Formed in Le Havre in 1974, France’s Little Bob Story played a spectacular blend of pub rock, R&B, rock’n’roll and blues, mixing up well-chosen classics and credible originals (all in English) for a hot ‘n’ sweaty Rolling Stones-cum-Small Faces-influenced good time in the style of Eddie & The Hot Rods.
They somehow became involved in the London punk scene just as it was getting underway in 1976, cutting singles and a 1977 album for Chiswick, the first British indie label.
High Time (1976), recorded in France as a quartet, featured smokin’ versions of Lucille (Chuck Berry), I’m Crying (The Animals), It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) and You’ll Be Mine (Willie Dixon) as well as five numbers written by Italian-born singer Roberto (Bob) Piazza, who had a touch of Rod Stewart crossed with Steve Marriott in his voice.
Just how five French rock ‘n’ rollers ended up recording an album in Kent, England, under the production hand of Sean Tyla, leader of The Tyla Gang for release on a record label owned by a redoubtable collector’s record store (Chiswick) must be a complex and bizarre tale, but Off the Rails (1977) – an album of original compositions – was indeed produced in the UK and added a second guitarist to the lineup.
Little Bob Story (1978) was a collection of singles, including Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and Tobacco Road, both of which predated the debut LP.
The excellent Live album (1979) was recorded in London but included a Springsteen cover (Seaside Bar Song).
For Light of My Town (1980), a new keyboard player (Dominique Comont) and guitarist, plus guest saxophonist John Earl, made for increased sophistication (but no loss in excitement) on a full slate of originals.
The group struggled on for a few more years before calling it a day – but not before a cameo appearance from Lemmy from Motörhead on their album Ringolevio (1987).
Bob (Roberto) Piazza
Dominique Lelan (Barbe Noire)
Dominique ‘Mino’ Quertier