2016-07-07 ALBUM REVIEW – TRANSPHER "Black Sam" (2016)


Transpher “Black Sam” Self-released
Release date: May 20, 2016
Running time: 38:00, 9 tracks

Transpher is a Celtic rock/pirate rock band from Melun (Île de France region, France):  Jean-Marc Houdayer (lead vocals, guitar), Philippe Sternis  (bouzouki and acoustic guitar), Franck Fafin (bass), Nico Tanquart (drums), René Mirat (fiddle, electric guitar), Christophe Dupeu (harmonica) and Loïc Pelletier (fiddle). They have previously released three albums, “Fresh Capsule” (2007), “22h22” (2009), “Libertalia” (2013) and 1 DVD, “Une nuit dans l’espace” (2011). They also released a video clip for “In the Night” in 2014, one of our favourite songs from 2014. 

Their brand new album is titled “Black Sam”. There are 3 songs in English and 6 songs in French. “In the Night” is the second track and the first sung in English. It sounds as fresh as ever. “My Best Friends” is an amazing sing-along number based on electric guitar. Finally, “Luna Girl” is a classic folk-rock ballad with a Horslips twist.

The title track “Black Sam” is the first song on the album, a pirate number about Sam Bellamy. The use of harmonica reminds me of the Breton band L’Ange Vert.

Breizh storming” is a shanty sung in French. Interesting number with a UB40 sounding bass line at the end.  “Les 3 Soeurs” is a self-penned number, but it sounds as if it was a traditional number. Kick-ass song to file together with Bodh’aktan’s “La Sainte Nitouche”. “Les filles de Saint Malo” is another song with a Breton feel and the original version is available on their debut album “Fresh Capsule”. “Le Vent des Highlands” is a song about the “auld alliance” between France and Scotland. The song has a Scottish pop from the 80’s feel (Simple Minds, The Silencers …) and was previously released on “22h22

The album is over with “Compagnons de route”, a song with a great fiddling and harmonica playing towards the end.

Transpher have different faces, and I’ve loved their Celtic and British side on “In the Night”, “Le Vent des Highlands” and “My Best Friends”, but also their traditional Breton approach on “Les 3 Soeurs”, “Les Filles de Saint Malo” and “Breizh Storming.


1. Black Sam 04:27   
2. My Best Friends 04:16
3. Breizh Storming 03:59   
4. In the Night 04:05
5. Le vent des Highlands 05:18   
6. Les 3 soeurs 03:22   
7. Luna Girl 04:25   
8. Les filles de Saint-Malo 04:13   
9. Compagnons de route 03:41


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Review by Kinksmarkham

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