Trois accords de guitare …
Four young Malagasy living In Paris, were playing guitar and singing romantic songs in one of the capital parks le bois De Vincennes, in the eastern part of Paris. We were in the early sixties, Jean Claude”Ralaï” was 20 years old and was working at Procédé Dorel, a printing house. One of his fellow introduced him to a R & R singer, Danny Boy, who then was looking for a backing band. They met in Charenton, Danny came with a good looking girl Marie France Boyer, Dick Rivers’ future wife, another top R & R act. Our four young teenagers started with a flamboyant guitar boogie cover, then did Tutti Frutti, that was enough to convince Danny who signed up on the spot. “Ralaï” still remembers he knew only three chords at that time!

We were in May 1961 and the band began immediately to rehearse. When July arrived, everybody was ready to go south in the Riviera and to start the summer tour. The first date was in Juan Les Pins, the big rock contest, where they shared the bill with such names as Vince Taylor & his Playboys, Doug Fawlkes & the Airedales, and the French competitors: Chaussettes Noires, Chats Sauvages…

Danny Boy proposed to call his backing band les pénitents, as he remembered some Eastern celebration in Barcelona, where Penitents wearing hood and going through the crowd behind Christ’s wearing his heavy cross. The line up was Loulou on bass, Bruno, on lead.

In September back to Paris they were billed at the Tabarin, near the Pigalle district, followed by a couple of dates at L’Européen, close to the Clichy place and then at Bobino on the other Seine river bank in Montparnasse. The year was to end at Palais des sports for R n R festival, with Vince Taylor as star and Chats sauvages, and other bands. The Vince Taylor fans have broken into pieces most of the seats during Les Chats sauvages exhibitions. Vince Taylor could not even step on to the stage. The show was stopped.

In 1962 Danny Boys and his penitents were signed by the biggest French circus to renew its image and draw the teenagers. They were part of Cirque Pinder ORTF. The Circus was sponsored by the big French Radio and television broadcasting company. Les pénidents got new equipment: Gibson guitars.
They would not go to the end of the tour since in September they were replaced by another band Les Pingouins.

In 1963 they got a recording contract with Barclay, the famous label, where they cut an instrumental record with the usual four tracks: Wipe out, sugar shack, Big pig and hilly billy ding dong both penned by Claude Borly. Big pig was very similar to the famous Offenbarch piece French can can. Frank Alamo, a then very popular singer clapped his hands in Sugar shack !

Then Les Pénitents would back again Danny Boy, for the first time in a studio session, when he was signed by Bel Air in 64. Due to their stage experience les pénitents were to play gigs till 1971. In the meantime, during the summer 1967 they were part of the big Rock revival tour organised by Jean Louis Rancurel and Jacques Barsamian (photograph and reporter in disco revue the teenage monthly) with a very attractive bill: Danny boy & les Pénitents, Sophie, Richard & Samuel and at the top Vince Taylor and his playboys. Danny Boy who made a big show nevertheless decided to put an end to his singing career.

Nowadays Ralai is working for an big consulting company, Loulou runs an insurance office, Claude passed away in the eighties and Bruno is living in the southern suburbs of Paris.


Discographie (60)

  1. (Pas de titre) (Barclay EP)
    Wipe out / Sugar shack / Big pig / Hilly Billy ding dong.
Retour vers : Non classé