Robert Charlebois

Live à Paris

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In 1969, Robert Charlebois' concert at Paris' Olympia ended in scandal. By 1976, the psychedelic rock machine had turned into a colorful but presentable singer/songwriter. The Quebecer in Paris had an exotic touch for the bourgeois public. Two evenings at the Palais des Congrès were recorded for Live à Paris, released in 1977. This was the Longue Distance tour. Of the two-LP set, half is taken by interpretations of that album's songs. They are understandably very close to the studio recordings and come as a disappointment (except for "Mourir de Jeunesse," very spirited). The singer picked some old songs from 1968-1969, but "Lindberg" really isn't the same without Louise Forestier. On the other hand, the completely off-the-wall "CPR Blues" sounds almost as manic as eight years before. "Québec Love" and "Les Ailes d'un Ange" are also well-rendered. But the best moments are provided by songs from the early '70s: "Ordinaire" (very moving), "Mon Pays," and a complete "Fu Man Chu," clearly this album's highlight. In terms of sound quality and musicianship, La Maudite Tournée (1995) is much stronger and satisfying. Live à Paris retains some retro charm but surely isn't an essential recording. It seems Charlebois himself didn't care much for it, as the LP was not reissued on CD.

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