After the excellent album-oriented LP Robert Charlebois [aka Je Rêve à Rio], Longue Distance leaves the listener unsatisfied, even though it still shows a strong artistic vision. This album from 1976, Charlebois' 11th, yielded hits and fan favorites in "The Frog Song" (the now-obligatory Quebecers-stand-up-and-be-proud song) and the ballad "Je Reviendrai à Montréal" (I Will Come Back to Montreal), one of the singer's best-known songs, along with "Lindberg" and "Ordinaire." About half of the tracks were recorded with an orchestra, an idea that fails miserably in "Partir" (Leaving) but gives "Mourir de Jeunesse" (Dying of Youth, written with Gilles Vigneault) all of its carnival-esque charm. Of the other songs, three continue to express Charlebois' fondness of Caribbean music; "Cartier (Jacques)," "Punch Créole," and "Mon Ami Fidel" all have sunny rhythms, but the latter's sweet-and-sour ode to Cuba leader Fidel Castro sounded somewhat awkward in later years. "Discobol," an attempt to paste together the rise of disco fever and the Montreal Olympic Games (the album was released in February 1976), should be forgotten altogether. Longue Distance is still stronger than Solide or Swing Charlebois Swing, but it clearly marks the beginning of a walk downhill after the artistic peak of 1972-1974.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture