 Cafe De Paris

ARTIST: Les Variations
ALBUM: Cafe De Paris
LABEL: Buddah Records
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: 2005, Magic Records (France), 2 on 1 with 'Morrocan Roll'.


LINEUP: Robert Fitoussi - lead vocals, rhythm guitar * Jacques 'Petit Pois' Grande - bass * Jacky Bitton - drums, percussion, houd, lead vocals * Marc Tobaly - lead guitar, vocals * Maurice Meimoun - violin, houd * Jim Morris - keyboards, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Don't Know Where She'll Go * 02 Sit Back Home Again * 03 Superman Superman * 04 Maybe Forever * 05 Come Now * 06 Berberian Wood * 07 It's All Right * 08 Everybody Got The Blues * 09 Shemoot (The Prayer)

Its no secret when it comes to '70s hard rock, most bands followed the Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath handbook and rarely veered from its blues based foundation looking for similar success with numerous imitators and little innovation. One band that actually tried something a little more original was Les Variations which included an international line-up of three Moroccan Jews, an Italian, American and two French Tunisians. Based in Paris and steeped in the culture of North Africa or more specifically Morocco, Les Variations created some of the most vibrant and colourful hard rock to be pressed on vinyl beginning with their 1969 debut 'Nador' One of the great early French rock albums that has yet to be reissued on CD, the group played across Europe with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Yes and Cream while releasing a slew of good singles before signing with Buddah Records in 1974. While the music became more commercial, Les Variations never failed to impress with 1974's 'Moroccan Roll' and their final album 'Cafe De Paris' getting a good amount of press while joining the touring caravan on both sides of the ocean sides with Queen, BTO, Aerosmith, Kiss, The Guess Who and Rush.

The Songs
Deciding which Les Variations album to review first was a tough choice since their all their albums are excellent in their own way, but 'Cafe De Paris' was my first taste of the band so.. Housed in a strange but beautiful gatefold sleeve the album opens with one of Les Variations best songs 'I Don't Know Where She'll Go' that spins like a dervish with swirling colours, ethnic spice and memorable choruses. The track received air play in the States, but never charted significantly which is a shame considering the dullness of pop play lists during this period that could have used some shaking up from these world music upstarts. The rest of side one is made up of standard rockers with tasteful light ethic touches here and there although I favor the flip with 'Berberian Wood' funking it up and the instrumental 'Shemoot (The Prayer)' mixing pop with a huge Moroccan influence while book ending two above average hard rockers on an album that should have become one of the year's biggest success stories, only to see the band split following the U.S tour.

In Summary
Paired with 'Moroccan Roll', 'Cafe De Paris' was reissued on CD by the French 'Magic' label a few years ago and is still in print. For those who like their rock 'n' roll with that 'something different' both albums are highly recommended.

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#1 | Harvey Mettle on October 01 2009 08:31:47
clapGreat band, not my preffered Lp but still good! For fans, if there are any! check out Tobally's web site - some great stuff to DL Maybe we could get up a petition to release King of Hearts on CD
#2 | Eric on October 01 2009 10:09:32
Eventually at some point I hope to review the King of Hearts album as well as 'Nador'. Thumbs Up
#3 | gdazegod on October 01 2009 14:39:06
Sounds all very interesting. Might take the time to download some of their stuff. I saw 'Nador' available on a blogsite earlier today.
#4 | Harvey Mettle on October 01 2009 17:07:03
Nador is my favourite, hands down.
#5 | rostoned on October 02 2009 21:06:10
Nador was officially available on CD (released on the Magic label from France in 2002), as a digipak 2 cd set along with the "Take it or leave it album". Now OOP.... I have it and it's a great job I must add
#6 | Eric on October 02 2009 21:43:19
Thanks for the info Filippo. Time for another reissue I think. Magic does good work, thier Hollies reissues are excellent.
#7 | Eric on April 22 2010 13:52:14
The French label 'Magic' have reissued 'Nador'. for a second time.

#8 | trillion1999 on October 08 2011 00:46:28
Looking forward to the King Of Hearts-review.Bought this album just because the cover screamed Supertramp.Was pleasantly surprised that Robert Fitoussi is Italo-Disco hero F.R.
#9 | Eric on November 09 2011 17:14:13
FR David was also in Trefles et Boots prior to Variations and recorded a cool pop LP in 1971 as David Explosion. He was also part of Vangelis' touring band...
#10 | trillion1999 on November 10 2011 03:10:23
Cool! Thanks for the update Eric!
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