Peter French

Peter French is an English hard-rock singer who emerged as the frontman of Leaf Hound on their 1971 release Growers of Mushroom. After one-album stints in Atomic Rooster, Cactus, and Randy Pie, he released a 1978 solo album, Ducks in Flight, on Polydor.

Peter French first fronted beatsters The Switch, a semi-professional band that included his guitarist cousin Mike Halls. After some initial stabs at co-writing, they tried to rope in Bob Brunning, a high-profile bassist due to his role as a placeholder for John McVie in the formative lineup of Fleetwood Mac. Instead, they became the nucleus of his act, the Brunning Sunflower Blues Band.

French and Hall played on the first Brunning Sunflower album, the 1968 Saga FID release Bullen St. Blues, which features three songwriting contributions by French: “Gone Back Home,” “Shout Your Name and Call It,” and “‘Fore Time Began.” For a time in 1969/70, French was part of the shortplayer act Big Bertha, which also featured drummer Cozy Powell, ex-Move bassist Ace Kefford, and guitarist Dave Ball, who later replaced Robin Trower in Procol Harum.

In 1970, French and Hall joined Black Cat Bones, a blues-rock band with a loaded history — members of Free and Ashkan had already passed through the lineup — that had just released their one album, Barbed Wire Sandwich. The French/Hall lineup immediately picked a new name, Leaf Hound, and released the 1971 Decca album Growers of Mushroom. French co-wrote eight of the album’s nine songs, including “Stagnant Pool,” “With a Minute to Go,” and the title-track.

After the departure of Black Cat founders Derek and Stuart Brooks, French and Hall led a reconstituted four-piece Leaf Hound on a 1971 European tour. That same year, French jumped ship to Atomic Rooster to sing on their third album, In Hearing Of. Around this time, French cut demos with Rooster guitarist and demoted singer John Du Cann, who promptly quit to form Hard Stuff. (In 1991, the Du Cann/French demos got issued under the name Hellhound by UK archivists Kissing Spell.)

In 1972, French joined American hard-rockers Cactus for their fourth album ‘Ot ‘N’ Sweaty. Of its eight songs, French contributed to the three group-written numbers and co-wrote two songs (“Bedroom Mazurka,” “Telling You”) with keyboardist Duane Hitchings.

After some years away from the scene, French sang on 1977 albums by Randy Pie (Fast/Forward), Jon Petersen & Skyliner (Jet Flight #3), and the all-star Der Führer – Rock Opera by composers Lothar Siems and Walter Quintus. He briefly joined Randy Pie, a German act on Polydor, which gave him the chance to make a solo album.


  • Ducks in Flight (1978)


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