Abbittibbi / Richard Desjardins

Abbittibbi: Chaude Était La Nuit

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After three solo albums, now having become a respected singer/songwriter in the tradition of Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen, Richard Desjardins put his old rock group together and recorded this album, Chaude Était la Nuit (Hot Was the Night). Original Abbittibbi members Rémy Perron (bass), Francis Grandmont (guitar), and Claude Vendette (saxophone and flute) are completed by session drummer (and ex-Octobre) Pierre Hébert. The album presents mostly new songs by Desjardins, with the exception of "La Musulmane," which was in the group's songbook in the late '70s and had been recorded by the singer on the first version (now unavailable) of his first solo LP. Well-produced and featuring strong musicianship, Chaude Était la Nuit has both country and art rock flavors. The intelligent rock of Octobre is particularly noticeable in moodier songs like "Ciego," "Kid Brodeur," and "Les Grands Remous." "La Musulmane" and "Les Mammifères" are both strong Southern rock songs, but "Rouler Collés" makes a lame attempt at a road song. Claude Beaugrand, who used to work with Ambiances Magnétiques artists, provided sound effects and field recordings to tie the album together. Desjardins' emotional power and virtuosity at the piano tend to be drowned by the rock context but, after all, this is a group effort and Grandmont's guitar work is just as impressive. This album offers good, intelligent Québec rock the old-fashioned way, with a Kerouac-esque twist.

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