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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Cafe Jacques - 1978 International
 
Cafe Jacques - 1978 International



ARTIST: Cafe Jacques
ALBUM: International
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: EPC 83042
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2010, Esoteric Recordings, ECLEC 2214

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Chris Thomson - guitar, lead vocals * Peter Veitch - keyboads, violin, accordion, background vocals * Mike Ogletree - drums, lead vocals on Man in the Meadow, background vocals

Guests: Phil Collins, Rupert Hine - percussion * Geoff Richardson - viola, flute, clarinet * John G. Perry - Wal bass * Colin Nelson - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Boulevard Of Broken Dreams * 02 How Easy * 03 Waiting * 04 Station Of Dreams * 05 Chanting And Raving * 06 Can't Stand Still * 07 Man In The Meadow * 08 Knife Edge * 09 This Way Up *10 The Medley

WEBLINKS:


Background
I picked this LP up the other day, not knowing much about them, but I'm glad I did. This is a lovely Scottish outfit from back in the 70's who have an interesting sound worth listening to. They've been hard to pigeon-hole. Part progressive, part art-rock, even new wave. It must be a Scottish thing huh? One of the major guest contributors was Geoff Richardson, who was a member of the band Caravan at the time, so even the Canterbury prog style has been levelled at Cafe Jacques. It doesn't matter, because this is a terrific little album. It was CJ's second record, their first 'Round The Back' came out the year before in 1977. The band itself formed back in 1973, with Chris Thomson and keyboardist Peter Veitch being the two principal members. Having Rupert Hine as the producer certainly helps keeps the off-beat and interest factor very high.


The Songs
The opening strands of 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams' makes for a synth pop rock delicacy. You can hear this early on, how the band could traverse numerous styles. 'How Easy' moves toward a style not unlike Sniff N The Tears in their more obtuse moments. Gotta love the funky 'Waiting', which could be Steely Dan meeting the Average White Band, though the guitar solo lifts this beyond the norm. 'Station Of Dreams' is played within a cloud like atmosphere, like Zeus and the Olympians upon high. A nice tune. For something different, 'Chanting And Raving' sounds like an 80's hi-tech/new wave environment. Perhaps Mr Hine had a hand in this? More than likely. Stepping out with a tune that could've been a contender for radio was 'Can't Stand Still'. A boppy little number for sure. 'Man In The Meadow' is very ethereal pastoral prog, sung by drummer Mike Ogletree. A bit different.. So too 'Knife Edge' with it's harder edge and different arrangement. Hine has certainly worked his magic here. The shorter 'This Way Up' reminds me of a modern form of prog/pop circa the early 80's which leads to the obvious question: were Cafe Jacques ahead of their time? No, I'd say that Rupert Hine was a musical time traveller! The album finale is a six minute effort titled 'The Medley'. No, it's not a medley as such, but it does contain numerous solos on different instruments after the four minute mark. This is probably where Geoff Richardson jumps in.


In Summary
If you were to wind the clock back to 1978 and listen to 'International' at the time, you would have found it an unusual experience. Maybe not if you were a bonafide prog pop/rock follower. There's certainly a point of difference, and each track can be held on its own merits. The band didn't survive beyond this album unfortunately, but thankfully it saw an official CD reissue in 2010 thanks to Esoteric. Cafe Jacques reunited in 2010 for a local gig in Scotland, and plans were afoot to came back to life, with new band membership including former Michael Schenker Group bassist Chris Glen, and a new private release called 'Lifer'. However, things have since gone quiet on the CJ front (as at 2016), with their website down for the count and with no news forthcoming. Hopefully this is just a temporary glitch. [word count 549]


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Comments
#1 | Eric on April 16 2016 12:51:44
This was a great band and I love both records although 'Round the Back' has a slight edge over this one. They toured Europe and the UK with Caravan and The Kinks.
 
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