France’s Little Bob Story played a spectacular blend of R&B, rock’n’roll and blues, mixing up well-chosen classics and credible originals (all in English) for a hot’n’sweaty Stones-influenced good time. Although plainly tradition-minded, 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, recorded as a quartet, features smokin’ versions of “Lucille” (Chuck Berry), “I’m Crying” (Animals), “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (Bob Dylan) and “You’ll Be Mine” (Willie Dixon) as well as five numbers written by singer Bob Piazza, a Gallic fireplug with a touch of Rod Stewart in his voice.
Off the Rails, produced in England by Sean Tyla, adds a second guitarist to the lineup, and consists almost entirely of original material. Little Bob Story is a collection of singles, including “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Tobacco Road,” both of which predate the debut LP.
The excellent live album was recorded in London but includes a Springsteen cover (“Seaside Bar Song”); on Light of My Town, a new keyboard player and guitarist, plus guest saxophonist John Earl, make for increased sophistication (but no loss in excitement) on a full slate of originals.
Although the band appears to have ended many years ago, Piazza remains active as a solo act.