Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Calibre 12 - A Bout Portant (1998)

Calibre 12 is a Southern Rock band from France. Yeah, you read that right. Or can't that be so?! Well, there's an interesting discussion for you fans of Southern Rock. Can Southern sounding Rock, which is not actually from any of the Southern United States, be called Southern Rock? And if so, where do you draw the line? I have several examples posted on my blog. Was it OK for me to post Duke Jupiter's "Sweet Cheeks"? They were from New York, but the album was recorded at the Capricorn studios, produced by Chuck Leavell and features Southern Rock veterans like Randall Bramblett, Jai Johanny Johnson and Chuck Leavell guesting. Or what about George Hatcher. He may have been from North Carolina, but his first 4 studio album featured mostly British musicians. Moonshine were from The Netherlands, but their version of "In The Morning" was much appreciated by Mama's Pride's Pat Liston. I guess it depends what you're definition of Southern Rock is. When the first bands from the South emerged, that would later epitomize Southern Rock, the music wasn't called that just yet. They were referred to as Southern Rock because of their geographical origins. Those early years are really special. Because eventhough bands like the Allmans, Charlie Daniels, Wet Willie, Skynyrd and Grinderswitch would play such different styles, you could hear by the tone of their playing that they were from the South. The same tone that could also be heard on old Southern Soul classics, which is only logical, since they were played by white Southern musicians (Travis Wammack, Steve Cropper, Duane Allman) as well. It was only in the second half of the 70's that Southern Rock as a style became the big thing we think it is. When bands like The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and Doc Holliday entered the scene, and it was quite massive for a moment. Then in the early 80's Southern Rock went almost extinct, some bands trying their hand at AOR and most failing miserably. In Europe Southern Rock was probably only just getting a following when it had all but disappeared. It remained quite popular in Germany and especially France. Which brings us back to Calibre 12. And as far as the music goes, that's solid Southern Rock in my book. This is their debut, and you can still tell they're fans first. The music is pretty much in the Molly Hatchet vein. Great slide guitar. But don't be expecting no Southern drawl here. Maybe a drawl Sudiste (pardon my French). But I reckon that's better than English with a French accent. It does not bother me at all, though I have no clue what they're singing about. You can find the lyrics on their homepage. I wonder what your opinion will be after hearing this. Is Southern Rock now a genre that could come from anywhere? Rock Sudiste!


bigfootkit said...

Where do you draw the line?
Mason Dixie would be my guess.
Seriously though, if it's good music that's Southern in spirit and influence, then that should be the criteria for judgement right there.
There are Southern styled bands all over the place, especially as you rightly say, in Germany and France.
Give the 1984 "Rockstorm" album by the English band Splitcrow a listen for proof that Southern sounds can come from just about any locale.
In fact didn't members of Doc Holliday record an album with German musicians that totally kicked ass? I forget the bands name right now.
If Bruce Brookshire can find musicians there that have the right spirit and feel for him to work with, that settles the "argument" for me right there.
International by birth, but Southern by the grace of dog.

Jenaclap said...

I think so: Southern rock is originally an authentic style with various influences (rhythm and blues, 70's classic rock, country rock, soul ...). You have shown good examples of good Southern rock performed by musicians not just from the southern USA. Perhaps these French guys are another good example (I have not heard it yet). To support this idea, here is this great band in the south ... Spain: MCLAN, some young boys in the area of Murcia. It's a shame that right now can not be classified as that big Southern rock band who once were. I leave you a sample video. If you're interested, I have the 3 first and best albums.




Anonymous said...

you forgot one big example The Band was considered "southern rock possibly from the tune "The night they drove ole dixie down" but the band is from Canada but the music just oozes southern styles.

Anonymous said...

hey Skydog!
do you know Southern Rock from Japan?
Here is the band called The Savoy Truffle:

check also out their same titled album, it's really good.